Learned Limbo

brown wooden desk table

Photo: Stephen Paris on Pexels.com


It has long lain

In limbo,

All voices ebbed

Into dust.

As silent letters

On chalkboard,

Watch the desks

Left to rust.

At one time

Children chanted,

Poems rose

Learned by heart.

But they’d grown

And time hastened.

School-house days

Did not last.

Now it sits,

Heart quite emptied,

And still waits

For the past.



For the dVerse Challenge: Limbo


20 thoughts on “Learned Limbo

    • Thanks, Grace! Yes, happy memories and some longing since, and perhaps someplace a wish to rewind or revisit time — who knows, maybe that school-house will see a revival of sorts … and hear the reciting voices of children once again raised in song … 🙂


    • Thanks, Laura!
      I found that emptiness to be the most salient, as well, and all I could think of was: what will the letters on the chalkboard do now that the only ‘audience’ they have are empty desks? …
      Thank you for reading and for the great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Since I attended a one-room country school, this touched my heartstrings. When my mother was a child, children were required to memorize poems. She could still recite “Lil Orphant Annie” to me verbatim when I was a child. Needless to say, I loved your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Beverly! What a lovely comment! I know some people who’d attended a one-room school (one of them learned in rural France, another in a rural community in the US) and tell stories that are both fascinating and touching. I’m glad that my little poem resonated! 🙂 Na’ama


  2. You’ve painted a thought-provoking image of a little school, once beloved and full of activity, left to decay. We don’t know why, maybe because the village no longer has children, people have moved away, or a larger establishment has taken over and children are driven there by car or bus. I love how you’ve captured the atmosphere of an empty school in the lines:
    ‘All voices ebbed
    Into dust.
    As silent letters
    On chalkboard’
    and the idea of waiting for the past.
    I listen to children read in a small infant school; the feeling of being a family and the individual attention given to the children is so valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kim, for this thoughtful and lovely comment! Some of us have corners in us that still wait for the past or try to revisit/rekindle/understand the turns of time. I’m glad if this personification rang true, through this poem. And … yes, children are magnificent! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My apologies for replying so late – life and work intruded.

    You’ve developed the mood quite effectively, and drawn out a particular emotional ambivalence about the concept of limbo.

    Thanks for adding to the prompt

    ~ M

    Liked by 1 person

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