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Poetry Friday posts with Violet who is celebrating Canada’s Thanksgiving.

 

There are only a few signs that October is here.  The temperatures are still quite warm, but on my morning walks, the sun does not peek over the horizon until I am close to home.  The bald cypress trees in our backyard are turning brown.  And the grass is growing slower, so my mower (dear husband) can spread out the weeks between mows.

In the classroom, when the calendar changes, attention turns to the end of the month.  You know the day, Halloween!

I have subscribed to the Academy of American Poets newsletter “Teach this Poem.”  The lessons are just right for my gifted students. From this site, I introduced Robert Frost’s poem October this week.   We discussed the poem, the rhyme scheme, imagery, and new vocabulary.  We talked about odes and how an ode is like a praise poem to something ordinary.  Then we wrote our own poems, stealing words and ideas from Robert Frost.

I tried a golden shovel with my favorite line, “Enchant the land with amethyst. Slow! Slow!”

O, autumn, your winds Enchant
birds into song, the
sugarcane drapes the land
in swaying soldiers with
suits of green-gold amethyst
Step, step Slow!
Swish, swish, Slow!
Marching to harvest all.

–Margaret Simon, after Robert Frost “October”

Lani, a 6th grader, took a line from Robert Frost and built her own poem around it.

How do you know when fall is here?
When the leaves from towering branches
that loom over us fall into colorful
browngreen leaf piles to plunge into until
twilight makes its unveiling.

When you don’t have to set your
alarm-instead being woken by
The crows above the forests call.

When football starts and your bedtime
changes to fit the Monday, Tuesday,
Thursday, and Sunday games.

When you can wear a sweater
outside and cold fronts become
more persistent.

When the flu sets in and
the doctor is occupied.

When fuzzy socks come out of
the dark hole called
your sock drawer.

When summer clothes
go to Goodwill.

When you stuff your face
on Thanksgiving.

When the days are shorter and
the sunsets more memorable.

When you grieve when it’s over.

Lani, 6th grade

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NPM2016

Magnolia

Magnolia

Heading outside for some well-needed Vitamin N; Kim Douillard posted about this necessary vitamin here, and invited us to post photos from our outings. So this post with be a photo ode as well as a poetic one.

To the tune of the lawnmower
and the cardinal at the birdbath,
April harmonizes
and paints the air
with buzzing bees
and wispy contrails.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow flowers

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow flowers

April celebrates Cathy’s birthday;
She shows me how to
stop and smell the flowers.
She names them for me:
“Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
is deep purple yesterday,
violet today,
and white tomorrow.”

pineapple guava

pineapple guava

April holds a pineapple guava
ripe with red nectar
while the cashmere bouquet
hides its treasure
beneath wing-like leaves.

cashmere bouquet

cashmere bouquet

April rains make a gentle waterfall
of a mere coulee, a watering hole
for passing dogs in the park.

flowing stream

April is as I imagine heaven,
bright with new light,
flowing on the breeze
a kite with strings
made of flowers.

Japanese plum tree

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mint

The master of the ode is Pablo Neruda. Today, being the letter O in my ABC series of poetry, I pulled out Odes to Common Things. This is a lovely book, full of wandering odes and fine drawings of ordinary things from spoons to oranges and even socks. I love to read these odes aloud. To listen to the sound of the language as well as relish the metaphor.

From Ode to the orange

“Orange,
the world was made
in your likeness
and image:
the sun was made round, surrounded
by peels of flame,
and night strewed its engine and its path
with your blossoms.”

To write my own ode, I only had to look for what I love and adore in the ordinary day. And it had to be mint. I brew tea every day with mint. I crave Thin Mint cookies and Dark Chocolate Mint M&Ms. I grow a pot of mint, and I recall the mint flavor of tzatziki on my trip to Greece. Italics indicate lines from Neruda.

Give us this day
mint,
fresh from the garden
overflowing wandering flower,
your scent
waters my mouth,
makes tea
taste of heaven
sent by Greek Gods
churned in the waters
of the Aegean Sea.
I relish your comfort,
basket-brewed
by my side.
The scent of wandering spring
singing your song,
Glory to God; Alleluia for mint
wrapped in dark chocolate
dropped in M&Ms,
green spring
brings to life
my taste buds
and my love
of herbal scents,
freshness
refreshes my wandering mind,
tames this wild spirit,
hallows the good earth.

Today is Poem in your Pocket Day. Find a poem. Share a poem today. pocket_logo2

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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.

Gone-Fishing-212x300

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
    fish
    in those outrageous socks,
    two gangly,
    navy-blue sharks
    impaled
    on a golden thread,
    two giant blackbirds,
    two cannons:
    thus
    were my feet
    honored
    by
    those
    heavenly
    socks.

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-
articulation
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,
dance,
jiggidy-jig.
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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