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Posts Tagged ‘oak tree’

Join the roundup with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Join the roundup with Linda at Teacher Dance.

I like to keep my poetry in practice, so I often enlist my students in my pet projects.  I love Laura Purdie Salas and her blog site.  Every Thursday she posts a picture and asks writers to post a poem comment using 15 words or less.  Not every Thursday, but many of them, I show her image to my first bunch in the morning.  We talk about the image, someone rings the sacred writing bell, and we write.

Yesterday, Laura posted an old tree.  I listened to my first grader, the youngest of the bunch, explain to a fifth grader what he needed to do.  “Look at the picture.  Then use your imagination.”  We read Laura’s poem and Jacob said, “I’m stealing the word squirrels.”  I swear this kid could lead a writing workshop already!

LPSalas old tree

Old Tree by Laura Purdie Salas

 

 

I posted this poem early in the morning.  The tree image reminded me of the old live oak in our backyard.

 Grandmother Oak

With footholds to climb
Eyes that see time
Stories in my rings
Come swing.

–Margaret Simon

grandmother oak sunset

Grandmother oak in the sunset

 

 

Then I wrote again with my students.

Stories told
from a wisdom of scars
wrinkled into skin
like crevices on this old tree.

–Margaret Simon

 

If you would like to play, go to Laura’s site on Thursday mornings.  It’s a fun place to be.

Old People

Two old men
bickering every day
scaring nature away.
These old hags
should calm down.
–Tyler, 6th grade

 

Another poetry practice project I am doing is on another Laura’s site, Laura Shovan of Author Amok.  I am joining some fabulous poets writing to sound prompts.  Check it out!

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Ever since this old oak fell more than a week ago, I knew it had a poem to give me. I have learned and continue to learn to wait for writing. First, I walked down to the empty lot where it lay and took pictures. I played with Instagram for the one here. Then I sat with a favorite poet, Mary Oliver. Mary doesn’t fail me. I felt like we were writing side by side. I opened her book, Red Bird, to the poem Night Herons, and one line jumped off the page, “what do we know/ except that death/ is so everywhere and so entire–” Using her form of four lines per stanza and borrowing this line, I wrote a poem about the tree.

An oak tree
fell in the night
while we were sleeping,
unknowing.

Its body broken
by invisible flames,
trunk separated
from leaves, from life.

Happy resurrection fern
clings, even as
clouds form
rain again.

This keeper of stories,
survivor of hurricanes,
fell in a summer storm,
just tired, I guess.

That was the end of growing
as we know it, yet
what do we know
except that death

is so everywhere and so entire–
culling and clearing,
sometimes taking
an old friend.

One strike, one boom,
and the lot fills up
with sprawling branches.
How long

will we walk by
and watch the decomposing?
How long until the chainsaw
destroys?

Until then, I will stay
pray to this sacred sculpture
and to its sculptor:
Rise and sow again.

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