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The Miss Rumphius Effect



The blog of a teacher educator discussing poetry, children's literature and issues related to teaching children and their future teachers.



Updated: 2017-12-14T20:10:07.955-05:00

 



Poetry Sisters Write Lai

2017-12-01T07:12:46.505-05:00

Another year of writing poetry with my sisters is coming to a close. The challenge this month was to write poems about hope, light or peace in the form of the Lai.

The Lai is a French syllabic verse form consisting of one or more stanza of nine lines with two rhymes, though the rhyme can vary from stanza to stanza. Here are features of the form.
  • 9 lines.
  • Rhyme scheme is a-a-b-a-a-b-a-a-b.
  • Lines ending with rhyme a are five syllables in length.
  • Lines ending with rhyme b are two syllables in length.
I wrote a few poems about hope and peace and they were all really depressing. I gave up and stopped writing for a while. Last night I brainstormed a bunch of light topics and came up with stars, the Northern lights, fire, and daylight savings time. After this, I wrote several lists of rhyming words and then just tried to make something work. Here's what I came up with.

The Perseids
They wait on midnight
close round the campsite
no sound
the sky in their sight
no bright city light
to drown
the meteors bright
hot streaks glowing white
fall down

Crowning a Fairy
Orange embers glow bright
root fae to the site
spellbound
Warmed by heat and light
Earth’s cold losing bite
unbound
The queen of the night
the flames her birthright
is crowned

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Mary Lee at A Year of Reading. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Friday - Marathon

2017-11-10T00:01:10.466-05:00

I've spent the last three months training for a half marathon. Imagine my dismay when I threw my back out two weeks ago, just 13 days before the race. I spent an entire week flat on my back. I've iced and heated, been to therapy, had a massage, and done everything possible to get myself ready to run on the 11th (that's tomorrow). I'm not really sure I am in any shape to do this, but last week when I joined my team for the last Saturday of training, they all encouraged me to come for the race, even if all I can do is walk. I haven't actually run since October 28th, but my hope is to lace up and see how I feel. I have so many folks supporting me that I just can't imagine being anywhere else come Saturday morning.
Since all I'm thinking about is running, this poem is most appropriate for today.

Marathon
by E. Ethelbert Miller

it’s a strange time which finds me jogging
in early morning
the deadness of sleep alive in this world
the empty parks filled with unloved strangers
buildings grey with solitude

Read the poem in its entirety.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Sisters Write Triolets

2017-11-03T17:27:01.886-04:00

This month Liz challenged us to write a triolet that included at least two of the following words:
  • orange
  • fall
  • chill
  • light
  • change
I like triolets, but man, are they hard to write. Even though a triolet is an 8-line poem, it uses only two rhymes used throughout. Additionally, the first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines, while the second line is repeated in the final line. Because of this, only five different poetic lines are written.  The rhyme scheme for a triolet is ABaAabAB (where capital letters stand for repeated lines).

Here are a few poems I scratched out while flat on my back this week.

Triolet 1
Despite the orange and red of fall
some folks prefer the green of spring
choose lilacs over pumpkin haul

How bright the orange and red of fall
that usher out the bat and ball
and welcome geese upon the wing

Oh glorious orange and red of fall
you far surpass the green of spring!

Triolet 2 
She fell in love with a flier
  but it’s dangerous to fall
  for the chills and thrills of a wire
She fell in love with a flier
  knowing he'd walk through fire
  to answer a curtain call
It’s hard to love a flier
  when it’s dangerous to fall

Triolet 3 
I prefer things stay the same
 yes, change is overrated
Since life is but a waiting game
 I prefer things stay the same
Won't fall for highly specious claims
 what's meant to be is fated
I hope to God things stay the same
 for change is overrated.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda at Teacher Dance. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Sisters Write Autumn Hymns

2017-10-06T20:16:13.272-04:00

Tanita served up this month's challenge, which was to write an autumn themed poem in hymn meter. Hymn meter is defined as "a lyrical quatrain based on English folk poems and ballads that consists of four lines of alternating rhyme in either the abab or xaxa pattern." While there are three categories of hymn meter, I chose to write in short meter, which consists of two lines of iambic trimeter, a single line of iambic tetrameter, and a final line of iambic trimeter to complete the quatrain.

