Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - Small Moments

My dad's been gone just over two years now, and I find myself thinking back on the small moments we shared. These musings have me wondering what events my son will one day remember. Will it be eating chocolate gelato at the farmer's market at 8 am? (Yes, that was this weekend!) Will it be curled up on the couch together reading a book? Or perhaps the times hunched over the dining room table working on a puzzle?

Let's write about little things this week--the things we do with others that lead to lasting memories. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. I wrote this one in January but it seems right for this stretch:


    Yes, I prefer a black tea, decaffeinated,
    but the golden clusters of chamomile,
    ground apple to the Greeks,
    teases my eyes with its mustardy flowers.
    I drank it with a friend today,
    she regaling with me tales of her students,
    the books she is teaching, a funny story
    about a recumbent bike as I sank deep
    into the cup serviced by the dark teapot,
    its squat body nubbly as the florets.
    Maybe heaven is like this: a cup of tea,
    a friend, steam rising from flowers,
    and talk of books and bikes.

    ©Jane Yolen All rights reserved

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Though my youth was the heyday of the cassette tape, my dad was (and is) an amateur disc-jockey, and he shared his love of spinning records with my sisters, brother, and me. Here's an early draft of a riff-in-progress about those lost LP's of the late '70s and early '80s:

    alan freed coined rock and roll in my garage
    by steven withrow

    when i was nine
    in orwell’s year
    of doublespeak
    and mtv

    i learned to be
    a fan, a freak
    of sound design—
    my inner ear

    ajar, attuned
    to new-wave live
    and synthpop bass—
    my world began

    duran duran
    in outer space
    while blondie crooned
    on forty-five—

    one elvis dead—
    another dubbed
    costello pumped
    it up post-punk

    and vinyl junk—
    the needle jumped
    out of its tread
    as drum loops drubbed

    an auctioneer’s
    hypnotic line—
    the hiss, the creak
    of thirty-three

    revolving me—
    a cirque plastique—
    in orwell’s year
    when i was nine

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  4. As an elementary teacher, I encourage my students to find these details, these small moments, in their writing. Without support, "My mom is nice," or, "I like pizza," sentences is all some will risk.

    To model this type of writing, I still like to share George Shultz's, Happiness Is a Warm Puppy. Copyrighted in 1962, I still remember when my teacher read this to me!

    I also share Joyce Sutphen's "The Book of Hours" found one day on The Writer's Almanac ( Although sophisticated, intermediate students do get it.

    When our class wrote about these small moments, I wrote a poem about the cardboard box my daughter turned into an airplane; how she invited me to fly with her. She grabbed the sides of the box and flapped them like wings. The air rushed by my face and I gasped, amazed at how high she took me.

    Unfortunately, I think my only copy is in a journal locked up at school for the summer.

  5. The Night Farm

    On a stoop
    in the dead
    of night
    and above
    the stars
    sown like seeds
    in the sky.

    Sprinkled with
    space dust
    they explode
    and sprout
    and I watch
    them grow
    into a

    C Barbara J. Turner, all rights reserved


    Making breakfast
    scrambled eggs!

    Mosquito bites
    on our legs.

    Gazing at stars
    until dawn

    Playing soccer
    on our lawn.

    Every summer
    we are free

    To rule the world
    You and me.

    (c) Charles Waters 2011

  7. TIVO Parties

    Remote control. Chinese food
    in small white boxes. Talk
    of her boss and my students.
    Pausing the crime show
    every five minutes to guess
    whodunnit. Old jokes and new ones.
    Hugs hello and good-bye.
    Evenings spent with my sister,
    as simple and important
    as a glass of water, with its memories
    of ocean and sky.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

  8. Steve, I love your poem!

    My contribution to the Stretch is about place (oh, Paris!) and the small objects we bring home with us to remember those places by.


    She bought the blouse on the Rue des Rosiers
    because she loved the buttons,
    all true mother-of-pearl, all small.
    Three closed each cuff, one secured the collar,
    eleven lined up nicely down the silk
    from throat to belly— each button
    would be one word in the opening sentence
    of her next book, Le Livre des Cent-et-un Fantaisies Parisienes