Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Zipper, by DemonDeLuxe , from Wikimedia Commons, selected by Mary Lee Hahn
 On April 1st, I joined Mary Lee Hahn's Poetry Challenge, Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations.  I wasn't really sure I could write thirty poems in a row, but now, here we are, and I did it.  Most of the other poets wrote wonderful ending poems with terrific metaphors today.  I tried to do that, but I just couldn't pull off. Here, then, is my final offering…


 I crouch down
take your down jacket
in my hands
fumble with the frayed
late winter zipper
until it catches
I draw the zipper
to just below your chin
tie your hood and
stuff your hands
into mismatched mittens
hoping this little bit of love
will be enough
to protect you from
a frigid unloving world.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013


Photo by Sara and Joachim, Selected by Mary Lee Hahn on Wikipedia
I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations Poetry Challenge this month. This morning's prompt was a picture of three meerkats, standing sentry, I think, at their burrow. I did a quick, five minute poem, and thought I was done, which was good, since I had a bunch of schoolwork I needed to do this morning.

"it's a kat eat kat world"

The important thing
is that we have
each other's backs.

you look to the left
I say to Fred,

and you look to the right
I say to Herb

And me, George,
I'll look straight ahead.

The important thing
is that we have
each other's backs.

(c) Carol Wilcox

But then my curiosity got the better of me. I started wondering about those meerkats. They are pretty funny looking. What about those circular eyes. And why were they together? Do they really live in groups. And what were they really doing? I looked them up meerkats on wikipedia. And started pulling out interesting facts. Then this poem came about.


You think I'm kinda funny looking?

Those stripes
on my back?
none of the other
fifty fellows
in my large mob
(or some people call it a gang or clan)
look exactly like me.

That hairless patch on my belly?
The place
where my black skin shows through?
That absorbs heat  while I'm standing
on my rear legs,
early in the morning
after cold Kalahari desert nights.

And those big  eyes
on the front of my face?
For watching.
African tribesmen
trust me to
protect their villages
from werewolves
that attack stray cattle

And I gotta take my turn at sentry duty
while others are foraging.
We forage for food
every day
Meerkats don't carry around
any stored body fat. 

That long curved claw?
That little hummer
can dig my weight
in sand in only seconds. 
Mostly, I'm foraging for insects
but if I'm really hungry
I might dig up a scorpion.
Not to brag,
but did I mention
that unlike you humans
I'm immune to
the venom of scorpions.

And those black  crescent-shaped ears?
they close.
keep out soil
when I'm digging
pretty handy
a fella's gotta be able to hear
to protect himself
from brothers
who might want to kill him
to up their status
in our meerkat mob.

My long tapering tail?
Yeah, it's different
from my bushy-tailed
mongoose relatives.
That tail helps me balance when I stand upright,
And I use it
for signaling.
The Dutch didn't call me
stick tail
for nothing.

Sun angel.
You still think I'm kinda funny looking?

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Photos by Gideon Pisanty (Gidip), selected by Mary Lee Hahn from Wikimedia Commons
I'm participating in a poetry challenge, Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations, over at Year of Reading. Today's prompt was a series of five pictures of a bee gathering nectar. As always, Mary Lee and friends have produced some really terrific poems, so be sure to go and check them out.

As for me, I'm pretty much feeling like I've worn out my poetry brain. I did a little research about honey bees then wrote an abecedarian.

"ABC's of Honeybees"

Apian adventurers
busily buzzing
ceaselessly collecting
diving and delving
ever exploring
fragrant flowers
grubbing in gardens
hoping honey's
ingredients are inside.

joyfully journeying
keenly kavorting
looking leads to
miraculous meadow of
neverending nectar

obviously the only option is to
pull from petals make
ready for recycling
suck into second stomach
through tubular tongue
unload and use
working wings to dehydrate
extract any extras


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Breakfast Break of the Scaffolders, via Mary Lee Hahn, Year of Reading
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-09409 / CC-BY-SA

I am participating in Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration - Uncommon Creations Poetry Torture Challenge  this month. Today's picture is two German construction workers, taking a break. I spent the day in Kremmling at a track meet, then came home and tried to write a poem. When my poem brain simply wouldn't work, I went back to the arun, a form I tried earlier this month. 

