Tiny Slivers Timeline

Slice of Life on TwoWritingTeachers.org 25 May 2021

Here are a few slivers of my life on Monday in a variety of zappai, septercets, and hay(na)ku.

Tiny Slivers Timeline

up and doom scrolling
unusual for me these days
too early for this

enjoyed tea, which my
husband prepared, sat with him
while he ate breakfast

my husband
a buzz haircut

the news
too much pain

Rush to the shower
Oops! Class starts soon! Made it! It’s

Made oatmeal on stove
Added mashed banana and
Splashed with almond milk

Spy the ignored dough I thawed
this morning, I baked cookies
for Keith to deliver soon

Log in to a Zoom meeting
Shared concepts for a farewell
party for our principal

Finished the meeting
so I came to start this post
Wrote in #MayPoems

used up
all my hearts

ripe peaches
to save them


pasta and
peaches for lunch

Think Tank
Report to coordinators

with hubby
and everything nice

Meet with
many MENA teachers

leftovers for
dinner, cook tomorrow

and drawing
for poetry inspiration

Happy call from Poland, but
Alex learns of Bahrain’s new
Ban, Covid numbers. Can’t come.

Zoom Bible study
Bent woman made whole and straight
Jesus delighted

to console
a grieving friend

to read
awhile before bed

“Have you seen Glitter Bomber?”
My husband asked. “Mark Roper’s
stopping porch pirates.” We binged.

That’s enough
Time for bed

November 22, 1963

I was inspired by a Slice of Life I read last week on Kathleen Neagle Sokolowsk’s blog. She wrote a poem about a special place as a model for her students. She chose to write about her grandparents’ home on Dianne Street. In addition, I had also just read a prompt post by Christie Wyman about a similar memory poem that ended with “But mostly, I remember…” so I used that, as well. It is amazing how you can be given a gift of memory through the right writing prompt. This day and idea came to the top of my list when I thought about my elementary school. I didn’t as much remember the place as the experience, but I did try to focus a bit on where the memory happened as well.

November 22, 1963

I remember walking down the hallway at Grove Avenue Elementary School on the concrete, smooth and worn. The paint was mostly removed and the surface polished by decades of saddle shoes and loafers padding through the corridors.

I remember arriving at the library with the welcoming smell of old books and happier times. Normally this was the place to sit on the carpet and hear the teacher read us a story of conjuring and castles, of dragons and dreams, of enchanted fishes and wishes granted or denied. One time I even got to sit in the teacher’s chair and turn the pages of the big LP storybook every time Tinker Bell rang her little bell on the record player. Not today though.

I remember Mrs. Leuer leading us into the library with her commanding presence, where wordlessly she told us to sit crisscross applesauce on the floor. Her black soft curls were like Elizabeth Taylor’s.

I remember the sad realization that there was no story today.  We sat in front of the big, black box of a television on a stand.

I remember the tears raining down my teacher’s cheeks. She removed her glasses and wiped her eyes while she watched the news on this brisk fall day.

I remember feeling worried, with my fellow kindergarteners, as we looked on in confusion at the adults who should be in control but weren’t.

But mostly I remember learning that Caroline and John-John didn’t have a dad any more.

Two Simple Poetry Prompts

Recently I read Holly Lyn Walrath’s post on Medium about her favorite poetry writing prompt.

“Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”

As she said, that is so simple. I tried it below with a line from a book I’ve been reading, Holy Curiosity by Winn Collier. The line I chose was: “Fear is a second self”

My first self was born of joy and gladness
Then I sat with brokenness around me
My second self became fear and sadness
What and when will my third self be?

Walrath also tells of another prompt she learned from Jericho Brown. This is where you choose an existing poem and replace every word with an opposite word. Then you go back and polish it up.

For my first attempt I wanted to check out the process, and see if it was worthwhile to come back to. What better mentor than “Twinkle, Twinkle” I thought.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

‘Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav’ller in the dark,
Tho’ I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


Darken my voluminous insignificance,
I have no interest in your dissonance.
Down under the heavens so deep,
Unlike any catastrophe on cliffs steep.

When the inauspicious draws to closeness,
When she bathes everything in darkness,
Then I conceal my magnanimous gray,
Darken, darken throughout the day.

It was my depressed and massive night,
Shading the resident in pure sunlight,
For that, you know not my coincidence,
Darken my voluminous insignificance.

After note: I decided I will try it again later with a text more meaningful to me. The process was puzzling and engaging.


Snapshots in Time is a poetry prompt that Susan Ahlbrand gave us in April. At the time, I wasn’t able to find the photo of my mom looking content and appearing to have it all in 1950–vogue style, trim waist, rugged husband, and four precocious kids in an L.A. suburb. A comment I left on the prompt was: “I wanted to write a poem called Feet, and how her feet didn’t handle those high heels for the long haul.” When I ran across the photo recently, I decided to write that poem today.