Fall is my favorite season, so this should have been a piece of cake, but everything came out rather trite. I still haven't figured out what I want this one to be, but I'll just have to keep working on it. The nice thing about these challenges with their deadlines is that they force me to write and let things go, even if they're not perfect or simply incomplete drafts.

Here's my poem. (I dare you not to sing it to the tune of Gilligan's Island while you read it.)

Autumn Song 

It’s not the geese in flight
or curling chimney smoke
that draw eyes skyward in the night
as summer sheds her cloak

It’s not the harvest moon
low hanging in the sky
or kitchen smells that make us swoon
with thoughts of apple pie

It’s not the turning leaves
or acorn grabbing squirrels
that run among the golden sheaves
and stash their precious pearls

It’s not the crisp cold air
or early morning frost
that make us lift a silent prayer
as summer days are lost

It’s all these gifts and more
that mark our love for fall
the time and season we adore
all things both great and small

Raise a hymn to autumn
sing out in wondrous praise
of scarecrows and chrysanthemums
of short and cooler days

Sing out to orange and gold
on vibrant colored trees
to beauty that October holds
and brings us to our knees

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Violet at Violet Nesdoly Poems. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Sisters Write Ekphrastic Poems

2017-09-01T10:58:34.727-04:00

This month's challenge was to write a poem inspired by a photo Sara shared. She took it while staying at the Highlight Foundation retreat center near Honesdale, PA.
I had a tough time with this one. I started and abandoned numerous drafts. I put the picture away for a while, and then pulled it back out a few days ago. When I looked again, I found my way to a few new ideas. Here are my poems.

Ephemera

This small frayed basket holds
buttons, coins, small stones,
other ephemera
reminders of people, places,
events and experiences
a life in trinkets
each one a tiny TARDIS

Thread the string between your fingers
to bring back childhood
(though you can't play Cat's Cradle alone)

Hold tight the wooden nickel,
rubbed nearly smooth as you
remember Niagara's spray

Flick the top, watch it spin
then flip over to show
the Knoxville World's Fair logo

Balance the small stones from Tibet
into a mini cairn, as you dream
of Lhasa and the bluest sky

Grab the Wade turtle and duck,
set them by the saucer as you sip
your not Red Rose tea, toasting your grandmother

Worry the gray stone engraved
with the word PEACE
that no longer sits with the other
bits and bobs
but lives as a prayer in your pocket


Since the word wish figured so prominently in the image, I decided to try a triolet or two focused on wishes. Here are two untitled poems.

Wish Triolet 1

It’s absurd to wish upon a stone
that will weather, crack, and break
other rituals aren’t unknown
it’s absurd to wish upon a stone
instead blow out candles on your cake
let shooting stars keep you awake
It’s absurd to wish upon a stone
that will weather, crack, and break

Wish Triolet 2

Send your wish into the world
for love and truth and peace
on dandelions, blown and twirled
send your wish into the world
on stars your prayers release
or a fountain’s worth increase
Send your wish into the world
for love and truth and peace

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. And Andi's back! She's back!
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Kathryn Apel. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Sisters Write About Statues in the Park

2017-08-07T12:35:19.322-04:00

The challenge the poetry sisters took up this month was to write a poem with the title "Statues in the Park." Beyond this simple directive, the rest of the prompt was wide open.

When I first began brainstorming, I couldn't get past freeze tag and the image of children as statues in the park. That's where I started writing my first poem, but when I chose to write a pantoum, the form took my poem in a different direction.

Statues in the Park

Around the statues in the park
scores of children run and play
it’s only quiet after dark
when the day’s been put away

Scores of children run and play
under watchful eyes of stone
when the day’s been put away
the statutes still are not alone

Under watchful eyes of stone
rabbits turn to watch the sky
in the park they’re not alone
there’s an owl flying by

Rabbits turn to watch the sky
there’s more than quiet in dark
when an owl’s flying by
they freeze like statues in the park

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

In case you're wondering, there are animals that freeze in defense. (In regards to this poem, rabbits are not actually nocturnal, but rather are crepuscular, or most active in the twilight hours of sunrise and sunset.)