Sunday morning update: I went back and messed around with this a little more. Still think it's pretty weak, but think the changes make it a little better. 


the view
from up here
I can see my house 
Touching puffy grey clouds
Fingers brush steel
head brushes gray clouds
head brushing clouds
fingertips cold steel

be still
don't lean much
because my perch
is precarious

is making
me a little

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013


Reflection in a Soap Bubble, Brockeninaglory, from Wikimedia Commons, via Mary Lee Hahn, Year of Reading

So for almost a month now (actually 26 days, but who's counting) I've been participating in Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations,  a poetry challenge sponsored by Mary Lee Hahn, over at Year of Reading. Every day, Mary Lee posts an image from Wikimedia Commons, along with an original poem. She invites other people to post poems too. There have been some remarkable offerings. Today's image is a soap bubble.

"Soap Bubble"

A gentle puff
rainbow carriage
inviting me
to journey
to a magical
far away
fairy world. 

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013 

POETRY FRIDAY today is hosted by Laura Purdie Salas, at Writing the World for Kids. Laura also has a terrific Poetry Challenge at her website. Every day, she reads a poem, some of her own, and some by other poets, and then invites people to write poems, either using the same technique or about the same subject. I'm looking forward to sharing Laura's videos next month when several of our grade levels engage in units of study around that genre.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Broadway Tower, Cotswolds, England, by Newton 2 from Wikimedia Commons

 I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations Poetry Challenge over at Year of Reading. This is poem #25.

“Once Upon a Time”

the day is all about blue sky
and green grass and
a few wispy clouds and
after crossing the moat
filled with hungry alligators
 i will march right up
to the smallish stone castle
lift the lions head knocker
bang on the heavy wooden door
and proclaim authoritatively
i am a long lost princess
here to meet my prince
please let me into 
they lived happily ever after…

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Picture from Wikimedia Commons, via Mary Lee Hahn at Year of Reading

I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations.  This morning I left for work this morning at 5:45, got home at 7:50 tonight, and then tried to write a poem about a sushi train, which I have never ever heard of (that was actually after I read all of the other poets' work, which is very funny and wonderful, and well worth a trip to the Year of Reading blog. I wrote a crappy limerick, then tried to channel my inner Douglas Florian, playing with the sounds in the names of different kinds of sushi. Finally wrote about the day last summer when a sushi bar opened in my very diverse neighborhood grocery store.

"Sushi Train"

The sushi bar
in the neighborhood
grocery store
opened to great fanfare.
Chefs banging gongs,
free samples
shouted invitations,
to come try this fishy delight.

And I watched
my neighbors-
carts loaded with
pepsi, hot dogs, white bread,
tortillas, enchiladas, frijoles,
chitlings, collard greens, mac and cheese,
crowd around
to partake
in a whole new world
of sashimi, wasabi, and squid.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013


There once was a fishy named Sushi
His flesh was so firm and not mushy
To a roll he did go
With some rice just for show
And now there’s no fishy named Sushi. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Robin in winter, Wikimedia Commons
Mary Lee used an audio file of birds singing for the prompt on her poetry challenge, Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations today. Not too many birds singing in Denver, where we woke to  20 degree temperatures and six inches of new snow. I was facilitating PD all day and looked up to see a lone robin huddled on a tree outside of the classroom. A crazy busy day, so I'm taking Mary Lee's advice, "There's always haiku!"

frigid april morning
red breasted robin huddles
saving songs for spring

busy shovels throw
piles of wet slushy snow
no bird songs today

Hey Mr. Redbreast
ignore this swirling gray whiteness
sing your song of spring

welcome mr. robin
glad you brought your own sunshine
to this cloudy day

Three April blizzards
long to listen to bird songs
not  clanking shovels

Mr. Weatherman
we should be planting flowers
not shoveling snow

One more blizzard then
we shut the door on winter
and welcome bird's song

Bird choir ignores
howling April blizzard to
sing spring opera.

