Crazy Days and Time for Class

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By Renato Ganoza from 郑州, 中国 (DSC_9655  Uploaded by Dcoetzee) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balloon

At first it’s nothing but a rag,
a worm uncurled along your hand,
but then you fill it with your breath—
it grows and grows, its skin pulled thin.

It swells with pride to be so loved,
it almost seems to glow and grin,
but then you give it one more blow—
too much for it to bear, it tears,

and then you have your rag again.

 

I’ve been crazy busy lately. That’s why I haven’t been writing and blogging as consistently. Given our family’s overwhelming situation, I felt I had two options. Option one: write less and don’t worry about. Honestly, I get kind of grumpy when I don’t write, so that option didn’t seem so good. Instead I went with option two: Sign up for a class! I know, in a way it makes no sense—I’m too busy so what I need is one more activity? But that’s not how I thought of it. What I thought was: I need some assignments and deadlines. Assignments and deadlines will keep me writing and growing. That’s how I found myself at Renee LaTulippe’s door, begging to be included in her Lyrical Language Lab. It’s only been two days, but boy am I impressed by her program, and so far my strategy’s worked. The poem above is my first poem for class. Can you guess what we’re studying?

For more Poetry Friday, visit Jama for some delicious and nutritious poetry and…hmmm…what else do you think she’ll be serving?

This image is from Wiki Commons. Here’s the link.

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Chalk Moon

 

Chalk Moon

Who made the moon?
Who scribbled it with chalk
on the blackboard sky?
Who blew the dust away
and filled the dark with stars?

It’s the last day of the month, so it must be time for a Chalk-a-bration! This is Betsy Hubbard’s brilliant way to combine fun with chalk and fun with poetry. She does it with her kindergarten class and invites anyone and everyone to join in the celebration. My poem today is completely inspired by her recent classroom activities which she describes on her blog Teaching Young Writers. Starting with “Tonight” a sweet poem by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Betsy’s students have been chalking moons and stars and writing about the moon. You can see where the idea for my poem came from. Thanks to Betsy and her class for sharing the fun and inspiration!

Poetry from the Kitchen

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Veggie Soup

Outside the day is cold and wet.
The trees and flowers droop.
Mom says the weather’s perfect
for making veggie soup.

We chop the bright orange carrots.
We core the red tomatoes.
We trim the ends off all the beans
and dice the sweet potatoes.

We put it all in a big black pot,
along with some water and rice.
We stir and wait and watch and taste,
adding a dash of spice.

Outside, everything is cold and wet,
huddled against the storm.
Inside, we’re eating veggie soup,
perfectly cozy and warm.

Yesterday was the first nasty day we’ve had this fall. Just looking out the window chilled my bones. Thus it was also the first perfect day to make soup. Of course I couldn’t start cooking the soup, until I wrote a poem about it. (That should give you some sense of my priorities.) I confess I don’t really enjoy cooking. I can’t seem to get in touch with the feeling that cooking is a form of caretaking. To me it just feels like a chore. But since I like eating soup, I have to cook it.

My favorite soup is Gypsy Soup from the Moosewood Cookbook.  As you can see the recipe is well loved. You can also see I took some poetic license with my poem, which is, of course, to be expected.

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For more Poetry Friday, visit Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids.

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Poetry from the Garden

Cherry Tomato, take one

the pop of skin–

a rush of sweet and sour
to your tongue

like when you bite
your ripe lip

 

Cherry Tomato, take two

the bite of sudden thunder
a skyful of rain—
sweet relief
tinged with the sour end
of blue skies

 

I love growing cherry tomatoes. I buy small plants in May, transfer them to large patio pots, and water them every day. For this small amount of work, the pay-off is huge. We get bite-sized red and yellow tomatoes for months. They never even make it into the salad because we eat them straight from the vine.

Before I wrote these poems, I went out to the yard and harvested all the cherry tomatoes I could find. I put them in a bowl next to my computer. I ate them one at a time, thinking: how do I describe the experience of eating one? How do I put a taste into words? I tried a bunch of different metaphors, including the two above. In the second version, I kept going back and forth between skyful and mouthful. Which version of the poem do you prefer? Which word–skyful or mouthful?

I’m happy to be back this week. I’ve missed celebrating Poetry Friday with all of you. Life and parenting has been a little too complicated and time consuming lately for me to blog as much as I’d like. While I was away I had a thought about the poems I post here. I think they’re kind of like sketches–they aren’t first drafts and they aren’t fully fleshed out and polished poems. They’re like the doodles you might find in the margins of someone’s biology notes. I’m not saying whose.

For more Poetry Friday fun, visit Amy at The Poem Farm.

Did you notice my new look? It’s all thanks to Gabe Seiden at Connect4Consulting. Thanks, Gabe!

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Hummingbirds and Hope

About a month ago, I put out a hummingbird feeder. I hadn’t seen any hummingbirds in our yard, but I was hopeful. Sadly, no hummingbirds came. I felt like I had thrown a party and no one showed up. I left the feeder hanging in the tree and didn’t bother to change the nectar. No one was eating it and it felt too discouraging to give up and take it down. I didn’t want to see the empty hummingbird feeder on its side on a shelf in the garage. Then last weekend at dinner, my husband blurted out: “A hummingbird!” It wasn’t at the feeder. It was hovering at the cleome that grow just outside the window. That night, I cleaned the feeder and boiled more sugar water. The next day the hummingbird went back and forth to the feeder all day. I moved my laptop to the dining room to watch. That evening I discovered there were two. Seeing the tiny birds with their blurred wings flit across the yard feels as magical to me as seeing a fairy.

 

A few weeks ago Miss Rumphius challenged us to write a poem about faith or hope. Here’s my poem about hope (which doesn’t seem to want a title).

 

Hope is an egg
with a thin white shell,
easily crushed
if stepped on
or dropped.
It can be swallowed whole
by a snake.
And yet, the egg
is the best possible shape
to hold
the unborn.

 

I wonder if Emily Dickinson’s feathered hope gave birth to my egg.

What form does hope take for you?

For more Poetry Friday, visit Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children.