Ethical ELA Open Write – Two Poem Prompts by Tracie McCormick

Golden Shovel for Monday, 19 July 2021

Striking line is from James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes” – You can sing the song when I’m gone.

My sweet daughters, you
have grown into activist women who can
and will join God to sing
justice over the
brokenness. Singing a new song
to fight injustice for Earth and her children. When
you are old and have left the world better, I’m
going to smile from the long gone.

Villanelle for Tuesday, 20 July 2021

In an opinion piece by Kate Cohen today: “The two numbers that could get people to take the vaccine” at The Washington Post. I found not all, but most of the words and phrases for this poem.

Numbers Tell the Truth: Deaths of Vaxxed vs. Unvaxxed

Life-saving vaccine effective and free
Urging us to avoid it is a powerful campaign
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

“Politicizing [this] is an act of outrage and frankly
moronic,” said Mitt Romney, his repute retained
Life-saving vaccine, effective and free

A running tally of who is dying would decree
the truth of the disinformation as inhumane,
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

Right wing lawmakers and talk-show hosts on a spree
to lie about microchips that will put us in chains
Life-saving vaccine effective and free.

Succeeding to a spectacular degree
is the lethal propaganda created to entertain
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

History-making, world-saving efficacy
Look at the facts; truth will remain
Life-saving vaccine effective and free
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

The final post was by Tracie and Mo: “A Moonlight Experience” I didn’t have much time, so I just wrote a few lines about a full moon I saw in the high desert that woke me up one night. I went outside and walked around thinking it was a cross between sunshine and moonlight. I had never seen such a bright full moon.

ripe as a pumpkin
full moon beams and shines
as bright as serene sunshine

Sharing our Stories Magic – No. 63: regroup

Sharing our Stories Magic #sosmagic

This regroup prompt came out from The Sharing our Stories Magic just after I pressed submit on my very last step in earning a TESOL Advanced Practitioner Certificate. Earning that certificate was a process that should have taken six months, but took me two-and-a-half years thanks to the pandemic and changes in my teaching status. I feel quite free today, and ready to regroup and think about the next big thing. Here is a post I wrote just two weeks ago with my summer to-do items (along with some to-feel items).

Instead of writing about the next big thing, though, I was reminded of a big thing that happened in my childhood. In reading Glenda Funk’s Slice of Life from last Tuesday, I was reminded of my brother-in-law, who helped me regroup after the death of my father when I was seven. Though my father was not very involved in my life, his death was quite a blow to a family of seven, five of them still at home. I wrote a decima, a Spanish poetry form, created by Spanish writer and musician Vicente Espinel. It has 10 lines of 8 syllables each with a rhyme scheme of ABBAACCDDC. It was the Ethical ELA poetry prompt today, hosted by Mo Daley.

Superlative Supporter

Would I have ever played the game?
What would I do after Dad’s death?
Wait for adults to take a breath…
And then: “Let’s play catch,” you exclaimed.
Soon-to-be brother, fanned the flame
My passion for softball began
Every game…you, my greatest fan
Ardent and lavish cheers ensued
While the shells of the seeds you chewed
Piled, like pictures, at your feet

Pictures of playing in the street
Your eager “Yes, let’s!” on repeat.
Giving me the glove of your youth
Did not make me catch like Babe Ruth,
No matter what you said. Upbeat
always in your belief in me,
Credibly, not hyperbole,
You were there to help save my life.
Softball, with its fun and good strife,
Has stayed my love and helped me be.

Poetry Friday: A Surfeit of Poems, Clunkers, and Manavelins

This week I wrote a lot of poems; I was not a student of meter. In fact, what’s meter? I was just cranking out poems. So, Linda, I’m sure I have lots of bad lines for the clunker exchange. Linda Mitchell is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today, and she has lots of “clunker” lines to exchange. Go on over and visit to join in the fun.

It was time for the June Open Write at Ethical ELA. That was fun! I have five days worth of poems from this lovely community of teacher-poets. Days One, Two, Three, Four and Five, if you are interested. Next Open Write will be July 17-21. You are welcome to join us.

There was also Margaret’s “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem,” where I pulled a couple of clunkers for Linda.

I was on the committee to create a keepsake book for our principal and his family who are leaving next week to go back to the United States. I wrote one for each of the family members. These are the pages from the book that I wrote, after I removed the photographs of family, students, and staff, for the sake of privacy.

Perhaps all my reckless poetry writing this week is getting me ready for The Poetry Marathon coming up on Saturday. Are you participating? Here is a link to my page on the Poetry Marathon site and a link to my follow-up blog post.

I did spend some time thinking about Poetry Friday before I got so busy this week. I wrote a definito poem created by Heidi Mordhorst. In Heidi’s words, a definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. Quite a fun way to learn and write about new vocabulary words. You can read lots of great examples here on her definito post.

This isn’t the first definito I’ve written. I tried a definito a few weeks ago at Margaret Simon’s blog when her post was about Rigmarole. Remember? In the comments, she asked us to try one with the word poignant. I tried, but I wasn’t happy with it and as soon as I submitted, I knew I hadn’t defined poignant. I’m trying again today on a brand-new-to-me word: Manavelins, which was one of Dictionary.com’s words of the day last week.

