Posts Tagged ‘Linda Baie’

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

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

Haiku #13

There, in twinkling lights
a Teddy Bear, nutcracker,
an angel watches.

The ornaments on the Christmas tree take me on a journey of memories.  I am borrowing this idea from Linda Baie who wrote about her ornaments memories here.

I don’t know why, but I hesitate to unpack the ornaments each year.  I don’t like doing it alone.  So my daughter Maggie came over to help me, even though she now has a home of her own.  I appreciated her help, but mostly I appreciated the impetus to get it done.  In her words, “Let’s do this thing!”  I turned on the Christmas CDs, and we dug in.

“Should we hang this one?” I asked.  “The year you hated Santa Claus.  Look at that face!”

Christmas '88: Maggie 3.5 years, Katherine 8 months.

Christmas ’88: Maggie 3.5 years, Katherine 8 months.

My husband, Jeff, has a special ornament we hang each year.  His second grade teacher made it for him, sequins on a styrofoam ball, spelling out his name.



I never seem to remember where I packed my favorite ornament, the one my mother gave me from the National Cathedral when I only had two daughters.  This is one of those breakable, precious ornaments that I wrap well and put away in its own box.  But which bin did I put it in?  After Maggie left and I was preparing to put the bins back into the closet, I gave it one more try, patiently opening and closing boxes, wrapping and unwrapping tissue paper.  Then I found it.  I hung it high on the tree, safe from little hands that we don’t really have around, and mischievous paws which are circling the tree as if it’s a new toy.



A more recent ornament was made by a local artist illustrating our church, The Church of the Epiphany.  This ornament reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.  I look forward to singing in the loft (which once held slaves before the Civil War) on Christmas Eve.


What ornaments do you treasure year to year?  Happy Holidays!


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Laura Shovan is a poet who shares the love. For her birthday month, February, she commits to writing poems every day and shares the experience with anyone who dares to jump in to the party. Read her introduction to the project here.

I have joined in her project every year and find the experience challenging, inspiring, and enriching. I don’t know if I get better at writing poems, but I know for sure that this is a welcoming and passionate-about-poetry group. I am honored to host today.

In preparation for this month of writing, Laura called for images of found objects. I sent her this image of lotus seed pods I picked up out of the swamp on a winter canoe trip. They sit in a pottery piece that is also reminiscent of nature.

lotus pods

Diane Mayr was considering skipping today. And that very thought made her write a skippy poem. You never know where the muse may hide. I love the rhythm of the flower names and of course, the final truth.

Mama Planted a Garden
(a skipping rhyme)

Mama planted a garden,
but it came up weeds.
Oh, my silly Mama!
You planted the wrong seeds.

No, my little Missy,
they were the right ones.
A flower to a father
may be a weed to the son!

Buttercup, aster, and bergamot.
Maiden pink, dandelion, forget-me-not.

Columbine, bunchberry, periwinkle.
Violet, lady slipper, honeysuckle.

Always remember this,
my little daughter:
one person’s weed
is another one’s flower!
–Diane Mayr

Patricia VanAmburg did some research on lotus pods and found out there is a disease, Trypophobia—fear of holes. So she wrote a rather empty poem about that feeling of empty nest, one I know all too well.


Of what use this pod
Without her seeds
Temporary filler for
More fruitful flowers
But every life
Returns to earth
Fragile as the cradle
In an attic corner
Brittle as mother’s ribs
After every baby has gone
–Patricia VanAmburg

Jessica Bigi sent an image of a lotus flower while she takes us back to ancient rituals.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Carol Varsalona is cross-posting her poems on her blog. I love how she is digitally playing with the image as well. I imagine sitting with Carol enjoying a warm cup of coffee and the quiet.

A Hushed Quiet

As I sit by the window,
the morning sun
drifts on in,
singing the praises
of yet another day.
A zen-like quality emerges.
Rays bouncing from
winter white blankets
bring outdoors in.
A hushed quiet
envelops the room.
In a corner,
upon a mat of bamboo,
cut-open pods of grace
in triad formation
adorn a desk
of muted colors.
Indoor life merges
with outdoor sights
in a seasonal burst,
reminding me that
new life is waiting
in an early spring.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016

Violet also did her research on Trypophobia and wrote an erasure poem from an article on Mental Floss.  Who knew?  I certainly did not.  Thanks for the learning as well as the poetry.


skin crawls, heart flutters
shoulders tighten, I shiver
crazy revulsion to holes, bumps
images of holes, parasites
bot flies, worms, ravages of disease
pregnant suriname toad
lotus seed head
give people trypophobic
heebie jeebies
soap bubbles trigger

~ Violet Nesdoly

Heidi Mordhorst digs into the earth to consider how an anthropologist looks at things.