April showers bring
May flowers, April blizzards
bring grumpy poets

Monday, April 22, 2013


Irises by Vincent Van Gogh, via Mary Lee Hahn, in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons

I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's poetry challenge, Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations. When I saw today's "prompt," I immediately thought of iris I planted in the front yard of the first house I ever owned. That was twenty years ago, but the iris are still there. Every summer I drive by and admire them.


I find them one day
in a brown paper bag
in the teacher's lounge
bumpy white bulbs
withered brown leaves
stringish  roots
covered in dry dirt.
A sign on the bag says
I am told not to take too many
they will take over my yard
I select ten.

I am not a gardener.
do not know that iris
like to be planted
in mid to late summer
in groups of two or three
four inches down
with nitrogen fertilizer
in half sun.
I throw them in the ground
and forget about them.

The next summer
my paltry efforts
are rewarded
with a rainbow of richness-
kingly purple,
a deep velvety night black,
tawny lion's mane gold
and palest lemon yellow.

All that loveliness
pulled from a brown paper bag
in the teacher's lounge.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poem #21- A Rubik's Cube Kind of Life

Image by Silver Spoon, found by Mary Lee at Wikimedia Commons
I'm participating in Mary Lee's Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations Challenge this month.

"A Rubik's Cube Kind of Life"

The Rubik's cube,
Those six faces
red, yellow, blue,
green, white, orange,
a twist, a turn, a spin,
in the hands of some 
the faces magically align.

In my hands
that crazy cube
doesn't quite work that way
I twist one way
sure that that will make a color align
but then another color
is misaligned
and I make one more twist
sure that I will create perfection
and then two faces are misaligned.

Sometimes life
is a lot like a Rubik's cube
All those facets-
family, friends, finances,
job, house, God--
And I think if I just make one shift,
if I just get up half hour earlier,
or spend $20 less here or there,
or pray a little harder
just that one twist
and all of the faces will align.

Except they never do.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013


Picture from Wikimedia Commons

I've been writing poems all month with Mary Lee in her Common Inspiration-Uncommon Creations Challenge. Every day, Mary Lee posts some kind of image- a photograph, a sound image, or a video clip. Today we are supposed to be writing to the sound of the ocean but when I read Mary Lee's "Swimming Pool Memory," it brought up one of my most vivid memories from childhood…


I am five.
Marge Westbay tells me to sit
on the steps at the pool
until it is my turn
to swim with her.

I mean to sit there
But then somehow
I am underwater
moving weightlessly
through a strange and magical
aqua green world

by the dappled sunlight
on the bottom
of the pool

The lifeguard
drags me to the top
sits my bottom hard
on the edge of the pool
and scolds me
for moving toward that magic.

© Carol Wilcox, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY is at Irene Latham's Live Your Poem. Irene is the "instigator" of a really interesting Progressive Poem. Every day, for the entire month, a different poet adds a new line to the poem-- it's been fascinating to watch it unfold. Be sure to head over to Irene's blog and check it out!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Canyon de Chelly, by Ansel Adams, Wikimedia Commons, via Mary Lee  Hahn, Year of Reading

I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations poetry challenge this month. Head over to Year of Reading to read some terrific poetry, including the one that Mary Lee wrote for today.


Great canyon,
by the crushing, 
of movement.

who have learned
the secret
of bending,
and pressing

who so clearly 
pattern and layer
clarity and cloud 
shadow and light

who know
great beauty
from great adversity

teach me the secrets
of your
rock canyon

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Poem #17- Supposed to be

From Wikimedia

At the beginning of April, I decided to write a poem every day through Mary Lee Hahn's Common Inspiration - Uncommon Creations. Today's prompt was an animated video of a "laughing" parrot zoo.  I wrote to that prompt, but the parrot's voice really bothered me and I didn't want to listen to it on my blog, so this is just a regular parrot. You can head over to Mary Lee's blog to see the original.

