Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The Important Thing

December 20, 2016

First, a poem I wrote:

The important thing about silence is that it is quiet.
It comes in many shapes
And sizes
And moods
And it might frighten you
Or distance you from others
It might fold around you in comfort and protection.
It is a generous listener,
Or the house at night,
Or the almost-no-sound
Of a pencil scratching,
Or children breathing in their sleep,
Or the hum of the earth.
But the important thing about silence is that it is quiet.

Next, the back story.

Have any of you ever read The Important Book? It’s an incredibly charming book by Margaret Wise Brown (think: Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny). I shared it with my fourth graders a while back as part of a collaborative project with some colleagues.

Each page begins and ends with the sentence,
“The important thing about ________ is __________.”
We also noticed that the truly important things often were articulated in the remaining text, not in those sentences.

My students then created their own “Important Thing” poems and had a great time.

Today, wouldn’t you know it…the conversation led right back to that book. We were talking about Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, and how both words and silence seem to be important in different ways. Which gave me an idea.

We all took out our notebooks, and I wrote the following on the board:
“The important thing about silence is…”

Then we got cooking. I have nothing but admiration and awe for the words of my students. Their writing blew me away and made my day.

The important thing about students is that they amaze me.

(a poem, perhaps, for another day)

A Friday Evening Mom, on Childhood

May 20, 2016

Some people wish
To return to childhood
So they may remember
Carefree play
Unfettered by worry.

Others recall
The gentle protection
Of a grown-up, secured
By space on a lap
Or a pinky to hold
Across the street.

Still others long
For the innocence
The trust
The earnest honesty
That only children
Can achieve.

All very well and good.

But what I seek
Is for someone, right now
To just send me to bed
Without my supper.

 

Home Switch Home?

May 17, 2016

Here is the next installment of the fiction story I began. I even got brave enough to share it with my students today, opening it up to their comments. I’m happy to read yours, if you have them!

Part 1

June 16

I am sick and tired
Of sharing this space,
Sick and tired
Of finding HIS junk
Under MY bed
Sick and tired
Of the cramping
The crowding
The noise
The sharing
The “cozy”
And I just want
Space to
Breathe.

June 17

Friday night,
Restaurant night
Not much noise
From our regular booth
Above the chattering chopsticks
And the clink of spoons
Against empty plates.
Even HE is quiet tonight.
My hands crack a
Stale fortune cookie
To reveal lottery numbers
And a cheesy fortune:

“YOU CAN STAY IN ONE PLACE AND STILL GROW.”

Whatever.
Those things never make sense.
I jam the scrap of paper
Into my pocket as we
Make our way
Home.

Story Crafting: Part 1

May 16, 2016

OK, so now that my students – eyeball deep in story writing – have begun to bug me about writing my own story, I suppose I need to get started with the drafting. Been feeling guilty about not getting on this earlier.

Hoping it’s not cheating too much to write it in free verse instead of prose. Who knows? Maybe I would do better to compose the story as poetry and then rewrite it in paragraph form.

It’s scary, it’s exciting, and actually…a little bit fun.

No title yet, but here is part one. Lots of revising to go. Thoughts? Questions? Challenges? I’d love to hear them! Write me a comment below.

June 14

I’ve had it.
If he ever
Leaves his underwear out in the
Middle of our floor AGAIN,
I say,
I will personally see to it
That they get hung out
In our front yard.

Be kind,
My parents say.
Be patient,
My parents say.
He’s younger,
My parents say.

They aren’t the ones who have to
Share a ROOM
With that human tornado.

 

June 15

This time it was my art stuff.
I know he was
Into it.
I know he was
Using it.
I know, because
I like my markers in
Rainbow order,
And the tips are all wonky now.
My paint brushes are layered
With a thin coating of
Little brother hand grime
And I will probably just
Have to burn them.
This stupid house!
Why do we have to live
In such a small, stupid house?

Sarah, they reply,
Anyone can have
A big house.
It takes a special family
To share a cozy one.

And stop rolling your eyes,
Young lady.

 

Reflection on a Day’s End

May 9, 2016

Whoever was the first
Mom
To pen a poem
About the demands of
Being a mom,

The whole
Burning-a-candle-at-both-ends-
No-time-for-me-
Everything-else-comes-first-
Settle-for-the-leftovers-
Thing?

Yeah.
Think she had something going there.

Mother’s Day: In Gratitude

May 8, 2016

 

To have someone else
Cook my dinner,

To lay in the grass
With my boy
Pondering dandelions and sky,

To play catch
And baseball
And all manner of games
Without drama,

To eat lunch alone
Reading a book and
Chewing my food,

Is apparently
Surprisingly
Thankfully

Not too much to ask.

Road Trip

May 5, 2016

Heading eastbound
Down I-94, recklessly
And with abandon
Jamming

“Why no, officer, I didn’t know
How fast I was going.
I blame Jimi Hendrix
And his foxy lady.”

Departure

April 30, 2016

  
So today I am taking a risk. I am putting a poem out into the world that I don’t think I am done with. Or, rather, I don’t think this poem is done with me.

While I was writing, I sensed this poem taking a turn into deeper and sometimes darker places. My thoughts turned to my own memories of airport hellos and goodbyes. I want to write about them but I am not sure those thoughts are quite yet ready. Or…perhaps I am not ready for them.

Either way, here is my start. Enjoy.

I remember how traveling by airplane used to be:

How you always got dressed up, and
How you would get peanuts and a smile from a stewardess, and
How there were stewardesses, and
How there was a smoking section, and
How the pilots let you visit the cockpit.

But what I miss
Is the human theater of travel:

The terminal goodbyes,
The desperate clingings-to
From lovers who may see each other
Never again,
Or maybe next Thursday.

And the reuniters,
The standers with signs
Or flowers
Or flutters of excitement
Or bad news and a hug.

These exchanges are now gated,
Cordoned off,
Secured to
Taxis,
The drop-off lane,
The Kiss ‘n Fly.

Once a Lovey…

April 29, 2016

Always a lovey.

Today I wrote a letter to the fifth graders, who will be graduating in June. It’s always so difficult to capture what I really want to say to them after watching them grow and mature over the years. I settled on a poem I wrote a while back.

From time to time, a student will contact me out of the blue, and I always get the same question – “Do you remember me?” As if I could possibly forget! This poem is for those loveys, and my loveys yet to come.

“Do You Remember Me?”

You…
You, with that faded bonnet,
The microscopic handwriting,
The comics you drew me,
The moldy mess we excavated from your desk,
The orange sweatshirt you always wore,
The April Fool’s joke you played on the class,

How you didn’t speak until February,
How your grandma was your rock,
How you asked question after question after question,
How I worried about the sadness I sometimes saw in you
How I carried so much of you with me:
Your essays, your homework, your worries…

…You.

You, who I sent out like ripples
Wondering,
Awaiting your return
Like a present
I get to keep opening.

Did You Notice

April 28, 2016


That the lilacs
At the top
Of the bush
In the corner
By the garage

Bloomed today