Poetry Friday

Yesterday was our last day of school.  I was very sad to see this class go, as they have been wonderful this year!  Most of my students are big fans of Guitar Hero (the video game), so there was a lot of singing at dismissal.  Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” was the biggest hit!  It may not be the best choice for Poetry Friday, but it makes me smile to think of my kids singing at the top of their lungs!

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely

Poetry Friday

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes

Alright, it’s really a rainy day in May, but the sentiment is correct.  Overnight, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and the rain has been falling all day.

Poetry Friday

I’m in Poetry Friday this week with a poem of my own. I normally choose a poem by a “real poet”, but as I have been encouraging my students to share their poetry, I should do the same. The following poem was inspired by my trip to Tenochtitlan, where I stood at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun- the third largest pyramid in the world.

Time Atop the World

Standing atop the ancient world, stone pyramid beneath my feet.
Surveying the land spread below,
I wonder
who else has stood where I am standing?
Ancient priests?
Victims of sacrifice?
Unknown cultures?
The cool breeze
lightly kisses my skin.
I reach toward the sky
so close.

As far as the eye can see,
pyramids to the left and right.
Below, crowds are no more than small ants,
Flowing down the Avenue of the Dead.
Their voices carry to the top,
and I imagine the crowds
that once passed by this,
ancient temple,
crowds of men
and women
who lived and died
thousands of years ago.

Who will stand here in the future?
What will they see
when they stand atop
the ancient
and modern world,
surveying the land below.

Will they wonder about me?

My Seventh of Eight Poems

Today has not been a good day, professionally.  Needless to day, I am all over the place and couldn’t get anything down on paper for my poem.  Anything I did get down, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing over the internet.

Sometimes

life just doesn’t go the way you want.

But

when one door closes,

a window should open.

Even

if it takes a while

to find your way to that window.

Poetry Friday

And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella’s Foot

Judith Viorst

How the Cinderella Story probably actually happened.

I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.

And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.

He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.

So I think I’ll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight.

This is one of the poems we have read as a class now that April has brought us National Poetry Month. My kids loved this different perspective on the Cinderella story, and it always makes me laugh!

Poetry Friday

When I was in college, my favorite professor was a William Carlos Williams expert. I fell in love with his poetry and the fact that he was a native New Jerseyan, like myself. Today I want to share part of his poem, “Spring and All”.

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

-William Carlos Williams

read the rest here

Poetry Friday

This poem came up in a listserv conversation today, and I fell in love with it.  What a beautiful sentiment, and one I surely needed after reading and reviewing “the dead & the gone”.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

Poetry Friday

Today’s Poetry Friday theme is Bob Dylan and his music. I was poking around, reading lyrics from some of Dylan’s songs and discovered some that really struck a chord with me. The song is “Clean-cut Kid”. It weaves the tale of Vietnam vet.  I met with my literature circle group that is reading Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam today and we were discussing Vietnam.  My kids are loving Cracker’s story, and they are learning a lot about the war in Vietnam.  This song tells the tale of so many young men who went over to Vietnam and had no idea what to expect.  Read it over and just picture the images that Dylan creates….

  Everybody wants to know why he couldn’t adjust
Adjust to what, a dream that bust?

He was a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

They said what’s up is down, they said what isn’t is
They put ideas in his head he thought were his

He was a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

He was on the baseball team, he was in the marching band
When he was ten years old he had a watermelon stand

He was a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

He went to church on Sunday, he was a Boy Scout
For his friends he would turn his pockets inside out

He was a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

They said, “Listen boy, you’re just a pup”
They sent him to a napalm health spa to shape up

They gave him dope to smoke, drinks and pills,
A jeep to drive, blood to spill

They said “Congratulations, you got what it takes”
They sent him back into the rat race without any brakes

He was a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

He bought the American dream but it put him in debt
The only game he could play was Russian roulette

He drank Coca-Cola, he was eating Wonder Bread,
Ate Burger Kings, he was well fed

He went to Hollywood to see Peter O’Toole
He stole a Rolls Royce and drove it in a swimming pool

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

He could’ve sold insurance, owned a restaurant or bar
Could’ve been an accountant or a tennis star

He was wearing boxing gloves, took a dive one day
Off the Golden Gate Bridge into China Bay

His mama walks the floor, his daddy weeps and moans
They gotta sleep together in a home they don’t own

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did

Well, everybody’s asking why he couldn’t adjust
All he ever wanted was somebody to trust

They took his head and turned it inside out
He never did know what it was all about

He had a steady job, he joined the choir
He never did plan to walk the high wire

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him,
That’s what they did


Copyright © 1985 Special Rider Music

Poetry Friday

Forgetfulness

 
by Billy Collins
 
The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot,

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read, 

never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,

to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

read the rest of the poem here.

Monarchs in Flight

I will be on a 6:10am flight to Mexico City on Saturday morning!  I am so very excited about this fellowship.  Over the course of eight days I will visit Mexico City, the monarch reserves El Rosario and Sierra Chincua, Museum of Anthropology, Alternare, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Tzintzunzan, Janitzio, Lady of Guadalupe shrine, Teotihuacan, Pyramid of the Sun, Templo Mayor, and the National Palace.

Seeing the monarchs is supposed to be a magical experience.  I have my writer’s notebook packed and I am hoping to get a lot of writing done.  The poem below is a Native American blessing that my classes and I say when we release our monarchs each fall.

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.

In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.

So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

The following line is often added when the Legend is read prior to releasing butterflies at a wedding:

We have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in trust that all these wishes will be granted.

I will be gone for 8 days.  Stay safe and keep blogging!!

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