"Not Supposed to Be"

Some things 
are not
supposed to be.

even laughing parrots,
are not
supposed to be
 in wire cages.

are not
supposed to be
in theaters
hiding from
a world gone mad.
are not supposed
to be trapped
in school bathrooms
"waiting for the good people
to come."

are not supposed
to be trapped
in a rain
of bb's and broken glass
blood pooling around them.

And none of us
are supposed
to be trapped
in a world
as an audience always waiting
for the next

Some things
are not
supposed to be.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Poem #16- Barbed Wire (and the best I can do for a Slice of Life)

By Waugsberg, via Wikimedia Commons

 I'm writing, no, trying to write, poems with Mary Lee and friends over at Year of Reading. Mary Lee is selecting an image from Wikimedia Commons every day, then writing a poem in response. Today's image was from the category "Things." Because my entire life is being consumed with writing bad poetry this month, and because it's 11:03 p.m. and because I still have quite a bit of school work to do tonight, this is also going to have to serve as my Slice of Life.

 I started out this morning with maudlin…

"Barbed Wire Teacher"

A little rusty
seen better days
but still 
she gets the job done.

Once I was a younger teacher
watching the older gals work
thinking, "I will never get that old."

And now
younger teachers
tell me
I remind them of their moms.
And kindergartners
call me Grandma.

Even though I'm a little rusty
I hope I am not as prickly
as barbed wire.
(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

And ended with stupid…

"A Poem About Barbed Wire"

I might have a poem about barley
or barges or barrels or bards
I might have a poem about barbeques
But I don't have a poem about barbed wire.

I might have a poem about Barbados
or maybe the Barbary Coast,
Those places with beaches and barnacles
where barbed wire's usually a ghost.

I might write a poem about bargains
or barbells or Barbie or Ken
Perhaps I've a poem about Bar-Bar-bara-Ann
But those barbed wire poems ain't no gems.

I might have a poem about barn burners,
barnstormers, barnyards, or barn doors,
But those poems about barbed wire fences
Are wadded-up trash on the floor.

Poems about barbed wire fences
are poignant or raunchy or wise,
I've written me poems about many ol' things
But barbed wire's one I ain't tried!

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013


By ESO Yuri Beletsky from Wikimedia Commons, via Mary Lee Hahn, Year of Reading
Yet another amazing photoprompt from the ever amazing Mary Lee Hahn. It's a laser beam, shot from a very large telescope (VLT- and yes, that's really what it's called), which astronomers use to create an artificial reference star for adaptive optics. This enables the astronomers to make more accurate observations of the skies. If you want a more detailed explanation, head over to Mary Lee's blog, where you will also find lots of great poetry.


Let there be light
the astronomer proclaims
and a laser beam 
shoots from earth
to measure 
heaven's vastness

Creator God
as He watches
miniscule humans
attempt to quantify
the work 
of His mighty hands. 

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013


tomruen, selected by Mary Lee Hahn on Year of Reading, via Wikimedia Commons,a

"Full Moon Days"

I love
those full moon days when
earth, moon, and sun
are perfectly aligned
and I can see only light
the shadows
are entirely hidden.

I hate
those full moon days
because I know
the full moon days
are always followed by
the waning
the light
and darkness
becomes greater

until I find myself
in the time
of new moon
where I wait
in darkness
for the waxing

I love
those full moon days.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Child Studying, Frank Douwes, Wikimedia Commons

 I'm participating in Mary Lee's Common Inspiration- Uncommon Creations month of poetry at Year of Reading.  Mary Lee, Kevin, Linda, and Cathy are writing lots wonderful poems, so be sure to go by and check them out.

Last week, I said it was hard to write about fly fishing, since I know absolutely nothing about it. Today's topic, books or reading, is something I do know. Very well. And at first I thought I would write about how mesmerized this little child appears by that book. But that seemed so cliche. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And then I thought maybe I would write about book-related cliches. But I couldn't think of very many. And then as I looked at the picture again, I started thinking about poverty. And the kids I teach. And how little exposure they have to books outside of school. And what a difference that often makes when those kids get to school (and when they take standardized tests).  And this is the poem that came…

"Treasure Chest?"

