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Archive for January 10th, 2013

Mr. Al

Renee is hosting Poetry Friday today.

Renee is hosting Poetry Friday today.

A found poem is a form of poetry using existing text and fashioning it into a poem. My students enjoy this kind of poetry because it seems easy; Just find some golden lines, put them together, and voilà, a poem!
“Poems hide in things you and others say and write. They lie buried in places where language isn’t so self-conscious as ‘real poetry’ often is. [Writing found poems] is about keeping your ears and eyes alert to the possibilities in ordinary language” (Dunning and Stafford, Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Exercises.) For a complete lesson on Found Poetry, go to Read, Write, Think.

Watercolor painting of Mr. Al by Jerome Weber

Watercolor painting of Mr. Al by Jerome Weber

In May of 2011, an old oak tree was saved by a group of community members. At the time, I involved my students in writing letters to save the tree. It was moved with much effort and at a high cost. I pass this tree every day as I drive to school. A friend of mine is the arborist hired to care for Mr. Al. On Tuesday, the newspaper had an update on Mr. Al’s health. The title of the article was “Looking a Little Thin but OK, Mr. Al weathering it all.”

Weather forecasters predict severe storms.
One resident is not concerned.
Mr. Al, 120 years old,
is setting down roots
in his new home.

Weighing 800,000 pounds,
such a move can put significant
strain on his magnitude,
a pretty mean way to treat an old tree.

The stately oak looks thin
but this is normal for his type.
He’s catching up.

Come and sit by my roots,
invites Mr. Al,
and think the things that
an old guy thinks.
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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