Friday, January 31, 2014

Straight From the Heart

Poetry Friday is hosted by Tricia from  The Miss Rumphius Effect.

I went into some classes this week to teach a poetry lesson. I asked students, "What is a poem?" The answers varied across the grade levels.
"They rhyme."
"There are poems about dogs."
"They are like a song."
"It's a little story."
But the most touching answer for me was when a first grader said, "Something you write from your heart."

All these students understood some element of poetry, but this student understands it deeper. He realizes that these little stories about dogs, the rhymes, the little nuggets that poets pull from stories come from our hearts. It was as though he took those words straight from my mouth as I find myself always writing poetry from my heart. I'm sure you will agree.

Today is Chalk-A-Bration at my other blog, Teaching Young Writers. You can get a peek at the lesson I taught and the poems students chalked from their hearts about what it is like "being them."

Here is my chalk poem for the day as I sit on yet another snow day in Michigan.

My thinking drips
like an ice cold slick.
I grab at drops
too quick as they slip.
Away from my tips
my fingers, they grip.
This chalk in my hand
my words finally land.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Michigan Inspired Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is here. I am delighted to share poetry with my PF friends and celebrate my state. It is the first Friday of the newest of years, 2014. I hope you enjoyed a spirit filled New Year's Eve and an even better beginning on New Year's Day. Celebrate Michigan with me as I take you on a tiny tour.

For Christmas I received the book, POETRY IN MICHIGAN IN POETRY, edited by William Olsen and Jack Ridl. It is a beautiful book of poems and artwork. The first poem is so striking to me I had to include it here today as I celebrate the way I see my home, Michigan.

At Burt Lake
           Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings. . .

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.

Read the rest here.

This poem speaks to me in a way I cannot describe any better than Andrews describes it here. The language of Michigan's beauty is a wonder and happens to you. Michigan is speaking. When you enter a forest in Michigan, the trees happen to you. When you gaze on the waters, they happen to you. When you trod on the trails and climb the ladderous roots of trees, they happen to you. It is the world in my eye and it happens to me. I see the poetry in Michigan at every turn. Everyone takes the views and interprets them for themselves. You take it in and it fills you like a dried up well overflowing with words, images, happens. When you smell a coneflowered field it never ends. It happens to you. Close your eyes, breathe in and let it happen.

We recently had an ice storm in Michigan. I was further north when the ice began to accumulate on every surface available including power lines surrounding my home. Many were left without power on Christmas and forced to wrap presents by candlelight. I was fortunate and did not come home to frozen pipes or the sounds of generators in my neighborhood. Instead I saw twinkling ice that appeared to preserve moments. The sleds in neighboring yards glued to front hills. The teetering tree branches and downed trees in our woods. The branch littered yard and splintered wood. Bushes held still with layers of lacquered ice glistening.

This photo was taken by a friend and I thought it went perfectly with my poem below. Forgive me for the poem's shape. It just felt right, like a melting icicle into a mirror of a melting icicle. Sometimes a poem happens the way it is suppose to. I won't question it, too much.
Photo by Mistelle Hollister


Listening. I hear the ice trickle
spirit of the glittering veil
the sparkle and clink
as the melt is
by snow.
moments preserved
until thaw, a quenching
drip for a deer’s tongue as
he sips refreshment of winter.

I had hoped to go snowshoeing in December but following the ice we had warmer temperatures making it impossible. I would have to settle for a walk in my boots. However, in my fantasy of snowshoeing through the woods of pine and birch, this is how I imagined it. Not a true diamante poem, but again, it felt right.

floating on
powdery trail’s
fresh fallen snow
with my eyes casting up
I see skyscraping branches paint
brushing the clouds of puffy white snow
that clatter together in a forest song
I sing along in a hum of nature
as flakes melt on my
tongue tasting
flurries of

Spring cannot come too soon when you've entered a March snow storm. However, the melting, though slushy below, is beautiful above as branches are finally relieved of their weight.

Springing back
branches bounce
as the forgotten sun
sprinkles its light
onto the brown
bringing greens and hues of pink
in the sky on morning's
back to work.

Summer sunsets in Michigan are perhaps the most beautiful sight on a Michigan lake. Here is an old poem revisited from a summer sunset on an evening in July. 

