16 & 17 DFABW – Upstanders and YES

To Tammy
You were an upstander for Doris
I was the one you stood up to
I was embarrassed, but my proud
and ragged heart became better that day,
thanks to you
To Dr. C
You were the epitome of a commanding school leader
Physically strong and tall, with
wisdom to match. In our largely white population,
I loved what my children learned about
a powerful black man who led their school.
I was a stay at home mom and substitute teacher
at your school.
One day something happened and you were my greatest
upstander. I needed your support, and you were there
with all your power standing up for me. Thank you.

YES to upstanding! During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Yesterday’s word was Upstander. Today’s word is YES. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

16 DFABW – Laughter and a Slice of Life

16 August 2022 from TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today’s word is laughter. In Dictionary for a Better World, the laughter page has a sweet nonsense poem about a hippopotamus.

The nonsense limerick I wrote today is filled with jabberwocky, and it’s about a chiskly:

There once was a chiskly named Brox
who metted when he snit his regox.
With kepkug and koof
then taptug and toof
He just prates to go to the quox.

I hope you smiled, at least, on this National Tell a Joke Day.

In another slice of my life, we are beginning a do-it-yourself kitchen remodeling, or perhaps I should say a “kitchen opening up”. Fortunately, I have a sister who is helping with the impossible parts that we would never be able to do. We are getting pretty good at dismantling, though:

How we started
How it’s going (that is a new fridge, since ours went out this week)

This monsoon season has been fairly wet in the desert. I’m just sitting on the back porch enjoying hearing the rain hit this metal roof on the carport. I love that sound:

Then I had to move to the front because I was getting too wet…

Now I’ve finally come in the house for a while because it is even getting the porches wet. This is the most rain we’ve had all summer. It is so lovely and refreshing. I hope you are having a good summer day (without flash floods, that is).


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Today’s word is Laughter. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

15 DFABW – Tenacity

Your Tenacious Love

We were young and immature
I was inexperienced in love and dating
and you were my first boyfriend
Many decades ago:
You brought me flowers
You took me to 94th Aero Squadron,
the tide pools, your childhood home,
I met your parents, you fixed my VW,
we hiked and rode bikes and went to the beach,
we came to this desert to visit my grandma,
this same desert where we now live and grandparent
You thought you were so in love, but I was hesitant
We eventually broke up and dated others,
but our hearts were linked,
And you persisted.
You worked seven years to capture my heart–your Rachel you say.
At least I didn’t have to work for fourteen years, you also say,
as well as:
I can’t believe you are whatever years old.
I can’t believe I’m holding Denise Reed in the desert.
I can’t believe how blessed I am.

Thank you for holding me as I fall asleep
Thank you for caring for yourself so I can hold onto you longer
Thank you for bringing me healthy snacks when I don’t expect them
Thank you for praying with and for me
Thank you for holding my hand when we pray
Thank you for asking me interesting questions
Thank you for wanting to be with me
Thank you for waiting for me all those years ago to get ready to say yes
Thank you for your faithfulness these many years
Thank you for taking risks and being bold
Thank you for sharing your confidence with me
Thank you for being a role model in friendliness and service
Thank you for being vulnerable and inviting me to be too
Thank you for your resolute responsibility and love for our little family
Thank you for understanding when I don’t speak of my love as easily as you
Thank you for your tenacious love


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Today’s word is Tenacity. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

13 & 14 DFABW – Xenial and Dream

Instead of looking back with regret
wishing I would have done this or that
differently, maybe been more productive
Instead of me pilfering moments from yesterday,
I choose to grasp each remaining hour ahead,
like a forger of dreams
embracing the steel sighs of this life
holding to the hardware hope of love

Well, I want to keep thinking and responding to the words in our Dictionary for a Better World, but I have been neglecting to spend much time on it. Here is my quick write offering today using the prompt on Xenial to write this poem. And with tenacity, I will be back tomorrow!


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Yesterday’s word was Xenial. Today’s word is Dream. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

11 & 12 DFABW – Vulnerable and Listen

Vulnerable is not an easy word for me. Perhaps that’s why I skipped writing yesterday. I love the quote on our dictionary page 97, “…to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.” (Madeleine L’Engle) I have grown in this area from childhood when I tried to be “cute at all costs.” My husband is a good role model of vulnerability, and I have had the privilege of living with him for 39 years. So, today I’m trying to listen and learn and take down my guard.

The quote on the Listen page, “Even the silence has a story to tell you. Just listen. Listen” from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. It reminded me of how I am paying close attention to my sweet baby grandson. This is a tricube poem.

Milo

I’ll listen
to you tell
your stories.

