Monday, December 5, 2016

#haikuforhealing #6

autumns screen door bangs
one final time insistent
winter rushes in 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

4- #haikuforhealing

Golden Retrievers are my absolute favorite dog, but I have never owned a purebred dog.
This puppy is from the Warrior Canine Connection. The WCC breeds labs and goldens, which are then trained by veterans and used as service dogs for veterans.

Two haiku for tonight.

cold wet nose presses
against my hand reminding 
me all will be well


your golden advice
a long walk always makes
everything better

BACK STORY: For about the past twenty years, I have had a dog or two. First here was Ramsey- a golden retriever mix, then Maggie- a yellow lab, Star - a black lab mix, Jack Black- a rottweiler mix, Boo- my mom's maltese. No matter what kind of day I have had, or how crazy life gets, there is always at least one constant. The dog needs to be walked. And somehow, after a walk, life usually seems much more manageable. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

#3 #haikuforhealing

surprised by red
cardinals parading through
blue gray winter drifts

(C) Carol Wilcox

Backstory: I've been trying, pretty unsuccessfully so far, to participate in Mary Lee's #haikuforhealing. This morning, (when I was supposed to be getting ready to teach a class at 12:30), I  started poking around with the hashtag #haikuforhealing and discovered that lots of people are participating on Twitter. Some are participating by lifting a line from other poets. I wondered if I could do that.

 At Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche, I found my line. Margaret wrote about a plant on her back porch:
surprised by red
a glow of Christmas paper
wrapped in a flower
–Margaret Simon

 Red is my absolute  favorite color. And I loved the line, "surprised by red." I wondered if there was a time when I had been "surprised by red." And I remembered living in New Hampshire. The winters were so long and cold and snowy. And they lasted forever! I live in Colorado. We have, or used to have, cold, snowy winters, but they are really different. A week of frigid temperatures is often followed by an interlude of days in the fifties. And gray days are followed by brilliant blue skies. New Hampshire winters were endless snow and cold. By February, I was longing for color. One day, I was doing dishes, looking out the window. Four or five cardinals had landed in a tree in my front yard and were feasting on seed that a neighbor had put out. I was definitely surprised, or maybe even astonished by all that red! And there was today's #haikuforhealing! Thank you Margaret!

astonished by red
cardinals parading through
blue gray winter drifts

(C) Carol Wilcox

Friday, December 2, 2016

#2 #hugejoy


Princess drags rhinestoned
slippers from purple backpack
adjusts tiara
and prepares to pirouette
at most improved reader ball

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2016

Backstory: I thought I was going to write under the hashtag #smallkindness, but today I have to write about huge joy. This afternoon was our end-of-trimester awards assembly. One of my intervention students was selected as "Most Improved Third Grade Reader." Usually, the kids don't find out what awards they have won until the assembly, but somehow, she discovered earlier this week that she was going to win this award. She was absolutely beside-herself thrilled (so was her reading teacher!). This morning, when I walked in the door to work with her group, she immediately dragged me out into the hall. "I have something to show you," she said, opening her locker and pulling out her purple backpack. Somewhere, maybe from her ninth grade sister's middle school graduation, she had gotten a pair of sparkly, rhinestoned silver high-heeled sandals.  "I'm ready for the assembly," she told me. "I'm getting dressed up." And sure enough, when it was time for the assembly, she teetered across the stage in her too-big sparkly sandals. Such huge joy!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


My friend Mary Lee over at Year of Reading is writing #haikuforhealing throughout the month of December. I told her I would try to write with her… I don't know if I have 31 haiku in me, so instead, in a world that seems far less than kind, I'm trying to collect the small kindnesses that come my way.

And I didn't pull off a haiku today, so a tanka will have to do.

Frigid predawn gray
Collarless bulldog dodges
rush hour madness
dog angel coaxes frightened
creature to truck's safe haven. 

