Tuesday, April 9, 2013


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!


Nanc said...

Your poems are funny interesting and just tell me so much about your personality. I would be telling you about the peeps I purchased and how I am aging them now with an open package because I love them stale...hmmm. xo I know you can make it 30 days.

Linda B said...

Love the poems, & I really don't think they're so bad, Carol. In fact, I am impressed by the clever look you give us at those little moments in your life. "26" is really special! (I am skipping the 'wave'.)

Mary Lee said...

Not a single one of your poems has been anywhere close to bad!

(I wrote AJ a Wm Carlos Wms poemnote when I ate the last piece of cake.)

And...thinking nonstop in poetry...this is a

Linda -- I saw that!! BUSTED!! Actually, maybe Carol should use you as her model and let herself off the hook. Clearly, she has written a few OTHER poems, even if she hasn't written to MY prompt. Tell her I said that, wouldja? :-)

Judy said...

Isn't it strange how our minds focus on that one thing like writing slices or poetry. It seems that no matter what, the minds goes right back to that one thing. I loved your poems and found you to be witty and clever - who would think about writing something about "26"?

Rebecca Gomez said...

I love them! Especially "Daffodils."

Chris said...

7Okay Carol - if your poems are bad.. then I'm in trouble! :) Thanks for a glimpse into your thinking with your GREAT poems. My fave is Sunday Mornings. Next week you'll have to share a pic of your table - mine will look the same! :)

Jaana said...

I love the Peeps poem even though I don;t like to eat them! Isn't it fun to have the poetry bug?

Kay said...

I love the poems! And that you are thinking in poems, too. I've been reading Mary Lee's blog, but haven't attempted any poetry yet. I'm too overwhelmed with writing I have to do for work right now.

elsie said...

I don't think you have a poetry curse, but a blessing. Your poems are incredible! How do you get any sleep with all those words swirling in your mind?

Cathy said...

Carol, Carol, Carol, you do you know you should've saved these to publish one at a time over many days? I laughed at your poetry curse, but I also understand it. I want to just sit down to write. I just want to walk around and collect poetry. I had to stop looking at Mary Lee's images in the morning (and Amy LVs too) because I just couldn't quit thinking about them. Unfortunately, life shouts at me. Taxes. Interims. Lesson plans.

I enjoy stopping by read your poems. Loved the Peeps poem --- because I have eaten more than my share.

Oh, the poetry curse,

Carol said...

Darn, Cathy, now you tell me! Maybe I can take this post down and just repost them one at a time. I think a poem a day is way harder than a slice a day! Yikes! I wish I bought more on sale Peeps, because a girl needs a little nourishment when she is doing all of this hard thinking! (Says she who did not do school work today, on her snow day, because she had to write poems instead!)

Michelle said...

Isn't it funny how you can't turn off the poetry brain? I felt that way during the month of March and writing slices. Keep writing - I love that you have the poetry curse!