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Andi may not be poem-ing right now, but she's still in our hearts and keeping up with us as time allows.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Donna at Mainely Write. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Conference on Teaching Race in the Classroom - Part 2

2017-07-19T00:13:55.321-04:00

In Part 1 of this series of posts I provided an introduction to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the site of the professional learning event I attended last week entitled Let's Talk: Teaching Race in the Classroom.Why attend an event like this? I suppose I'd respond by asking, "Why NOT?" Why don't more educators think deeply about issues of race and racism and how they impact classroom practice, the development of racial identity, and the health and well-being of children?On our first day, after brief introductions, we worked together to develop some ground rules and group norms.After we agreed to these norms, we spent the morning and early afternoon getting to know one another. This was painful for me and many of the other introverts in the room. These are just not activities I enjoy doing, but I understand the necessity for learning about one another, honoring our similarities and differences, making connections, and developing a level of comfort with others that allows us to view the classroom as not just a safe space, but a brave one. After this we did some active listening activities and then got into small groups to define and discuss race and racism. The small group then broke into pairs and we shared personal stories. When all the groups came back together we took some time to do a quick written reflection, and then shared one word that described how we were feeling.We ended at 4 pm and I had the opportunity to spend the rest of the afternoon in the museum. I took advantage of the lack of a line to hit the history galleries and spent all my time on Concourse 3, reading and taking in all that I could.On the second day we began with a gallery exploration before the museum opened. What a change from my time in the gallery the prior afternoon! I can't tell you what a gift it was to have so much time in the museum, but even more so, to have time to explore before the crowds descended was incredible. We broke into groups and participated in the Zinn Education Project activity entitled The Color Line. Each group was responsible for making a series of predictions before we entered the gallery. Here are the questions we tackled.Predict the measures that were taken to keep Indians and blacks from uniting, or that may have even made them to feel hostile toward one another.Predict laws or policies adopted to discourage white indentured servants and black slaves from running away together.Predict how poor whites and white indentured servants were taught to believe that they were superior to and didn’t have anything in common with blacks.Predict how blacks and whites were kept separate, so that whites would not even imagine getting together with blacks.Predict the measures adopted to ensure that on every plantation there were enough white overseers in relation to black slaves.After our walk through the gallery it was clear that numerous colonial laws were enacted to create division and inequality based on race. The roots of race as a social construct were planted here. In examining this history it is possible to understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits from it.Our day continued with two outstanding presentations. The first, Bias in Childhood: When Does it Emerge and How Do We Reduce It? was delivered by Melanie Killen of the University of Maryland at College Park. She shared the fascinating results of the work she and her graduate students have been conducting. I learned so much from this presentation. I was struck by some of the misconceptions people hold about bias in childhood. These include:Children are colorblind.Children only learn prejudice from adults.Children are not selfish and do not care about fairness and equality.Melanie shared the results of a study she led that was commissioned by CNN. In this study, a group of 145 African-American and Caucasian children, ages 6 and 13, from six sc[...]