- Carol Wilcox

Traffic in Denver is crazy, even really early in the morning and late at night. At 6:00 this morning I was headed down a busy city street to work when all of a sudden the delivery truck in front of me came to a full stop. Peering around the truck, I saw a white bulldog, trapped in the middle of the street, frantically dodging the traffic that rushed past him in either way. As I was trying to figure out where I could pull over, the driver in front of me climbed out of his truck, and somehow managed to corral the dog and hoist what looked like at least a 50 pound body into the cab of the truck.

The first small kindness…

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


My sweet E turns 2 today! I actually found this book after I had sent the birthday box to Phoenix, and had to create to a whole new shipment because every birthday girl deserves a special birthday book!
This one perfectly captures the pros and cons of having a T Rex at your birthday party!
If a T Rex crashes your birthday party
You'd probably be excited.
But you should know a T Rex is as big as a school bus
And he'll have a weird way of looking at you
like he wonders how you would taste with a little mustard.
He's never heard of toothpaste
and he's a close talker.
Those little arms are not very good at birthday games,
He'll eat the cupcake you were saving for your gammy
And he'll break all your toys. 

A perfect birthday gift for any dinosaur lover!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


He throws the information at me as he is going out the door for Thanksgiving break.

"Her initials are E.N."

I tease a little, "I'm going to figure that out, you know. I can look at an eighth grade attendance roster and figure it out in about ten seconds."

"No you can't," he says. "You can't figure it out that fast."

"Yes I can." We laugh and then he is gone for ten days. I climb the stairs to go back into the building. I have forgotten about E.N. by the time I reach the front door.

Monday. The first day after vacation. I have about seven minutes before I am scheduled to be on the playground for lunch duty and I run upstairs to talk to the fifth grade teachers. The eighth graders are scattered up and down the hall, reading MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. One tells me that he is reading the play because his brother told him that a lot of people die. I am processing that information, trying to remember which deaths go to which Shakespeare plays, when I run into E again.

"Did you look, Miss? Did you look it up?"

At first, I don't even remember what he is talking about.  "Did I look what up?"

"You know, you said you could figure it out in ten seconds."

I dig deep, trying to remember what I might have said I could figure out in ten seconds, trying not to let him know that I have absolutely no idea what we are talking about. What did I say I would look up? A book title? A random soccer fact? A high school application deadline? I have been known to look up any of those things for the middle schoolers.

He throws out another clue. "You said you could figure it out who it was in ten seconds."

Again, I dig deep.  'Who it was…"

I must still look a little vacant, because he gives me a little more information. "Her initials. Remember?"

Ohhhhh. Now I remember that quick interchange. One of a hundred, or maybe five hundred or a thousand that I had that day. Ten days ago.

But it was the only one I had with him.

And clearly it mattered.

Dang. What were those initials? E??? E what? E.R?

I put on my best private detective smile. "E…?" My voice trails off, hoping he will finish my sentence.

He obliges. "E.N., Miss, E.N."

"Oh yeah. E.N. I can figure that out. Give me two minutes." Now I have three minutes before I have to be on the playground. I dash into the fifth grade classroom to complete my original mission. On the way back downstairs I mentally run through the eighth grade girls. E.N??? By the time I reach the bottom of the stairs, I think I know who we are talking about.

E.N.? He and E.N. are a couple? Really?

That can't be right.

I check the roster to make sure, but there is only one E.N.

I head to the playground. I am a minute late.

He is not there. Probably inside making up homework.

I pull him aside in the cafeteria. "I know who E.N. is, " I announce. "Does she have long brown hair?"

He nods.

"And she's sitting at the table next to yours?"

He nods.

"And she's wearing a pink hoodie?"

He grins.

"I know who E.N. is."

He pushes away to dump his tray and I continue my rounds, willing myself to pay close attention.

I never know, after all, when a random kid will grab five seconds to dump a piece of his heart into my lap.

Such an amazing privilege, this work we do…