Thursday, August 15, 2019

Poetry Friday: Prompts and a Tree

This poem seems appropriate for the first full week of school. It's gone well, but it's been exhausting, and that's even with Thursday being a national holiday here. This poem gets into the stakes, the human lives we're dealing with as teachers. It's worth the exhaustion. It's worth writing about.

Prompts (for High School Teachers Who Write Poetry)
by Dante Di Stefano

Write about walking into the building
as a new teacher. Write yourself hopeful.
Write a row of empty desks.

Here's the rest.

Today's theme for Poetry Friday is trees.

Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Here's the rest.

I took this photo on our school campus this week. It is not a redwood, but it makes me think of the "immensity" in the last line of Hirshfield's poem. Trees and kids have that immensity in common.

Today's roundup is here.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Poetry Friday: Halfway

I had my thirtieth college reunion this summer, and it surprised me to find that all of us - in our fifties, an age twenty-two year old me would have considered staid and settled - were in transitions big and small. We're between our kids and our parents, between jobs, between relationships. We're still figuring things out. I've spent a lot of time lately between cultures, too, figuring out that dynamic as I've been doing since my birth. I still have things to learn.

I'm heading off to school today to begin my I've lost count how many year of teaching. I started as a teaching assistant in grad school that same summer I graduated from college, but babies have kept me home a few of the years between. It's been a lot of years, and while I'm infinitely more confident now than I was that first year, and I have infinitely more tricks up my sleeve, I know there are still new things to learn, new kids to teach, new discoveries to make.

I've loved this poem since I was a small child, and I taught it to my children, who love it too.

Halfway Down
A. A. Milne

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where I sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
It's somewhere else

When I got home at the end of the summer, I had a package waiting for me from my friend Irene Latham. I had forgotten that Irene's cat had chosen me to receive this in a giveaway on her blog, so it was a nice surprise!

Molly has today's roundup.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Reading Update

Book #62 of 2019 was Michelle Obama's book Becoming. I also got to participate in a very fun discussion group about the book - unfortunately before I'd read it. It was taking forever for my name to work its way to the top of the holds list at the library, but finally I got it in the mail from a new friend! I enjoyed reading it immensely.

Book #63 was How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why it Happens, by Benedict Carey. This was for my summer professional development reading, and I found it interesting, counter-intuitive, and encouraging.

Book #64 was Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian. My brother couldn't stop raving about this series, so I decided to give it a try. The nautical terminology is way over my head, but my brother promised that if I just kept reading, soon that would become like background noise and I would be focusing on the main point of the stories, the relationships of the characters (always the part I like best about stories anyway). This seemed to be starting to happen. Now I'm ready to read the second book, but all I can find at the library is the audiobook, so I'm not sure I'll continue right away.

Books #65 and 69 were books I was reading aloud to my husband, and with some extra time over the summer we were able to finish both. The first was Beautiful Country Burn Again, by Ben Fountain, which is about the 2016 election, and the second was The Great Santini, by Pat Conroy. If I'd been reading the latter by myself, I would have given up early in the book. Although it is well-written (if somewhat floridly), I found the racism, misogyny, and abuse difficult to read about.

Book #66 was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, by Lori Gottlieb. I found this fascinating reading, both because of the individual stories involved and because of the insights into how therapy works.

Book #67 was The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk. I knew that this book was about trauma, but I was not expecting it to be as wide-ranging as it is. Particularly interesting was the section on shell shock/PTSD and the history of how the military has dealt with it. I appreciated the insights into how mind and body work together and how trauma affects people long-term. I also liked how research-based this was and how much hope there is for the future as professionals learn more and more about this topic.

Book #68 was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, the first book in a series about eleven year old Flavia de Luce. This was entertaining reading.

Book #70 was Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie is a private investigator. The first novel in the series is set in 1929, and in it we learn about Maisie's current cases, but also about her past, and how she went from being a maid to a university student to a very clever investigator.

Speaking of clever, book #71 was extremely cleverly written. It was Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey, and it's the story of Maud, who suffers from dementia. It's hard to know which aspects of the story she is imagining, and which ones are really happening. Is Elizabeth really missing? And what about Maud's sister Sukey?

