Thoughts on Poetry Friday

This week I’ve been struck by all the small images, memories, and moments that inspire poetry for me and others. In “Supple Cord,” Naomi Shihab Nye remembered and shared this sweet childhood ritual linking her with her brother.

Supple Cord

My brother, in his small white bed,
held one end.
I tugged the other
to signal I was still awake.

Margaret Simon is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. I have been inspired to write beside Margaret many times over  the past year. Inspired here by “Zen Tree” and here by “Peep Eye”, and so many times at Ethical ELA, like here and here for two. I will be going back to her “Today’s Poem” again for inspiration, the poem that “gazes beyond the trees imagining…”

Margaret‘s “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem” has been a fun challenge and further inspiration for me lately. On Wednesdays, Margaret posts a photo, and others write a small collection of poems about one image–each always unique, with rich imagery that goes deep into the photo. Each person interprets and sees something beautiful. This week the image was of a bird’s nest in the garden at Margaret’s school. I was impressed with her student, Kaia, who wrote a letter to the superintendent to get improvements made in the garden for next year. Thank you, Margaret, for encouraging Kaia’s voice! I don’t think there is much more important work teachers do than making space for children to recognize, develop, and use their voice.  (Of course, I do acknowledge that teaching history, civics, reading and critical thinking skills to know how to use that voice is vital, as well.) Here’s the poem I wrote copy-pasted here. It wasn’t about the bird nest photo, but about Kaia and Ms. Simon who assessed the garden after a long dormant Covid season.

Kaia’s voice

A voice can be
a power displayer
a truth conveyer
a path lighter
a garden inviter
a hardship remover
a world improver
Your voice can be

In addition, I wrote a sestina this week inspired by Liz’s post last Friday. Afterwards, I was searching for different poetry form generators. This one is the best I found for the sestina; it’s by Rena Mosteirin, which comes compete with the code. Here are two more good poetry form generators for Pantoum and Villanelle.

Speaking of generators: I ran across this interesting Poem Generator, so I gave it a try. It’s like writing a Mad Lib poem. The first time I wrote silly things with answers that came to me as soon as I saw the prompt, as they suggested. The second time I tried it with words that made me think of peace.  I actually thought the second one sounded like a bit poetic.

Rorschach Poem

creep home
know Houlihan’s to try sunny late afternoon
ceiling fan getting dark
an owl is deep wide

I would go home if I am without gasoline

somebody a cowboy
stalking you.

Peace in Knowing

whisper home
live for wide sky to sip sweet dawn
heavens shining
a dove is slow and deep

Bring peace if I need a hand

somebody helper
reaching you.

Here is an invitation for you to write poetry with the Ethical ELA community. On June 13 there will be an introductory meeting for anyone who wants to learn more, and an open mic/writing hour afterwards. Click on the images below for more information. June’s Ethical ELA Open Write will be June 19-23 this month.

Today’s Poetry Friday post is hosted by Margaret Simon over at Reflections on the Teche.

27 thoughts on “Thoughts on Poetry Friday

  1. Wow! I am humbled by your post. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to inspire a poem from another. Thank you!
    Kaia got a response from the superintendent that they would have the outdoor classroom ready for the fall. She asked to be invited to see it. Putting it on my list for next year. We had a rough year, and I was so happy to be able to end it well. Your poetic response meant a lot to her. Thanks again!

    1. Margaret, thank you for hosting today, and for giving so graciously of your poetry to encourage others to write beside you. I’m so excited Kaia got to experience that on the last day of school, and that she can come back to see the improvements she helped create.

  2. I had goosebumps reading ‘Supple Cord’, Denise. For me it was my sister (5 years older) at the other end of “the soft cord with its little frayed ends”. We shared a room my entire childhood, until she left to get married. I love your peace poem, too. “Bring peace if I need a hand”. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Bridget. That soft cord with frayed ends has multiple meanings when it comes to sibling connections, doesn’t it? So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Thanks for sharing “Supple Cord” (new to me). You’re right about how small moments and images can inspire the most universally resonant poems. Love the lyricism of your second poem. 🙂

    1. Jama, thank you so much. I’m glad I could introduce you to a new poem. (You introduced me to a new one today too!) Yes, there are so many universal truths in poetry.

  4. Denise, I bookmarked this post because there are so many inspiring ideas about triggering a poem. I need to spend more time on it. I loved your results, and the last is especially evocative. “somebody helper/reaching you.”

  5. So much to love here, Denise. I had no idea there were so many poem generators. I have enjoyed writing sestinas in the past, will have to check that out. Margaret has offered much inspiration, I agree. We are all fortunate to have so much to inspire us. And, I love your peace poem, if only everyone would offer a hand.

    1. Thank you, Linda. So glad you could be here today and see some new things. I’m impressed that you have written sestinas in the past! I’m going to keep working on trying to do iambic pentameter, which is a part I totally neglected in my sestina.

  6. So much to love in this post, Denise., Like others that supple cord struck a chord with me, bittersweet because I lost my beautiful sister five years ago.
    how lucky Kaia is to have the courage to use her voice, a teacher to enable her, and a poet to respond.

    1. Sally, I’m sorry for the loss of your sister. I had four sisters and two brothers, and lost one 8 years ago and one 3 years ago, so I know too the loss as the cords drop.

      Thank you for your sweet words about Kaia.

  7. Thanks for the resources, Denise! I’m always looking to learn about new poetry forms.

  8. Denise, one of the things I love most about the Poetry Friday community of writers is the way inspirations ricochet amongst us: prompts, forms, generators, challenges, mentor texts, etc. Margaret inspires you…you inspire me! Thank you for the riches in this post, especially the (also new to me) Naomi Shihab Nye poem.

    1. That is a beautiful thing I’ve noticed this last month as I tried to write a poem a day. I didn’t think I could keep up with the inspiration to write. As you say, though, every Friday there are always multiple things from others that I try. Plus the inspiration from just daily living. I’m happy I tried it, as I never would have believed it possible.

  9. Well here’s a lot of goodness all bundled up together! Thanks, Denise, for highlighting other voices (young and older) and for pointing me at some generators–I’m intrigued!

  10. Oh, those long and separate lives make me sad. 🙁

    I love your poem about Kaia’s voice. And you’re right – encouraging the development of that voice is one of the main jobs of teaching!

    1. Yes, that poem is so rich, isn’t it? Thank you for your comment and for reading. Your post this week about the birds has been resonating with me all weekend. I’m enjoying more than ever listening to the pigeons cooing outside my window.

  11. Hi Denise,
    Thanks so much for sharing Supple Cord–what a wonderful poem, and entirely new to me.
    I was moved by your poem, Kaia’s voice, and how you frame all the possibilities for just one voice.
    Sounds as though you’ve been having fun with the poem generators. I, too, found Peace in Knowing poetic, especially:
    Bring peace if I need a hand

  12. Denise, I read your post on Friday and thought I wrote a response but I guess I did not send it out. Thanks for all the links and the poems you generated. I am still in the organizing phase of my life move so while I would like to join in the Ethical ELA fun, I am not ready to add one more task to my plate. Have a wonderful week.

  13. Yes! to encouraging children and young people to find and feel confident using their voices. I love the poem that was inspired by Kaia. Thank you for sharing the links to Ethical ELA and the poetry generators! I look forward to checking those out.

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