Friday, October 26, 2012

What's That?

On this colorful drippy day go visit Linda at Teacherdance for an extraordinary poetry experience.

trees dripping
a storm of leaves
tsunamis of color
a confusing blur
I double look
as remainders approach
like little toads
across my path.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Listen to Life

Join in with a little life story at Two Writing Teachers.

I went to the apple orchard this weekend. Got my donut, cider, watched my kids enjoy all the activities, took photos of the amazing pumpkin crop, it was wonderful. A sun shiny grass glistening kind of morning.

My children's favorite activity was the enormous slide. You have to walk a hill to get to the top, wait in a moderately long line and then WHEEEE!

My husband and I sat on one of several available benches that are near the bottom and listened as child after child came down.

Every little face was elated. Huge smiles and giggles were everywhere. It was pure and un-messed with joy that almost always ran from the bottom of the slide back up the hill and into the line for more!

We sat there and listened to life. It was magical.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Poetry Friday is Here!

  As you may have noticed Amy from The Poem Farm and I traded hosting days. If you normally keep the Poetry Friday schedule on your page please post the change. Amy will be hosting on November 30th.
I am so excited and honored to be joined by amazing and inspiring writers, readers and thinkers today. Thank you for celebrating poetry with me at Teaching Young Writers. My poetry offering is meant to inspire you to see beyond your troubles, pain, suffering or struggle. Our stories are written chapter by chapter. 

I live in a community that has a reputation for violence. However, I am so proud of the young people in this same community who refuse to be defined by negativity, who refuse to live in a world that doesn't hear them and who refuse to sit by and watch their community crumble. These same young adults organized a march of more than 2,000 students, parents, and community members from theirs and surrounding communities to show that "We Are One" following an act of violence wrongly generalized as an act of the community's public school's students. I heard them and I hope others will heed their message of hope.  
I have once again found myself on the near other side of a painful chapter in life. I am so close I can practically see how much better life will be once I am through it. Different types of pain, different struggles, it is what makes us who we are. The struggle is worth it once we have found ourselves on the other side of the pain we have felt and lived through. Everyone feels pain differently, literally, figuratively, excruciatingly, negatively...multiple ways. But we all feel it. We all live it and hopefully we all move to the chapter beyond it. I first posted the poem below in March (my first time posting to Poetry Friday) after living a long chapter of very literal pain that after years of searching for a means to health was slayed. I could only write this once I was well beyond it, but I still feel my victory.

The Chapter Beyond Pain

I have known pain 
I will know it again.

A crime against pain I would commit
With no shame.
It distracts me, attacks me.
In its scope it will track me.

Pain is blinding and binding
Debilitating without discriminating.
Pain can prickle or trickle
Throw me down without thought.

When faced in its arena
It counts me as weak
It stands confident before me
Intimidating, me bleak.

But I choose what I see
In those moments of pain. 
Though distant, I see it,
My weapon to slay.

I reach out for it
Grabbing that place beyond pain
My defense from the wounds
From worries and shame.

I have known pain 
I will know it again.