Day 10

once thought to be
an elaborately carved musical
instrument used
only on the wedding day
of a woman born under
the eleventh moon

it is now understood to be
a deliberately culled muscular
implement used
only on the winding way
of a man burned under
the oppressive soon

context is everything

Here’s another from Heidi. This one is a child’s wonderment at the things of this world.

Making Sense

First it’s something to see–
almost black among the greens and yellows,
scalloped around the edges like
crayon clouds or flowers,
clouds full of black hailstones–
or it’s a leopard-skin jellyfish.

Next it’s something to hold–
not weighty like a microphone
or a metal shower head,
but light and hollow, not plastic
and not wood, part smooth
and part ridged and rumpled.

Now it’s something to hear–
take it by the curving handle oh!
is that a stem? and shake, shake
shake–those blackish beads or
beans or oh! they’re seeds!
they make a marvelous rattling!

~Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

Donna Smith makes a simple poem reveal a truth of nature.  Love the alliteration, one of my favorite literary devices.  I think Donna is a little bit chilly in Maine, so she has thoughts of overcoats.


Purposefully plopping pondward
Out of open overcoat
Drooping, dropping down
Swamped seeds settle, silently sprout.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


And Mary Lee chimes in with this little ditty.  She is a master at metaphor.

Day 10

when your plate is full —
seed ideas lined up in rows —
give thanks for fulsome seasons

–Mary Lee Hahn


Linda Baie finds the music in the lotus pod, the sound that remains after the blooming is done.  Is this a metaphor for life?

A Lotus Life

I remember that delicate blossom;
You burst with all life’s colors,
and the minutes moved,
the days passed.
More beyond the hues emerged.
You nourished;
we were thankful.
You gave all you were able.
At the end, the music remained,
only the music displayed.
It was enough.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved



To write my own poem, I turned to form and tried out a Bio-poem. Laura Purdie Salas used this form with 3rd graders this week. See her post here.

mystical, pure, beauty, enlightened
Daughter of Bodhi
Lover of muddy water, sun, and spring
Who feels spiritual, open to the light
Who gives wisdom, joy, and peace
Who fears storms, drowning, neglect
Who would like to see the ocean (Is it as blue as me?),
tomorrow (My life is fleeting.),
and world peace (Doesn’t everyone wish for world peace?)
Who lives in Atchafalaya Swamp
Who knows noble truths
Lily of the Mud.
–Margaret Simon

And here is Laura with another of my favorite forms, a Fib poem. Read more about Fib poems here.

Lotus Pod Fibonacci
By Laura Shovan

pods shake
rattle, roll.
Seeds fly. We stomp them
into the ground, part of the dance.

Molly Hogan was flying under the radar with her first attempt at haiku. This challenge is pushing us all to find what form fits best.

Day 10 –My first attempt at haiku.

Autumn maracas
Invite you to merengue
Shake a leg, baby!
–Molly Hogan

Catherine Flynn found the lyrics to the life cycle of a lotus at the New York Botanical Garden.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Buffy Silverman offers another haiku, which is the ultimate nature poetic form. Hard to capture a moment in few syllables.

dried lotus pods
shriveled and moored in mud
cradle tomorrow
–Buffy Silverman

What’s a poetry parade without Charles Waters? He bounced in with this sunshine.

Fuchsia covered buds
stretch out in praise of morning
revealing their sun-shined heart.

(c) Charles Waters 2016

lotus pods
seed mysteries
three days
of flowering
an open heart

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

If you have a poem for today’s found object, put it in the comments and I will add it to the post. Thanks again for joining us and for reading all the way through to the end. Mardi Gras ended yesterday, but this is a joyful parade of poems to keep you passin’ a good time!

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Poetry Friday round-up with Irene Latham at Live your Poem.

Poetry Friday round-up with Irene Latham at Live your Poem.

St. Nick visit

Merry Christmas Poetry Friday! My celebration began last night at our Christmas Eve service. St. Nick visits each year and tells a story to the children. He also leaves candy in their shoes that they left at the church door. Since it was 80 degrees yesterday, their little bare feet did not get cold.

On Christmas Eve Eve, our choir with some children tag alongs went caroling at two local assisted living facilities. We brought Santa along. I love this picture of Baby Jacques cuddling up to Santa.

