Saturday, April 22, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Two: Evening Hawk

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam had a fascination with hawks. I often wondered what it was she loved, and if in part she was longing for the freedom of flight and the perspective on gets from a bird's-eye view of the world. Just a few weeks ago on her birthday, I arrived at church to find a hawk perched atop a car in the parking lot. It stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of photographs before it moved on.

Evening Hawk 
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo's messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, embodiments of clear vision, speed and single-minded dedication. — John Burnside
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Poetry Friday: School

Today is the last day of the semester. Soon we'll be sending a new crop of teachers off into the world. It's bittersweet really. I'm always ready for the end of the year, but I will be sad to see them go. This poem is for all my students who will soon be leading students of their own.

School 
by Daniel J. Langton

I was sent home the first day
with a note: Danny needs a ruler.
My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.
School is for rules, countries need rulers,
graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead.

Read the poem in its entirety.


In addition to this post, you may want to take a few minutes to read my National Poetry Month post(s). This year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love. Here are the posts I've shared to this week.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-One: At the Galleria Shopping Mall

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I once made the mistake of going clothes shopping with Pam. I tried on more clothes in that one trip than ever before or since. She had to twist my arm to get me to agree to put things on, and even once they were on I was reluctant to step out of the dressing room so she could see them. I really hate shopping, but Pam was an enthusiastic supporter, and tried desperately to enliven my wardrobe.

At the Galleria Shopping Mall 
by Tony Hoagland

Just past the bin of pastel baby socks and underwear,
there are some 49-dollar Chinese-made TVs;

one of them singing news about a far-off war,
one comparing the breast size of an actress from Hollywood

to the breast size of an actress from Bollywood.
And here is my niece Lucinda,

who is nine and a true daughter of Texas,
who has developed the flounce of a pedigreed blonde

and declares that her favorite sport is shopping.
Today is the day she embarks upon her journey,

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
For some, shopping is an art; for others, it's a sport. It can be a vice and it can be a cause. Some love it. Some hate it. Rarely is someone indifferent. ― Pamela Klaffke
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty: The Blue Scarf

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I've mentioned that Pam liked to buy gifts for people. Quite often she bought me clothes. I know she meant well, trying to add a dash of color to my monochromatic wardrobe, but I am a fashion disaster and no amount of well-intended effort on Pam's part was able to coax me to adopt her more audacious style of dress. I do have one very bright, very loud scarf she gave me that I pull out from time to time. I'll admit to feeling a bit bolder when I wear it.

The Blue Scarf 
by Amy Lowell

Pale, with the blue of high zeniths, shimmered over with silver, brocaded
In smooth, running patterns, a soft stuff, with dark knotted fringes, it lies there,
Warm from a woman’s soft shoulders, and my fingers close on it, caressing.
Where is she, the woman who wore it? The scent of her lingers and drugs me.
A languor, fire-shotted, runs through me, and I crush the scarf down on my face,
And gulp in the warmth and the blueness, and my eyes swim in cool-tinted heavens.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A scarf has to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear! It's a winding, a continuity, an infinity! — Sonia Rykiel
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Nineteen: Brewing Green Tea in a Glass ...

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Many of the intimate conversations with Pam, at the kitchen table, or curled on opposite ends of the couch, were over tea. I could always count on Pam to have something delicious, though I was not too fond of the numerous herbal and fruity varieties.

Brewing Green Tea in a Glass 
Percolator After the Regular
Brown Teapot Has Broken
by Molly Tenenbaum

These leaves don't spin like black
tea in a dark tornado,
but swing light as dragonfly-wings

though you wouldn't want dragonfly-wings
in your tea, allowed amount
of rat-droppings in cornflakes—

but that transparency, that iridescence—
wings, clearly,
with their dark tiny veins.

