Category Archives: National Poetry Month

Paradise State of Mind: NPM 2019 Day 10

I woke up this morning to a reminder on Instagram and Facebook that a year ago today I was snowshoeing on Mt. Hood (in Oregon)!  What a contrast to my day today where I spent the day at gorgeous Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve (in Hawaii) snorkeling and basking in the tropical sun!

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Here’s my poem for day 10 in 2019!

Paradise State of Mind

In the cool of the salty sea

tiny corals grow

colorful fish swim by

stopping to nibble

looking up into my mask

looking down my eyes meet their eyes

we acknowledge each other

and continue our exploration.

In the warmth of the tropical sun

palm trees sway

standing tall in the trade winds

water evaporates

from my wet skin

muscles unkink and relax

Paradise may be

simply a state of mind

One I found today.

©Douillard

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Pineapples: NPM 2019 Day 9

A quick whimsical poem after eating way too much pineapple today!

lrg_dsc02735Things to Do if You’re a Pineapple

Wear a flamboyant spiky hat

with a protective jacket textured with dragon scales

Grow sweet and juicy

from your vantage near the ground

Hang out with your friends in boxes that are shipped

around the world

Create sunshine and summer

wherever you are!

©Douillard

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At the End of the Day: NPM 2019 Day 8

I found myself wanting to write about blue again.  This place is all about blue and blue and blue…and then even more blue.  I thought I knew blue, but the variations in shades are keeping my eyes in a constant state of definition!

So, in resisting the urge to write about blue, I find myself wanting to reprise a poem I posted from one of my students on our William Carlos Williams day.  Caleb captured the wonder of that time after the exclamation point of sunset, when color expands in the sky…a watercolor painting, Mother Nature style.

Here’s Caleb’s piece (again):

​The Colorful Afterglow

So much depends

upon

a colorful

afterglow

swarming with

bright colors

beside the turquoise

ocean

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As I was thinking about this piece by Caleb, I wrote my own version as we chased the sunset at the end of our day today.

So much depends

on finding a path

that leads to the beach

in time to experience

the brilliance of sunset

against the roiling gray of clouds

threatening rain.

©Douillard

And you can see from my photo, we missed the “just right” sweet spot of sunset.  Luckily, we enjoyed the exploration, the just-after sunset experience, and the sweet afterglow of the post sunset sky.  After all, you can’t really go wrong in this beautiful setting!

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NPM 2019: Days 6 and 7

Somehow Saturday evaporated and Sunday appeared…it’s Spring Break, so my schedule is disrupted as I travel and enjoy some vacation time.  But I continue with the poem-a-day challenge…here are entries 6 and 7.

Day 6

Flight 297

They queue

single

file

into the heavy metal tube

soon

it will hurtle

through the sky

bird-like

but not.

Once inside

they vacillate

between

fear and boredom

seatbelts latched

tray tables too

eyes glazed

by movie after movie

restless to arrive

hours crawl

moving back in time.

As never-ending approaches

they

land.

©Douillard

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Day 7

A Blue Kind of Day

The day dawned blue

with light that warms

your shoulders

and your heart

Azure

Indigo

Ultramarine

Royal

Navy

Turquoise

Aquamarine

Sapphire

Teal

and all the colors nature invented in between

Blue that melts worries

lets you breathe deeply in and out

and calms the soul.

It was a blue kind of day.

©Douillard

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The Eyes Have It! NPM 2019 Day 4

I’m not in the classroom on Thursday, so no stories of poetry with my students today. But yesterday we did have quite an experience in the science lab.  You might remember that a week ago I wrote a post about grunion, our special little southern California fish.  Well yesterday…sure enough, we had the opportunity to replicate the motion of the ocean and hatch tiny transparent grunion right in front of our eyes!

A spoonful of sand (that we hoped were laden with grunion eggs) in a glass baby food jar, some ocean water til almost full, twist the lid on, and then some gentle swirling or shaking…and voila!  We noticed the eyes first, and then my students’ eyes  opened wide.  The wonder was apparent on their faces…and in their squeals of delight.  Our science teacher promised she would take these babies back to their home at the end of the day.  It was such fun hatching these very special fish, and getting a close-up view of nature in action. I suspect my students will remember this experience for a very long time!

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And for Day 4 of National Poetry Month, a Tanka:

Grunion

Laid in midnight sand

rocking waves hatch fish babies

new eyes view the world

peering through briny water

can the babies hear the squeals?

©Douillard

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I wonder if any of my students wrote grunion poems today.