Conference On Teaching Race in the Classroom - Part 1

2017-07-18T20:11:35.775-04:00

Last week I had the privilege of and honor of spending the entire week at the National Museum of African American History and Culture for a professional learning event entitled Let's Talk: Teaching Race in the Classroom. Here is the description that led me to register for this experience:Race is an aspect of our American culture that is often ignored, glossed over or mishandled. Additionally, to succeed in promoting equity, tolerance, and justice, childhood is the time to address these issues by understanding children’s development and encouraging positive feelings about their racial and cultural identity, as well as others’.  Working with youth makes it incumbent that educators are prepared to address issues of race whenever they surface such as in history or social studies lessons or when current events brings them forward such as events in our recent history.Through presentations from researchers in the field, small group discussions, and reflective exercises participants will engage in conversations about race/racism, explore ways to address issues and topics that will meet students where they are in their racial development, and practice techniques for creating safe space for difficult discussions.I walked to and from the museum each day, giving myself time to reflect and think about what I was learning. Even after a long train ride home, and a weekend to further reflect, I still have much to process. I don't think I've ever learned as much at a conference or workshop before this, and after 29 years in education, that's really saying something.We met in the education classrooms of the museum for our sessions, but we had time each day to wander through the exhibits. Even after 5 days, I didn't get to see everything the museum had to offer.The layout of the museum is both inspirational and metaphorical. To get to the history galleries, you descend in an elevator, moving back through time.When the doors open on the third concourse level, it is dark and cramped, and your exploration begins with the transatlantic slave trade. This level, Slavery and Freedom, covers the years 1400-1877.When you reach the end, you wind your way up a ramp into another time period. This level, Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation, covers the years 1876-1968.When you reach the end of this level, you once again walk up a winding ramp, slowly moving out of darkness into the light. This level, A Changing America, covers the years 1968 and beyond.Once you leave the history galleries, visitors can enter the "Contemplative Court" for a bit of quiet reflection. In this large open space, water cascades down from the Oculus, a glass circle on the north side of the building that allows natural light to filter down into the center of the waterfall.The upper floors are comprised of an interactive gallery, Community galleries (L3), and Culture galleries (L4).Being in this place, this space, was so important to understanding issues of race. In the previous years this workshop was taught, participants did not have the benefit of spending their time in the space that is the museum. I am grateful to have had this opportunity as a member of the 4th cohort.I was struck by so many things while here, but experiencing the history in this way laid a strong foundation for the ideas I had to grapple with during the week. During our time in the exhibit spaces we were encouraged to find artifacts and stories that could serve as entry points into conversations on race. Here are a few that struck me.Ticket stub for Washington, DC to Montgomery, AL for Selma-Montgomery March.Denim vest worn by Joan Mulholland during Civil Rights Movement.Straw hat worn during the 1966 March Against Fear.Bust of Maggie Walker.Desks, sign, and wood-burning stove from the Hope School.Quilt made from suiting samples with embroidered flower details.Dress designed by An[...]



Poetry Sisters Emulate Lord Byron

2017-07-08T19:08:59.740-04:00

This month's challenge was set by Kelly and it was to write in the style of Byron’s poem, She Walks In Beauty, Like the Night. You can read the poem at Bartleby.

The form this poem takes is three sestets in iambic tetrameter. THAT I can do. But the theme? Oy ... I tried mightily, I really did. I wrestled with poems on teachers and refugees, as well as one on sisters. Nothing really worked. However, a theme that's been on my mind lately kept coming back, so I had to go where the poem took me. This one is untitled.

She climbs this hill awash in grief
the weight of loss so sharp, so new
most days she cries in disbelief
does all she can to make it through
the minutes, hours, moments brief
when all her thoughts have turned to you.

Such little things bring laughs and tears
some photos, medals, written notes
the story of your too few years
compiled among these anecdotes
she’d trade them all, these souvenirs
to wrap you up and hold you close.

But now she holds you in her heart
remembers you and all you loved
with joy a bitter counterpart
to grief that comes in waves and floods.
There is no map for how to start
your life without your most beloved.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Andi may not be poem-ing right now, but she's still in our hearts and keeping up with us as time allows.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Carol at Beyond Literacy Link. Happy poetry Friday friends.