To start a pot of floating greenery
says the right thing
about the day, I think, that no one knows


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment. ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Eighteen: These Are The Gifts

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam was a gift giver. She never arrived for a visit without a housewarming fit of some sort. As someone who collects teapots, I have a number of small tokens from Pam that recognized this love. One is a small kitchen towel hook with an antique-looking teapot photo. There is also the teapot ornament that hangs on our Christmas tree. What I always appreciated about these gifts is that they weren't generic to a household, they demonstrated that Pam really knew who you were and what you would appreciate. And while the gifts were always nice, Pam was the real gift.

These Are The Gifts
          For my daughter, 2 1/2
by Gregory Djanikian

They are her signature:
Sea shells in our boots and slippers,
Barrettes under each of our pillows,
Marbles and flecks of clay
In the deep mines of our pockets.

Some we find quickly, others
Are lost to us for weeks or months,
And when we come upon them
In our daily disorder, we are struck
By her industry, this extravagance
Which secretly replenished
Our cupboards, baskets and drawers
With gifts from the heart.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Maybe some people just aren't meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It's like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that's why they're here. You'll have that gift forever. ― Danielle Steel, The Gift
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Progressive Poem - Line 17!

I've been watching this poem develop and I'm happy to be right in the thick of it.
This amazing project is organized by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. During National Poetry Month,  30 poets each add one line to a poem, making it progressively longer. This year, the only instruction was that this poem should be written for children. Below you'll find the previous 16 lines and my contribution, as well as links to all the participants in the progressive poem party. Here we go!

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?
By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!
I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book.

But wait! I'll share the lines I know by heart.


Progressive Poem Links
1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat's Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

Buffy, you're up! Can't wait to see where you take this.

Monday Poetry Stretch - Toddaid

The toddaid is a Welsh poetic form written in any number of quatrains. The lines alternate between 10 and 9 syllables (10/9/10/9). A syllable towards the end of the first line rhymes with one in the middle of the second line. This also holds for lines three and four. The end words for lines two and four also rhyme. Here’s what the rhyme scheme looks like. The rhyme can fall in any of the underlined syllables:

x x x x x x x b x x
x x x x b x x x a
x x x x x x x c x x
x x x x c x x x a

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a toddaid. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

NPM 2017 Day Seventeen: Home Cooking

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
On the last Thanksgiving morning Pam and I spoke, we were both up early prepping pieces of the evening meal and anticipating company. She mentioned she was a bit nervous about the day because she was including her ex-husband's girlfriend in the celebration. I remember her laughing and being quite gracious about the situation. I don't know that I would have been as generous. We hung up wishing each other a happy day, and I left immediately to find a poem. I called her back and read it to her and told her to think about it while she was cooking. We laughed together and then both went about our days. That poem is below.

Home Cooking
by Mary Ann Waters

Didn't you ever wonder about her passion
for cooking? The wooden spoons, the spatula,
the whisk, the way she slides her hands

over the smooth grain of the rolling pin?
All the jellies, the oils, the fragrance,
the abundance from her warm oven?

The little bottles with their corked mouths?
Why she flexes her thighs as she stirs
knowing you're there behind her,

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time when miserable. ― Dante Alighieri
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Sixteen: Kitchen Fable

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam and I had a tradition of speaking early on the morning of holidays, particularly Easter and Thanksgiving. We'd talk while we were in the kitchen getting ready for the day. Sometimes those conversations were serious, but at times they were downright silly. I miss those stolen moments and still think of her in those early morning hours as I prepare for guests and the day to come.

Kitchen Fable 
by Eleanor Ross Taylor

The fork lived with the knife
     and found it hard — for years
took nicks and scratches,
     not to mention cuts.

She who took tedium by the ears:
     nonforthcoming pickles,
defiant stretched-out lettuce,
     sauce-gooed particles.

Read the poem in its entirety. (And listen to it too!)


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Do a loony-goony dance   
'Cross the kitchen floor,  
Put something silly in the world  
That ain't been there before. 
― Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.