Barbara Funke taught English for 36 years before retiring from Duneland Schools in Chesterton, Indiana. She became an award-winning high school theater director in the state’s northwest area and a member of Indiana’s Hall of Fame for competitive speech coaches. A current member of writing groups both in Indiana and Utah, including Utah State Poetry Society, she is a former director of Redrock Writers, which held both its 19th successful Creative Writing Seminar and its 13th successful national poetry contest in 2015. Her winning poems have appeared in Chaparral Poetry Forum chapbooks, Sandcutters chapbook, and Panorama and National Federation of State Poetry Societies' Encore anthologies. Her husband Bob is a generous cheerleader for all her artistic efforts.
Ode to the EraserLittle bullet of solacequicker than a Minute Man,you defend against insurgenciesof graphite or lead.Your color irrelevant to quality,your sexual preference moot,you are firm but resilient,patient yet alert.Once called into serviceyou accept your assignmentwithout complaint.So plainly uniform when new,you soon surrender the crisp edges of inexperienceto work on, in, behind, between the lines,get down, get dirty.Irregular as special forces,disguised as a tired lump of gum, ugly,maybe maimed, you bear scars of each skirmishinto the next encounter.The writer salutes you, embattled one,counts on your humble loyalty,your innumerable sacrifices, great and small.Together you fight against peril,against letters excessive, disorderly,against the undisciplined hordes of words,against poisonous clouds of ill-penned gas.And when you find yourselfdiminished through months of duty,undecorated, retired, replaced,rest easy and contented, gallant warrior,assured your gift of self and substanceis mankind's more than modest gain.