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I’ve got artwork below today from illustrator and printmaker JooHee Yoon’s first picture book here in the U.S., Beastly Verse, published by Enchanted Lion Books last month. Does anyone else remember when JooHee visited 7-Imp back in 2011 to share some art? It’s exciting to see this book now.
This is a collection of animal poems, many from poets long-gone (Ogden Nash, Hilaire Belloc, Christina Rosetti), with gatefold surprises and Yoon’s distinctive and stylized art, so vivid in its palette that the spreads pop off the page. (You’ll see this below.) Daisy Fried wrote in the New York Times that “[k]ids appreciate the bizarre and off-kilter, and are too often denied it when grown-ups edit for positive messages and sweetness. Hooray for Yoon for countering that.” I love that.
I can also (if you want really detailed reviews) direct you to Betsy Bird’s review of the book here, as well as the post at Brain Pickings (where credit is given to Claudia Zoe Bedrick, founder of Enchanted Lion Books, for being the poetry-lover she is).
Up above, at the very tip-top of this post, is a spread from JooHee’s rendering of James Thurber’s story “The Tiger Who Would Be King,” which Enchanted Lion will publish this September. It’s a sneak-peek at that book today (and its cover), and I thank Claudia for that.
Here are some images from Beastly Verse. Enjoy!
– From “Three Young Rats” — without text (Anonymous) (Click to enlarge)
– From “The Eel” by Ogden Nash (Click to enlarge)
– From “The Friendly Hen” by Arthur Waugh (Click to enlarge)
– From “The Happy Hyena” by Carolyn Wells (Click to enlarge)
– From “The Pelican” by Robert Desnos (Click to enlarge)
– From “Eletelephony” by Laura E. Richards (Click each to enlarge)
– From “The Yak” (without text) by Hilaire Belloc (Click to enlarge)
There aren't many poetry board books out there, so I am delighted to be able to bring one of these titles to you today. Sharing poetry with very young children can be a wonderful experience for grownups, and their audience will enjoy experiencing language that has rhythm and rhyme.
Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to love with your baby
Selected By Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Alyssa Nasser
Poetry Board Book
For infants to age 3
Abrams, 2015, 978-1-4197-1037-7
Sharing poems with very young children can be such a joyous thing for an adult to do. Babies and toddlers have a natural affinity for poetry because they are attracted to the cadences of the rhythm and rhyme.
In this wonderful board book readers will find thirty original rhymes that Lee Bennett Hopkins has carefully selected. They are arranged in five ‘chapters’ which are: family, food, firsts, play and bedtime. The topics chosen for the poems perfectly suit the interests and concerns of very young children, and are they are paired with illustrations showing animal children and their families doing everyday things.
In the first section, family, there are poems about parents, grandparents and siblings. In addition there is a poem called “My Name” by Madeline Kuderick. In this poem a little cat child talks about how his name is “everywhere” on “wooden blocks, / on my slippers, on my socks.” It is wonderful to see how the poem shows that the little cat child is a vital part of the family world that he belongs to.
In the next section, which is about food, there is a poem about how a child feels to be in a high chair. The toddler is “the king of the upper air,” with “All below me in my power.” There are also poems about breakfast cereal, milk, snack time, spaghetti, and watermelon.
Wonderful poets including Jane Yolen, J. Patrick Lewis, and Marilyn Singer wrote poems for this collection. There is warmth, humor, and softness on the pages, and little children will connect with the images and feelings that the poems and illustrations evoke.
There are just a few more days of school left, and I am getting ready to say goodbye, in most cases forever, to the people who have been my life for the past 9 months -- this crazy, quirky bunch of students who bloomed late, but bloomed GLORIOUSLY.
Trying to explain what peace is to children can be problematical. You can't see, hear, smell, or taste it, and therefore children have a hard time understanding what this elusive thing that everyone seems to want is. In today's poetry title the author uses wonderful poems and beautiful photos of quilts (which she made) to help children appreciate what peace is and how precious it is.
Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace
Anne Grossnickle Hines
Poetry Picture Book
For ages for ages 6 and up
Henry Holt, 2011, 978-0-8050-8996-7
Peace is an elusive thing. Throughout humanity’s history, many great people have tried to bring peace to human societies. Occasionally they have succeeded in a meaningful way, but all too often their efforts have not been long lasting. All too often this is because humans just cannot overcome their differences to find the road to peace. What most people do agree on is that world peace will not come about if we cannot have peace in our own homes and communities first. We need to start small and then hope that the peace, like a plant, will grow and spread.
