Archive for May 7th, 2013

Slice of Life Tuesday

Slice of Life Tuesday

In this wonderful world of blogging, I discover new and exciting writers. This weekend on a visit to Barnes and Noble, I picked up a copy of Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger. This is the kind of book I wish I had written. Gone Fishing is a verse novel, but not only that; it teaches different poetry forms and literary devices along the way, an elementary writing teacher’s dream text. I also enjoy Tamera’s posts on Poetry Friday at her blog, The Writer’s Whimsey. I used this book to introduce the ode by reading “For the Love of Harold, Best of the Worms.” The illustrations by Matthew Cordell are adorable, too.


From Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at Poem Farm, I am inspired to sketch into poetry. Amy is a much better sketcher than I, but I reminded my students that it’s not about the product, it’s about the thinking time when you are sketching.

And the last source of inspiration for writing odes came from the master himself, Pablo Neruda. I splurged and bought a hard bound copy of Odes to Common Things. I read aloud a number of his odes. From “Ode to a pair of socks:”

    My feet were
    two woolen
    in those outrageous socks,
    two gangly,
    navy-blue sharks
    on a golden thread,
    two giant blackbirds,
    two cannons:
    were my feet

My students loved hearing the rambling praise of something so ordinary. They laughed and called out,”How can he write all that about a pair of socks!”

So, inspired by Tamera, Amy, and Pablo, we sketched and wrote odes. I finally found a way to write about my ankle. I had tendonitis from November to April. I am now able to dance again and go on long walks, so I give praise to my ankle.

foot sketch 2

I never thought before
about the importance of an ankle
joint until pain came,
swelling, annoying,
limping, awkward
twisted shift in stride.
Turning talocrural-
where foot and leg unite,
back and forth fulcrum
functioning fine until
it didn’t.
My ankle wanted to be noticed,
announcing its presence
to gain some appreciation
in my world.
Here I am, said ankle to me,
the most complicated,
intricate joint
in your entire body,
thank me, why don’t you?
See how I dorsiflex
and articulate,
turn the a, b, c,
but can you make it to Z, hah!
Not without me!

Oh, gentle joint,
I love how you roll,
how you stretch and adjust;
you are a fine friend.
I will carry you tenderly,
massage you regularly,
soak you in Epsom salt,
and praise you
when I walk,
You are mine forever.
We are going places,
you and me.

To read some of students’ odes, go to our Slice of Life kidblog site.

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