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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

Mary Wilson
Housekeeper/Poet/Story Writer

Mary Wilson is a housekeeper at Bryn Mawr College who also writes poems and stories. While working in the Science Building, she and Professor of Biology Paul Grobstein started talking about brains. The poem Tidal Wave was the result. Later, while talking about some of her other work, Paul noticed that mothers kept reappearing in it and asked about this. The poem Mothers was Mary's response. Ways of Life was written (with some minor collaboration by Paul) during the winter of 2001, after Mary saw a news article about harrassment of gay men. Cross Over was also written (August, 2001) in response to a news article; Mary remembers an aunt she cared for as a child who slipped over "the invisible line". Decisions was Mary's response to the events of 11 September, 2001. The Deceiver, Summer, Talk Show, The Player, Summer Storm and Not Today are some of Mary's latest poems (2003-04).

Tidal Wave

3 March, 2000

The thoughts that gather together,
Create a tidal wave
In which you can not forget.
Storing up the knowledge of a lifetime,
Silently screaming for more than man can give.
Sending out signals as a light,
Beckoning its ships,
Absorbing faster than running water.

If not for this,
You would be as lifeless as a stone
Lying on the side of the road.
A pebble thrown then sinking into the sea.
It controls your life,
Yet it can control mine.
So beware of this thing called brain.
Without this tidal wave,
Where would mankind be?





The one that carried me,
Raised me to her breast,
Cuddled me in her arms,
Till I felt the wave of love.
My star fell;
The one that woke me from a dream,
Held me in her arms in a tender loving way.
Took my hand in hers to study and guide,
My way.
Knowing if I am sick or just unhappy with my day.
Telling me it's alright if things did not go,
My way.
Wipes away my tears to take the hurt away.
My heart swollen with love for you,
In such a caring way.
Mothers -
It is gratitude I owe You
For the gift of life.
I am so fortunate to have You
In my life.

Ways of Life

We are all brought into this world,
Raised, taught to love and respect.
Yet there is a world within that world.
Some lives will change.
Some who can not accept such changes,
Who have a suspicious eye, a crooked smile,
Then slips a nasty word,
Which starts a chain of reactions.
So why do they hate?
To hate is to fear.
What has been done,
To cause such conflictions?
Perhaps its best not to share in such hatred.
Just step away from the hate,
Then we can share in the same world,
Giving everyone their own space.
Which means, Respect and Peace,
Is the way of life.

Cross Over

Do you waken one day and find that the world
    you once knew now has vanished?
Never remembering when this had taken place.
Was it someone that tapped you on the shoulder
    making you aware?
Or was it a strange look that came across
    someone's face?
Why do others question you, looking for answers?
When you are questioning yourself, with none?
A smile indented on your face, not knowing why.
Can the moon that hides behind the clouds,
Extend such a shadow that can cover your mind?
Can this same moon which has such beauty,
    bring this strangeness out of you?
Leaving the mind screaming out from the darkness
    begging to free its self to join society.
Only to find that you are lost to the world.
Now you plunge deeply into a world of your own.
Where there is only strangeness which could become madness.
There is no retreat, no life line to guide you.
Finding yourself a maniac, never to be trusted.
Don't we all have some insanity in us?
Which places a smile on our face whenever
    a joke comes to mind
Trying never to cross the invisible line.
Hoping no one will ever tap us on our shoulder,
Finding ourselves in a world of our own.



When did you make such a decision,
        to take over the mind of another?
Molding it into shape, as a plow moves the earth?
Twisting it so that both minds think alike.
That mind now has lost control, its thoughts now
       belong to you.
Its opinions mean nothing, never to be heard.
This is where the danger lies.
That mind now belongs to a blind society with
       madness in mind.
A robot to be led, then discarded.
It is such sadness that someone other than you
       shall pay the price.
All because your decision became their decision.

