The distant country of cats and dogs (Green Circle Program*—3rd grade)

Green Circle Question: Do you know anyone who comes
from another country, who speaks
another language, who lives
very far away from you?
The boy believes he understands my question.
Wildly over his head he is waving his hand.
This boy shouts his answer to the question
that he hears inside the words of my question.
He waves his hand again and again,

and his words are rushing out of him.
We are all so happily flooded by his words
about his cat and dogs, two dogs in fact,
one black one brown, who wait at home
for his return.  When they hear his shoes

when they hear my shoes on the floor,
they rush to greet him, they jump all over me,
they jump and lick him, they listen
for my shoes clumping on the floor, licking
is dog kissing! 
This is his circle of love,
his green growing circle of love

which welcomes him home when he has been
far from the center of the circle.
This is what he understands when he hears
the question inside the words
of my question which I now know

I did not completely understand when I asked—
Do you know anyone who comes
from another country, who speaks
another language, who lives
very far away from you?—
until he answered.

                                                      10/29/99
* The Green Circle Program is a script-based, interactive flannel board program to help students increase self-esteem, and their acceptance and enjoyment of others by encouraging them to talk about common feelings and real situations where they have felt included and excluded.  Human differences are examined as the group considers the reasons we sometimes exclude others.  Emphasis is placed on appreciating and enjoying the differences among people. 
                                                                                                                                  

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