Photo by Betsy Hubbard

Lake Michigan
A blinding glare
paints squints and smiles.
The sunlit waves
and sand for miles.

Estates of 
Dukes and Yorks abound.
Then washed away,
the sun goes down.

Orange and pink
strokes of bliss.
Soothing sprays 
of happiness.

stares into my eyes.
My toes sink in,
my paradise.

If you have ever taken a color tour in Michigan you know that every hue is present. Crayola couldn't come up with a name for every color that Michigan provides. It is truly a breath taking sight to drive over a hill revealing a colorful bed below.

Fire like colors,
breezes that blow
confetti of 
to my toe

I hope I was able to transport you through each season of Michigan. I am so proud to live here and take in all the scenes as they happen to me.

Enjoy more poetry offerings as I round-up the day's poems below.

Here we go!
Robyn, at Life on the Deckle Edge is in with a poem about "Home" from a new/old treasure, a hefty and original 1888 book from a friend. 
Buffy's Blog joins in with a spidery moonlight poem she recently had published in Spider Magazine! 
Myra from Gathering Books continues to feature poet, Nerisa Guevara. The poem Tremors will have you trembling at forgotten memories of lost love. 
Violet Nesdoly brings us a New Year's Resolution gone bad. I'm sure you can relate!
Julie Larios from The Drift Record has broken her new year's resolution already and posted a poem by Hailey Leiithauser, winner of this year's Emily Dickinson First Book Award. 
Greg Pincus gives us a preview of his year ahead at Gottabook.
Charles Ghigna shares a poem called Moon Tree over at the Bald Ego
Jone from Check it Out share the diverse selection of poets nominated for the CYBILS.
Tabatha Yeatts joins in from The Opposite of Indifference with a winter poetry swap. 
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes welcomes in the new year with a lofty goals and a poem by Tabatha Yeatts from the Winter Poem Swap on Today's Little Ditty
Liana shares her thoughts about the new year at Commas Have Wings.
Amy takes us back in time with her poem and a few announcements! Go visit her on The Poem Farm.
Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff joins us with a Robert Frost poem about a seeking a sunset bird in winter. 
Reading to the Core comes with a poem from the Irish poet, Eavan Boland. Be sure to visit This Moment
Laura Purdie Salas jumps in with an orchestra of winter noise on this cold Poetry Friday. 
Linda at Write Time shares a birthday poem and her outlook on a new year!
Linda at Teacherdance shares a beautiful poem by Edith Sodergran. 
Becky at Tapestry of Words shares an antonym diamante poem and shares a bit about her secret love for January.
Mrs. Nosal of Read For Your Life brings us a poem about a Snow Day by Billy Collins. 
You will appreciate the humor in Mary Lee's post at A Year of Reading. She shares a series of Agnes comics on writing poetry. 
Margaret Simon from Reflections on the Teche shares a poem about egrets in Mississippi. 
Steven Withrow from Crackles of Speech takes us on a Morning Walk after a fresh snow fall. 
Irene Latham shares her One Little Word of 2014 at Live Your Poem
Ruth at There's No Such Thing As A God-Forsaken Town shares a poem about God's garden. 
Diane Mayr brings us three offerings today: A post card exchange at Random Noodling A poem for a snow day at Kurious Kitty And last, a haiku quote at KK's Kwotes
Cathy from Merely Day By Day joins in with a poem about the mighty evergreen who in any other season might get lost among the trees. Mrs. Bennett shares a snow day celebration with Billy Collins at Used Books in Class
Tara at A Teaching Life brings us a poem that celebrates the silence of snow. Anastasia Suen shares a haiku in celebration of the CYBILS at Poet! Poet!
Bridget Magee shares a loose tooth poem at Wee Words for Wee Ones.
This week at Slayground we get a dose of Mary Oliver. Love her. 

Keri from Keri Recommends brings us a story of her grandmother and a song they shared for a brief moment on a recent visit. 
Mainely Write brings us a Static Cat full of alliteration. 
Robin from Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders comes with a OLW post and shines brightly. 
Joy from Poetry for Kids Joy is joining us with a poem about opening doors.
Kelly comes to us with a poem celebrating football season! Check her out at Writing and Ruminating
Dia Calhoun joins in with a poem from her book Eva of the Farm.