Some people say
books are treasures
but those people
rarely talk about
how some children
are filling
their treasure chests
with millions of words
stories read and reread
experiences real and vicarious
worlds known and unknown

while other children
sit on concrete stoops
in hand-me-down clothes
and mismatched shoes
not knowing that
one tattered volume
does not a
treasure chest

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY- Day #12- Trying a New Form

 Mary Lee has an auditory prompt today, a harp piece. Maybe I will try to post it here later, but I'm late to work right now, so you need to go there and listen.

This week has been hard for me. Early mornings, tons of school work, full, full days and then trying to write poetry at night. When I write, I long for simplicity and clarity. I want to put together a few words or images that say a lot, but I keep ending with these lengthy, wordy messes, which irritate me greatly. But which I don't seem to be able to avoid.

Today, I decided to limit my wordiness by trying something completely different. Earlier this month, I encountered a form that was new to me. Bonnie, who blogs at is a March slicer. Earlier this month, she posted a poetry form called an arun, which she learned from another slicer, Stacie, who blogs at  An arun is a fifteen-line poem, written in three sets of five lines. Each set of five lines follows the same syllable structure: starting with one syllable and increasing by one (1/2/3/4/5 — 3x).

"Morning Hike"

birds trilling
gravel crunching.
healing mountain voice.

yellow primrose.
purple columbines.
colors to take home 

let go.
listen to Him.
return to center.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013 

 "Morning Pond"

still pond
stone meets pond
ripples spreading
out, out ever out…

the two meet
sky and water
Mirror reflecting

we see
someday, we will
understand fully.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Diane Mayr is hosting POETRY FRIDAY at Random Noodling.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Mary Lee posted this picture, along with a playful cumulative poem at Year of Reading this morning. Mary Lee was especially intrigued by the small brown pug in the bottom right corner of the  picture. I immediately thought of Maggie, a crazy yellow lab that adopted me many years.  Maggie loved, loved, loved Washington Park, and regularly escaped from her leash to cavort happily through the park- interrupting soccer games, attending birthday parties, and participating in art classes.


You come to me
During a cold November rain
I do not recognize you
But you kiss my face frantically,
Insist that we have
known each other
For a very long time.
Leave muddy pawprints
Down the front of my purple raincoat

I am sure
Someone must be searching
for such a fine young yellow lab
clearly purebred.
But no one claims you. 
And so you,
Sixty pounds of
tail wagging
claim us.

You love many things-
Naps on the living room couch
Doggie bags
snatched from my hand
before they ever make it to the fridge.
Car rides,
not next to Ramsey
in the back of the SUV
but rather perched on the edge
of the front seat
where you pant
and drool happily
on the dashboard.

Most of all
you love Washington Park
dog heaven on earth-
endless squirrels
geese to chase
a myriad of four-legged friends.
You are the Houdini of dogs
Regularly freeing yourself
From the confines of the leash
to race through soccer games
and gobble hot dogs at birthday parties 
and company picnics.
You name yourself 
an honorary member 
of  taekwondo and folk dancing classes.
The ladies in the Thursday afternoon art class
are especially unappreciative
of your talent
issuing a lifetime ban
After you knock over an easel.

Your favorite place, though,
Is the slimy, duck-poopy,
algae-ridden lake
And you paddle gleefully
Back and forth
For hours on end
As Ramsey and I glumly wonder
Whether you will ever come out.

Your carefree existence ends
The rainy May evening
when the boys move in.
Now you have a job.
You are therapy girl.
All summer
My two broken boys
Rage and scream and rail
against a life
that has been far from kind
And you lean against them,
Gently licking
the hurt away.

© Carol Wilcox, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Mary Lee posted yet another amazing video. I can't get it to load here so go there and take a look.

Feel like I should say just a little about where this poem came from. Think it’s really kind of a found poem. After I saw Mary Lee’s post yesterday morning, and read her fabulous poem (Really want to know how she says SOOO MUCH in so few words), I went to Wikipedia to read about Ghost Dances. That article connected me to an article about the Wokova, the Medicine Man who introduced the Ghost Dance to his people.