Poetry Sisters Write Golden Shovels

2017-06-02T12:21:11.582-04:00

The challenge we undertook this month was to write a Golden Shovel poem. This form was invented by Terrance Hayes. Most Golden Shovels are written in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, though it is possible to write one to another poet's poem. In writing a golden shovel, the writer must first borrow a favorite line or lines from a poem to create their own. The words from this line become the end words of the new poem. You can read more about this form in the Poetry Foundation piece entitled Introduction: The Golden Shovel.The poem we chose our lines from was Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I have highlighted the line that comprises the end words I used.Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley HopkinsGlory be to God for dappled things –      For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;       And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.All things counter, original, spare, strange;   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:                                Praise him.In December I wrote my first love poem when we wrote ekphrastic poems for an image selected by Andi. It was a complete surprise when that poem went the way it did. When this one went in the same direction, I was befuddled, as I am not particularly romantic or sentimental. Despite this fact, I have a soft spot in my heart for this one. Maybe it's because our 23rd anniversary is on June 4th. In any case, here is my poem.Love's Beauty     after Gerard Manley HopkinsIn the landscapeof my heart, you are plottedlike a ship’s course, straight andtrue. You are stitched, pieced,glued, affixed on every fold.My love will not grow fallow.You are my yes andalways. Onward, together we will plough.Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Sara drove to New Mexico with her daughter, so she'll be posting in a few days. Look for her poem after she's had a chance to regroup. We're missing Andi and holding her in our hearts as she deals with the loss of her beloved son. Please keep her in your thoughts, prayers, and hearts as well. Tanita DavisKelly FinemanSara Lewis HolmesLaura Purdie SalasLiz Garton ScanlonI do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog. Happy poetry Friday friends.[...]



Monday Poetry Stretch - Rictameter

2017-05-29T22:13:16.059-04:00

Created in 1990 by two cousins, rictameter is a nine line poetry form in which the 1st and last lines are the same. The syllable count is 2/4/6/8/10/8/6/4/2.

You can learn more about this relatively young form at Wikipedia, or read some examples at Shadow Poetry.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem in the form of rictameter. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.



Monday Poetry Stretch On a Tuesday - Abhanga

2017-05-23T09:55:27.026-04:00

I don't think I've ever tried a poetic form from India, so I thought this would be a good week to try one. The abhanga is form that originates in Marathi, one of the major languages of India. The form is stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. Here are the guidelines:

  • stanzas are syllabic, with 6/6/6/4 syllables each
  • lines 2 and 3 are rhymed, with lines 1 and 3 unrhymed (x a a x)
  • internal rhyme is often used

That's it! I hope you'll join me in writing and abhanga this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.



Monday Poetry Stretch on a Tuesday

2017-05-16T22:47:58.897-04:00

Exams have ended, graduation is over, and summer school has already begun. Apparently, there is no rest for the weary.

I am heartbroken for a friend who has lost her son and have been struggling to find the right words. I suppose in times of loss there are no words that are "right," but hopefully there are words that express the depth of my sorrow for her and the support I am sending across the miles.

Form feels a bit restrictive this week, so I'm thinking poems of love and light would be good. I hope you'll join me in writing this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.



Poetry Sisters Write "Things to Do" Poems

2017-05-06T00:26:31.227-04:00

The Poetry Sisters are back this month writing "Things to Do" poems. Laura chose this month and gave us the added task of writing to a month or season. When I sat down to brainstorm, I kept thinking about winter in Buffalo, but decided I wanted to write about something a bit more cheery, so I decided to focus on spring. Little did I know that my second round of brainstorming would take me to May and a month that brings me both great joy and great sadness. The poem wrote itself on a run one morning. I actually cut it a bit short to get home and write the words down. It doesn't follow the "rules" at all, but I'm in the midst of grading and graduation and just haven't had time to revisit.

Today, my father would have been 91 years old. On Sunday as the graduates walk across the stage, I'll quietly mark the 8 years since his passing. Then on the 10th, my mother will recall the nearly 57 years they had together, as she marks what would have been their 65th wedding anniversary. I tried to find a picture of them together to share, but couldn't find many because dad was always behind the camera. Here's one I took of them with William from the summer of 2008.

Here's my poem for this month's challenge, offered up today for my dad.

Things to do in May …

Bittersweet this month’s refrain
with joy and laughter, tears and pain

Send graduates into the world
watch April flowers come unfurled

Observe the world with life renewed
as geese and ducks corral their broods

Honor our mothers for all that they do
and those without children who mother us too

Commemorate troops strong and brave
place flags upon their silent graves

Celebrate my father’s birth
mourn his passing from this earth

Before May passes into June
spend some time one afternoon
remembering all that’s good and true
the happy, the sad, the me and you.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.


You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday friends!



NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Four: Dog Music

2017-04-24T06:47:01.962-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Sometimes when I read a poem or a passage in a book, Pam pops into my head. I'm always startled by these happy occasions to remember her, sometimes feeling as though she's reaching across the ether, reminding me not to forget her. The first time I read this poem, I immediately thought of her and her love for dogs and music. It made me a laugh a bit to think of her singing with a dog, and the dog singing back.