I will be swinging my lasso throughout the day as time allows to summarize the poetic offerings of this enlightening community. Hope you can stop back often to share in the greatness.
Early Risers:
  • RenĂ©e LaTulippe, from No Water River brings us some GOOD NEWS, a celebratory GIVEAWAY, and an interview with poet CARRIE FINISON, who is sharing her fun poetry video for "Idunno." 
  • Charles Ghigna, is harvesting the Fruit of the Moon Tree at Father Goose. Go read his poem and check out the accompanying artwork by Chip Ghigna.
  • Sylvia Vardell shares A Clam by Jack Prelutzsky at THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY along with some great teaching tips for this week's theme, In the Water.
  • Myra invites us to read and eat some poetry at GATHERING BOOKS
  • Robyn Hood Black at Read, Write, Howl tells us where seconds graders find poetry. 
  • Dian Mayr At Randlom Noodling has an original poem, "With a Bang and a Flash." She also invites us to visit Kurious Kitty with a very old poem from China and KK's Kwotes quote for today is by Czeslaw Milosz.
  • April Halprin Wayland from Teaching Authors shares a patient poem and a writing workout as she wrestles with realizing that maybe her writing life ISN'T going to go the way she thinks it's supposed to...
  • Linda at Teacherdance is celebrating her birthday today (I am singing the Happy Birthday song right now so join in everybody). She brings us a poem about Columbus Day with mixed feelings.
  • Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference brings a collection of J.R. Solonche.
  • Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from The Poem Farm has a little poem about a little brother who is no longer just observing his world, but crawling into it!
  • Heidi Mordhorst shares a wonderful Ode on Dictionaries at My Juicy Little Universe.
  • Mary Lee comes to us from A Year of Reading with a poem of change. 
  •  Jama is celebrating Fall at Jama's Alphabet Soup today with a 4-book Janet Wong giveaway!
  •  Jeff Barger At NC Teacher Stuff, is featuring a football poem penned by the late Steve Sabol.
  •  Laura at Author Amok is featuring poet Tony Medina's children's books from now until the presidential election. You'll also want to check out the wonderfully rich verse biography of Bob Marley, I AND I BOB MARLEY and the book trailer!
  • Laura Purdie Salas from  Writing the World for Kids  is in with another poem from the beautiful new National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, with a link to the classroom guide!
  • Liz Steinglass at Growing Wild has an original poem about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was targeted by the Taliban because she is a vocal advocate for girls' education.  
  • Katya Czaja from Write. Sketch. Repeat. shares a poem from Kipling's The Vampire. She has an interesting unraveling of information including a related play and a movie.
  • Anastasia Suen from Booktalking sharesSelf-Portrait With Seven Fingers, a biography of Marc Chagall in free verse.
  • Jone is featuring one of  Irene Latham's original poems titled "Window," at Check It Out.
  • Steven Withrow from Crackles of Speech shares an original tanka poem, a poetry form from classical Japan.
  • Tara from A Teaching Life brings a poem called Courage and an inspiring heartfelt story about the struggles of a young girl living in Pakistan.
  • Karen Edmisten shares a delightful "October," by Robert Frost.
  • Andromeda Jazmon from A Wrung Sponge has an original poem titled "Missing Cat" that follows a trimeric form. 
  • Matt Forrest from Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme is featuring "The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue," and for the first time his recorded reading of the piece. 
  • Little Willow at Bildungsroman shares a quote from The Mathematician's Apology by Hardy.
  • Sylvia Vardell was back for more from her own blog Poetry for Children to share a great list of text sets for young writers (it's like she wrote it for me, I love it)!
  • Ruth from There is no such thing as a God-Forsaken town brings us a poem that reminds us most things in life are invisible. 
  • Elaine Magliaro from Wild Rose Reader takes us into her childhood with a poem of burning leaves and memories. 
  • The Write Sisters have a poem by Cheyenne poet, Lance Henson.
  • Marjorie at Paper Tigers brings an animated poem to the party.
  • MotherReader is reviewing and sharing a poem from Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It.
  • Lorie Ann Grover gives us a two-fer with a one sentence poem at On Point and Readertotz will have you saying "be-doodly dum be doodly day!"
  • Mrs. Merrill's Book Break features a poem by Charles Ghigna called "The Scary Dictionary."
  • Doraine Bennett shares a poem by James Dickey at Dori Reads.
  • Kort brings us some prose from Dorianne Laux. Go read some powerful words over at One Deep Drawer.
  • Joy has ideas for a Halloween costume. If you haven't made your decision yet check out her poem at Poetry for Kids Joy.


Wow, what a delight today has been. I have been showered in a vast variety of words and phrases and loved it from start to finish. If you post late or even tomorrow I will be back to add you so don't be shy, join in!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Children Should Be...

Much can be learned when we look beyond the surface of a child and really see them.

Listening leads to discovering the best in children.

and Believed
What is real to a child is real enough for me.

Join in and slice today with Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Fowl Offering

Today join Laura at Writing the World for Kids and join me next Friday here at Teaching Young Writers!


Earlier in the week my kids and I spotted a Little Blue Heron and a Snowy White Egret peacefully swimming in a pond. What a treat for our morning drive. It inspired me to look for a poem about the heron, one of my favorite birds. 


The Heron

The heron stands in water where the swamp
Has deepened to the blackness of a pool,
Or balances with one leg on a hump
Of marsh grass heaped above a musk-rat hole.

(read the rest here)

—Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

On our drive yesterday we passed by the same pond. We stopped because there were not two birds but fifteen birds in the little pond and more flying in to join the party. It was an amazing sight. All these moments and Roethke inspired my own poem about these fascinating flyers.

Wetland Fowl

Your windmill size wings
whip back as you glide.
Disturbing the black
glass mirror you ride.

Seasonal colors
reflecting a view. 
Offerings of autumn
do not disturb you.

Your stoic like stance
a motionless dance.
The minnows approach
but don't stand a chance.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Little Things

Slice and share at Two Writing Teachers with Ruth and Stacey.

It has been a day of many little things that bring me joy.

During our morning drive this morning my son said to me, "MOM, I just saw a blue heron again in that pond back there."
"Well then, we are going back because I have yet to see this heron you keep telling me about and I want a picture." My son knows this is my favorite bird, I always point them out with delight on the rare occasion when I see one. He seems to have caught the blue heron bug too.
I was amazed to see not one but two unique birds. I am still unsure of the exact species. The darker bird may have been a Little Blue Heron or a type of Sandhill Crane. The other bird was white and I think it must have been a White Egret. I did read this evening that the juvenile of the Little Blue Heron is also white. A mystery, but one I will hopefully be able to solve as I get more peeks at these fabulous animals. I may need to take a different camera tomorrow and zoom in a bit better. Hopefully they are still there.
I love how you can see the fall colors and the egret's white reflection on the water.

I had a day full of support at school today and felt like a lot was accomplished just because a couple of people helped me. I have some great colleagues and was reminded how lucky I am today.

Tonight my daughter said, "MOM, I know how to draw a HUMAN!"
"Really? Show me!"
There we sat as she drew and I watched.

Can you figure out her favorite color?

Tonight was soup and salad night for dinner. Soup was in the freezer and salad was a quick throw together. My favorite kind of food, easy, tasty and quick!

I am taking more and more steps each day. I can't walk at work yet, but I'm closer to the day that I can.

Now I am sitting on the couch while my kids read beside me. I am relaxed and ready for the rest of the week to roll out.