The article was pretty long. Sometimes when I want to read a Wikipedia article, I will copy it and paste it into a Word document. That’s what I did with this one, and then I just started cutting out words I didn’t want. At the same time, I went and watched Laura Purdie Salas’ video. She’s talking about a new technique every day. Yesterday was repeating lines.  I decided to try to work that into my poem as well.

I had a super full day yesterday, and didn’t get back to the poem until after ten last night. I have committed to write a poem a day for the month (which may kill me) and I really want to see if I can pull it off. Finished this one at 11:45.

“Ghost Dance”

And God said to
you must tell your people
work hard,
love each other,
live in peace 
with your white brother.
And God gave Wovoka
the Ghost Dance

dance dance dance
dance for peace
dance for love
dance for unity
dance dance dance

But the white brother
Does not know this dance
Of peace and love and unity
White brother confines
Wovoka’s people
to land
too hot and dry to farm
sends Wovoka's children 
away to learn
white brother's  rules
Ache in the belly deep
Ache in the heart still deeper.

dance dance dance
dance for peace
dance for love
dance for unity
dance dance dance

Wovoka’s people dance.
Whiteman says stop.
Wovoka’s people dance.
White man is afraid
And there is a massacre.
The chief- Sitting Bull.
153 of Wovoka’s people
most women and children
all killed.

            And Wovoka’s people
do not dance
any more.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Mary Lee had an amazing surfing picture that she found on Wikimedia Commons.
I couldn't find that one (the Wikimedia site is huge and a little overwhelming)
so I found another surfing picture.

I really am committed (or trying to be committed, or kind of committed) to writing a poem every day. And I'm enjoying writing on the Year of Reading website, mostly because of the community that's developing. We had a snow day today, so I thought I'd have lots of time to write great poems, but I  didn't get very far.  I'm posting these only to prove that I wrote.


It takes
a lot of brave
to fling oneself
on the mercy
of those
body- crashing


Ride a wave,
That's my fave!

Wanna hang ten?
Just tell me when.

Gotta straddle
Then you paddle.

The perfect time
You must divine.

Have to wait
But can't be late.

From belly to knees
Then stand up please.

To find your balance
Can be a challenge.

Hit your stride
And Take a ride.

To the shore
Then back for more.

Ride a wave?
Must be brave!
(or maybe a little stupid!)



If you know children's literature at all, chances are that you are familiar with Jon Scieszka's book, MATH CURSE. In that book, the main character is blessed by a math teacher who convinces him that anything in life - getting up in the morning, getting dressed, grocery shopping- can become a math problem. I've read that book to kids a hundred times.

I feel like I've been "blessed" by a similar curse this month, but my curse is not related to numbers, instead it's a poetry curse. April is National Poetry Month. I love poetry, and had been trying to think of something special to do on my blog. I wanted to do a whole month of poetry- book reviews, or favorite poems, or quotes from poets or ???? Maybe because I had just finished the month-long Slice of Life, or maybe because I am slightly disorganized, all of a sudden, it was April 1st and I didn't have any idea what to post.

I decided to check in with my good friend, Mary Lee, (who may, after this month, become my not so good friend), over at Year of Reading, because she always does something wonderful in April. This year's project, Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations, is no different. Mary Lee is taking some kind of image- a photograph, an animation, a sound clip from Wikimedia Commons, and using it as a basis for writing poetry. And she is inviting readers of her blog to write poetry along with her. (She's also providing some wonderful information about copyright laws, which are well worth taking the time to peruse).

Because I didn't have any great ideas of my own, I decided that I would try to write along with Mary Lee. So for the past eight days, I have written (bad) poems on topics varying from bee eating birds to fly fishing to collaboration to ancient art to sewing. Today I am supposed to write about surfing.

Trying to write a poem a day for thirty days might be bad enough, but I have encountered a still larger problem. I write Mary Lee's poems, and then I should just turn off my poetry brain and go about my daily business. But I don't. Instead  keep thinking about poetry all day long.