A loud sound, the building shook.
"What's happening, what's happening?,"
       as I stood up from my desk.
"Run," someone screamed "run!"
"Where?" I thought. My feet began to move.
Still not knowing had had happened.
I, too, joined the crowd.
Feet, pounding down the falls,
       screams thundering through the air.
Lights out, I could not see,
       smoke so heavy, I could not breathe.
I then stumbled, falling to the floor.
A hand reached down, helping me up.
Pulling, guiding me down the stairs.

Then blackness.

The screaming has stopped. Where is everyone?
Where is the one who helped me as I stumbled along?
Where did we separate? Are they alone too?
"I am here, I am here," I cried to deaf ears.
My body in pain, something's weighing me down.
My thoughts turn to my loved ones,
       thinking are they safe?
Why am I here, to be buried alive in a tomb of rubble?
Never shall I know when the decision was made.

One is never alone, as long as there is a reaching hand.

The Deceiver

2 March, 2003

The deceiver is the one that's always smiling and
Whispering into your ear,
Feeding you information, guiding you into a trap of deceit.
You take in their words as an act of a friend.
You can not see there is no friendship within them.
Knowing your weakness they patiently wait,
Starting their attack from within.
You find yourself surrounded in trouble.
It then gathers, together like moisture on the leaf of a vine.
Why you ask?
Think; who is better than the one you call your friend
To bring such troubles into your life?
All I can say is, back far away from this so-called friend.
Treat the friend as you would treat all strangers.
Their face will surely become visible,
Because others have seen their face, long before you.


26 June 2003
Standing here with the sun
   bathing down on me
Sweat sliding down my face
   to my chin
My armpits sweated, my hands damp
   with moisture
Batting my eyes, feeling complete
I am shivering at the thought
That summer has now arrived.

Talk Show

25 July 2003

Talk, talk and talk, I do what I do,
Not for me but as a challenge to the whole.
Not to change the world but to bring a little
My words spilling out flowing into air,
Gathering people together as a cluster of storms.
Sweeping the world from corner to corner,
Tearing into the mind of each individual.
Now all can see I do what I do,
Not for me but out of kindness from you.
I am a talk show host and you are my

The Player

22 August 2003

A player will always stay on their Ps and Qs.
They will laugh, but you don't know if they are smiling.
Their every word is a carefully thought out plan.
Always keeping their game in place.
Their minds are never resting, they can never afford to
            Lose their edge.
People will gather around a player not knowing
            The reason why.
There is something about a player that will always
            Be a mystery to us.
A player will find your weakest spot, then they will reel you in.
Finding yourself as a fish on a line,
You have lost all of your own sense of reason.
The player has now won, now looking for new game.
Your game is now over.
The player never realizes there is another player
            Standing to the side.
Waiting, to take the player on.



Not Today

9 February 2004

What has happened to you?
Your mind seems to have shut down.

Was it someone or something that triggered your brain,
Causing you to react in such a way?

Your eyes growing larger than the moon,
Your mouth as dry as the desert sands,
Your blood rising to the boiling point.

You are spitting out words so unnatural for you,
What is it that brings out a side of you that is so unfamiliar?

Take time and collect your thoughts.
Walk away and say, "not today."

Summer Storm

10 September 2003

The walls of my house are shaking.
Am I to be invaded?
Lights flashing through the air,
Are they firing in my room?
I pull my covers over my head,
Holding them tightly, as close as a shield.
I am so afraid of the noises I hear,
I lay perfectly still.
Has war finally come our way,
Or is it the end of the world instead?
Is someone standing in the room,
Waiting for me to make a move,
Or waiting to make a striking attack?
I dare not take a peek to see,
What is happening around me.
I am so afraid, yet I sense I have been here before.
What kind of coward can I be,
I lie here shivering down to my knees.
Grabbing the courage left in me,
I flung the covers off of me.
There, now I can see.
A wildness of laughter escape from me,
How a summer storm could have,
Frightened me.

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