My Mom’s Feet

My mom’s style
She loved high heels
And rocked them for years
Pointed or open-toed,
Spectators, ankle straps.
Looking into fate’s eyes,
My sweet mama, whose fashion
Was foremost, saw her feet
Begin to fail her flair
Surgeries and treatments
Nailed hammer toes
Helped relieve
Her worn

Poetry Friday for Marvelous Mary Lee

Mary Lee Hahn, whose sweet Twitter profile says, “5th grade teacher, reader, blogger, poet-in-training,” is retiring. Congratulations, Mary Lee! Thank you for all the beautiful poetry “training” you share publicly. Children and teachers alike have been blessed with  your learning, writing, and teaching through poetry.

Recently Mary Lee wrote an onomatopoeia poem called “Sleigh Ride.” Here is the first stanza:

say the runners
sliding through the snow

It is a great form for using as a mentor to write about the sounds in a setting, so I share this poem in honor of Mary Lee; I wrote it today while my husband tinkered and made noise in the kitchen.

Keith Makes Healthy Pudding

Whoosh, pop
Says the refrigerator door
Opening for ingredients sweet

Burble, splish, splash
Says the water
Cascading over coming treats

Rattle, clash, grind, hum
Says the blender
Pulverizing nuts and berries

Rap, tap, clackety clack
Says the stainless steel dish
Filling with the dessert it carries

Slurp, yum, delicious
Says watching-and-listening me,
Fortuitous beneficiary

All the best to you, Mary Lee, in your retirement. Of course, I know you will continue your poetry training, writing and sharing, as the lifelong learner, creator and contributor that you are. Here are Mary Lee’s blogs: A Year of Reading and Poetrepository.

Thank you to Christie Wyman for hosting Poetry Friday today, a party honoring Mary Lee Hahn, at her Wondering and Wandering blog. And happy birthday to you today, Christie!

Happy Anniversary, Katie and Thomas!

A Blessed Day in May,
A Pantoum

Kat and Tom Get Married
Sweet news for the ages
A blessed day in May
Filled with love and spirit

Sweet news for the ages
Come to Joshua Tree
Filled with love and spirit
Overflowing into a lifetime

Come to Joshua Tree
Engagement with the bees
Overflowing into a lifetime
Of nectar fun and flowers

Engagement with the bees
Memories to bear the night
Of nectar fun and flowers
So many chapters unwritten

Memories to bear the night
Will sustain a life of laughter
So many chapters unwritten
For this Howlett Home

Will sustain a life of laughter
Of faith, hope, joy and love
For this Howlett Home
Then and now and into the future

Of faith, hope, joy and love
Kat and Tom Get Married
Then and now and into the future
A blessed day in May

Here is a tool to help create your own pantoum.

This Photo Wants to Be Poem

Lately I’m enjoying writing #PoemsofPresence with Margaret Simon and others on her Wednesday posts called “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem.” I anxiously wait for Wednesday morning, Eastern time in the U.S., which is afternoon for me. Today’s post has this picture of a dragonfly taken by teacher Lory Landry. You are invited to go and add your own poem!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lory Frioux Landry (@loryla63)

In my Blackjack poem with 7-7-7 syllables, or also called a septercet, I imagine the dragonfly is on a hunt for its next meal.

Caution-tape tail gives warning
Skeletal wings bowed in wait
Eyes focused on its supper

Flamboyant Tree

Slice of Life on TwoWritingTeachers.org 18 May 2021

Yesterday was my husband’s fourth day off from work in a row. It was Eid Al-Fitr over the long weekend, and now he is back at work.  Normally he works six days a week, so we don’t usually have such an extended time to revivify. It’s been a great week.

Yesterday’s pleasant and relaxed day included:

    • a long walk at the mall because it’s already too hot to walk outside
    • sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee (for him) and tea (for me)
    • shopping for a few needed items at the grocery store
    • time in the kitchen making applesauce and roasting broccoli, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and butternut squash (I love having Tupperwares full of healthy food in the fridge ready to dish up and warm throughout the week)
    • napping and reading
    • book study discussion with our kids (Holy Curiosity by Winn Collier)
    • Tweeting out a request for help to identify the tree below that I noticed at the mall
    • and finally going out to a neighborhood store to get a 5-gallon water refill

On the way up the elevator, after our walk to the store, my husband asked me if I was really happy not working fulltime this year. (After the first quarter this year, I began volunteering at my school.) Without hesitation I said, yes. It is the first year I’ve felt that I am living first and teaching second. For years in the past, I explained, I chose teaching over living. Teaching always held a disproportionate amount of my heart and time. That is a sad truth.

This is the tree I saw at the mall. It reminded me of the jacaranda tree, which I grew up with in California, except for these vibrant flowers.

I tried to figure out what this tree was, but I’m out of practice using a dichotomous key and I couldn’t identify it. I sent a tweet and Brenda kindly answered within five minutes, (reminding me of when I used to like Twitter.)

Today’s poem was inspired by this Flamboyant tree, also called Royal Poinciana tree (Delonix regia) and Flame of the Forest tree in India, as Prarthana later pointed out on Twitter. Our tree here in Bahrain is young or perhaps the climate is not quite right for all those gorgeous and showy blooms. I’ll be keeping my eye on it and see if it adds more color this summer.

Flamboyant Tanka

Flamboyance subdued
Young royalty in waiting
Trustingly hopes for
A brilliant crown of crimson
Meanwhile, playfully dances