Tag Archives: poetry

Haiku for a Gray Day: NPM23 Day 30

On this last day of National Poetry Month the weather dawned gray and damp–not unusual for May and June, but less usual for April (seems to have been re-named “gray-pril” by local meteorologists lately). But gray doesn’t keep us indoors–and to be honest, it’s not miserably cold–just gives out the “blah” vibes.

One of the things that I discovered about my own poetry by writing a poem each day this month is that I like to write nature poetry, science-focused poetry, eco-poetry. And on this last day of April that remains true. Kelp beds are a feature of our coast, a forest under the sea. I took this photo of Macrocystis Pyrifera, also known as giant kelp, looking down from a pier into the ocean below and let it inspire my Haiku.

Seeking Light: Macrocystis pyrifera

Floating undisturbed

While photosynthesizing

Famished by spring’s gray

I Need to Live Near the Beach: NPM23 Day 29

Today as I wandered, looking for inspiration for a poem for day 29, I turned to the Moving Writers blog and found this post by Brett Vogelsinger, which led me to the poem I Need to Live Near a Creek that became my mentor text for today. I knew I wanted to write from this photo that I took today on a walk at the beach–the curlew flying out of the frame of my photo as I clicked the shutter.

I Need to Live Near a Beach


seabirds fly


on briny breezes

lifting my mood

with their wings

Making Sunshine: NPM23 Day 28

Today’s #verselove prompt was all about expressing the abstract through concrete details. I’m not so sure I approached this in the right direction. I started with my feelings of irritation with yet another gray day–the kind of day that seems to wring out the energy and makes you want to curl up and take a nap–right in the middle of the day! But then when I turned to the concrete–pulling on my favorite sweatshirt, the one with the Linda Christensen quote on the back and our writing project name and logo on the front, something unexpected emerged. (I do wish my stanza breaks would stay where I want them on wordpress–but that is something I will take up some other day!)

Making Sunshine

When clouds are damp and thick

like wet blankets hanging

from the sky

and the sun has gone missing

in an elaborate game of

hide and seek

I shiver and grab my favorite sweatshirt

the one I seem to wear most days

from April through June

Luckily, the sweatshirt is an old friend

whose hug reminds me that I belong

to a strong community of educators

Who make the sun shine

even on a gloomy gray spring day

creating the right kind of friction

the kind that warms hearts

puts students at the center

and knows that teaching is all about

joy and justice

The back of my SDAWP sweatshirt

Architectural Tour: NPM23 Day 27

When I saw Chea’s invitation over at #verselove this morning, I knew that I would need to do a photo walk and create a photo essay poem about this place where I continue to spend so much time–UCSD. I combined my lunch break with walking and taking pictures, not quite sure what would speak to me once I sat down to commit words to a page.

Architectural Tour

In this place

cars hide underground

burrowed together

out of sight, out of the way

Emerge into a space

of angles, lines, sharp corners, rigid edges

structures to hold learners and learning

restrained, confined

Creativity splashes orange

filling eyes, nose


break free

find your own face looking back

New shoulders old

towering, shadowing

the elderly relics

of another generation

How will the piles of folders

paper towers

infuse, confuse, contribute

build, flourish



outside in

inside out

native beauties, architectural wonders



See anew

abandoned lenses



Historical paths

lead to new discoveries

symphonic differences

roughing up the angles, straight lines

Beyond the structures

eyes on

brains on

hearts on

let learning


Borrowed Line: NPM23 Day 26

Today’s #verselove prompt asks us to borrow a line from another poet and use it as inspiration for our own poem. I decided to use the poem-a-day poem from the poets.org. I read the poem: Throwing Children by Ross Gay and selected the line:…for a minute she notices the ants organizing on the bark…. Here’s my poem for day 26.