In this remarkable book the author pairs her beautiful quilted creations with poems that explore peace in its many forms. She begins by wondering how peace will arrive. Will there be a fanfare of trumpets, “gold banners” and a “great noisy show,” or will peace “slip in quietly” and slowly fill us until we say, “Ahh … this is peace.”
Next we meet someone who endeavors so hard to bring peace into his or her home. The person wonders why peace is “such / an infrequent guest.” Anger is banished, fear is pushed away and selfishness is kept busy and yet peace does not stay.
Later on the book, for people who struggle to find that coveted prize, we find a recipe for peace. It is simple, and yet incredibly powerful. The ingredients are: at least two open minds, willing hearts, compassion, trust, forgiveness, respect, “A dash of humor” and, of course, hope.
Peace can also be found in nature. It is there as we paddle along in a river listening to “Awakening birdsong” in a space that is “serene” and away from “chaos.” Then there is the peace that lies inside us, the peace that is often hidden. With sensitivity and grace the author talks about the angry thoughts and words, the busy brain, and the inflexibility that often makes that inner peace impossible to find.
She also talks about the peacekeepers whose “tall and resolute” stance we should all try to emulate as best we can. They are the people who have dared to speak up and say that violence is not the answer, that peace is the only way forward.
This powerful and meaningful poetry title has something to offer everyone, words of wisdom that we would all do well to listen to and think about.
. Howdy, Campers! What's store for you at TeachingAuthors today? A new picture book, its blog tour, a guest author and poet, two original poems, and a reminder to enter our latest book giveaway. Whew!
In honor of Poetry Friday, (link at the bottom of this post) my teacher and friend, New York Times bestselling author, Barbara Bottner has opened her notebook to share a poem with us from a work-in-progress (W.I.P.). And I've added my poem about being in her writing group.
But first: TeachingAuthors is proud to be part of Barbara's blog tour (see tour schedule below) celebrating her brand-new book, Feet, Go to Sleep (Penguin Random House), illustrated by Maggie Smith.
From the book flap:Fiona is not ready for bed. But after a long day at the beach, her mom knows she must be tired from her head to her toes. So together they send each part of her off to sleep. As Fiona relaxes her body, she remembers a day when feet were for splashing in the waves, legs were for running after cousins, tummy was for holding strawberries, and arms were for throwing beach balls. And bit by bit, memory by memory, Fiona slips from a great day into a good night. Trust me, Campers, it's a perfect-for-summer bedtime book, weaving in a relaxation technique we can use to help kids go to sleep after an exciting day.
And when I asked Barbara if she would share a poem from her W.I.P. verse novel, I See Thunder, she said, "Sure!"
I’M A MONSTER by Barbara Bottner I’m not Davy’s mother but Mother demands that I do things she should do like take him with me, everywhere I go. And Davy walks really slowly. Sometimes I wonder if he does it just to annoy me. Today, I’m going to the Grand Concourse to buy fresh salty pretzels. Just as I'm leaving, Mother says: “take David with you.” Her shrill voice says do not dare object. She has no idea how that makes going to the Grand Concourse nothing like what I had in mind. “C’mon,” I say. “Put your jacket on already!” He's so easy going. I'm so hard going. “Where are your glasses, Davy?” Now my voice is shrill. He looks at me with his big browns, mumbles: “It’s hard to be me when you’re angry at me.” That’s when I get a grip on my nasty self. (c) Barbara Bottner from her work-in-progress, I SEE THUNDER. All rights reserved.
Thank you, Barbara. I especially love these lines: He's so easy going./I'm so hard going....“It’s hard to be me/when you’re angry at me.”...and that last line. One poem can say so much.
When asked "Where do you get your ideas?" here are some pearls from Barbara:...the ‘material’ we use in the beginning is often our own. So I wrote books about being the worst dancer in the class, being messy, being rebellious. It’s not the events themselves, it’s what they stir up in me…We are the clay and we are the potter and I believe you have to be both if you want to be an author…work authentically…follow where the story wants to go.
There's too much to tell you about what a fine teacher Barbara is...
...how intuitive she is, how she challenges us to dig deeper and deeper still...
AROUND BARBARA’S TABLE by April Halprin Wayland
It's magic, you know
the tinkling of her full moon necklace
impossible feats of metaphor.