Dog Music 
by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—"Stardust,"
"Naima," "The Trout," "My Rosary," "Perdido."
She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



Monday Poetry Stretch - Shadorma

2017-04-24T00:00:23.487-04:00

The shadorma is a Spanish poetic form consisting of six lines (a sestet) written in syllabic form. The syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5. A shadorma may consist of one stanza, or an unlimited number of stanzas.

That's it! Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a shadorma. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.



NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Three: Dog

2017-04-24T06:47:13.890-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam loved animals of all sorts, particularly those that were down on their luck, homeless, helpless, and unloved. Her heart seemed to expand with every new creature she took in. The first dog she took in was Pungo, named for the place where he was found. He was a sweet dog, made more affectionate by all the love heaped upon him.

Dog 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself

Read the poem in its entirety.

I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace. ― Milan Kundera
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Two: Evening Hawk

2017-04-23T23:24:42.944-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam had a fascination with hawks. I often wondered what it was she loved, and if in part she was longing for the freedom of flight and the perspective one gets from a bird's-eye view of the world. Just a few weeks ago on her birthday, I arrived at church to find a hawk perched atop a car in the parking lot. It stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of photographs before it moved on.

Evening Hawk 
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo's messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, embodiments of clear vision, speed and single-minded dedication. — John Burnside
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



Poetry Friday: School

2017-04-21T19:52:12.924-04:00

Today is the last day of the semester. Soon we'll be sending a new crop of teachers off into the world. It's bittersweet really. I'm always ready for the end of the year, but I will be sad to see them go. This poem is for all my students who will soon be leading students of their own.

School 
by Daniel J. Langton

I was sent home the first day
with a note: Danny needs a ruler.
My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.
School is for rules, countries need rulers,
graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead.

Read the poem in its entirety.


In addition to this post, you may want to take a few minutes to read my National Poetry Month post(s). This year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love. Here are the posts I've shared to this week.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!



NPM 2017 Day Twenty-One: At the Galleria Shopping Mall

2017-04-21T19:36:07.571-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I once made the mistake of going clothes shopping with Pam. I tried on more clothes in that one trip than ever before or since. She had to twist my arm to get me to agree to put things on, and even once they were on I was reluctant to step out of the dressing room so she could see them. I really hate shopping, but Pam was an enthusiastic supporter, and tried desperately to enliven my wardrobe.

At the Galleria Shopping Mall 
by Tony Hoagland

Just past the bin of pastel baby socks and underwear,
there are some 49-dollar Chinese-made TVs;

one of them singing news about a far-off war,
one comparing the breast size of an actress from Hollywood

to the breast size of an actress from Bollywood.
And here is my niece Lucinda,

who is nine and a true daughter of Texas,
who has developed the flounce of a pedigreed blonde

and declares that her favorite sport is shopping.
Today is the day she embarks upon her journey,

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
For some, shopping is an art; for others, it's a sport. It can be a vice and it can be a cause. Some love it. Some hate it. Rarely is someone indifferent. ― Pamela Klaffke
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



NPM 2017 Day Twenty: The Blue Scarf

2017-04-20T15:24:15.847-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I've mentioned that Pam liked to buy gifts for people. Quite often she bought me clothes. I know she meant well, trying to add a dash of color to my monochromatic wardrobe, but I am a fashion disaster and no amount of well-intended effort on Pam's part was able to coax me to adopt her more audacious style of dress. I do have one very bright, very loud scarf she gave me that I pull out from time to time. I'll admit to feeling a bit bolder when I wear it.

The Blue Scarf 
by Amy Lowell

Pale, with the blue of high zeniths, shimmered over with silver, brocaded
In smooth, running patterns, a soft stuff, with dark knotted fringes, it lies there,
Warm from a woman’s soft shoulders, and my fingers close on it, caressing.
Where is she, the woman who wore it? The scent of her lingers and drugs me.
A languor, fire-shotted, runs through me, and I crush the scarf down on my face,
And gulp in the warmth and the blueness, and my eyes swim in cool-tinted heavens.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A scarf has to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear! It's a winding, a continuity, an infinity! — Sonia Rykiel
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



NPM 2017 Day Nineteen: Brewing Green Tea in a Glass ...