Friday, August 02, 2019

Poetry Friday: Lisel Mueller

We're traveling again this week on Poetry Friday, but this time I got my act together enough ahead of time to write a post.

I found this Lisel Mueller poem recently:

Steps Out of the Circle
Lisel Mueller

The self steps out of the circle;
it stops wanting to be
the farmer, the wife, and the child.

It stops trying to please
by learning everyone's dialect;
it finds it can live, after all,
in a world of strangers.

Here's the rest.

Reading this poem sent me looking for more by Mueller, and here are some I loved at the Poetry Foundation. 

Love Like Salt
Lisel Mueller

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher

It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

Here's the rest.

Poem for my Birthday
Lisel Mueller

I have stopped being the heroine
of my bad dreams.

Here's the rest. Scroll down - it's the second poem on the page.

When I Am Asked
Lisel Mueller

and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.

That's how it ends. The rest is here.

Why We Tell Stories
for Linda Foster
Lisel Mueller



Because the story of our life
becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story
but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice

The rest is here.

Here are some other Lisel Mueller poems I've posted on my blog before: Monet Refuses the Operation and The Mermaid.

Heidi has today's roundup.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Change

A few years ago I got this fortune in a fortune cookie: "Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life."
Everything changes. Sometimes we're happy about the changes, and other times we're not, and either way, we're often wrong; that is, the changes we think will make us happy sometimes don't, and the ones we dread can turn out to be positive in the long run. I often find myself resisting change, seeing it as inherently a bad thing, and then asking myself why I'm reacting that way. Maybe it will be a change for the better, I tell myself.

One of the oldest teachings about God is immutability, constancy, not changing. While throughout the Bible we see God responding to human beings by changing plans and thoughts as a result of prayer, God's fundamental character doesn't change; we can rely on that.

"Change and decay in all around I see; oh Thou who changest not, abide with me."

Back in 2009 (on Good Friday), I wrote a post about the hymn that's the source of that line. 

The text of this hymn was written by Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847). Whenever I hear it, I think of evening chapels at boarding school. We would always sing it then, and those words, "fast falls the eventide," were then simply literal for me. I wanted God to be with me through the night, with its darkness and scary sounds. These days I think about it more metaphorically, and focus on the second stanza: "Change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me."

It seems appropriate for Good Friday, but with strong echoes of Easter.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

One of the changes I fear most is losing people I love, either to death or just to moving on in one way or another. God's abiding is a precious thing, the fact that we can trust that in spite of others leaving us, God never will.

Margaret is rounding up our posts for August's Spiritual Journey First Thursday. She has some beautiful reflections on change.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Poetry Friday

Today we traveled, and I never got to writing a Poetry Friday post. That's the first time in many months that I've missed! Fortunately, others shared poetry, and you can find the roundup here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Poetry Friday: Here's to You

The news this summer is horrid and the world seems to be falling apart more each day, but there are still wonderful people around and great friendships to enjoy. I'm sharing a Brooke Fraser song today, toasting old friends.

Cheers to the furrows on our brow
To each hard won victory
Cheers to the losses that grew us up
Killed our pride and filled our cup

Cheers to the friendships well worn in
That time nor distance alter
Here's to the sleepers we'll see again
Fine company in memoriam

Open your mouth and sing out your song
Life is short as the day is long
I can't leave you my body but I'll leave you a tune
This is my legacy
Cheers to you

Cheers to the passing of our youth
And the death of lust not wonder
A toast to the lessons not yet learned
And to the trials that will teach them

Open your mouth and sing out your song
Life is short as the day is long
I can't leave you my body but I'll leave you a tune
This is my legacy
Cheers to you

Open your mouth and sing out your song
Life is short as the day is long
I can't leave you my body but I'll leave you a tune

Open your mouth and sing out your song
Life is short as the day is long
I can't leave you my body but I'll leave you a tune

This is my legacy
This is my legacy
This is my legacy
Cheers to you

Brooke Fraser

Also, Carol Varsalona is sharing the Poetry Swap poem I wrote for her at her blog. She included some of the photos I've taken this summer - another way I shift my focus from the news.

