Concrete Poem – Tea Pot Spot

While I was out searching for more information on Poetry Friday, I found this post where Bridget Magee has put a month’s worth of poetry form and picture posts from April, 2021.

I chose one to be inspired by today. Her poem from April 6 is called “Watermark Moon,” which is a concrete or shape poem.

I made a teapot concrete poem today. A pot of tea in one of my many tea pot spots brings me great joy.

Imagination on Poetry Friday

Bridget Magee‘s sweet story about Mimi on “Career Day” brought back lots of memories for me, memories of challenging students that I didn’t fully appreciate. Educators often find it easier to reward the compliant above the renegade,
the pliant above the protestor,
the submissive above the stand-aloner,
the docile above the defector,
the faithful above the fighter,
the agreeable above the agitator,
the answerer above the questioner.

What would our world be like without that second group of believers? I’ve been thinking about the Mimi’s in my life today, often ones whose gifts and talents aren’t fully appreciated in school as we know it. I wrote a small poem about Mimi today.

Big Imagination

Sometimes students are smarter
than their teachers,
Captivating and creative,
Free and flashy.
Students like pre-SNL
eight-year-olds
Amy, Tina, Aidy and Kate before her,
Mimi knows something
most others in the room have yet to learn:
She can make a mark
Create a splash
Fling a spark
She knows how to plant a seed and reap a harvest,
To charm and quiet the powerful

Thank you, Bridget, for the inspiration today.

Yesterday I wrote another poem about imagination for the feature that Margaret Simon writes at her Reflections on the Teche blog: “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem” (Click that last link to see the photo we wrote about). I wrote a limerick about this sweet girl intent on her imaginative play.

There once was a girl full of dreams
Creating play magic, she beams
Colors everywhere
Her actions declare
The joy of keen-eyed extremes

However, I can’t seem to get a last line that I’m happy with. I started to retool it to:
“New joy in the journey redeemed” – maybe in a nod to easing Covid restrictions, but that isn’t clear in that line. Other last lines are eluding me, though there are a few good possibilities: team, stream, steam, scheme, theme, seem, supreme, esteem, sunbeam.

But then I went back to the original post and saw that Janet, the photographer and grandmother of the subject, wrote a positive comment about her granddaughter’s extremes:

So I kept the original so far, but I’m not satisfied. I am rarely convinced to call something a final draft. I’m always tinkering on revisions, so to all the poets who may be reading today:

Do you have a suggestion for that last line?

Tricube

I was just exploring posts from #PoetryFriday, something I’ve noticed a bit through the years, but always just from the sidelines. Today was the first time I thought maybe I could try to participate in it. I found the latest Poetry Friday post by Matt Forrest Esenwine. In this post he suggests a form called the Tricube. It’s a form that has number three cubed.

  1. Three syllables
  2. Three lines in each stanza
  3. Three stanzas.

Simple form, and I love mathematical poetry forms! So today, I will write a Tricube poem.

Questioning
the wisdom
of buying

From this fish
stand. Caught fresh?
Looks fishy.

Calm and cool
Cat hopes for
a handout.

Tornado Talking

“The Story of a Poem” with Patrice Vecchione on National Writing Project is today’s #MayPoems poetry prompt.

Patrice shared a magical poem called “Finders Keepers.” It was a really sweet picture of her father who looked down and found value. She suggested we write a poem about something we have found or something we have lost.

Tornado Talking

She was on the phone
when the tornado came.
And still chatting, 13 years later.
She’s been chattering
at least since the 60’s–
in her high-quality plastics
“Made in Hong Kong” on her back
relaxed and leaning on the book stack,
looking sharp in her blue V-neck cardigan,
casual pose, bent left leg propped up
on her right knee, foot bobbing,
talking about dates and homework.

She was blown 200 miles an hour
into a corner of the huge hole in the ground,
formerly the basement
of a house that blew away
in Parkersburg, Iowa, in May, 2008.

After the family in bits and pieces
redeemed what they could, they moved
out of town and onto Grandpa’s farm.
She stayed back with the other debris,
ready for our shovels to pick her up
along with other tiny neglected
bits and pieces of their lives.

We filled up trash bags with rubbish,
but she, with even more to say now,
went into my pocket.

Tic Tac Toe

Two Writing Teachers for 4 May 2021

It’s May now, and I just finished my second April writing a poem each day for National Poetry Month. It made me very happy to have a beautiful new prompt open for me each day at noon. Then to have a community of teacher-poets there to celebrate in reading and writing poems all month was a gift of great value.

Once I started looking for poetry prompts, I realized the world is alive with poetry, all invitations to learn, grow, and write. So I began to write #MayPoems because I already missed April’s poetry emphasis.

“The Story of a Poem” with Poet t.l. sanders on National Writing Project Radio was my poetry prompt for today. His poem, titled “This”, was about four Black women in American history, all with connections to society’s transportation and society’s transformation–Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Rosa Parks, and Maya Angelou. You can watch his poetry reading and invitation to craft a poem here:

See more on Poet t.l. sanders’ website and with others at Ride KC Streetcar who presented this beautiful poem on Storytelling on the Streetcar.

After sharing the story of his own poem, Poet t.l. sanders gave a craft lesson and a half. So much great information! Be sure to listen all the way through to when he describes his craft of using allusion, anaphora, and alliteration. (Three A’s for you to do A-work! he told us. I was able to get two in my poem!) 

In his description of how we can have a go at our poem, he suggested we take the tools of form, structure, and devices that we know and want to use. He also suggested providing an image (I took one from my Instagram account) and choosing a list of homophones and multiple meaning words to play with. (I used book, spring, fall, toes, where/wear, and letters.) He also said sometimes he sticks in a limerick or haiku to change the poem within. (I did that too.) Play was something that came up often in the video so I chose an image from school that included play.

Here is my photo and today’s May Poem.

Tic Tac Toe

“Over there in that blue square, put it there”
Children chatter and play close together
No six feet separate them on the playground back
Before masks muffled our mouths
Before our days were booked with Covid-19
Before our days left our books on shelves
Before–back when parents and children
crowded together
at dismissal time,
Before–back when
the speckled cardboard
letters sent a message of
fun and connection
We once played at Al Raja School
Now such is forbidden–so cruel
We held X’s and O’s
Touched our tic tac toes
But now everything’s been retooled
The painted lines sit untouched
Where we left them on the playground.
Where they do not wear, waiting.
Spring and fall and spring again
Seasons of school coming, going, waiting
With a spring in our step
With a pounce in our positives
Perhaps we will soon have a drop, a fall
With a vault in our vaccines,
Perhaps next spring
we can
jump,
leap
and
play
again.

Are you writing #MayPoems? Please share them here.