What do you see when you close your eyes

the inky black of the darkest night

lighted pathways traced by stars

ants organizing on the bark of the trees

bees humming to the tune of spring

When you open your eyes

do you see the possibility of tomorrow

in today

and get up

get ready


this one day

Pocket Poems: NPM23 Day 25

With Poem in your Pocket Day coming up on Thursday, we studied Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poem by the same name. In her poem, Amy sees a bird out her window and wonders, “if this bird had pockets, if this bird could write, would it scribble poems about nectar? humming?flight?” The poem comes from her book, If This Bird Had Pockets: A Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration where she includes poems written from a variety of different animals’ point of view. So after reading a couple more poems from this book, of course we had to write our own pocket poems. While I suggested writing about a favorite animal, and after yesterday’s success with 16-word poems I encouraged students to try another short poem…students went in their own directions. And in a short period of time, pocket poems began to emerge from the pencils of the first graders in my class. Here’s a taste:

E who often writes about wolves and dogs, today wrote her pocket poem about friendship

You and Me

we walk to my


a tornado of


just you and


we are

together forever

C took me up on the animal invitation


a spiky prickly ball

of sweetness uncurling

to its burrow

going to its mother

to eat breakfast

And G explored one of our favorite ocean animals

Dolphins are Amazing

dolphins zip to


leap up up


and back down


caring considerate and


My own poem featured a hummingbird


If this iridescent


had pockets they’d


whipped-cream air


from wings blindingly


Maybe we’ll tuck these poems in our pockets tomorrow to share with those who cross our paths. How will you celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day?

16 Words: NPM23 Day 24

I love short form poetry, especially when working with young children. Today we read 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and “The Red Wheelbarrow” by Lisa Rogers and learned about a poem made up of a mere 16 words. When my first grade students studied the text of the poem, they immediately noticed that there were four stanzas (awareness built of studying a poem each week). They also noticed that each stanza contained four words (how had I missed that detail?). They noticed the lack of capitalization and punctuation (“he broke the rules!”), something we have noticed with other poets and other poems.

Of course, we had to try our own 16-word poetry. And in a mere five minutes, students expressed their ideas following Williams’ text as their mentor. Here’s a few examples from 6 and 7 year old poets:


outside the stable


a field of grass

waits in the sun

for horses to run

by A

A Bee Poem

buzzing in the


is a little


sipping nectar from


to make yummy


by G


white blue and


sad and mad


calm purple and


pink exciting brown


by C

And one by a student who is my unexpected poet–if I say the word poem, his entire body lights up…and he can’t wait to hear the poems and write his own!

The Yellow Bee

i sing with trees

i flew with clouds

i feel the breeze

i saw the earth

by R

And mine, composed while writing with my class, inspired by looking out the window of my classroom.

Yellow Sunflowers

outside the classroom


yellow sunflowers sway


in the sea


children writing poems


Torrey Pine: NPM23 Day 23

Yesterday we drove to the far reaches of our county to see and appreciate the diverse natural beauty San Diego is known for. Today we went local and visited a place nearby–Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve. We frequently walk the beach there, but today we decided to hike the trails of Torrey Pine groves and cliffs above the beach. Drought and beetles have devastated these special trees that only grow here on the cliffs above the beach and on Santa Rosa Island (one of the Channel Islands). Today, after the abundant rains we had, the trees looked happier than I’ve seen them in a long while–and the native wildflowers were in full bloom. The #verselove prompt for today was to bring a historical figure to life in a poem. Instead, I chose to focus on the Torrey Pine tree in an etheree-ish form (a poem that grows from one to ten syllables). We’re lucky to have this Reserve that is focused on protecting natural places so that future generations can also enjoy them. Maybe a poem and photo can help too.

Torrey Pine Trees



Torrey pines

rare beautiful

yet devastated

beetles climate changes drought

atmospheric rivers poured

rain and more rain to start healing

Will they rebound? Can we preserve them?

celebrate appreciate protect our trees

Island Earth: NPM23 Day 22

On this Earth Day, the #verselove prompt was inspired by a shower curtain with a map of islands. My own poem was inspired by a trip to the desert to get an up close look at the superbloom that has been all over the news here in California. It’s hard to take photos that capture the glory of the earth in bloom–and I’m not sure my words do either, but it was fun to try.

Earth Day Explosion

On an island

Of waterless land

Framed by mountains

Colors burst

Like fireworks

Yellows riot

While purples dance

In the warm dry breeze

Shy pinks peek

Reds stretch

Tickling a sky so blue

Eyes water

The desert demands  patience

Wait for water

For years if you must

And when it comes


Show off

Invite the pollinators

Paint the earth

With a springtime