Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Small Moment Sonnet

I have been taking a poetry class this summer and have been experimenting with different kinds of forms.  Last week I posted a small moment written in couplets.  This week is a sonnet small moment nestled into a fairy tale.  This has been hard work and a work in progress.  It has been fun and is still a work in progress.


The five of us kids looked forward to treat night when on
Thursday evening we watched Bewitched.   Samantha twitched her nose, 
changing the real into magic, like a fairy godmother, whose waving wand
allowed Cinderella to go to a ball to meet the prince of her dreams.

At our weekly gala, fairy dust sprinkled and we were bequeathed chips of choice 
with one can of store brand soda--root beer, cola, orange or lemon-lime.
We children ate our Cheetos and drank our nectar gazing at the black and white screen
as we nestled into an evening of enchanted abundance--all we had ever known.

Then the clock struck midnight and our nine o’clock bedtime,
and as carriage and footmen were but mice and a pumpkin, 
as a young woman bolted, leaving behind a slipper--a wisp of hope,
we children fled in tattered bedclothes, a trail of chip crumbs marking our trail.

With chips and pop devoured, tummies full and rings of orange soda lining lips,
we slid between covers and night dreams that hoped our prince would someday come.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for teachers and teachers of literacy to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Poetry Fun

This summer I am taking a poetry class.  It has been both fun and has challenged me to think about poetry writing in a bit of a different way.  I have been pulling on memories, creating sensory experiences, and thinking about craft to shape my poetry.  The class has given me ways to get in to revise my poetry, something that has, beyond word change, been more difficult to do in the past.

Below is one of the poems I wrote for this class that had to do with a first memory.  For the assignment we needed to dig into memories and choose three that occurred before the age of twelve.  With each memory we wrote sensory details.  We then we asked to recreate the experience in twelve lines of six couplets and use specific words.  I used the words trace, glance and crowd.  After we did each of these exercises we were then able to take out the restrictions to make the poem fit the need of the poem.  I did not need to do that part, as each of the parameters that were given allowed my poem to emerge.  What I have struggled with is how best to use first or third person to create image and tone.

Blessed Is the Fruit of Your Womb

As we kneel before the tiny bed
to offer up ritual night prayers

traces of White Shoulder linger on her neck
delicately defying the staleness of the small space.

Repeat after me she whispers, “Hail Mary, full of grace…”
The girl of three mimics the sing-song prayer,

a nursery rhyme tracked in memory one line at a time as
two brothers breathe slowly in sleeping cribs that crowd the room.

With the song, comes a glance between lashes at a familiar silhouette--
long, fingers laced in prayer,  delicate lips,  newly protruding middle.

“I want to be just like you,” the small girl muses,
and the room contracts a little tighter.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for teachers and teachers of literacy to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Connecting with Rae

My daughter and I keep missing each other.  Sometimes we meet, though, but not exactly as it was planned.  What to do with the unplanned makes all of the difference.  Last week I was returning from a beach vacation and we had a window of a day to meet before the beach vacation she was taking with her husband.  We both wanted time, yet time was short.   We decided to meet for dinner.  She finished work at five o’clock and I needed to touch base with a colleague at either five o’clock or eight o’clock.  She decided to meet me at 5:15.  And I made my appointment for eight. 

She worked till five that night and told me that she would text me as she left so that we could meet for dinner.  At five I began to wait for her text.  At 5:30 I was still waiting for her text.  5:45--still waiting.  6:00--still waiting.  And a bit irritated that she was not responding to my text.  6:15 rolls around.  And I get a call, “Mom, I am so sorry.  I just am finishing up with work.  Two people walked in and I couldn’t leave.  I can meet you in thirty minutes.  Let’s meet at Aladdin’s.”

Aladdin’s is a lovely restaurant on the canal near our home.  The problem with that restaurant is that it is busy and there always is a wait.  “Rae, I don’t think that will work.  I have to leave by 7:30 to get to the 8:00 appointment.” (To myself I added, “that I could have gone to at 5.)  Yes, irritation was there.

“Ok, mom.  Let’s go to Chipotles then.  So that we have as much time as we can have.”  I have to admit, I was fighting the irritation.  Yet I missed her and was looking forward to the visit, albeit a shorter one than planned.

She arrived at the restaurant when I was in line and came to me giving me a tight hug.  “I am SO glad to see you, mom.  And I am sorry I am late.”

“That’s ok.  But I do only have a half-hour because of my appointment.  It is good to see you.”  My response was genuine and rose above the irritation.

The woman in front of us in line overheard our conversation.  “Would you like to go in front of me in line since you only have a half hour?”  We thanked her and budged ahead when she added, “It is so nice to see you both not arguing about something that so easily could have gone in that direction.”

We ate.  We visited.  We connected.   I made a decision to pay attention to the connection rather than the irritation.  It made all of the difference.

*                                                          *                                                          *

This morning I got a text from Rachel during her vacation in Jamaica.  “Mom, we are having a wonderful time.  And I miss you so much!  I can’t wait to see you.  Let’s meet for dinner this weekend.”

“Ok,” I replied, “I can’t wait to lay my eyeballs on you!  Oh, and have you burned?”

“Not at all.  Perfect vacation!”

I had a choice, when confronted with her lateness.  I knew that it was lateness that was unavoidable.  I knew that she typically doesn’t keep people waiting.  And I knew that I needed to be somewhere at 8:00.  I knew that it could have gone differently if she told me to make my appointment earlier.  But she didn’t and I didn’t.  I could have made a choice to show my irritation.  I could have made a choice to not keep my eight o’clock commitment.  There were lots of ways to respond to the circumstances of that evening.  I chose to keep a commitment and to connect.  

I am so glad I did.  Connection brings joy.   Connection makes a difference. 

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for teachers and teachers of literacy to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.