Tag Archives: writing

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.

Friendship Lost: NPM23 Day 16

You lightly caress my cheek

I’ve come to depend on the warmth

of your embrace

then you vanish


leaving me in the cold

in the gray

while you play hide and seek

in the thick marine layer

your reach diminished

no longer within reach

of my cloud cooled skin

leaving me bereft

pining for your healing rays

Come back to me spring sun!

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

Free Write: NPM23 Day 14

It was serendipity that today’s #verselove prompt by Margaret coincided with an exploration of “Tiny Perfect Things” in my classroom today. We read the book by the same name and then picked a tiny perfect thing as the subject of our poetry. Students wrote some wonderful pieces–I wish I had jotted down some of their wonderful lines to share with you all! That will have to be another post.

My tiny perfect thing piece was inspired by a photo I took this week…of a dandelion growing in a crack in the road in my neighborhood.

Road cracked

dandelion rooted



yellow blossom


Take note:

live in possibility

turn lemons

into lemonade

find the silver lining

Inhale deeply

exhale a wish

for generations

seeds floating

whose dreams will come true?

What can we learn from a dandelion?