Monthly Archives: April 2020

Watching: NPM20 Day 30

On the last day on National Poetry Month, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, I found myself without inspiration for poetry writing.  So like all good writers, I picked up my phone to look for some inspiration.  I started generally on Twitter where I found myself going down the rabbit hole of pandemic politics–lots of uproar about beaches and closures in our state, with the governor “punishing” Orange County for bad quarantine beach behavior during the heat wave last weekend.  But I digress (you can see…I did go down that rabbit hole…)

And then I came across my friend Kevin’s blog where I found his pocket sized poem for today about watching.  And then I remembered the rabbit–not the rabbit hole–from this morning…and I used Kevin’s words to find some of my own.  (Thanks Kevin!)

Pandemic Morning Walk and Watch

Watching the wild rabbit on the black road

Watching the neighborhood walkers

Watching long-eyed snails crawl across almost dry sidewalks

Trying not to squish them

Watching misty dew drops slide down shrubs

Across crosshatched cobwebs

And down my unnecessary sunglasses into my eyes

Watching you as I cross the street

And the rabbit runs.

 

®Douillard

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Book Spine Poetry: NPM20 Day 29

Our school librarian posted a book spine poetry challenge for my students today.  With the poem-a-day challenge, students have done many different kinds of poetry, but I hadn’t introduced book spine poetry–so this was pretty perfect.  And I was inspired to create my own book spine poem as well.

I’m not sure if it breaks the rules to add a title…but I did it anyway.  Here is my book spine poem:

Write It

Quiet

minds made for stories

open a world of possible

between the world and me

rhythm and resistance

schooltalk

the power of habit

writing and teaching to change the world

Book Spine Poetry Mrs D

What poem will your book spines write?

Write About Hands: NPM20 Day 28

Our mentor text for today was Karla Kuskin’s Write About a Radish, a fun reminder that there are topics that are overused and sometimes we need to think about the mundane, the ordinary, the run of the mill when we go looking for poems.

My students had fun with this.  They wrote about grubs, paper, kumquats, an ant, a carrot and more.  I am reminded that it really does take daily practice and a commitment to trying things that feel hard or uncomfortable to get better at whatever skill you are working on.  I can see my students’ daily improvements, moments of breakthrough, troughs of lack of inspiration.  One of the benefits of the this remote learning environment is that I am writing feedback on the poems that are submitted each day–and I see the take up of that feedback in subsequent poems.

My own poems are lacking that kind of feedback.  But lucky for me, I am also learning from my students.  As I study their poems, I learn about my own.  When I see their fresh, unexpected moves, I imagine what those might look like in my own poetry.  And like them, the daily practice matters.

So my own poem, inspired by Karla Kuskin’s Write About a Radish.

Write About Hands

 

Write about hands

too many people write about diamonds.

 

The shiny gold setting

the faceted cuts

that reflect the sun

creating a sky full of stars

in the moonless sky.

 

These hands

with unrefined nails

and sun beaten skin

wear those diamonds,

a symbol of a love

that endures.

®Douillard

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Thesaurus of Color: NPM20 Day 27

Last year in April I experimented with paint chip poetry with my students.  It was so much fun to rifle through the paint chips, picking them at random and then incorporating them into poems.  I noticed right away how this color language elevated their poems, adding a layer of sophistication to their already beautiful ideas.

And in this time of remote learning I wanted to figure out a way to bring a version of paint chip poetry to my students.  Some google searches uncovered a thesaurus of color by a blogger on the web.  This color thesaurus became our new version of paint chip poetry.

Having played with poetry dice a couple of weeks ago, students had already experimented with incorporating words into their ideas and poetry from outside sources.  So today’s assignment to pick some color words to use when crafting their color-focused poems wasn’t a stretch.  And there were some wonderful results!

K played with yellow words:

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R took us out in space:

SPACE

 

AT THE CENTER 

MILLIONS OF TINY COLORS

LIKE SWIRLING BRIGHT BUTTER 

IN A MIXING BOWL, FUCHSIA,

 MAGENTA, GARNET, SCARLET,

THE COLORS OF THE GALAXY!! 