Merriam-Webster defines “manavelins– odds and ends of food LEFTOVERS

Manavelins

When your family’s had a busy week
and dinner plans look bleak, just bits and
smidges of food left in dishes in the fridge–
tofu tetrazzini, a few pieces of beet,
a tub of butter, stale bread of sprouted wheat
a bowl of Gramma’s pasta, some sticky, gooey treats,
a few peaches and some plums, so cold and sweet,
four hard boiled eggs, and just a shred of meat…
then dinner becomes a rehash of this mishmash.
All those leftovers for dinner are manavelins.

And finally, here is one more poem I wrote to read at a 5C class poetry slam, the only grade 5 class I continued to co-teach throughout the school year. I taped it up near my camera, and everyone thought I had memorized it. I’m developing some bad habits with Zoom! (Or at least habits I’ll miss after this Zoom chapter.)

5 C Poetry Slam Poem by Mrs. Denise

 

Have you ever used the word manavelins?
Do you think I captured it in my definito of manavelins?

Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise is the host of Poetry Friday today.

 

Composing from Compost

Anna J. Small Roseboro had the prompt for today at Ethical ELA: Composing from Compost. She asked us to think metaphorically about compost and how we can revisit writing to improve it. “Often what we have written in the past can provide nutrients or seeds for future writing.” I loved this line from her poem: “That even when scared, we still can be light” I added it to my compost for today’s poem.

What fun it was. I felt like a gardener! I went to my own compost bin and dug around old poems I had written. I found a poem I wrote at the end of April 2020, a ode to the #verselove community after writing with them for my first month. It’s the second poem in this post. My Golden Shovel below is made with these lines from that poem:

Your poems are cathartic
for the arctic
sea in me
reminding me of open wounds
yet to be restored when
given your remedy

I also took from the compost and planted an idea from Emily D’s dream poem this week in her lines:

I dream a world healed
where your scars are beauty marks.

Another thing I added was something my Arab friend translated for a speech I was helping her edit: “bouquets of prayers” From what I’ve learned, the Arabic language is filled with beautiful figurative language, poetry, and beautiful images like these. I keep thinking of bouquets of prayers, so you will see it here too.

A Letter to the Open Write Community

Your writing nurtures me. Your
poems bring healing. They
are catalysts of courage and
cathartic for the hurts we have endured.
For bringing hope,
the poems are warmth that thaws the
arctic of my soul, this
sea of iced-over emotions. Investing
in each other takes time, a gift to
me, and mine to you–
reminding me of family.
Me, the one who only wrote for the audience
of my students, but now I am
open to writing in this space and beyond. My
wounds become shared. The scars
yet to become beauty marks, multiplied
to become divided. They will
be claimed as victories, life
restored and filled with joy.
When ideas have dimmed, and I have
given up out of fear, the fragrance of
your poems, these bouquets of prayers, will be the
remedy and light for my heart and pen.

 

June Open Write – Monday, 21 June 2021

We are writing poems at Ethical ELA’s Open Write for June, and I have the privilege of leading the prompts for the first three days. Here is Day 3’s prompt.

Inspiration

Today we are going to choose a mentor poem to help us craft. These mentors can come from anywhere you have read them, but I’d like to encourage you to choose a mentor from a writing community you are a part of–with students, peers, colleagues, or someone here in the Ethical ELA community. For those who have been writing poems with Ethical ELA, I know you have been inspired by fellow teacher-poets in this group. Today I chose a poem by Stacey Joy that struck me. Stacey wrote a sweet and beautiful poem called Love…. I was touched with the beauty and simplicity of her lines of similes. 

Love…

Your love is tender

Enveloping like a patchwork quilt

Deep love like a poem

Sweet love like butter cookies

Golden love like sunshine

An agape kind of love

© Stacey L. Joy, April 24, 2021
Used with permission by the poet. All rights reserved.

Process

Look back in your memory for poems or poets that have touched you from this or other writing communities. Find a mentor you want to use and be inspired.

Ideas:

  1. Write a poem with your mentor’s poem as a guide. Go back to the prompts and poems from Saturday, Sunday, last April or anytime to find a mentor. Choose your own topic and try using their form. 
  2. Try choosing a poem from today’s offerings that inspires you. You will be writing a third-generation inspired poem!
  3. Instead of a full form mentor, choose just one favorite line from another poem and incorporate that into your own poem. 
  4. Use Stacey’s mentor form on your own topic. Here is a form to use for her “Love…” poem. 
  5. Please share a link or information about the mentor poem/poet you found, so we can enjoy your inspiration too.
  6. As usual, feel free to write anything you need to today. 

 

Denise’s Original Poem 

Alcohol…

Your alcohol is wounding

burying our family 

in a wet shroud

Penetrating alcohol like the coyote’s yip-howl

Bountiful alcohol like a wake of vultures at dusk

Choking alcohol like a heart attack

A ravaging kind of alcohol

©Denise Krebs, April 24, 2021

 

Your Turn
Come on over to the Ethical ELA site and join us today. Or add a link to your poem in the comments section.