My daily walk to the mailbox is generally uneventful. I follow the sidewalk down the hill, past the five or six houses that look similar to my own. I notice the groomed lawns, the xeriscaped designs where lawns once grew, those miniature citrus trees. And today, I noticed the tall thin palm dancing in the breeze.
A couple of days ago, one of our team members posted an invitation to write a “waterfall” poem on our SDAWPoetry padlet. And then I read a piece written by a fellow blogger, Margaret Simon, about writing a poem using only one syllable words. Somehow those two different approaches merged in my brain as I thought about the many, many walks I have taken around my neighborhood. I thought about how those walks do not flow. I thought about the staccato steps taken over and over again. For my eyes and brain, it is like watching an endless loop with the same view repeated over and over again.
So I tried to capture my walks in a single syllable waterfall poem…the waterfall, I fear, has slowed to a trickle…dripping over the edge, syllable by syllable.
of the next
in the small
I do try to mix things up from time to time, walk my route in reverse, try a new street, walk on the other side of the street…and of course search for new photography possibilities. If only these lizards would stay still and pose!
Today we held our SDAWP Summer Institute pre-institute day…virtually. And as part of our time together, we wrote some poetry. And yeah…another dandelion poem emerged from my pen. But honestly, I’m putting this out as today’s poem-a-day entry. I’m just too tired from an over-the-top busy week to write another tonight.
What kinds of poetry pours from your pen these days?
How is it that time both stands still and seems on permanent fast forward at the same time? And in this warped dimension, I am looking for poems while also stuck in my house, my yard, my neighborhood. I’m trying to figure out where poems hide.
My latest photographic endeavor is trying to uncover which stray weed or bedraggled plant in my backyard will make an interesting photograph. Combine these two unexpected and yet enduring constraints…and here is what you get:
In these parts we’re known for being fickle about the weather. We want some–until we have it–and then we complain that it arrived. A heavy downpour delayed my walk this morning, but also inspired me later, when the sun peeked from behind the clouds so I could head out into the backyard in search of water drop photos…and a poem.
The mentor poem I left for my students today was Pencils by Barbara Esbensen. We studied this poem earlier in the year and I wrote about it here. And here are some examples of their poems as videos written in October.
Midway through our spring break, I haven’t seen what my students have come up with as they encountered this poem again. But I am looking forward to seeing their writing as their poetic skills continue to evolve.
So with raindrops on my mind, I wrote again with Pencils as my mentor text.
After being stranded indoors all day yesterday, I couldn’t wait to head out this morning between the raindrops for a neighborhood walk. As I walked I was thinking about the National Writing Project invitation to create a found poem to share this week. Only minutes into my walk I started to notice words and phrases, I collected them via my phone camera and compiled them into a found poem when I arrived home (only slightly dampened by the next round of showers).
When I showed it to my husband, he immediately asked, “How do you read this?” wondering if there was a right order to follow the words. I ask each reader to find their own path, read your own meaning into this text. And maybe, you’ll also consider creating your own found poem (with photos or not).
Today’s poetry invitation on SDAWPoetry was Wallace Steven’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I realized I’ve been thinking a lot about weeds and wildflowers–especially after the comment from a colleague the other day. He started to direct us into “the weeds of our work,” and then corrected himself to direct us into the wildflowers.
I spent some time wandering around my backyard today. Taking photos of the blossoms that somehow managed to escape my husband’s mowing yesterday. I love the idea that they get down low and avoid the lawnmower–that they are wily and resilient along with their ability to brighten up an otherwise drab space.
I don’t cook. Lucky for me, I married someone who does…and does it well. And he not only cooks, but uses food preparation as a way of nurturing, a way of showing his love.
Most days, breakfast is a grab your own system. He makes coffee, I grab my yogurt from the fridge, dress it up with granola or fruit or not and eat as I check those early morning emails before I leave the house (back when I left the house). That routine is still in place on the weekdays. But on the weekends, breakfast is always something more special.
This morning was homemade buttermilk biscuits.
I love biscuits. Light and fluffy with a slight crunch, slathered with butter and honey. Perfection. And it takes some work. He starts with a fork and butter into flour, eventually adding wet ingredients until it is ready to roll.
He’s learned this folding and rolling technique that creates space between the layers of the biscuit that contributes to the light and flaky texture. When it is rolled just right, he starts the cutting. with the biscuit cutter we bought on a trip to Nashville (where the biscuits are good)!
Transfer to the pan and into the oven they go until they come our golden brown with just the right crunch on the outer layer.
And to balance out this decadence, scrambled eggs with cheese and turmeric and some orange slices round out the breakfast plate.
In each and every bite, I can feel my husband’s love and care. I hope my students can feel that kind of nurturing in the work I ask them to do. Especially during these remote learning days, when I am not able to teach my lessons through my voice, my body, through the interactions of students with me and with each other, I am carefully constructing and deconstructing my own plans and planning process to convey energy, motivation, and reasons to engage to my students. I want them to taste the sweetness in the writing I ask them to do. I look for ways for us to connect–through video, through images, through words, through text. I want them to taste the love and nurturing just like I did this morning when I bit into that homemade biscuit…with honey dripping down their chins, hungering for more.
Today is Saturday. I have to remind myself since all the days feel similar when work and home have become the same place. Saturday means not setting my alarm clock, not settling myself into my working space (at the kitchen table), and a yummy Saturday breakfast made by my husband (today was french toast, bacon, and fruit).
Since my beach walks are on hold for now, a neighborhood walk was in order. But it’s Saturday. So I talked Geoff into walking with me…and he talked me into walking to CVS so he could play Lotto (an essential task…for him).
I’m working to pay more attention to the photographic possibilities on these suburban treks. And I took a number of photos along my way. (I didn’t carry my camera, instead depending on my phone camera for the shots.)
It was coronavirus-empty today. Traffic much lighter than usual and not many people out and about. I couldn’t help but notice the sign waver guy across the way, perched on the fire hydrant. I’m glad he has work and will get paid, but it made me wonder about which jobs people are still heading out for each day. Is the iPhone repair place still open for business? Does the sign waver make a difference in its business?
So what will Sunday bring? Another neighborhood walk, some time spent reading, some last minute lesson planning (getting ready to launch a month full of poetry reading and writing), time on the stationary bike while I watch some Netflixs (i just discovered the new season of Ozarks), and more time than I want to spend at home. I’m desperately missing errands, impromptu adventures, and the beach. But I’m staying home, even though today is Saturday.