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Friday, July 3, 2020

Poetry Friday

 I'm that crazy person who plans my Fourth of July week around fireworks. Fireworks at the Rockies games, fireworks at Civic Center Park, fireworks in different municipalities around the Denver metro area. I'm a little sad, then, that this year there are not going to be many displays, only two that I know of, anywhere close to Denver, and I probably won't get to see either of them. This poem is an oldie but a goodie in honor of what should be a special day. 

"Fireworks"

First
A far thud
Then the rocket
Climbs the air,
A dull red flare,
To hang, a moment
Invisible, before
Its shut black shell cracks
And claps against the ears
Breaks and billows into bloom
Spilling down clear green sparks, gold spears,
Silent sliding silver waterfalls and stars.

Valerie Worth

Linda Mitchell has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her place this week

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros


Efrén Nava could be one of my students. The bilingual, American-born son of two undocumented immigrants, he's a straight A student and a loving big brother. His parents are poor, but work hard to provide a loving home for Efrén and his younger brother and sister, five-year-old twins, Max and Mia. Amá makes sure her children's pants are always ironed and creased and provides a home cooked breakfast every morning before her children head off to school. One day, though, Amá doesn't show up after school and Efrén's family soon learns that she has been deported. 

I loved this book. So many of my kids struggle with this reality-- either living in the shadow of constant worry about people being deported, or living with huge heart holes from parents or other family members that actually have left the country in this way.  Often, they are afraid to open up about these heavy secrets, and try to carry them completely on their own. I really cannot wait to share this book with my students this fall. Thinking it might be my first read aloud!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

POEM #5/30- REBUKE

This month I'm doing "Poetry Pairs." My original idea, which still feels kind of half-formed and still doesn't have a cool logo, like everyone else's was that I was going to find a poem I liked, and use it as a mentor to write off of. I was thinking, I think, that it would be more topic related, but so far, there have been several form related poems. Today's is another one of those. I had never heard of the Etheree, until Mary Lee posted Gratitude on Year of Reading. She got the idea from Liz Garton Scanlon's poetry prompt.  Tonight, when I was walking Rooney (and yes, I was alone, and yes, I was practicing appropriate social distancing), it was absolutely beautiful outside- warm, that right before dark light, the moon just rising, gorgeous clouds-- and I kept seeing people on their phones, totally missing the beauty that was right there. And it made me sad, and this poem came to me, pretty much as I walked.

Rebuke
Glorious
Spring evening.
Full moon rising.
Pink tinged clouds fading.
Bird chorus sings bedtime melody.
Yellow lab tail enthusiastically signals joy.
Pig-tailed toddler dances across baseball diamond.
You miss all this sweetness, thumbs pounding frantically,
Eyes held in rapt attention, as you worship Lord Screen
Surely He cannot offer more than all the richness here.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Poetry Pairs- Day 4/30


So I'm trying to do a "poetry pair" where I take a poem every day, and try to use it as a mentor for my own poems. My thoughts the last few days have been more than a little rambly. When I saw this poem this morning in my email from Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, it fit where I am trying to live. Totally content.  Finding small pleasures. Centered with those who I love and with my God. The dogs are kind of that way. Roo doesn't care about COVID. Star doesn't care about COVID. All they worry about is that I am here, and there is food and water in their dishes, and treats in my treat pouch. And a walk every afternoon. If those things are true, all is well in their worlds. Adele Kenney captures it with such brilliance. I tried to mimic her style tonight. 



If There is Such a Thing
by Adele Kenney
(After a Woman Feeding Her Dog, by Mary Cassatt)

If there is such as thing as forever, I will be here by this high window,
this dog beside me, sun on our faces. Everything important will
spread out beneath us: gazebo and fountain. Each will be held in its
own moment of beauty like the Yorkshire Terriers whose pictures
hang on my kitchen wall: three no longer with me and this one who
chews his rope giraffe to pieces with no regrets, no sentimental
attachment-- the chew worth whatever loss it incurs. Informed by
his own spirit, he sees in things only things and wants nothing more
thank his leash and long walks, a game of throw the ball. He needs
nothing more than to sleep on the floor beneath my feet or curled in
the right angle my arm and elbow make when I hold him-- the
happiness he was made for.
If only forever were a choice we could make, I would choose this
dog's world (and my place in it)-- absolute innocence-- no other life
to plan for but this. Nothing but this: love without reservation-- his
world and mine as it it ought to be and, in this moment, is.
This poem first appeared in Paterson Literary Review. 



