Today was one of those gloomy, gray days. There wasn’t quite rain, but the air was saturated and left a fine mist of droplets on everything…including me. A busy work day left me leaning on a short form for today’s poetry: Haiku (with some literary license).
Inspired by this blog post, I had my students write a slice of life poem this morning. They had plenty of fodder, coming off our spring break. And while they wrote, I wrote too. Here is my slice of life poem.
Today I decided to use Georgia Heard’s 6-room poetry strategy as preparation for writing my poem. This is something I have used with great success with students in the past, but hadn’t thought about it in a while. I happened upon this beautiful yellow bird (apparently some kind of an oriole) who posed for me while I was exploring along La Jolla Cove this morning, and knew I wanted to try to capture something of that experience for today’s poem.
Here’s my poetic effort for today:
Waves crash, swoosh, hush in the distance
ambiance, Sunday’s soundtrack
A flash of yellow
in the local brush
wild mustard waving
regal in your bright brilliance
trimmed with black epaulettes
Waves crash, swoosh, hush
steel gray skies and seas
a monochromatic backdrop
for your golden brightness
my eyes drink in your honeyed sweetness
sunshine on a cloudy day
Is that tiny hummingbird on a nearby branch your friend?
I have a love/hate relationship with LA freeways. They are constantly unpredictable, predictably overcrowded, unnecessarily complicated, outdated and constantly under construction…and they connect me to my children and grandchildren.
Maybe this poem begins to capture some of those contradictions.
A walk on the beach also means noticing all the ways that people use the beach. There’s recreation, meditation, entertainment, sun bathing, fishing, castle building, rock stacking…and art. Today I came across some temporary art, raked into the sand. And later, farther down the beach, came across the artist creating another piece. And these circles, carved by an artist, became the basis for today’s poem.
After more than a year of staying close to home, we ventured out this week, spending several days away from home. This morning represented our final leg–knowing we would land at home later in the day. We didn’t have a concrete plan when we woke up. We knew we had about 4 hours of a drive–and were in search of an adventure somewhere along that path. We considered some lakes (up in the Grapevine) and even talked about walking on our local beach once we got home. The beach! Why not explore a beach that is not close to home?
We decided we would head off to Malibu. A beach everyone has heard of, but so many people have not visited. We programmed the navigation and set out through the mountain pass. Clearly there are others who are also itching for some travel. LA’s freeways, while not at peak gridlock, were plenty full. Midway there, Google maps offered another route–one that would save us 11 minutes. We took it.
Once parked, we set off to explore the beach. Right away we heard the shrill sound of birds. What was that? Seagulls? What was going on? We watched as a huge cloud of birds lifted, screeching and calling. It happened again and again.
Cloud of Birds
A high pitched cloud
swirls up from the beach
somehow sensing each wing
flying high, flying low
over the surfers, above the shore
moving in synch, as one
a crowd in perfect unison
Is it murmuration?
A bit of investigation on our drive back home led me to discover that these are likely least terns, a tern variety recently at risk. I really don’t know if murmuration is specific only to starlings, but it was fascinating to watch these birds rise and fly and move as a group.
We loved our morning in Malibu. The weather was perfect, the crowds minimal, and the traffic manageable. A perfect ending to a bit of a spring break.
Faced with a long drive back home, we decided to detour and find some mini adventures on our way. It makes for a long day…but was filled with small surprises that provided the perfect fodder for some Haiku.