Tag Archives: William Carlos Williams

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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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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Blue #19: SOLC 2019 Day 29

I often find myself taking the same photo over and over again.  Obviously my eye is drawn to the subject.  I do try different angles, shifting every so slightly to capture the best light, something different in the background, or looking from another direction.

Sometimes I’m not even aware that I’m taking the same photo until I’m reminded–by a scroll through my images or a reminder of a memory from Facebook or my photo album.

But today I knew.

My Friday schedule let me take advantage of a nice low tide at midday.  I could feel the sun’s warmth as my bare feet traveled over the wet sand and was glad for my light sweatshirt in the low 60s early spring sea breeze.  When the tide is low and I don’t feel rushed for time, my turnaround point is lifeguard tower #19.  #19 is also a favorite local surfing spot and a popular dining spot for sandpipers.

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If you look north from #19, you can see Swamis–another popular (and famous) surfing spot with its iconic palm tree topped hillside.  I often take a photo or two with that view…like I did today.

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And as I looked through my photos, also back in November and December!

Occasionally, I find myself taking another perspective, giving yet another view of #19. (The tide was too high on this day for my usual perspective, I was forced up the hillside to avoid getting wet!)

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I’m not sure what all this says about either the lifeguard tower or me as a photographer. But I did find myself thinking about William Carlos Williams and The Red Wheelbarrow. (April is National Poetry Month and I’m planning ways to motivate my students to write a poem a day for the 30 days of April!)  So, using The Red Wheelbarrow as my mentor text, I played around with thoughts of the blue lifeguard tower.  Here’s my attempt:

Blue #19

 

I keep photographing

a blue lifeguard tower

sprayed with sea mist

watching the sandpipers and surfers dance

©Douillard

 

 

This is Just to Say…

Today’s poetry inspiration came from Williams’ poem of apology, This is Just to Say.  In addition to studying the original, we also read some of the poems written by 6th graders in the book also titled This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman.

Students had fun playing around with their own poems of apology.  Here’s a couple composed by the third graders in my class to give you a taste:

Dear Romeo,

I’m sorry I have to whip you sometimes

Also, I might tire you out sometimes,

but you’re always a handsome horse

lovable, huggable, gentle, and soft

Oh how I love your long mane

drifting in the sky

when we canter across the field

Love,

Tyler

I gave them a whole 7 minutes of writing time!  It’s conference week, so students are on a minimum day schedule…and time is short!

I’m sorry Kai for poking you.

Sorry, I really didn’t think it through.

Although we had fun doing it, I’m sorry Kai for poking you.

Cody

And one more student poem, this one inspired by yesterday’s Red Wheelbarrow.

The Thread

 

So much depends on

a brand new jacket

and a loose thread

 

Pulling

into bits and pieces

 

until it is

one loose

and wiggly line

 

Lauryn

I found myself returning to the topic I explore in my first two poems.  Today’s was written to that same egret I featured before–but from a slightly different angle.

This is Just to Say, My Friend

 

I have stalked you

my lens focused close

waiting for your head to turn

your neck to arch.

 

You seem so peaceful

and focused as you

stare out at the blue horizon

scanning for danger

or maybe appreciating the view.

 

I’m sorry for any disturbance

I cause with my close looking

and the click of the shutter.

 

I just can’t resist your elegant neck

and charming yellow feet!

 

Douillard 2018

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Maybe, dear reader, you’ll try your own poem of apology today!

Let the Poetry Begin!

My students and I decided to take a 30-day challenge to celebrate National Poetry Month. We have committed to writing a poem each day of the month–in spite of the fact that our spring break begins when school is out on Friday!  Hopefully, a poetry-filled launch this week will keep the poetry spirit alive and well during our time off.

To add to the motivation–for myself and my students–I plan to blog my poem-a-day…and feature poems written by my students on my blog as well.

To get started, I will include my poems one and two here today.  Look for some student poems starting tomorrow–they needed time to refine their early efforts.

Yesterday’s poem was inspired by the snowy egret I watched and photographed on the beach on Friday.

snowy egret

Snowy Egret

Tuned to channel nature

where the constant whoosh and roar of waves

matches the rhythm of my heart

 

I scan the distant horizon

for the alabaster of my low-tide friend

As I come close

I notice the porcelain statue

with yellow feet

that unexpectedly

stomp and stir the shallows.

 

He’s rewarded for patience and persistence

with a briny treat.

 

My reward is the glimpse

of those charming yellow feet.

Today we learned about William Carlos Williams through the book, A River of Words.  After reading a bit about his life and interests, we studied The Red Wheelbarrow to pay attention to how Williams put this iconic poem together.  We then did some writing of our own under the influence of The Red Wheelbarrow.  

Here’s my version, again related to the egret I am so drawn to.

The Tidepools

So much depends

upon

a low tide

on the beach

uncovering shallow pools

filled with fish and crustaceans

nearby the snowy egret

wades and waits.

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?