“I’m Your School,” a poem by Conway author and neurologist, Mike Bass, M.D., was written this summer just in time for the start of the academic year as a timely send-off to children returning to their school.
A physician with childhood roots in Benton, Arkansas, Mike has always been dedicated as an adult to medicine. His engagement in writing began when he first learned to write – decades before medical school. All through his school years, Mike wrote songs, parodies of the poems studied in school, and comedy skits for his family to perform. Ultimately, this led to a sideline as a professional comedy writer. He has written for famous comics including Bob Hope, and he still writes for new comics who contact him.
Mike attended Arkansas Tech University for a year and then joined the U.S. Army for three years (1958-61). After military service and undergraduate study at San Francisco State University, he enrolled at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. He entered an internship program followed by a three-year residency at medical facilities in California. His medical practice as a neurologist was based in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
He now lives in Conway and interprets EEGs from his computer at home. He returns to California regularly to practice medicine part time. As a member of Conway Writers Group (CWG), he regularly shares his poems, songs, and comedy material with members of the group.
Group members include newbies, semi-pro, and seasoned writers. Some works have been published in local, regional, and national magazines. A poem by one senior member was selected in 2005 for inclusion in the International Library of Poetry. However, most works are created for personal satisfaction or a think piece about an idea that is currently top-of-mind for an author. CWG members bring their current or previous work to weekly meetings and share it with others. Meetings are open to the public and persons of all ages are welcome.
I’m Your School
Hey, I'm your school, all rested from vacation!
I hope you're ready to begin again.
It's good to have a summer separation,
But don't forget that sloth's a deadly sin.
I know you're melancholy, yet excited.
You have to love and hate a place of learning.
Regardless, I must work till I've ignited
A fire in you that never will stop burning.
Don't think that I don't know the way you feel-
To be so young and full of driving juices.
Your growing pains and teenage angst are real.
I know the strong emotions youth produces.
I know you feel adventure and romance
Are lurking just around some waiting corner,
And this distracts you from your perfect chance
At all the useful knowledge you could garner.
I know that members of the other sex
Find getting your attention not too hard;
And words that pop up in your smart-phone texts
Mean more to you than those of some dead bard.
I know about computer games and dates.
I know you'd rather dance than solve equations,
And you would rather joke than do debates,
And Newton's Laws don't come up in flirtations.
But now, it's time to concentrate and focus,
And do what you must do to gather knowledge.
There is no education hocus-pocus,
No magic wand to ready you for college.
I know you may not have that aspiration,
But still I need to plant the knowledge seed,|
'Cause no one ever died of information,
And youth can't know where time and age may lead.
All I can give you is a good beginning -
A knowledge base you'll add to day and night,
And this will be your wisdom's underpinning,
For knowledge clings to knowledge suckling tight.
Your dedicated teachers are your link
To ancient thought and scholars still around.
They'll change the way you look at life and think.
Your thoughts will be more varied and profound.
As you become more scholarly you'll find
That knowledge is among your closest friends.
You'll find that age old questions burn your mind -
The how's and why's and where's and what's and when's -
For thinking is your human superpower.
No other species builds on what it knows.
Your knowledge is the soil, the sun, the shower;
And wisdom is the sturdy tree it grows.
So put away your backpack and your phone.
You're here where education is what's cool,
And friendships are forever etched in stone,
And I'm here, proudly saying, "I'm your school."
— Mike Bass, Conway Writers Group