"If There Is Such a Thing"
by Carol Wilcox, 
modeled after Adele Kenney

If there is such as thing as forever, I will be here by this pond,
watching this dog paddle, sun warm on our backs. Everything important will
spread out beneath us: the pond, the sun dancing across the rippling water, 
then glinting off your wet black fur, your faded red collar restored to its
original glory.  Each will be held in its own moment of beauty, 
like the Heinz 57 mutts whose collars parade across the wall in my study: 
Ramsey, Maggie, Jack Black, Boo- no longer with me and soon you, old Star, 
snoring deeply at my feet and then Sweet Roo, you who find enormous joy
in dismembering  your stuffies within minutes- absolutely sure that the sole 
purpose of such toys is to remove the plastic balloon inside, so you can race around the yard,            
 squeaking delightedly, until someone grabs you and rips it from your mouth.
You see in things only things and want nothing more than a full bowl of kibble, 
a leash and long walks, a good game of tug of war, then to sleep on the floor 
beneath my feet or sneak onto the couch and press your nose against my thigh--
 the sole happiness you were made for. 

If there is such a thing as forever, I would choose this dog's world 
(and my place in it)-- total contentment-- no other life to plan for but this. 
Nothing but this: love without reservation-- his
world and mine as it  ought to be 
and, in this moment, is. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

3/30- POEM PAIRS- Learning from one of my favorite poetry mentors

Bryant Webster Dual Language ECE-8, where I really teach
So tonight I am feeling like a total cheater pants. My plan was to take 30 published poems, write off of them myself and then use them with my students. I have a list of poems. But then this week, I remembered that some of my favorite poem books are in my classroom at school. And I found some of them online, and then some other poems. This morning, I was having a hard time writing off of any of them. I gave myself an hour. I read one of my favorite poetry mentors, Mary Lee Hahn, and watched Liz Garton Scanlon's video, that had inspired Mary Lee's poem. Finally, I gave up and moved onto other things, namely trying to plan for the next six weeks, and transform my family room into a place that could do double duty as a classroom. I also helped other people plan, because half of my job is coaching. Mid day, I heard that we weren't going back to our physical building this year and my thoughts became even more divided. Tonight, Mary Lee's double cinquain became my mentor poem. And here is the best I could do. 

Let Remote Learning Commence

next week
fifty-seven
sixth graders arrive in
my messy cluttered family room
welcome

come in.
read, write, rest, dream
print's power can transport you
to place of new wisdom and peace
dwell there

Carol Wilcox
(c) April, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2020

POETRY PAIRS #2



I've played around with several different themes. I thought about doing "Dog Days Revisited" and writing more dog poems. I thought about choosing a different subject and trying to write 30 different poems, in 30 different formats. I finally decided I would choose 30 poems I like, and try to use them as mentors to write my own poems. Which may be trickier than I thought, given that today I realized that most of my favorite poetry books are in my classroom at school, and I'm not allowed to go in. Hmmmm. Tonight I started reading through favorite poems I had collected on my blog. Irene Latham is a poet I have admired forever. I tried to use her structure. Not sure I was successful but...

"This Is the Hour"
Irene Latham


This is the hour
where sun dreams
when river
sings
its silky song.


This is the hour
Duck wades
into warm
whispery grass
settling
onto its nest


This is the hour
Duck asks:
        What is yours?
        What is
           mine?


River answers
        Look how 
        your wings
        glisten.


        How my eyes
          wink.


Yes, Duck says.
                Now I see--
                this is the hour
                  almighty sun
                gives itself
       
                to everything. 


Irene Latham

*************

“This is the Hour”

This is the hour
where world screams
healthy die
economy is upturned
children are afraid
streets are silent

And this is the hour
where dog climbs onto couch
stretches out next to me
presses head against human thigh
sighs in contentment 
and sleeps deeply

This is the hour
Human asks:
Will this end?
Will we hope again?

Dog responds: 
We are here together
on this soft couch
our bellies are full  
All is well.

Yes, Human says.
Now I see,
this is the hour
when we must
draw close 
breathe deeply
and give thanks.

All is well.

Carol Wilcox
(C) 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Poetry Partners- #1


This year, I want to explore the idea of Poetry Partners. I want to take a poem from a published author, and use it as a mentor to write my own poem. My goal is to use some of these with kids.

Today's poem showed up in my email this morning.

"Spring Tonic"
Julie Eger


Listen for sandhill cranes.
Count the robins.
Pick dandelion greens
for Grandma’s spring tonic.
Praise the peepers.
Count the robins.
Open the garden gate.
Till the soil.
Search for asparagus.
Count the robins.
Smile at the first morel.
Catch bluegills with a cane pole.
Count the robins.
Put lounge chairs on deck.
Sit down in the sun.
Roll up pant legs.
Lean all the way back.

Count the robins.


“Spring Tonic”
By Carol Wilcox

rejoice in yellow crocuses
drink in grape hyacinths
worship  pink and red tulips and
delight in daffodils

watch lawn green and grow
listen to bees buzz in lavender
smell spring shower sweetness
go barefoot and
delight in daffodils

spend an afternoon on the patio
read, nap, then read a little more
let sun paints health your cheeks and
delight in daffodils

park on a sunny  bench
nibble sugar waffle cone
lick ice cream 
from sticky fingers and
delight in daffodils