Tag Archives: verselove

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

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


A Space to Look and Think: NPM23 Day 20

Give me sharp pine needles

and tall trunks that scratch the sky

Skies that bloom into oranges

so juicy you can taste them

and pinks that shyly blush

Birdsong and wind that whispers

rushing water and creaking branches

a kind of silence that isn’t silent at all

but leaves space for thoughts to roam

Give me unpaved trails

where my feed connect me

building pathways in my brain

a salve to my soul

Revision Time: NPM23 Day 19

Today’s #verselove prompt was an opportunity to revise. So often the poetry I post during April are first draft efforts, producing a daily poem rather than refining pieces begun. So I took time today to go back to yesterday’s triolet. I had some ideas about what I wanted to get to and rather than staying with the triolet form, instead I took on another new (to me) form: a nonet poem.

Mirror Image

Looking into the shiny mirror

sky and water dance in colors

teal to blue to steely gray

lighting the way to see

unexpected view

beyond the sea

waves inhale



A Triolet: NPM23 Day 18

One of the things I love most about #verselove is the opportunity to try new poetry formats and the stretch myself beyond my comfort zone. This is my first triolet, check the #verselove link above for more information.

Sea Reflections

when I look into the mirrored surface today

sea echoes in my ears and in the roll of the waves

in my eyes reflects every shade from teal to blue to steely gray

when I look into the mirrored surface today

whispers I hear in the outlines of egrets, whistles of shorebirds, briny tickle in my nose…it’s here I’m called to stay

my heart beats to the rhythm, nature’s melody rings clear, it is this wild wet place my soul craves

when I look into the the mirrored surface today

sea echoes in my ears and in the roll of the waves

Why Do You Write Poems When..? NPM23 Day 17

Why do you write poems with your students when you could be teaching phonics? Because poetry is playing tag with words, chasing them through your mouth, and your ears, and your eyes until you capture them with your pencil and wrestle them onto the page. Poetry squeals with delight and leaves us all breathless–we can’t wait to write again tomorrow.

Why do you write poems with your students when you could be teaching phonics? Because poetry lets us build words like they are made of Legos. We fit the pieces we already know and figure out which new pieces to push in. Sometimes our word buildings fall down and we pick up the pieces and try again, using what we know to help us expand and stretch. Poetry comes in all sizes so we can start small, building confidence and skills until we are ready for the 1000-brick set.

Why do you write poems with your students when you could be teaching phonics? Because writing with young poets is like planting a garden. You amend the soil, plant plenty of seeds, and make sure the watering system is functioning. Pay attention, pick out the weeds when they creep in, and be ready for fresh ideas ready to harvest. Don’t tend too closely, let their roots dig deep and spread wide. Give them space to explore and experiment. Let them loose and watch them bloom.

Together we become a community of writers. We cheer each other on, prop up those who are drooping, lean in to those who have found the sunny spot. Some days we race each other to the finish line, other days we meander uncovering new word combinations, new ideas, new understandings as we listen and learn from each other. Mostly we breathe in the energy and joy of writing and exhale poems.

What You Missed: NPM23 Day 15

Today #verselove prompt played on that question to teachers dread…did I miss anything? And I loved the opportunity to play with the idea of what was missed as I crafted a poem about my walk at the beach today. I hope my poem brings you along and gives you a taste of my energizing walk.

What You Missed

Today on the beach

you missed

the unfurling of tension

spooling from my shoulders

as I breathed in the briny sea air

that is still not quite spring warm

You missed

the tropical smell of sunscreen

on bared bodies

plunging into the too cold surf

laying on the too rocky shore

playing together in community

in this community treasure

You missed

the unending science lessons

as I studied the geology

of crumbling cliffs

and ocean-smoothed cobble

the biology

of velellas velellas

the not quite jellies

washing up on the shore

You missed

the pelicans

enjoying the low tide reef

and the pock marked rounded rock

a bowling ball for an octopus?


I took my camera along

so you can enjoy my beach walk with me