Jacques with Santa

Tabatha Yeatts gathers names and addresses to spark a poetry exchange. I received a lovely package from Linda Baie in cold Colorado. She sent a poet’s set from our own Robyn Hood Black’s Etsy shop.

Poetry gift exchange

Linda crafted a black-out poem especially for me and mounted it on a Christmas collage. It’s lovely.

Christmas poem from Linda

passage home
round the lamp
beam each one in his own way,
making others idle
giving coats
strong enough
for bad weather.
lined on the inside with flannel,
every one did something
for the season

Friday, December 25th.
This day was Christmas;
all day long, and
a holiday dinner
Old Style celebrated
drank, ate

finished all
another answered
very well
magnificent light
carrying us
fine day

–Linda Baie

Winter Poem Swap 2015 smaller copy

May you and yours enjoy this day and always the blessings of Christmas Joy.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

skyping with spark kids

Technology allows us, invites us even, to collaborate more and more. No longer am I a lonely teacher behind closed doors of a classroom. Through my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter and Facebook, I have met colleagues. Teachers are doing the every day thing in innovative ways. Months ago, Leigh Anne Eck tweeted me about helping with her high ability camp. She was teaching poetry. I Skyped with a group of 2nd and 3rd graders this week. What fun! I didn’t have to care at all about the boy who wiggled all around in his seat and started drumming with his pencil. That’s my kind of teaching. I was on screen far away in my own living room.

Leigh Anne shared the student work and her thoughts about the collaboration on her site A Day in the Life.

The haiku lesson itself was a collaboration because I used another colleague’s poetry project. Linda Baie blogs at Teacher Dance. We’ve never met face to face, but every week we are in contact through our blog posts. She’s one of my top commenters. Her poetry project in April was to write a haiku each day. She catalogued them on her site.

I am encouraged by this collaboration to look for ways to use Skype more in my class during the year. We’ve had author visits. These are great, but what about connecting with other teachers and students? We could Skype a whole hour lesson and share our writing together across the miles.

This next school year, I will have two 6th grade girls at two different schools. I am wondering how I can use collaboration to make their world bigger and more meaningful. Through Kidblogs, we could create a site just for them. If you know you will have high ability sixth graders next year, maybe we could collaborate on a book or writing prompt. Let me know in the comments.

In what ways are you collaborating using technology? What ways do you plan to collaborate? Link up your blog post and/or tweet out your response to #digilitchallenge and @MargaretGSimon.

For the next month, DigiLit Sunday will be on vacation. Please consider joining CLMOOC.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

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Poetry Friday round up is hosted by Jama.

Poetry Friday round up is hosted by Jama.

In this wacky wonderful world of the Kidlitosphere, I have met so many awesome writers and teachers and teacher/writers. It becomes an even richer experience when we work together to teach and inspire students. When Leigh Anne Eck tweeted me about Skyping with her summer writing camp, I agreed, of course. I was actually flattered. As the day got closer, I worried that I didn’t have what I needed to adequately teach this workshop. We had a quick email exchange and decided to do haiku. All my books are packed away at school, so I turned to another online friend, Linda Baie. She had written a haiku every day in April and made a catalog of them all on her site. How perfect and convenient! Thanks, Linda!

These were the poems I selected and a few things we talked about.

snow shadows again
blossoms tighten their hold
no open window

(Note the use of the word shadows. Why do blossoms tighten? What does the last line tell you?)

That little boy
digs into warm earth –
wiggle in his hand

(What is in his hand? How do you know? Poets can tell you that it’s a worm without using the word.)

from snow to puddles
mother nature’s pasttime –
trees drink deeply

(What is happening? How do you know? Note the personification of trees. What is a pasttime?)

Following our discussion, we looked at this image from National Geographic. First we collected words and phrases that the students shared. Together we wrote this haiku.

Three pairs of flip-flops.
Shadows of three kids playing.
Puddle reflection.

We pulled up a Google image search of “summer days.” Each student chose their own image to write from. Sacred writing time for about 7 minutes. Then some wonderful sharing time. I had such a good time teaching from my living room, even if it was early in the morning. (two time zones)

I wrote a haiku to an image of daisies. Teachers write, too, during workshop. I borrowed a line from Linda, “no open window,” and made it “open your window.” I talked about how poets get ideas from other poets.

Open your window
Summer daisies are here.
Golden sunshine smiles.
–Margaret Simon


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