Endings (in a sijo): NPM23 Day 6

On a bittersweet day, a heading home day, a too long on the highways and byways day, the poetry prompt at #verselove was to write a Sijo. Please don’t count the syllables too closely!


Senses fire, awake alert

breathing, gulping nature’s power

Around each bending slanting

slipping path, eyes hugged by mountains

Driving home in deep monotony

reflection stirs, awe cements

Water, an Offering: NPM23 Day 5

Today’s #verselove prompt was offered by Bryan–something he calls “poetic drive-bys” but I understand more as an ode–a poem of praise, of understanding and appreciating a person, place, or thing. I spent my day at Zion National Park–and had water on my brain…in all its forms.

Water: A Super Hero

It slips in and out of our consciousness

We crave it in scarcity

waste it in abundance

underestimate its power

Water shows us its superpowers

shape shifting with ease

from liquid to gas to solid

As liquid it carves canyons, topples trees, moves mountains

what looks like a calm river

can roar with ferocity and later gently lap the sandy shores

It’s mysterious as vapor

sometimes appearing to mask the view

other times rising to mound in voluptuous curves, ready to give birth to liquid again

Frozen it is rigid, sharp, unforgiving

breaking stone, cracking under pressure

encasing everything it touches in translucence

Stalactites, growing longer, pointier drip by drip

until they drop and shatter

or pierce the bubble of truth

Water we love you

want you, need you, worship you

and forget just how much power you wield

Thanks for reminding me!

Geo-Logic Logic: NPM23 Day 4

On day four, I found myself tasked with being grammatically ungrammatical and playing around with words. (Check out Jennifer’s prompt over at #verselove for more information). After another day spent with incredible geology filling my eyes at Valley of Fire, I decided to play around with some geology words. Here’s what I came up with!

Geo-Logic Logic

When boulders shoulder

Merging silica and limestone

Cross-bedding beehives of red

Sand dunes of dinosaurs

Mountain into fiery geometry

Geo-logical equations

Strata striate

Rainbows blasted in everpresent wind

Building hidey holes for whack a mole

Cryptobiotic soil

Gardens Cyanobacteria

Micro nourishments for life below the surface

Mind muddled, brain baffled

Geologic time unfurls

A spectacle of wonder

Time to Explore-A Haiku Sonnet: NPM23 Day 3

Today’s poem is inspired by a day exploring the Red Rock Canyon Conservancy outside of Las Vegas. Stacey over at #verselove suggested a Haiku sonnet composed of 4 3-line Haiku and two more lines. But of course, I couldn’t resist also turning my Haiku sonnet into a photo essay. Enjoy!

Time to Explore

Twirling and swirling

Hair soaring like sacred bird

Breath stolen by wind

Braving the wind

Define resilience

Windswept tree emerges from rock

Strength is surviving

tree rising from rocks

Scrambling. Rocks not eggs

Terrain fit for mountain goats

Will hike for ahhh, views

scrambled to this view

Rare desert water

Liquid gold, secret to life

Listen. It’s singing

the sweet songs of water

Glimpses, moments, stay present

Appreciate nature’s bounty.

manzanita in bloom

Come Walk With Me: NPM23 Day 2

On day two of National Poetry Month the #verselove prompt was to write a coffee share poem…a way to connect and introduce yourself. But after spending my day exploring Death Valley National Park, the coffee shop metaphor didn’t feel quite right. so instead, just come walk with me!

Come walk with me

I’ll tell you about the power of my friend camera

And how it’s changed the way I see the world

Noticing details of salt flats

Almost hexagonal frames surrounding minerals dried in the hotter than hot desert sun

Salt Flats at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park

Come walk with me

I’ll tell you how walking helps me explore

Taking me out of my head and into nature, even the nearby nature of my backyard

To hear the wind and birdsong and the steady beat of my own heart and feet

Come walk with me

I’ll tell you about the inhale

of hope and possibility that comes with time immersed looking, thinking, breathing

Don’t forget the exhale, breathe out stress and negativity

Make space for yourself

Let’s lace up our shoes

And head out

To walk and talk

Breathe and listen

Noticing the world together.

Just in Time: NPM23 Day 1

It’s the first day of National Poetry Month…and that’s no joke! When I awoke this morning I saw that #verselove over at Ethical ELA had a haibun prompt. Hmmm…. I don’t think I have ever written a haibun, but I had just read about it as I reviewed the picture book Wabi Sabi that I will be using with my students after we come back from break. This form begins with some prose poetry and then ends with a Haiku.

So after quite a full first day of spring break…here is my haibun.

The break arrives just before the taut knot of


bursts allowing a slow start before taking to the road to unravel and explore

Crisscrossing state lines

Natural beauty awaits

But first stop: Vegas

Write Now: SOL23 Day 31

There’s something satisfying about accomplishing a goal you know will be a challenge. And even though I have taken this challenge for a few years now, it really doesn’t get easier. Two Writing Teachers and their annual slice of life challenge is an amazing community of welcoming writers. There is something about writing in community that makes this daily writing and posting of writing not only something I can do, but something I want to do…with some level of competence! Many thanks to all who have read, liked, and/or commented on my slices this month. And also thanks to those of you who have written and offered your writing for comment and reading. It’s such fun to see all the different approaches writers take to accomplishing this 31 day challenge. You are appreciated!

Writing every day is humbling. Some days coming up with something worthy of posting seems impossible. I envy those early morning writers who seem to wake with ideas galore. I feel like I search all day long, and luckily when I open my computer to write, a slice somehow finds me. I love the way writing takes twists and turns. Some days I KNOW what I am going to write…and then I open my computer and the words take a new direction.

