Friday, April 24, 2009

Two Poems

Every Friday - or nearly every Friday - we work on creating poetry in our happy, little homeschool. We've skipped a few days, but other Fridays that we don't write, the girls will type and then illustrate their poems. At the end of the year I will compile them into booklets of some sort and I think we'll just put them on our bookshelf for easy access and enjoyable reading instead of filing them away with the rest of the year's schoolwork.

As we near the end of another school year and I think ahead to next, I think I'll keep the poetry writing. Sometimes it proves frustrating as we grapple with new concepts/new formulas; quatrains proved especially challenging for some reason this year. But I love, love, love the surprises the bloom from the wordplay. And Maia, especially, continues to stoke her passion for words in general. She is referring to herself these days as artist and writer. Am I thrilled? Am I THRILLED?! Oh, yes, you bet I am!

Occasionally, depending on the day and the duties at hand, I will jump in and write with them. I have written poetry on and off for years. Compiling my own is not a bad idea either, now that I think of it.

Today, the poem formula was a "sestina." Click here for Ms. Rogers' explanation of just what a sestina is. Her lesson plans are some of the majority of what I used with the girls this year. I'll likely cycle back through them again too; the ideas are fun and excellent!

According to Ms. Rogers,

A sestina has six unrhymed stanzas with six lines in each stanza. The last words of the first six lines ccur in a definite pattern in all of the other stanzas... Remember, it is the WORD that appears at the end of each line, NOT the entire line itself.

Again, click on over there to see just what she means. It's cool.

At first this felt so daunting, but, as often happens, the words really provided the poem somehow. So here is mine:


A whole week of nowhere
that I had to be.
I almost couldn't believe -
kept checking the calendar -
that I could spend the days
watching squirrels and sitting in the sunshine.

Sunshine lay in pools among the shadows of the branches.
Nowhere serenaded me with the promise of
days stretching out before me.
Be a writer or a prophet or an artist, the
calendar is quiet here.
Believe that there could be more time like this.

Believe that commerce isn't everything and that
sunshine deserves a place on your
Nowhere is a wonderful place to
days moving into days.

Days filled with space to let your mind wander and
believe in posibilities again.
Be an idealist, if only for a few hours.
Sunshine can do that if you have to be
nowhere on a day in the spring, April on your

Calendar squares seem so innocent
days appearing limitless, blank space to be filled.
Nowhere feels frightening; unproductive. Without pushing we
believe we have no worth. Work ethics and
sunshine do not seem to mix. Do we need permission to

Be an outsider. Maybe DON'T be a success.
Calendar blanks appear for all, but
sunshine can be few and far between.
Days can become choice morsels of memory if you
believe in the seduction, in the value, in the power of

nowhere be
believe calendar
days sunshine

Inspired by my morning poem, I wrote another this evening, in the midst of running errands!

Can you write a poem
about pushing your shopping cart
back to your car
in the parking lot of Wal-Mart,
the gulls all circling and crying overhead?

They are not seagulls here;
there is no sea. Just
cement and cars
and rap music
from that truck that just drove by.

Can you write a poem about that?

I bought bread
and crackers for my kids.
I bought rechargeable batteries
because we need them.
But I also bought a sketchbook
and watercolor paper

because I still want to have a voice.
Even if I have to write a poem
on the back of this receipt, even
in suburbia.

It's surprising how fun a little poem can be. You should try it. Poems are little; you have time for one. Really. Just one. A haiku is especially small and words are free. You have something to say, you really do. :)
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