Six of us around her rosewood table
spilling over our pages
foreshadowing, fortune telling
out of the shadows
of her drapes.
The illusion of allusion.
A prophecy of sorcery.
She's a shaman jingling bracelets
on her sleight of hand.
It's wizardry, you know.
soothsayer, sorceress, source.
(c) April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.
Thanks for including us on your blog tour, Barbara! Jump on board her tour and you may win a copy of Feet, Go to Sleep! Here's the schedule:
The history of humankind is peppered with the stories of men and women who have done their best to take away the rights of certain groups of people. Thankfully, the exploits of such individuals have been balanced, at least a little bit, by the actions of brave and selfless men and women who have fought hard to obtain equal rights for all people.
In today's poetry title the stories of some of these civil rights leaders are told.
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Right Leaders
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by five notable illustrators
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Chronicle Books, 2013, 978-1-4521-0119-4
For centuries human societies have been rife with injustices and inequalities. Often change only happened when “The poor and dispossessed take up the drums / for civil rights – freedoms to think and speak, / Petition, pray and vote.” Often these uprisings, when the meek voices of the many became a roll of thunder, where led by one person, a person who dared to step forward and risk everything to speak out against injustice.
In this remarkable book J. Patrick Lewis presents readers with poems about seventeen people who fought “for the equal rights of mankind.” Many suffered deeply for daring to stand against the status quo, and some even died for their convictions.
On these pages we meet Aung San Suu Kyi who has fought for the rights of the Burmese people for decades. Often she was under house arrest, not allowed to see her friends and family members. For her courage she was awarded many prizes, included the Nobel Peace Prize “for defending / the rights of my people” against the generals who would oppress them. When she “refused food to protest my detention,” the general, her enemy “stuffed himself on mangoes / and banana pudding.”
Like Aung San Suu Kyi, Mitsuye Endo was held captive by her own government. A simple typist “nothing more,” she was taken to a Japanese internment camp after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. She had committed no crime and yet she was treated like a criminal. Many of the internees accepted their captivity without a murmur, but Endo did not. She spoke out and challenged the government’s right to imprison her and other patriotic citizens based on their ancestry.
Another person who spoke out against injustice was Harvey Milk, who dared to say that people who were gay should not have to hide who and what they are. He even became a “city father” so that he could contest the laws that “kept / boys and girls from living lives / that Life would not accept.” He felt that he had to do his part to fight against the “small-mindedness” that causes so much suffering.
Readers will be greatly moved by J. Patrick Lewis’s poems, some of which are written in the first person. Each one is a gem, a reminder that our rights should never be taken for granted. Somewhere someone had to fight for them.
At the back of the book readers will find further information about the seventeen activists who are featured in the book.
To discover a tree's memories is impossible. To seek a pebble's experience is also impossible. We spy on water's motion but in the end we still can't touch its core. The cloud has always been there, we exhaust our energy to understand its will, yet there's no hope it will reveal the sky's mysteries.
Poetry also has the will of clouds with words like rain, to avoid madness it creates more madness. Just as when love is written down, it loses half of its sincerity. When explained, there is only a layer of sticky mist left. No one is quick or deft enough to capture poetry for long. Everything perfect contains a dark cave.
My brother found this poem and shared it with me. I loved it in March, but I love it even more after poetry month. The line, "Just as when love/is written down, it loses half of its sincerity" seems to have been written just for me and my PO-EMotion collaborators! And I found so many dark caves last month...
Graduation weekend is upon us at the University of Richmond. I always find this a bittersweet time. While I am happy to have successfully navigated another academic year, I am saddened to say goodbye to the many students I have forged bonds with in their time here.
In the spirit of commencement, new beginnings, and endless possibilities, I am sharing this poem and dedicating to all the students graduating this weekend, especially those in my corner of the world.
In 1976 my family left our home in war-torn Lebanon and we traveled, on a freight ship, to the island of Cyprus. Like so many refugees, we had very little when we got to our destination. When you are fleeing a country you don't have time to pack up much. The first few months were hard, but what made them easier was the fact that people who barely knew us reached out to us. The people we met in Cyprus knew what it was like to be refugees, and they helped us as much as they could. Their kindness and compassion made a great deal of difference to us.
Today's poetry title explores the many ways in which people help one another. Even the smallest acts of kindness can have a huge impact.