I look forward each day to reading other slicers’ offerings. I love the glimpse into lives across the country and world, across different stages of life, and seeing life from a variety of perspectives. It’s interesting to see some people dig deep with their writing, sharing grief, health concerns, and parenting dilemmas. It’s fun to read poetry, ramblings, 6-word memoirs, lists and listicles, photo essays, and everything in between. I’m reminded that there are lots of way to write and lots of approaches to developing a topic and idea.

I like that a focus on my own writing also helps me focus on teaching writing. I find myself thinking about how to help my students prime the writing pump, getting ideas flowing so they can’t wait to pick up their pencils and start getting those ideas on the page. I’m reminded to offer variety and choice, letting them follow their thoughts and ideas. Community for writers is essential. My students want to share their writing with their classmates and me and benefit from hearing each other’s writing.

And each year I remember that March is not only a month for daily writing, but also the month for writing report cards, preparing for and conducting parent conferences, and thinking about that upcoming spring break. Then it is followed by April, National Poetry Month, and I find myself tempted to keep on writing, challenging myself to another thirty days of writing–this time all in poetry (yikes!). As my spring break begins, will I also be writing and posting a poem a day? Probably.

Maybe I need to figure out what the May and June writing challenges should be. Why do I write every day for 61 days and then stop? Apparently I need the accountability of a community of writers and a daily challenge to keep my writing flowing. Guess that’s my next puzzle to figure out!

Breakfast for Dinner: SOL23 Day 30

It’s been raining again. I know, I should be appreciating this liquid abundance that is replenishing local water supplies, nourishing drought-starved plants, and creating conditions that will ease the water restrictions we have learned to live with. But enough already!

So…when it has rained all day–again–it’s a perfect day for comfort food. And in this household, that often means breakfast for dinner. Somedays breakfast for dinner means breakfast burritos filled with eggs and avocado and bacon. Other days it is french toast dunked into an egg mixture and cooked until it is golden brown. Tonight it is pancakes.

If you know me, you know I don’t cook. Somehow all those years ago when I met my husband-to-be over green beer (you can read our tiny green love story here), I lucked into marrying a man who cooks–every single day! So as dinner time approaches each evening, he serves up love in the form of a meal. He makes it look easy as delicious aromas begin to waft through the house. “I’m whipping up a compote for the pancakes,” he says as I peek into the kitchen. He knows that maple syrup is not my go-to pancake topping, so he gathers this and that from the fridge to make something he knows I will love.

The (decaf) coffee is gurgling, there’s bacon in the microwave, and pancakes are almost ready. There’s something warm and cozy and comforting about pancakes for dinner on a rainy day. Almost makes another rainy day worth it!

Warming Up for Poetry Month: SOL23 Day 29

It’s hard to believe that National Poetry Month is right around the corner! The way our school calendar works, we typically miss the first week or so of April as we are on spring break. So…I’ve learned to get an early start!

The book, Daniel Finds a Poem by Misha Archer is a perfect way to get first graders thinking poetically. They love the way that Daniel learns about poetry from all the animals around the park–and crafts his poem from their remarks.

Then it was time for the students to start thinking about what poetry is. We started with the stem, Poetry is… As we began brainstorming ideas, we also considered how our senses might help us think beyond just things we can see. Students wrote, beginning their list of what poetry is. Today we returned to our writing, taking a look at where we started, considering the senses we hadn’t yet tapped into, and wrote for another ten minutes. Then we took out the highlighters. I asked students to pick their best (or favorite) three poetry is phrases and highlight them. Wow–there were some gems! Here is a small sampling…

Poetry is

  • the hugs that my mom gives me
  • moonlight skies with stars shimmering
  • the feel of hot water from the bathtub
  • the smell of salt in the sea when the waves hit the shore in the morning
  • the rustle of newborn blossoms coming out for spring
  • the bird tap dancing at the break of dawn

and…poetry is when you look at the sky to find your own dreams.

Oh…out of the minds and pencils of 6 and 7 year olds!

And of course, we had to do some art to create a display for our poetry. Tulips were our inspiration (see yesterday’s post). Using black oil pastel and liquid watercolor, we created vibrant tulip still life paintings.

So poetry month has been launched! How will you launch poetry month in your classroom? In your writing life?

Tulips: SOL23 Day 28

I love tulips! They seem to scream spring. Thank goodness that our local Trader Joe’s offers these seasonal blooms for a reasonable price.

On Sunday I bought a bouquet of yellow blooms to take into the classroom. Since I had planned a project where my students would draw and paint a tulip still life, a splurge of bright yellow flowers seemed just right. And add to the equation that it is parent conference week, I couldn’t not buy them, right?

So now they are sitting in a mason jar on the table in the classroom. When I walked in this morning, the first thing I noticed is that they had changed since I left yesterday. Tulips seem to dance and sway, even as they sit in a vase with no wind around at all. I love to watch the blossoms open, becoming rounder and more dynamic.

I’m enjoying these little bits of sunshine as I teach and as I talk with parents. And with rain expected tomorrow, I’m thinking I will appreciate them even more. Two days of sunshine and warm weather are teasing thoughts of spring…and with spring break just a few days away, spring is on the brain.

So why do I feel the need to justify the purchase of a bouquet of tulips? I don’t hesitate to splurge on a latte now and then. I think I need to treat myself to a few more flowers–maybe especially for the classroom–to bring that spring feeling inside and to make each day feel more special and more festive.