Here's today's roundup.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Poetry Friday: Moments

On July 2nd the daily poem from (The Academy of American Poets) was a sonnet called "While Waiting for the Bus," by Khalil Eliot Wilson. I used to find very easy to navigate, and now I can't find anything there, but I do still get a daily poem email from them. I tried very hard to link to it, but finally gave up and have posted it here in its entirety.

While Waiting for the Bus
by Khalil Eliot Wilson

Under the eaves of the gas-mart - swallows
fall into the day, wheel before the headless
grooms of the formal wear shop, angle low
as my shoes, then comet up, sheer, careless
of traffic, all that is grounded or down.
A flight of leaf-blown cursives, blue coats
over dashing white, the red-rift of dawn
painted upon their crowns and busy throats.
I must learn to keep them with me, to hold,
somehow, their accomplished joy when I'm gone
to the city where I am mostly old
and their song, under the noise of hours, is done.
But now, auto exhaust cripples the air
as my grey somnambulant bus draws near.

What I love about this poem is the way it captures a moment, a moment involving both nature and human life, a moment which would have just passed by if Wilson hadn't captured it in words. Poetry seems uniquely able to do that - well, poetry and photography, but I love to share this quote with my students from someone called Jarod Kintz: "A picture is worth a thousand words, but is 400% less valuable, because a picture only captures one of the senses - sight. However, words can describe the other four senses, making writing four times more potent than photography."

Often these days when I go to write something, my first step is to look through photos. (Here's a post I wrote during National Poetry Month on how I use photography in my writing.) The photo fixes the memories for me enough to help me write about what I saw and experienced.

At a thrift shop I found Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison, by Ted Kooser. Kooser explains in his preface that in the winter of 1998 he took daily walks early in the morning, avoiding the sun because he had just had a course of radiation treatment for his cancer. He had gone a while without writing or even reading, but inspired by the moments of his walks, he started working on poems again, and soon was putting them on postcards to his friend Jim Harrison. I love these for the same reason as I loved Wilson's sonnet. Here's the poem from December 3rd:

I have been sitting here resting
after my morning stroll, and the sun
in its soft yellow work gloves
has come in through the window
and is feeling around on the opposite wall,
looking for me, having seen me
cheerfully walking along the road
just as it rose, having followed me home
to see what I have to be happy about.

Ted Kooser

You have to capture these happy moments, don't you? You have to write about them, or snap a picture so you can write about them later, or at least take them in, all the way, breathe them in and then keep them with you as you move into the day.
Here's a moment I captured this morning, that brave pink flower hanging on even though the bugs have eaten away the leaves into a lacy nothing. I'll write about it later, maybe...

Here's today's roundup.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Poetry Friday: Summer and Donald Hall and Possibility

So here we are already, halfway through the summer. Soon the back-to-school anxiety dreams will start again, and it won't be long at all before I'll be back in my classroom. I was going to accomplish so much, and as always I'm falling short. But I have had time to:

...participate in various unexpected conversations
...flit from book to book in the most desultory reading of the year
...lie in a field and take pictures of bug orgies
...acquire and start learning to use some binoculars in my quest to become a birder
...drink large quantities of tea

One of the unforeseen rabbit trails I have followed is an investigation of Donald Hall poetry. The Atlantic shared the following quiet, meditative video on Facebook, called "Old Age is a Ceremony of Losses," about Donald Hall growing old (here's their commentary).
After I watched that, I went searching for his writing to read. I'd read some before, and some by his wife, Jane Kenyon, but this time I read everything that Poetry Foundation would show me. I recommend doing that.

I love how specific Hall's poems are, the way they bring me into moments I never lived, especially the moments of his wife's illness. And listen to this, from a poem called "The Days," published in 1962:

Suddenly he has the idea
that thousands and thousands of his days
lie stacked into the ground
like leaves, or like the pressure of green
which becomes coal in a million years.

Here's one that broke my heart in its recreation of close friendships and happiness and tragedy and loss. A backyard wedding, friends sharing their writing, old age. (And suicide, just to warn you in advance.) I love the clear-eyed way he presents these people, without judgment, with love.

by Donald Hall

"Always Be Closing," Liam told us -
abc of real estate, used cars
and poetry. Liam the dandy
loved Brooks Brothers shirts, double-breasted
suits, bespoke shoes, and linen jackets.
On the day Liam and Tree married
in our backyard, Liam and I wore
Chuck's burgundy boho-prep high-tops
that Liam bought on Fifth Avenue.

