After a long and productive day spent with my local writing project colleagues, Geoff and I set off for a quick dinner at a local dive. Afterwards, I talked him into a stop by the beach–even though it was not quite sunset and we were not willing to wait to experience sunset. (And to be honest, it was a bit grey so the certainty of even being able to see the sunset was in question)
But it didn’t stop me from wandering down the path from the cliff to the shore and snapping some pictures as I breathed in some fresh sea air and stretched out those legs that sat too much today.
At Not Quite Sunset
At not quite sunset
when the clouds gather like cotton candy
blushing pink before the sun dips low
down the narrow cliffside path
in the ocean, they bob and wait for the perfect curl
to launch them toward shore
and I wander, seeking treasures through my lens
finding inspiration in the gray
in the blue, as the waves breathe in and out
at not quite sunset.
It looks like Max was also inspired by the ocean. Here’s his poem:
Let the sunbeam shower on your back
as you fly like a bird with the flow of dolphins
finally, you lay down on the sand to rest for tomorrow
as you hear the waves screaming to the shore.
Where do you find inspiration?
You might remember that I bought the book, Things to Do, when I was at Powell’s in Portland last week. (See this link for the post I wrote then) Today I was feeling like my students needed some poetic inspiration…and pulled out the book to read to them. They were immediately enamored, many of them remembering the poem by the same author, Things to Do if You’re a Pencil, that we read last year. We noted the poetic techniques used in each poem and then set out to write our own. As I started hearing the students’ poems, those tingles started running down my spine!
Here’s a sampling, starting with Lauryn’s poem about dolphins.
Things To Do If You Are A Dolphin
watch surfboards float over the water like clouds in a race,
use echolocation to have conversations,
be silly, be fun,
and soar out of the water like a bird gliding into different worlds,
pretend to be a shark
and put your fin up so it sticks out of the crystal clear water,
perform a parade at the end of the day
when the sunset leans over the water
until it shines bright
onto the dolphins jumping
in the air at the same time
Here’s Sadie’s about an idea.
Things to do if You’re an Idea
Tiptoe into someone’s mind, hatch like a bird in an egg.
Start to grow big and lively, like the moon does in the darkest night.
Break free from your hidden cage, make an impact on the world.
And who can resist the poem from our resident Hamilton-obsessed student! (Think: the musical)
Things to do if you are Hamilton
Stand out from a crowd
fight for what is right
never forget what you are or who you are
do the things that you believe
My own poem was also inspired by the reading of the book–along with a photo I took of some bikes when I was UCSD yesterday.
Things to do if You are a Bike
Balance on two wheels
as feet pump
Let air rush past
as you glide
downtime steep hillside
Obey traffic rules
And when you are done
Rest in a rack or in a stack
with your bicycle brethren
We invite you to try out a “things to do” poem…feel free to share yours in the comments!
I found myself searching for the flowers without knowing they were there. The distinctive smell of sweet peas wafted through the office, and even as I headed out the door, I had stop to both smell them and take a photo. I’m wondering if they came from our school garden.
Is it Summer Yet?
I could smell them
before I could see them
drifting down the hallways of my mind
a time machine of smells
taking me back
to those warm carefree
when the smell of sweet peas
that summer is near
Some of my students have gotten quite playful in their poetic compositions–both created as found poems. The first about dogs…
Tail Wagging Fun
Puppies, dogs all
All chasing their tails
Wagging tails this is
Cutie the cure for boredom
Companion circle time!
and the second about dance.
An art form
Music in the air
The grace, strength, and poise of the dancers
The art form
Balance, flexibility, posture
Day 19 is a perfect day to play around with topics and ideas for your poetry. What will you write today?
As promised in yesterday’s entry, today’s post will include some of my students’ found poems. This was not an easy process–many students expressed frustration with not having all the words they wanted to use. Many stuck to the topic of the Wonder they picked, a few branched out to a different topic.
Koa read Do You Like Grapefruit? and “found” this poem in it.
and kind of sour
into your teeth
a citrusy snack
of wonder and joy
in big clusters
Grayson chose to learn about pandas and wrote this poem:
Cuddly bamboo lovers
black and white
with love and peace
they climb giants
and spread happiness
And Avi, who has a passion for motorcycles, choose an article about motorcycles to “find” his motorcycle poem.
full of force
I sent my students home today with an invitation to explore a math wonder and “find” a math poem in the process. Here’s my poem, “found” in this article about triangles.
square, rectangle, triangle
a variety of triangles
combine and count
the experts decided
And all that thinking about triangles and angles reminded me of the bridges I saw and crossed in Portland last week. So here’s some geometry in action!