2017-04-20T11:22:47.398-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Many of the intimate conversations with Pam, at the kitchen table, or curled on opposite ends of the couch, were over tea. I could always count on Pam to have something delicious, though I was not too fond of the numerous herbal and fruity varieties.

Brewing Green Tea in a Glass 
Percolator After the Regular
Brown Teapot Has Broken
by Molly Tenenbaum

These leaves don't spin like black
tea in a dark tornado,
but swing light as dragonfly-wings

though you wouldn't want dragonfly-wings
in your tea, allowed amount
of rat-droppings in cornflakes—

but that transparency, that iridescence—
wings, clearly,
with their dark tiny veins.

To start a pot of floating greenery
says the right thing
about the day, I think, that no one knows


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment. ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



NPM 2017 Day Eighteen: These Are The Gifts

2017-04-20T11:24:14.668-04:00

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam was a gift giver. She never arrived for a visit without a housewarming fit of some sort. As someone who collects teapots, I have a number of small tokens from Pam that recognized this love. One is a small kitchen towel hook with an antique-looking teapot photo. There is also the teapot ornament that hangs on our Christmas tree. What I always appreciated about these gifts is that they weren't generic to a household, they demonstrated that Pam really knew who you were and what you would appreciate. And while the gifts were always nice, Pam was the real gift.

These Are The Gifts
          For my daughter, 2 1/2
by Gregory Djanikian

They are her signature:
Sea shells in our boots and slippers,
Barrettes under each of our pillows,
Marbles and flecks of clay
In the deep mines of our pockets.

Some we find quickly, others
Are lost to us for weeks or months,
And when we come upon them
In our daily disorder, we are struck
By her industry, this extravagance
Which secretly replenished
Our cupboards, baskets and drawers
With gifts from the heart.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Maybe some people just aren't meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It's like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that's why they're here. You'll have that gift forever. ― Danielle Steel, The Gift
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.



Progressive Poem - Line 17!

2017-04-17T09:00:35.807-04:00

I've been watching this poem develop and I'm happy to be right in the thick of it.This amazing project is organized by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. During National Poetry Month,  30 poets each add one line to a poem, making it progressively longer. This year, the only instruction was that this poem should be written for children. Below you'll find the previous 16 lines and my contribution, as well as links to all the participants in the progressive poem party. Here we go!I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,stories of castles, of fires that crackle,with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.But edges sometimes need sandpaper,like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.So I shimmy out of my spurs and armourfacing the day as my fickle, freckled self.I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,and warm to the coals of conversation.Enticed to the stage by strands of story,I skip up the stairs in anticipation.Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book.But wait! I'll share the lines I know by heart.Progressive Poem Links1 Heidi at my juicy little universe2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference3 Doraine at Dori Reads4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty5 Diane at Random Noodling6 Kat at Kat's Whiskers7 Irene at Live Your Poem8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading9 Linda at TeacherDance10 Penny at a penny and her jots11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche14 Jan at Bookseedstudio15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect18 Buffy at Buffy's Blog19 Pat at Writer on a Horse20 BJ at Blue Window21 Donna at Mainely Write22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town24 Amy at The Poem Farm25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge26 Renee at No Water River27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan29 Charles at Poetry Time30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for KidsBuffy, you're up! Can't wait to see where you take this.[...]



Monday Poetry Stretch - Toddaid

2017-04-17T09:47:07.698-04:00

The toddaid is a Welsh poetic form written in any number of quatrains. The lines alternate between 10 and 9 syllables (10/9/10/9). A syllable towards the end of the first line rhymes with one in the middle of the second line. This also holds for lines three and four. The end words for lines two and four also rhyme. Here’s what the rhyme scheme looks like. The rhyme can fall in any of the underlined syllables:

x x x x x x x b x x
x x x x b x x x a
x x x x x x x c x x
x x x x c x x x a

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a toddaid. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.