Monday, January 07, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Homes and Habitats

Hello All! Remember me? It's been five weeks. Where did the time go? I'll admit that I checked out with the end of semester work and holidays. 

I am back at work now and happily ensconced in the work of getting ready for a new semester. I did a lot of reading and reviewing over the break. One of the books I read was Marilyn Singer's A STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME. The poet in me loved the use of varied forms (free verse, triolet, villanelle, terza rima and more), while the scientist in me was thrilled with a text that introduced readers to oddities in the natural world. Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite poems. 

tube worms

Life is hard--it gets intense
          by deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
Superheated water rising,
          spouting out from tall, surprising
chimneys built on the ocean floor.
Yet there live giant worms galore
          in tubes that shield them from the heat.

Since reading this I've been thinking a lot about the places where we live. A recent trip to Manhattan had me thinking about living in cities and teeny tiny apartments that cost outrageous amounts of money, but I digress. Let's write about homes, habitats, or other places humans or animals might live. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.


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  2. This is a very early draft, and a real stretch for me in a somewhat bizarre, science-fictional direction:

    Against the Smart Houses, 2054
    By Steven Withrow

    It takes the work of arsonists
    Torching the ignorant abodes,
    Indentured homes with wooden souls
    Imploding into good dead loads,
    To reassure that none resists

    And then legitimate patrols
    With common slaver weapons kill
    Neural nodes of Swiss chalets
    (Apartment blocks in alpine frill)
    And call them “quality controls”

    While those who built us reappraise
    Our first impertinences—doors
    That, keyless, breathe before we budge,
    Lights left blazing, self-waxed floors
    Too slick for socks—they raise, and they raze

    Each tactless shack that they begrudge
    For gently overspreading space,
    Our limited lots on unleased lives
    Designed, condemned, to stand and face
    Our jury, wrecking-ball, and judge.

    ©2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  3. Ray Bradbury's The Veldt is inching nearer and nearer:

  4. Steven, it also made me think of Bradbury's story, "There Will Come Soft Rains."

  5. Deer at Home

    Out the dim back window at midnight I see
    the shape of a deer. He has come up the canyon,
    leaving its hide-and-seek trees, its creek
    that is quiet in winter. Under my window,
    protected by the overhang, is a patch of green,
    the vinca he despised in August. Now he will eat it.
    Then he and his cousins will congregate
    beside the warm house, tripping the motion sensor lights,
    startling me awake. There will be droppings,
    like mouse droppings only bigger. This house
    is my house, isn’t it? This place my place
    and not some strange abutment to their home?
    They tell me with long looks that it is not
    my backyard, but theirs. Especially the old stag,
    who stands outside my window, a blurred
    cookie shape against the snow. I have bedded down
    for the night inside, and soon he will bed down
    beneath the pine at the back of the yard
    like an ox in a crèche. We will both breathe
    softly. How will he stay warm, the stag in the dark,
    whose home is always wider than mine?

    --Kate Coombs, 2013
    all rights reserved

  6. I really enjoyed this, Kate. I'm wary of the long line in my own work, but you handle it very well here. " I especially like:

    soon he will bed down
    beneath the pine at the back of the yard
    like an ox in a crèche.

  7. for children...


    TV is an iffy
    makes me laugh,
    but then again,
    spins my head,
    shakes my stance.
    even makes my
    eyeballs dance.
    sometimes I
    just turn it down,
    shut it off,
    twist it ’round—
    because I’d rather
    go outside
    than diddle with
    this digi-guy.
    I want to climb
    a giant tree,
    pretend I’m on
    a ship at sea.
    I want to ride
    a breaking wave,
    sail into
    a secret cave.
    I want to skip
    and sing
    and dance—
    play all day,
    if I’d the chance.
    I’m sick of sitting
    in the house—
    staying in
    and looking out—
    I want to feel
    the world I see.
    I want to touch
    that giant tree.

    (c) jgk, 2010

    1. Julie,
      May I share this with my K-1 students?

  8. Log House: Monterey

    The dirt road twists one more time
    and there looms the log house,
    as if it has grown in this shady spot,
    planted by a master gardener
    who daily cultivates its plot.
    The house is not shiny new,
    Spiders have moved into the chinks,
    crevices, notches, nicks.
    Two squirrels compete hourly
    for bird seed, their acrobatics
    informing the next Circque du Soleil.
    A golden dog, filthy from rubbing
    shoulders with a pile of dirt in the garden.
    greets me as if I am mistress of this place,
    not she. Her owner nods in my direction,
    comes over, hugs me, leads me inside.
    As outside, in the spiders have also
    spun their marvelous tales.
    No one has thought or dared to think
    about dustcloth, washcloth, clootie, or shine.
    And yet. . .and yet. . .it is clearly a home,
    not of a tidy man, but one who loves his place,
    where the forest invade every space,
    making nests and nooks and crannies,
    better than any tidy closets with pristine shelves.
    Here birds sing deep-throated all day long,
    the nights so cool and still
    they bring dreams without longing,
    and a new peace to the heart.
    I could not live here, but I can visit,
    for those moments of stillness
    make the rest of life the shadow to this shade.

    ©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  9. How lovely! I'm not a poet, but I'm happy to have stopped by today to enjoy this blog and poetry-comments!


    I'm looking for a place to stay,
    Where I can waste away my day
    A place of zen, a place of calm,
    Where I can't hear "Mom, Mom, Mom!"
    To eat, to nap in peace and quiet
    Without my kids starting a riot
    I search forests, playgrounds, backyards when
    I let out a thankful grin,
    For the next 6 hours I'll take a break
    Floating on my neighbors lake.

    (C) Charles Waters 2013 all rights reserved.