Lend a Hand John Frank Illustrated by London Ladd Poetry Picture Book For ages 5 to 7 Lee and Low Books, 2014, 978-1-60060-970-1 Many people are eager to do something big with their lives, to make a noticeable difference in the world. What they sometimes forget is that they can have a meaningful impact by doing small acts of kindness every day. Doing these kinds of things are the “first steps to changing the world.” In this book we see the kinds of compassionate things people do for one another as they go about their day. Beautifully written poems capture these moments, showing readers how powerful such actions can be, both for the person who receives the gift of kindness and the person who gives it. We see how a child shares her sandwich with a new girl at school, who is sitting alone and lunch-less nearby. We meet a little boy whose is caring for a little puppy, a puppy whom he adores. In the not too distant future the boy will have to give the puppy away because the dog is going to be “someone’s eyes / one day.” Then there is the girl who has her long beautiful hair cut off so that it can be sent away “to be part of a wavy wig / worn by someone / whose hair / sickness stole.” Another young person reaches out to a stranger by writing to a soldier who is serving his country many miles away. The boy reassures the soldier that no matter what happens he will not forget the soldier or his service. Sometimes an act of kindness can be as simple as helping a boy make his bike work “as good as new” without charging him for the time it took to test the wheels and tighten a bolt here and there. It can be as simple as that same boy helping a woman load her grocery bags into her car and refusing to take any money for his time. It can be as simple as a kindness being handed on from person to person, on and on. In this empowering and meaningful poetry collection we see how simple it is to reach out and connect with others. It does not matter if we know them or not. It does not matter if we never even meet them. Our acts make the world a better place, one simple kindness at a time.
What I love most about my 2015 National Poetry Month project is what I love most about writing poetry: I had the vaguest of notions how the whole thing would play out, and it grew to be more than I ever could have imagined.
Not I -- we. The most amazing thing about the month was writing alongside Carol, Kimberley, Kim, and Steve. I loved overlapping challenges occasionally with Jone, and also having Carol V., Linda, Heidi and Kevin write with us occasionally. The conversations in the comments both at A Year of Reading and Poetrepository kept me going.
I'm proud of my collection as a whole, but there are a couple with inside jokes I'd like to share.
On April 29, I tucked the adage, "Pride goeth before a fall" into this poem:
Is it branches full of unopened blossoms against an impossibly blue April sky?
Or could it be rows of trees, heavy with fruit in late summer, yellow jackets hovering?
Look down. Is it in the remains of the bounty, rotting after October frosts?
There's a whole blogpost to be written about my email haiku lessons from Diane Mayr. In that future blogpost, I will show how this pair, seen here still in draft, have undergone an amazing transformation through a series of gentle nudges by Diane!
Until then, get over to Space City Scribes, where Ellen has the Poetry Friday Roundup today!
During the month of April the Poetry Seven spent their time working on the pantoum. Here is a description of the form.
The pantoum is a poem made up of stanzas of four lines where lines 2 and 4 of each stanza are repeated as lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza. The final stanza of a pantoum has an interesting twist. Lines 2 and 4 are the same as the 3rd and 1st of the first stanza, thereby using every line in the poem twice.
Keep in mind that this form of poetry is of an indefinite length. It could be 3 stanzas, 4 stanzas or 20!
There was no theme this time around, just two words--certainties and flight.
My very first thought was the phrase "certainties of flight." This made me think of birds and later, baby birds. I ended up writing many, many versions of a wood duck poem. In the first draft I shared with my sisters, the 2nd line of the 2nd stanza was "in trees that stretch so tall." I disliked "so tall" and wanted something like towering trees, but couldn't find a way to say it. Then it hit me that I was describing one nest and needed only one tree. So, I changed it to "in a tree that stretches tall." I still wasn't happy with the description, but wanted to keep the end rhyme because I liked where it took the poem. In the most recent version I picked a specific tree and chose the word sky for my end rhyme. This one change, of course, meant changes elsewhere. Without further ado, here are both poems, the first shared draft and my most recent revision.
My writing of the above poem was inspired by something I saw several years ago while watching the BBC series Planet Earth. Of course, these are Mandarin ducks, but woods ducks have the exact same experience, and this jumping/falling from a great height stuck with me.
While working on the wood duck poem, the phrase "flight risk" kept popping into my head. When it took root and wouldn't leave, I started thinking about escaping small town life and began working on a second piece. Here is an early draft of this poem, also still a work in progress.