Here's the rest.

Yesterday would normally have been Spiritual Journey First Thursday, a monthly thing where a group of us respond to a spiritually-themed prompt on the first Thursday of each month. We're skipping July, but somewhere else I saw a recommendation to revisit the year's OLW (One Little Word) and evaluate how you're doing. Mine is a little hard to evaluate, because it's Possibility. I've been trying to let go of my expectations a bit and just enjoy what comes; and I think I've been doing...not too badly. Could be worse.

Happy summer days to you, especially my teacher friends. Here's to gathering strength for the upcoming year in the most unlikely places.

Here's today's roundup.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Poetry Friday: Summer Poetry Swap, #1

I decided to participate in two Summer Poetry Swaps this year, out of the five that Tabatha organized. When you sign up, Tabatha sends you the address of someone else who has signed up, and your only job is to send that person a poem.

For the first Poetry Swap, I received a poem from Jone Rush MacCulloch, who blogs at Deo Writer. Her creation was a combination of two of her passions: poetry and words. She took a photo and put it on a wooden plaque (the packaging inside the Priority Mail envelope had a Walgreen Photo logo, so I figured out that's where Jone took her photo to make this, and nobody's paying me to advertise them, but wow, this is a very very cool product and I will be trying it myself).

Here's Jone's poem:

The words say:

ancient walls
carved by sand, wind, rain
river sky
above me
connects two worlds with stories
of the past

- jone rush macculloch

I love the words, and I love the colors, and I love the walls and the sky. Jone's note said that this photo comes from her trip to Secret Canyon, also known as Slot Canyon, in Page, Arizona. (Here's a post from a travel blog with some description and more photos.) My daughter is in the process of moving out west to the desert, and I don't think Jone knew that, but her beautiful photo helps me imagine a place I've never been. Soon I'll be connecting my daughter's new world with mine as we share our stories in our written and spoken conversations. They'll be stories of the past, but also the present. When I go home, Jone's poem will take pride of place on the bookcase in my room, along with photos of my children.

Thank you, Jone! And thank you, Tabatha! I love Poetry Swaps!

Buffy has today's roundup.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Poetry Friday: Rain

As a Facebook friend put it, "This has been the Aprilest June ever." I'm visiting my parents in the US, and it has been raining and raining and raining. Yesterday when the rain let up for a few minutes, I went outside and took some photos, and kept thinking about Langston Hughes' famous rain poem. It's about April, but I'm going to post it anyway, in a video at the bottom after some of my pictures.

You can read it here.

And here's today's roundup.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Poetry Friday: Heaven

I've been gearing up for days to write a poem, and it still hasn't happened, but a friend posted these Wendell Berry lines on Facebook this week:

The painter Harlan Hubbard said
that he was painting Heaven when
the places he painted merely were
the Campbell or the Trimble County
banks of the Ohio, or farms

and hills where he had worked or roamed:

a house’s gable and roofline

rising from a fold in the hills,

trees bearing snow, two shanty boats

at dawn, immortal light upon

the flowing river in its bends.

And these were Heavenly because

he never saw them clear enough

to satisfy his love, his need

to see them all again, again.

Wendell Berry, from Leavings

I love the idea of those Heavenly things we keep looking at, keep seeing new sides of, new aspects. Maybe a place or an object stops being lovable to us the day we stop looking at it.

Recently my husband and I were sitting at a table in a restaurant. He told me I looked beautiful. I handed my camera to him and said, "If I look beautiful, take a picture so I can see what you see."

When I looked at his picture of me, all I could see were flaws, but it also made me smile because after all these years, he still wants to keep looking at me, to keep seeing me again and again and again, even as time and gravity and childbirth have taken their toll. Like Harlan Hubbard, painting and repainting those same homey Ohio scenes, he still hasn't seen me "clear enough." He keeps looking.

Here's this week's roundup.

Reading Update

Book #51 of the year was The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More, by Bruce Feller. I liked this book and its cheerful, can-do approach to fixing little things that drive people crazy about their families.

Book #52 was a re-read, Brian D. McLaren's Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words. I wrote about it before here in 2013 and here in 2018.