Right now they
come in smiles
goos and gahs

A treasure
you are, gift
to the world


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Yesterday’s word was Vulnerable. Today’s word is Listen. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

Poetry Friday – More Sealy Books

I read just two poetry books this week, but they were good ones by Laura Shoven and one by many of you, edited by Bridget Magee.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shoven is a sweet, believable story of a school that has to close at the end of the school year. The last fifth grade works tirelessly to talk the Board of Education into changing their plans. The students, all 18, are lovable with bags of personality and each shows growth during the school year. Their teacher, Ms. Hill, is a peach, who encourages them to process their year by writing poetry. That’s what we get the privilege of reading in this great novel in verse.

Here is an excerpt of “Insubordinate” by Rachel Chieko Stein who was punished for being part of a protest against losing their school:

I got my first
detention ever
for being
“insubordinate”

(I looked it up.
In means “not.”
Subordinate means
“inferior.”)

I like the way
that sounds.

Me too, Rachel! Another super part of this book are all the resources in the back. “Favorite Forms from Room 5-H” includes descriptions of 17 forms, along with a prompt and example poem to turn to in the book. The prompts continue in the next session: “From the Fifth Grade Poetry Prompt Jar.” Then there is a glossary of poetic terms. Thanks, Laura. What a great resource for teachers. Now my copy is off to a fifth grade teacher friend in Iowa whose school will be closing after this year. I think it will be a great read aloud for them.

The other book I read this week is 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways, edited and compiled by Bridget Magee. It wasn’t my first time reading this clever volume. I love reading poems by so many familiar poets–Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Robyn Hood Black, Karen Eastland, Karen Edmisten, Janet Fagal, Mary Lee Hahn, Ruth Bowen Hersey, Molly Hogan, Michelle Kogan, Irene Latham, Bridget Magee, Linda Mitchell, Elisabeth Norton, Laura Purdie Salas, Janice Scully, Laura Shovan, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Alan j. Wright and Tabatha Yeatts. Wow! And that is not even all of the poets who are part of this collection.

Full of Bridget’s magical puns and play on words, the ten categories of tens are Tentative, Tenderness, Tenacity, Ten More Minutes, Tension, I Wouldn’t Touch that with a Ten-Foot Pole, Ten Little Fingers/Ten Little Toes, Take Ten, Tenth____, and I Tend to…

Here is a snippet of one of the Tenderness poems. It’s “Do Not Lose Your Song” by Alan j Wright, and I do think it is so tender:

When the sorrows of the wider world
pile up at your door
Do not lose your song

I have more books lined up for next week, and I have really appreciated taking time to read poetry each day.


Happy Birthday to you, and thank you, Margaret, for hosting Poetry Friday’s Roundup today. Head on over to Reflections on the Teche for some beautiful rainbows.

10 DFABW – Fuel

I’m sitting on the back porch fueling up–oatmeal with banana today.

Thinking of my rocky ride on dirt roads, so challenging, yet so fun,
It is a joy to be healthy enough to work and ride my bicycle so hard.

After a long, fatiguing trek today, chai and breakfast are satisfying,
Now I’m refreshed and invigorated, ready for the rest of my day.
It looks like my e-bike battery finished charging too.

I had fun with my cherita today. I hope when you read that last line, you maybe had a bit of my former attitude about e-bikes. I used to think electric-motored, pedal-assisted transportation was cheating. The first time (and only time before this year) that I rode one was on a Lime bike in Seattle a few years ago. I thought it was magical and like I didn’t have to work at all.

Then I moved to the desert, where loose sand, rocky paths, steep hills, dirt roads and more greeted me on my bicycle rides. Those first months, it was a major workout for me to ride three miles on my regular bicycle. Then we got e-bikes, and I’ve learned that they really can give a great workout! Now, I encounter all of the same road difficulties, but I have help. I can ride 15 or 20 miles, for an hour or two at a time. I often push myself to use less power than last time. I am getting stronger. An added bonus are the occasional “fuel” stops we make while out on our rides–donuts, Starbucks, or breakfast out.

Riding a Lime bike in 2018

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Fuel. I had fun taking the word “fuel” literally, rather than metaphorically, as Charles Waters did on page 40 in Dictionary for a Better World. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

9 DFABW – Pause

9 August 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today’s word is pause, and Charles wrote a pausing limerick. I decided to write a limerick too, which comes from my memories of decades of Augusts past, getting ready for another school year:

There once was a teacher so mired
in work that she always was tired
With no time to pause
She dug in her claws
and waited until she retired

I’m thinking of all you teachers, praying for you as you start a new year! I’m a little sad that school is going on without me, but mostly I’m excited that I am retired and able to take time to pause today…

On my bike ride, I stopped to take a photo of a rainbow.
I enjoyed a cup of chai

 

I spent some time with this endearing novel in verse by Laura Shoven because it is National Book Lover’s Day.
I paused to watch the slowly-moving windmills. You can watch them too:

 

We went to Palm Springs to run some errands and to go out for lunch. Like Charles did in his poem, we took time to thank God for the food, but then we shoveled the food right in. I forgot to take a picture!

We paused our trip home to meet a friend on the road.

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Pause. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.