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Poetry Friday is with sweet Irene from Birmingham.

Poetry Friday is with sweet Irene from Birmingham.

moonrise

I was letting this Poetry Friday go, but this morning (Saturday) I received the Full Moon Alert from my friend Jim.  Jim has missed two FMAs.  When I saw him out dancing at La Poussiere a few weekends ago, I felt I conjured him out of the dust. (La Poussiere means “the dust” in Cajun French.) Turns out, Jim and his wife Paula are fine, just busy.  That’s my excuse, too.  Well, isn’t it everyone’s?

The thing I love about Jim, in addition to his attention to nature and moons, is his love of poetry.  I am reposting the two poems he sent.  The first is from David Lee.  I have taken in the hummingbird feeder, but I still have such a fond image of them at the feeder this summer.

 

Hummingbird at the feeder in my backyard. Taken August 30th. Photo by Margaret Simon

Hummingbird at the feeder in my backyard. Taken August 30th. Photo by Margaret Simon

Ode Beneath a Hummingbird Feeder

1

Greenflash of lightning
and memory of a red scar
etched on the golden throat
of a still afternoon.

2

Whirr of tiny wings
like a small thunder
across the redwood porch.

3

Oh, arrogant little warrior,
if I had a naked weapon
I could brandish like yours,
I, too, would suffer
no foolish rival suitors
sipping at my ruby fount.

–David Lee 

The second poem Jim sent was by Mary Oliver.  The sentiment she expresses of hurricanes and the resurrection after is familiar to me.  I send this out to my Poetry Friday friends who recently endured Hurricane Matthew.

HURRICANE

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the Earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
Everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
But they couldn’t stop. They
Looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
There are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

–Mary Oliver 

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Write free

Thanks to Carol Varsalona for this image to add my words to.

Every time I walk by the kitchen window, I look toward the hummingbird feeder. I put it out after the flood two weeks ago. The rain had stopped.  A hummingbird flew to the window and hovered looking right at me, as if he was saying, “Where’s the sweet stuff?” It didn’t take me long to find the feeder and a storage of food in the cabinet, but he did’t return…for days. I wondered if he ever would.

He’s there now, and almost every time I look. I’ve come to depend on his appearance. Like he’s the rainbow after the storm. He’s the sign we all need that life goes on.

 

Photo by Margaret Simon

Last week I read aloud the essay “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle to a group of 6th graders. This is the first essay in Katherine Bomer’s book, The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People who Want to Read Them.

In his essay, Brian Doyle crushes our own hearts by writing about the hearts of hummingbirds.

(Hummingbird) hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine.

My students audibly gasped. Their reaction was pure emotion.

Katherine’s book leads us all on a quest for that reaction from our readers.

Watching my hummingbird, (Yes, he’s mine. I’ve named him Chuey), I realize that the smallest of beings, those minuscule moments, can bring about an emotional reaction.

However, to be open to these moments, I must be willing to write…every day.

Monday, I asked my students to start the class time sitting with their notebooks for 10 minutes and just writing. This freedom to express whatever was happening in their heads excited my young writers. There wasn’t a sound except the clicking of pencils for 10 minutes. Then they couldn’t wait to share!

  • Jacob wrote about a song he couldn’t get out of his head.
  • Noah wrote about imagining that everything was made of candy.
  • Madison wrote about the fire drill earlier in the school day.

To grow my young students into writers, I need to help them view their world as something worth writing about.  To show them, I join them.  I write freely and share the dribble that comes out on the page.  I talk to them about how we must weed through the dribble to find some good stuff.  To find those small moments worth savoring and sharing.

If you missed it, here’s the link to the storify for the #DigiLitSunday Twitter chat with Katherine Bomer.

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Morning

Slice of Life Challenge Day 26

Slice of Life Challenge Day 26


Hummingbird feeder

An Aubade, praise poem for the morning, inspired by Frederick Snock’s Morning presented on The Writer’s Almanac post yesterday.

All year long there is
a window by the red coffee pot,
a ship’s porthole looking
out to the day’s beginning.

Sometimes there is a jay
in the birdbath beyond,
if the cat isn’t there,
flapping feathers clean and blue.

Today, I filled the feeder
with sweet red juice
waiting for spring hummers
come to decorate the sky.

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