 

WHITE FLECKS, TOO, OF ROSES AND SNOW,

ORANGE OF SUN, BLUE OF THE DEEPEST SEA.

 

AND THEN THERE’S LIGHT.

NOT THE WHITE LIGHT OF THE STARS, BUT

THE LIGHT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY, WHERE

BIRDS DRIFT AND SOAR. THE BLUE OF ICE

DELICATE AS LIFE.

And E started with canvas and ended up with autumn’s leaves:

Canvas.

An ivory surface,

A beautiful sheet.

Changing over time,

But sticking to an overall beat.

Crimson red,

As hot as it is magnificent.

Apricot orange,

Chaotic as fire.

Butterscotch yellow,

Glowing like the sun.

Lime green,

Leaving a trail of bitterness.

Lilac blue,

Spreading seeds across the page.

Night sky purple,

Dark but not dreary.

All these colors,

Put into one piece of paper,

One pile of Autumn leaves.

For my own poem, I found inspiration in my neighbor’s lawn as I walked down the street to check the mail.

Flamingos

They arrived in a flamboyance*

of blush

every color of pink

from the palest of morning sunrise skies

to the mortification

of heat that creeps up the neck

to blaze in your cheeks.

 

Planting themselves

on the lawn

chewing bubblegum

en pointe in ballet slippers

a display of extravagant proportion.

 

A quarantine gift for a neighbor

A delight for the neighborhood.

 

®Douillard

*a group of flamingos

flamingosJPG

Pick some interesting color words and try your hand at writing some poetry under the influence of color today!

 

From the Scraps: NPM20 Day 26

These last couple of days have felt like summer.  Temps rising into the high 80s, cloudless deep blue skies, lengthening days and so much time at home–it’s hard to believe we are still in April.  And we came home from the grocery store with an artichoke yesterday; a huge, round, green globe that ended up as part of our dinner tonight…and the subject of today’s poem.

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In the Artichoke Scraps…

In the purple papery leaves

summer emerges

and I remember racing through the sprinklers

screaming as the cold droplets landed on warm skin

laughing with my sister

as we ran back and forth across the lawn

 

In the salty butter

I taste home

dinner like clockwork at 5

our family of 4 gathered around the dinner table

to eat and argue

mediated by dad and the dictionary

 

In the sharp spines

a fortress is present

circle the wagons

with our hearts, soft and tender, at the center

guarded carefully

closing tightly when necessary

 

In the leaves, the curves, the smells, and the taste

of an artichoke

lives

my childhood

home

comfort

and love

all wrapped up in a thistle

®Douillard

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Ordinary: NPM20 Day 25

Yesterday my students used Valerie Worth’s poem Safety Pin as their mentor text.  This is a poem we had studied earlier in the school year–when I discovered that many of my students didn’t know what a safety pin was!  Luckily, I had some safety pins in the classroom to show them.

With this poem in our remote learning environment, students were invited to craft a poem about an ordinary object–as defined by each individual.  I am absolutely loving watching my young poets find their poetic voices!

D chose a spoon as the ordinary object:

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E took on the power of paper:

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And M–although I wouldn’t use ordinary to describe a clam, chose a clam as the ordinary object:

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And I decided to write about my mask.

Mask

Cotton covering

keeping my respirations close

breathing in and out

my own air

warmed by each breath

unrelieved by the breeze

 

straps

rubber band

stretch

pulling

distorting sore ears

to hold the cotton close

 

only eyes peering above

can you smile with your eyes?

I’m learning how.

®Douillard

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Slant: NPM20 Day 24

Slant

It’s all on the slant

slippery and sliding

out of balance

out of whack

 

Vision limited

window views

front door views

only in the neighborhood views

 

Living small

the world in a box

screen eyes, screens eyed

encircled by a 6 foot bubble

 

Waiting to connect

reconnect, person-to-person

straightening slowly

until the slant

tips upright

into place

and balance

is restored.

 

®Douillard

 

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