 

When Life Becomes Poetry: NPM 2019 Day 3

It’s hard to top a day like yesterday…at least when it comes to poetry.  Today’s schedule was crunched, another minimum day and my last classroom day until after Spring Break. But we still made space for a bit of poetry inspiration.  Today I read a few poems from When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano.  Interestingly, she titles each poem in this lovely book by the date she wrote it, taking us through the seasons of the year.  We read April 3 (which was eerily a description of a day very much like the one we experienced today…I love this first line: “today the sky was too busy sulking to rain…”), June 15 (a piece about tasting sunshine), and July 10 (the title piece with the refrain “when green becomes tomatoes”).  And in a typical 8 and 9 year old fashion, my students, when they turned to their own writing, wrote about their birthdays!

Isla (who happens to share my birthday) was determined that her June 2nd birthday falls in the summer.  She wrote this piece inspired by when green becomes tomatoes:

June 2

When summer turns into my birthday

The sky is happy!

life is happy

it is the time to get…

everything I want

(more than sad)

(more than happy)

The best

When leaves are green and light is here

no thunder, no lightening

just…

wind blowing and birds chirping

when summer turns into my birthday

And Leah, who’s birthday falls a bit later in the month, gives a more tentative prediction using “I believe” to frame her poem:

June 23

On June 23rd

I believe it will be cloudy

with a hint of sun.

On June 23rd

I believe it will be hot.

On June 23rd

I believe flowers will bloom.

On June 23rd

I believe it will be my birthday.

I took my poem in a little different direction, thinking about how my three precious grandsons have grown from babies to active, sturdy three year old toddlers in what seems like a blink of an eye.  Just where does the time go?

April 3

 

When babies become toddlers

tiny fingers that used to grab mine

build towers as tall as they are

then topple them with belly laughs

When babies become toddlers

goos and gaas turn into words

that turn into stories

of wonder and adventure

When babies become toddlers

reading becomes play

finding objects, chiming in

anticipating

devouring each word, each page

with minds instead of mouths

When babies become toddlers

those once tiny feet patter

running faster than seems possible

running towards childhood

leaving babyhood behind.

©Douillard

This is Just to Say: NPM 2019 Day 2

Today we turned to William Carlos Williams for inspiration.  Using the book A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant, I introduced my students to William Carlos Williams.  I wanted to continue the focus on the ordinary as well as show a poet who continued his writing while working as a doctor.  I’ve been working to dispel the myth that poetry has to rhyme…and this book definitely helped make that point!

Once we learned a bit about Williams, we studied two of his poems to use as mentor texts for our own poems.  The Red Wheelbarrow surprised my students.  It seemed so short and so simple at first glance…and then they started to notice.  The word glazed really caught their attention…and made them think of doughnuts rather than rain coated wheelbarrows.  Then we started to play around with how to put our own content into a poem like The Red Wheelbarrow.  My third grade students could hardly contain themselves…they were so excited about writing!  Here’s a couple of their efforts:

With Caleb’s you can see the influence of living by the sea

The Colorful Afterglow

So much depends

upon

a colorful

afterglow

swarming with

bright colors

beside the turquoise

ocean

Luca captured the beauty of the ordinary

The Tree Full of Leaves

So much depends

on

a tree full of

leaves

being a home to

animals big and

small

standing tall over

the dirt path.

And Sloane turned her attention to a rock and strayed from a “so much depends” first line to create her own version of a poem inspired by WCW.

The Rock

So much pressure

is on

the rock by the river

feathered in river water

beside the ringing sound

of the river

We then turned our attention to Williams’ This is Just to Say.  They noticed right away that it seemed like a conversation–that the poet was talking to someone in this poem.  And that he seemed sorry…but not really sorry.  This poem seemed to give them permission to be playful…and even try out teasing their teacher!

Sagan knew I would appreciate this one (can you tell what conversation we have over and over again?):

Oops…

I forgot to show my thinking

in my math homework

again

even though it said to

show your thinking

I’m sorry

but at the same time

it’s way faster

and way more efficient

And Piper stretched to see use how far she could take a bit of teasing, making me the subject of her poem

This is Just to Say

Mrs. Douillard

I have destroyed

your classroom

which you were probably

going to use

to teach kids in

Forgive me

I was just trying

to have a good time

Some students played around with different foods, inspired by WCW’s refreshing sounding plums

Nathalie tried cherries

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the cherries that

were in the bowl

and which you

were saving for dessert

tomorrow

Forgive me

they were so sweet

and delicious

While Aspen imagined ice cream

This is Just to Say

I ate your ice cream

that was in your lunch

which you were probably

saving for after your

chicken

please forgive me

it just tasted so creamy

and so refreshing

We had so much fun on this second day of National Poetry Month!  Here’s my poem for the day:

Feeding Time

So much depends

upon the sea pulling back

revealing shallow

pools

teeming with tiny fish

and crustaceans

beside the hungry white

egret

©Douillard

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