She was a flight risk from the start with dreams too big to be restrained small town girl, big city heart she sought an honest life unchained
With dreams too big to be restrained by certainties of rural life she sought an honest life unchained wouldn’t be some farmer’s wife
Forget the certainties of life she was reaching for the moon refused to be some farmer’s wife and disappeared one afternoon
She was reaching for the moon small town girl, big city heart she disappeared one afternoon fled to chase a brand new start
When I woke, the lake-lights were quivering on the wall, The sunshine swam in a shoal across and across, And a hairy, big bee hung over the primulas In the window, his body black fur, and the sound of him cross.
There was something I ought to remember: and yet I did not remember. Why should I? The running lights And the airy primulas, oblivious Of the impending bee - they were fair enough sights.
At the Storyteller's Inkpot, Koertge has written about working with a student/poet who refused to write in forms. It's an interesting piece that makes a good case for writing in form. And Koertge ends on a note that gives me hope. He says:
Most of my poems are failures, anyway, but as Samuel Beckett (Mr. Sunshine) famously said, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
When I embarked on my NPM project this month, it was in part a reaction to rhyme exhaustion. Often times I think and feel the way Laura Shovan describes in her piece Why I Hate Rhyme. If you haven't read it, you should. And ultimately, it's not really hate. Laura says:
In reality, I don’t hate rhyme. Instead, I recognize that using rhyme in a poem is a complex task.
Amen and AMEN. Many forms that I write in actually use rhyme, but I don't feel boxed in when following the "rules," but rather feel free to play within them. In doing this, the rhymes feel less forced and more thoughtfully selected.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge. Happy poetry Friday friends!
Young children are often wonderfully receptive to poetry. There is something about the rhythm of verse that appeals to their ears. In today's poetry title readers will find a collection of beautifully rhythmic poems that perfectly capture the adventures, images, and sensations that children experience as the seasons go by.
Changes: A child’s first Poetry Collection Charlotte Zolotow Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke Poetry Picture Book For ages 3 to 6 Sourcebooks, 2015, 978-1-4926-0168-5 Charlotte Zolotow was a prolific writer who wrote more than ninety published books for young readers, two of which won Caldecott Honor awards. For four decades, in her capacity as an editor-publisher at HarperCollins, she worked with wonderful writers such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maurice Sendak, and Arnold Lobel. In this wonderful collection, twenty-eight of her poems are brought together to offer young children a beautiful journey through the seasons. They are being published in what would have been Charlotte’s centenary year, and therefore they serve as a fitting tribute both to her and to her “ability to frame the largest, boldest truths for the smallest, newest readers.” The collection begins with a poem called Change, which explores the joys of “Celebrating the Seasons.” We see how one season flows into another, a process that is full of change and wonder, and yet in the end, when the year comes full circle, the only thing that has really changed is us. We have grown up and grown older. Next we begin our journey with poems about spring. We see a river winding through a meadow and experience the spring wind which “comes gently after the rain / smelling of spring and growing things.” We lie in the grass and see a small bird flying over the trees. We meet some violet sellers and celebrate the simple beauty of crocuses and pansies. In summer we share a moment with a child who is watching a honey bee. That “shimmering clear / making the sky seem very near” moment is his to relish and enjoy. We see how blue is a true summer color, the color of “the sea at noon,” bluejays, blueberries, larkspurs and “the sky itself.” We experience the essence of time spent by the sea, and meet two denizens of summer; a fly and a beetle. Autumn is a time when “the light long summer / is grown old.” It is a time of falling colorful leaves, of school days, and Halloween costumes. Following close on its heels comes winter with its snow and frozen rivers. “Black and still” trees are stark and beautiful, and now when toes feel the cold, we remember the summer sun. Paired with sweet illustrations that capture the magic of the seasons, these wonderful poems will delight readers, young and old alike.
April is National Poetry Month! All month long we’ll be celebrating by posting some of our favorite poems for Poetry Friday. For our third Poetry Friday post, we chose Song in my Heart by Tony Medina, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Jackson from I and I Bob Marley.
Song in My Heart
I am the boy
From Nine Miles
The one sing
Like three little birds
In a reggae style
The one blessed
To travel miles
Across the world
With my island girl
Guitar in hand
And my dreads
In my belly
In my heart
Healing the world
With my reggae art
Keeping you always
Like a song
In my heart
Let us know what poems you’re reading in the comments section!