Take a look around for some mathematical inspiration for your poetry!
Inspired by blogger Molly Hogan over at Nix the Comfort Zone, I decided to try my hand at some found poetry…and to introduce my students to this process as well. To ensure student choice and accessible reading, I decided to head over to Wonderopolis and choose a Wonder of the Day as my source for a found poem.
I picked the article, Where Does Sea Glass Come From? and set off to select words that would become my own original poem. Following Molly’s model, I decided that I would only use words I “found,” not changing word endings or adding any words of my own.
Works of art
Water, waves, and sand
My students selected their own wonders today and started reading and selecting the words they would use for their own found poems. We ran out of time before they finished, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for some examples of their found poetry.
I do have a couple of Haiku from the two students who have not yet had a poem appear on my blog yet this month. The first is a Haiku about Haiku:
Haikua Haiku makes youuse cuts and say five seven fivemade 12th centuriesGus
PlantLush green reaching upto the shady blue, never endingsculpture with stained whiteMax
Daily beach walks make me keenly aware of the ways that trash finds its way onto the beach. Straws and plastic wrappers are common, along with bottle caps and bits of aluminum from decomposing cans. Sometimes I find more interesting bits of trash–plastic toys, sunglasses, pieces of surfboards and more. Today I found an escaped boat bumper or buoy being tossed in the surf…and it became today’s poetry inspiration.
Taking a photo of trash and then disposing it properly is the habit of many camera wielding activists…the #litterati. Small acts add up to a big difference.
Bobbing in the waves
an escaped boat bumper
heads toward shore
spreading harmful trash
in its wake
We can all help
and one piece of trash at a time
And a student photograph and poem…inspired by the palm tree that stands tall in the center of our playground:
A Pineapple Palm Tree
Way up high in the sky
A pineapple sits on a stem with leaves swaying every which way,
held high by the stem
about as wide as your hug and as high as the
Seagulls soaring above
a rainbow of thought to feed
Like photography, poetry offers new perspectives on ordinary objects and actions. What can you see anew today?
Today marks the halfway point of my self-imposed 30 day National Poetry Month challenge. And as always happens for me, the more I write, the more easily I’m able to write. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know these poems are not masterpieces…they are, in fact, all first drafts that would benefit from feedback, revision and more revision.
Returning back to school also means that I can involve students in the revision and feedback process as well. What will happen when we take the time to select some of our poems to rework and improve? How can we take inspiration from each other and from published poets as we tackle the difficult task of revising our writing?
Today also marks the last day of spring break for me. It was a lazy day spent reading and running a few errands…with a lovely beach walk squeezed in too. As is often the case, I found myself drawn to the seabirds…
In a world of noise and constant motion
I seek silence
in the roar of the surf
as turquoise and blue
tumble to frothy white
I seek silence
in the laughter and squeals
into the chill of the spring tide
I seek silence
in the bobbing sandpipers
searching for snacks at lowtide
crying out warnings
when my camera comes too close
In the solace of the ocean and its noise and constant motion
I find a way to quiet my mind
and breathe in silence
And on this last day of spring break I found a photo and poem from a student in my inbox. (Thanks to the parents who allowed their children to email poems to me over the break.)
Resting its head on its cold plant pillow
Sparkling as the sun shines in them
like a diamond shattered into a million tiny pieces
Showing its power
How are you spending this mid-point Sunday in April?
Coming home means time for reflection and time to return to the daily routines. When I woke up this morning I was greeted by the overflowing mound of laundry…which led me to thinking about the abundance of the last week.
Days of abundance overflow
wild rivers carry infinite grains of sand
mixing rain and sea water
coating my eyes
freezing to icy whiteness
as we climbed the mountain
high above the city
head in the clouds
droplets run like rivers
down my cheeks and back to the sea
overflowing in a crash
Traces followed me home
in my head
in my photographs
and in the pile of laundry
overflowing the basket.
And I came home to an email…a fun little list poem from a student.
A berry on a bush,A sizzle from a pan,A woof from a dog,A little ladybug’s plan,A fine line land,A click from a clock,And that is how my poem stops.Hadley