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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

I’ve been thinking about and searching for peace after the turbulence of the past few months and came across this poem. I hope it brings you peace, too.

The Peace of Wild Things

By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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I hope your classroom is not feeling this mixed up yet!

Mixed-Up School
By X J Kennedy

We have a crazy mixed-up school.
Our teacher Mrs. Cheetah
Makes us talk backwards. Nicer cat
You wouldn’t want to meet a.
To start the day we eat our lunch,
Then do some heavy dome-work.
The boys’ and girls’ rooms go to us,
The hamster marks our homework.
At recess time we race inside
To don our diving goggles,
Play pin-the-donkey-on-the-tail,
Ball-foot or ap-for-bobbles.
Old Cheetah with a chunk of chalk
Writes right across two blackbirds,
And when she says, “Go home!” we walk
The whole way barefoot backwards.

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Just like Kate Messner, I don’t like to get political either. But I just had to post her lovely poem. Let us all remember the things that bring us together:

What We Have in Common
By Kate Messner

For just a minute, let’s look at the leaves together.

Do you see how this one blushes pink around the edges?

How that one is all red, its neighbor halfway gold?

I like the way it is leaning toward autumn

But isn’t quite ready to leap.

Read the full poem on Kate’s blog.

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You can definitely feel that change is in the air, right? The days are getting just a bit shorter and the evenings are getting cooler. And of course, we are all heading back to school! Here is a poem by Jane Kenyon to celebrate this season of transitions.

Three Songs at the End of Summer

By Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.
Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.
Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”
Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.
Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.
*
The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.
Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?
*
A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket …
                                    In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.
The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.
I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.
Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.

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For this Poetry Friday I wanted to share this great essay I found on the Poetry Foundation’s website. Author Elliott Vanskike makes the great point that in order for children to know that they can turn to poetry during confusing times in their childhood and adulthood, the foundation has to be built early by parents and teachers. Not to mention, poetry can also bring comfort to sleep-deprived parents: ” Poetry offers other benefits for the beleaguered parent. A large part of parenting consists of mindless repetition—changing diapers again, cutting pancakes into triangles again, saying, “How do we ask for things nicely?” again. But poetry uses repetition to sound new depths of meaning and find nuance in sameness,” writes Vanskike.

Read the full essay on the Poetry Foundation website and then share how you incorporate poetry into your child’s everyday life.

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I came across this essay recently on the Poetry Foundation’s website. What a great poetry exercise to try with children of all ages! And since I’ve been knee-deep in editing my new math video, I thought this was especially appropriate. Enjoy! And stay tuned next week, when I will be posting a sneak-peek of the math work stations video. Happy Poetry Friday!

Fib Time
Tell
Fibs.
What time?
Every day
Two seconds before
Clocks hit 11:24.

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Have you ever thought about what handwriting looks like — not what is written, but how it’s written? This poem made me think of that — all of those elegant, connected lines. We lose some of that on the computer, don’t we?

Writing

By Howard Nemerov

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen’s point or brush’s tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger’s to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the ‘Slender Gold.’ A nervous man
writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.
Miraculous. It is as though the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.

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