Take Sunday for example.

I thought about poetry while I was reading the paper, and this emerged.
"Sunday Mornings"
The Sunday paper
has been a forever ritual.
Local news.
National news.
Books and arts.
All consumed
at the dining room table
with multiple cups of coffee
before church.
Some Sundays
I set the alarm
to make sure
I would have time
to read the Sunday paper.
Today's paper
I read yesterday
or the day before
on the internet.
An occasional human interest story
Sports scores
tweeted to me
seconds after
game's end.
When I pay bills
I contemplate
not renewing
my subscription.
and then write the check. 
The Sunday paper
has been a forever ritual.
        (c) Carol Wilcox, 2013 

And then I thought about poetry (with apologies to William Carlos Williams) while I was at the grocery store.
This is just to say
I have eaten
the Peeps
that were on sale
at the grocery store
this afternoon. 
Forgive me.
I know I swore off sugar
but those fluorescent yellow chicks
so gummy
and sugary
tasted delicious.
(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013
I thought about poetry when I took the garbage out and saw a man walking with his companion.
Sunday walk.
white undershirt
slight gut
worn gray sweats
strides briskly
down the sidewalk.
golden hair
slight gray
follows a few steps behind
tail wagging.
for a long time.
(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013 
I revised a poem that I had written during the March Slice of Life while I was out walking the dog.

Hey you
I gulp thirstily from 
your cups of 
joy juice.
(C) Carol Wilcox, 2013

I thought about poetry when I talked to my son on the phone.
My son,
screen boy-
television glazed eyes
beat pounding fingers
not a single reading gene
Came home from football practice with jersey #26

 He was disappointed
wanted the #25
he had  worn
since childhood
but I exclaimed
over his good fortune.
there are 26 letters in the alphabet
And letters are in books
And I'm a literacy teacher an
and now you are wearing #26
He was unconvinced
but my mamaheart 
loved that number
more for those four years,
than I have loved it in
my fifty years of reading
Last summer
when he moved to Arizona
he called me,
"Mom, I didn't get 26,
Someone else already has it."
26- a string that binds us.
(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013 
Yep! I have definitely been bitten by the Poetry Curse.  Hoping it only lasts a month because it's hard to do school work, or housework, or function in real life, when your mind is always trying to write poetry!

Monday, April 8, 2013



in bluegraygreenwhiteworld

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Wikimedia Commons, via Year of Reading

My Grandma Grace, who is one of my all time favorite people, was an amazing seamstress and made almost all of her own clothes and many of my sisters and mine. When I was nine or ten she taught me to sew. I loved looking at the pattern books at the fabric store and had very definite ideas as to what my dress would look like. The finished product, however, turned out very differently.

"Sewing Lesson"

Grandma Grace
in a stunning
cardinal red wool coat.
"She made it herself,"
my mother says.
"I didn't inherit the sewing gene, 
But she can teach you to sew."

At the fabric store
we sit on high stools
perusing the willowy brunette models
in wide swirling skirts
that spin across the pages
of the Butterick and Simplicity catalogues.
I imagine twirling through the halls
at James Madison Elementary School
my own wide spinning skirt.

Grandma Grace commandeers
the dining room table
and we pin rustling paper patterns
to colorful cotton cloth.
My grandmother exhorts me
to cut carefully
makes me re-pin
more than once.
I  draw blood and
Grandma Grace
dabs my finger
with a tissue wadded
from her apron pocket.

And then we are ready for the machine.
I practice on scraps of cloth
until my grandmother declares
me ready to assemble the pieces
of my gorgeous swirling skirt. 
It is hard to make straight seams
and I become well-acquainted
with the seam ripper. 
Zippers are harder still.

When my dress is done.
I model from my runway
on the dining room table
disappointed that
the chubby little girl
in the straight cotton shift
with the resewn seams
and crooked zipper
looks nothing like
those willowy brunette models
in their beautiful swirling skirts.
 Carol Wilcox, (c) 2013