Today is Day 24 of the 2015 Progressive Poem created and nurtured by the lovely Irene Latham. This project is a community writing experience where a poem travels daily from blog to blog, with each host adding a line. It began on April 1st and is nearing its end. I am happy to be participating for the very first time this year, though am bit intimidated by the form and subject. I'm really not a narrative poem kind of girl, or a free verse girl (not often anyway), so adding a line was a daunting task for me.
As the poem has moved from one poet to another, it has occasionally been reformatted. To date, no one has done the kind of work that my predecessor did, however! Tamera Wissinger's transformation of the line breaks is a thing of beauty. I've kept Tamera's version for those who want to see it carried on in this fashion. For those who need to see it in its "original" couplet form, I've got that too.
So, without further ado, here are both forms of the poem (same words, different breaks), with my line added to the end of each.
She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta. Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica. Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
in wild wind
as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag, pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet, strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.
hair first down the slide… splash! She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad, listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp
of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory;
“Born from the oyster,
expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow
reflection on the smallest dewdrop.”
The surface glistens, a shadow
above her head, a paddle
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes. Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist– She’s swifter than a dolphin,
leaving him only
of his own
“Watch for her.
You’ll have but one chance
to decide. Garner wisdom from the water
and from the pearl
of the past.”
In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he
into the shimmering water where hidden sentries restrain any pursuit and the bitter taste of impulse rushes into his lungs. Her flipper flutters his weathered toes – Pearl’s signal – Stop struggling. The Sentinels will escort you He stills, closes his eyes, takes an uncharacteristic breath of ... water! Released, he swims Version 2 (Couplet Version)
She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta. Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows, snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,
pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet, strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.
Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash! She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,
listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.
Born from the oyster, expect the pearl. Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.
The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.
Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman
with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist– She’s swifter than a dolphin, slipping away, leaving him only a handful of
memories of his own grandmother’s counsel: Watch for her. You’ll have but one chance to determine—to decide. Garner wisdom from the water and from the pearl of the past.
In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he leaps into the shimmering water Where hidden sentries restrain any pursuit and the bitter taste of impulse rushes into his lungs
Her flipper flutters his weathered toes –Pearl’s signal–Stop struggling. The Sentinels will escort you
He stills, closes his eyes, takes an uncharacteristic breath of ... water! Released, he swims
Tabatha Yeatts is up next. I can't wait to see where she'll take us (and them!)
If you want to see how this poem has come together, you may want to begin at Day 1 and follow its evolution. Here is list of this year's participants with links to their posts.
When I was in elementary school I can remember feeling that time seemed to slow down during the last lesson of the day. That last bell seemed to take forever to ring. When it rang I knew I was free, until the next school day began.
Today's poetry title explores those almost-out-of-school and free-of-school times.
After the bell Rings: Poems about After-School Time Carol Diggory Shields Illustrations by Paul Meisel Poetry Picture Book For ages 5 to 7 Penguin, 2015, 978-0-8037-3805-8 For children, the moment when the last bell rings at the end of a school day is a special time. After that bell rings they will be free at last, and all kinds of activities await them. Before the bell rings they are “Like horses at the starting gate,” watching the minute hand tick, ticks around the clock face. It feels as if “the clock on the wall has stopped.” They are not the only ones who are happy when the bell rings. Their teacher is also glad that her work day is coming to a close, and for her too the last two minutes before the bell rings “are the slowest of all.” Once they are free, children head off for home to play video games, practice their musical instruments, and battle with homework assignments. They have a snack, read a book, send text messages and hang out with friends. There are so many things to do, but kids can become bored all the same. If this happens, children must never, ever mention that they are bored because if they do they will end up mowing the law for Dad or sweeping for Mom. If children do get bored the trick is to “look busy and don’t show it” and make sure that they “Don’t let your parents know it!” This amusing poetry picture book takes readers into the lives of children after they are released from school. The poems come in many forms, including one that is made up of a series of text messages that fly between two children. We hear from a boy whose sister’s violin playing is making his life a misery, and another whose mother catches him playing a video game when he should be doing his homework. Then there is the girl whose afternoons and Saturdays are so booked up that all she wants to do on Sunday is to “just take a nap.” Children and their grownups will surely enjoy this clever trip into those wonderful after-school hours when children, if they are lucky, get to do at least some of the things that they dreamed of doing when they were sitting in class.