Archive for January 26th, 2022

Last Wednesday I invited Mary Lee Hahn to teach my class. She is a retired 5th grade teacher in Ohio. Her poem Riches is the first poem in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s invaluable teacher resource Poems are Teachers. I wanted to share Mary Lee’s poem with my students and when I emailed her, she agreed to meet with my students. The marvel of technology makes author visits reasonable, practical, and possible.

Mary Lee wrote Riches about a photograph. She told us that the bird bath had frozen over with a myriad of leaves in it. Her husband removed the slab of ice and placed it in the sun, and she photograph it. The play of light in the ice attracted her eye and her poetic self.

Riches by Mary Lee Hahn

Mary Lee talked to my students about all the things that she thought about when she wrote the poem. She included thoughts from a book she was reading as well as loving thoughts about her husband, how he sees things that she doesn’t notice.

Today, I invite you to sit with all that is in your head alongside this photo. What surfaces for you? Write a small poem in the comments or on Facebook or on your own blog (or all three!). Be sure to encourage other writers with comments.

My student Avalyn (2nd grade) came to class today and performed for me a poem she had heard on TicTok. At first I wasn’t really paying attention, but as she spoke on, I was drawn in. She memorized Brown Eyes by Nadia McGhee. The line that was in my head when I composed my poem is “Your eyes carry earthquakes that bring mountains to their knees.”

Your eyes
like the brown of a leaf in winter
glimmer in the sunlight
and smile at me
when you say,
“I love this poem!”

Margaret Simon, draft

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