Book #53 was No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits, by Jordan Romero. This is another addition to my reading about mountain climbing; I wrote a bit about that here. Book #54 is yet another: Within Reach: My Everest Story, by Mark Pfetzer.

Book #55 was Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith, another in the Cormoran Strike series. I like this series and I'll definitely read the next one that comes out.

Book #56 was I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron. A friend recommended this to me. While I liked some of the essays in this, I didn't really feel bad about my neck before reading the book, and now I do. So thanks, Nora.

Book #57 was God's Favorite Place on Earth, by Frank Viola. This book is about Bethany, the place where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Book #58 was An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn. Amazon kept recommending this for me based on my previous reads, and this time Amazon got it right. I absolutely loved this book. Mendelsohn is a literature professor, and his dad comes one year to his Odyssey seminar. Then the two go on an Odyssey cruise together. In between, the story of their relationship and the dad's childhood are woven together. I'm a sucker for these examinations of how mythology reflects our lives. Here's a taste of the writing: "It was from Fred that I understood that beauty and pleasure are at the center of teaching. For the best teacher is the one who wants you to find meaning in the things that have given him pleasure, too, so that the appreciation of their beauty will outlive him. In this way - because it arises from an acceptance of the inevitability of death - good teaching is like good parenting." Oh, Daniel Mendelsohn, you are speaking my language.

Book #59 was No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending, by Esther Fleece Allen.

Some of the same themes in this book were also in book #60, a memoir written by a friend from childhood: The Colors of My Country, by Esther Lee Barron. I recognized many of the people and places in this, and I really appreciated how Esther's vignettes let her past be what it was: she didn't try to prettify the sadness and loss. Sure, God can bring good out of the difficulties we face, but they still hurt; they hurt badly. It took so much courage for her to write about this, and I applaud her. C.S Lewis wrote that one of the reasons we read is so we don't feel alone, and when I read about Esther's cross-cultural meanderings I feel less alone with my own. Great job, Esther!

Book #61 was Pacifica, by Kristen Simmons. This is another in the dystopia/post-apocalyptic genre, about a world drowned by climate change. I had read another book by Kristen Simmons before, but this one was much, much better. It was atmospheric and believable, and I liked the characters. The book reminded me a lot of Paolo Bacigalupi; I wrote about his books here, here, and here.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Poetry Friday: Living in Two Places

Since last Poetry Friday I have traveled to a different planet; it's impossible to believe that the United States and Haiti are in the same galaxy, and though I know they are, and am well aware of the implications of that, for a moment I like to pretend otherwise. (Here's a post on the falsehood of that "two planets" theory I'm trying to keep alive in my head.)

where we are
by Gerald Locklin

(for edward field)

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

Michelle has today's roundup.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Connection

Today's host Ramona asked us to write about connection. Connection is very important to me; I value my friends and family and wish for more time with them. But so much of my experience of connection involves separation. I feel pain because I am far from those I love, because either I leave or they do. Sometimes it feels as though it would be easier never to make connections, since it is so difficult to lose them.

Henri Nouwen, in his book Life of the Beloved, addresses this problem. He talks about how we are "called to give our very lives to one another and that, in so doing, we become a true community of love," but adds that we can give ourselves away because we can
"trust that our little lives will multiply themselves and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people....The fruitfulness of our little lives, once we recognize it and live it as the life of the Beloved, is beyond anything we ourselves can imagine. One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe that the few years we live on this earth are like a little seed planted in a very rich soil. For this seed to bear fruit, it must die. We often see or feel only the dying, but the harvest will be abundant even when we ourselves are not the harvesters. How different would our life be were we truly able to trust that it multiplied in being given away! How different would our life be if we could but believe that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every bit of joy and peace will multiply and multiply as long as there are people to receive it...and that -- even then -- there will be leftovers!"
If we do believe this, we can invest ourselves in the people God puts in our lives at any given time, even if the connection is short and soon broken. We can trust that God will keep giving us people to invest in.

You know what? That is a lot easier said than done. I have recently lost several close friends, and it's challenging to keep making new friends at all. Anybody who's read this blog much at all has seen this as a recurring theme in my life. Nouwen's words help me think about it and deal with it.

