Posts Tagged ‘William Carlos Williams’

Poetry Friday posts are here today. Scroll down and click the green frog.

Welcome to my birthday poetry party.  I am a birthday triplet with Linda Mitchell and Julieanne Harmatz, both of whom I originally met through blogging.  Now they are real life writing critique friends.  Hop over to their blogs to say Happy Birthday! Julieanne


I am sharing some poetic treasures.  Joy Acey sent me a beautiful watercolor painting of an iris along with a fluttering haiku for the Summer Poetry Swap.   She also sent a blank card, so I put it into WordSwag and wrote a response haiku to Joy.

Joy wrote in her note to me that she considered this alternate third line.
Blue Dutch Irises
flutter to the wind’s command
Happy Birthday wishes!

Sea blue echoes
Ukulele birthday song
Windcall my name
–Margaret Simon

School has started.  I found on a shelf in my classroom an old copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  I read to my students the chapter “Be Specific” in which she quotes William Carlos Williams, “Write what is under your nose.”  Then I read aloud River of Words by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet about the life of William Carlos Williams.  Writing prompt: Write a poem that uses something specific and ordinary and begin with “So much depends upon…” after W.C. Williams’ poem with the same first line.

I was pretty pleased with my poem about the sparkles of condensation on a glass of mint iced tea until I was absolutely blown away by my students’ writing.

So much depends upon
the warm glow of the fairy lights,
silver and golden with gems and hearts
gently pushing me to the ocean of dreams.

Drifting calmly until the waves
rock me to the land of reality,
until the fairies and their lights
send me out again.

Erin, 6th grade


So much depends upon
the brass uniform of a senior dragonfly
soaring past
the barking, yelling, chirping, rumbling
noises of the day.

Lynzee, 3rd grade


I can already tell that this is going to be an amazing year of poetry writing. Did you notice “brass uniform of a senior dragonfly?” We were all blown away by that line.

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Poetry Friday is with Jone at Check it Out.

Poetry Friday is with Jone at Check it Out.

With apologies to William Carlos Williams, who probably had little idea where his sweet plums poem would lead writers of today. On day 7 of Laura Shovan’s ten found words poetry challenge, my friend and writing group fellow Catherine Flynn wrote an apology poem. I immediately grabbed it as a mentor poem for my students. I also grabbed my copy of Joyce Sidman’s This is Just to Say Poems of Apology and Forgiveness.


This is just to say…
I broke the glass dish
so thoughtfully placed
on the tank of your toilet.

A large spider,
camouflaged in
a clump of flowery
soaps, surprised me
as I washed my hands.
A cryptic tan blotch,
shaped like the head of a shovel,
covered her abdomen.

Forgive me, but
she rattled my nerves.
She scurried away
when I tried to scoop
her into a tissue.
My hand upset the dish,
sending it crashing to the floor.

I didn’t want to kill her.
I wanted to return her to the garden,
where she’d be free to snare flies
in her shimmering web.

printed with permission from the author, Catherine Flynn

Catherine’s poem was written to the same selection of words I wrote snake cinquains last week. Lynzee remembered this and my story of being fearful of snakes, so she wrote this poem (in the voice of Mrs. Simon).

This is just to say,
Your lawn mower has a snake in it,
I was trying to kill it so
I ran it over.

It was a garden snake,
Slithering along the grass
Like a tiny green rope,

Standing out against
The wheat colored grass,
Like a moving weed.

So I panicked,
And grabbed the first thing i touched,
The lawn mower.

I will buy a new one,
If you want.

–Lynzee, 2nd grade

We talked about whether you have ever eaten anything you weren’t supposed to eat. Andrew remembered sticking his finger into the butter. He grinned, “I love butter!”

This is just to say…

I ate the butter
out of the container yesterday.
It was delicious
like caramel chocolate

It was your fault
you left the top
open. Who doesn’t
take that chance?

I hope you have
some left for your
toast. I am so sorry.
I’ll try to buy more.

All I did was
stick my finger
in the butter. It
was out of control.

–Andrew, 4th grade

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Poetry Friday Round-up is with Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup

Poetry Friday Round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup

Amidst the season of post tests and field trips, I am still trying to squeeze poetry in to the school day. For the letter G, I decided to teach poems of apology using This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman. This is a delightful book of poems written by Mrs. Merz’s sixth grade class. Joyce begins this book with the classic apology poem by William Carlos Williams. Can you recite it?


This is Just to Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

Find the full poem here.

The first character, Thomas, uses this form to write the poem “This is Just to Say/ I have stolen/ the jelly doughnuts/ that were in/ the teacher’s lounge…” to Mrs. Garcia in the office. Mrs. Garcia responds with her own poem ending with “Of course I forgive you./ But I still have to call your mother.”

When my students and I were writing poems of apology, some used the WCW title as first line. I love how this small poem from Kendall expresses a common problem among 6th graders, hurt feelings.

This is just to say
I am sorry for this day
that I have treated you this way
you don’t have to accept my apology but hey
I didn’t mean to offend,
it sort of just slipped out along with shame
I hope you did not take it the wrong way

I gave my poem to my principal to apologize for being late. She said I set the bar for apology notes. The funny thing is many of these things listed actually do happen and do make me late.

Mrs. Heumann , Mrs. Heumann,
I just want to say
I’m sorry for being late today.

The alarm didn’t shout;
the dog got out;

My coffee over-flowed,
while I watched oatmeal explode.

There was a 50 car-train,
a truck hauling sugarcane.

The bridge was open, cars were slowed.
A trash can blew into the road.

The sun in my eyes, oh the glare.
Then a cow, would he dare?

Enough, you say. OK?
Just sorry,
I was late today.
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

And Kaylie stopped by the kidblog and saw all the Apolo-G poetry and added her own to her pencil.

I’m sorry, pencil, for dulling your head
Your sharp-tipped graphite point
I’m sorry for gnawing on your side,
My teeth-prints etched in your cedar

I’m sorry, pencil, for tapping your eraser on the desk,
For rubbing on the soft pink curls of your hair
And sweeping them away

I’m sorry for losing you and dropping you and trading you.
I’m sorry for putting your end in the pencil sharpener,
For tossing you away when you got too small.

Pencil, I’m sorry for hurting you all these years.
Will you ever be able to forgive me?

In writing this post, I found Joyce Sidman’s website and a great resource guide for using This is Just to Say in the classroom.

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