Be sure to visit Ramona's blog to see how others have responded to this prompt.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

What I Learned in May

I started last year's "What I Learned in May" post by writing, "I don't think people learn much in May, at least not the school kind of learning. May is mostly disrupted schedules, noisy celebrations, chaos of many varieties. There were projects and exams, yes, but mostly, if you haven't learned it by now, you probably won't, not this year."

I feel the same way this May. Yesterday in our last meeting of the year, my colleagues and I were invited to reflect using a series of questions. What were we proud of? What was a time we felt joyful and inspired? What was the most valuable thing we learned? I couldn't answer those questions very well. I did better with the negative ones. What was frustrating? What caused stress? What was the biggest mistake we made this year and how can we avoid making it again in the future?

May isn't the time for feeling good about my teaching. I just read all that work, posted all those grades. I know exactly what we accomplished this year, and what we didn't. Give me a few weeks of peace and quiet, and I'll be enthusiastic again by August.

I do have a small file on my desktop of links from this month, though, so here goes:

My brother sent me this podcast about language use in France, and specifically how you can and can't refer to race. So interesting, especially when listened to in Haiti, home of one part of France's stinky history of slavery and inequality.

Rachel Held Evans died at 37.

Dina Nayeri writes on how family separation at the southern border is "a literal hell constructed for children." That description makes it sound like a ranty political piece, and it's not, at all: it's a beautiful, reflective description of what Nayeri knows about how little kids' minds work, based on her own translation of her two year old daughter's ways of seeing the world. Who is listening to little kids who are separated from their parents, she asks?

Here's another one from, this one about mothers who are writers, and to what extent our children's stories do and don't belong to us.

Jean Vanier died at 90.

That's all I wrote down in my "What I Learned in May" file. No doubt I learned more than that. I started an eBird account, for example, and learned to identify some birds. I wondered, reading about mass extinctions, whether I'd just started paying attention to birds right when they all were about to go away. I started making plans for a birdwatching club next year at school, even if I'm the only one out there peering up into the branches.

I cleaned out my classroom and ended another school year.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye and Summer

Just over a month ago, Tabatha suggested that we should have a Naomi Shihab Nye day on Poetry Friday. A few days later, I read that Naomi Shihab Nye had been awarded an honor even greater than our attention on Poetry Friday: she is the new Young People's Poet Laureate.  I even suspected Tabatha of having some inside knowledge that this was about to happen, but she says no, it was just a coincidence.

I have loved NSN's work for a long time, but when I went looking on my poetry shelf, I only found one of her books. The others I have read have been borrowed from the library, it seems. So I chose the poem I'm going to share today from that book, Fuel. It's appropriate for today in many ways, as we clean up the last debris from our students, rushing off to their summer plans.

The Time
Naomi Shihab Nye

Summer is the time to write. I tell myself this
in winter especially. Summer comes,
I want to tumble with the river
over rocks and mossy dams.

A fish drifting upside down.
Slow accordions sweeten the breeze.

The Sanitary Mattress Factory says,
"Sleep Is Life."
Why do I think of forty ways to spend an afternoon?

Yesterday someone said, "It gets late so early."
I wrote it down. I was going to do something with it.
Maybe it is a title and this life is the poem.

I have many NSN posts on this blog, and here are two: this one from National Poetry Month in 2017 and this one from this year's NPM festivities. Both include links to multiple NSN poems I've posted over the years. I can't wait to see what she does for poetry during her tenure as Poet Laureate!

Here's a photo from our campus at this time of year, and here's an ode I wrote last year to the flamboyant tree.

"Summer is the time to write." I did tell myself that in the winter, and now to see if I can find some words in this season. Hoping for productive summer writing for all my Poetry Friday friends!

Mary Lee's got the roundup today!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Poetry Friday: Climbing

We've been climbing in seventh grade. Metaphorically, as we scaled the heights of the school year, but also literarily, as we ended the year with a reading of Peak, by Roland Smith, and then a supplementary non-fiction Everest account, Within Reach, and this video story about an expedition that flew a hot air balloon over Everest, so we could get more insight into stuff like how noisy the streets of Kathmandu are, what yaks look like and how a Gamow bag works. (I also read No Summit Out of Sight, by Jordan Romero, but didn't have time this year to share that with my students. Next year I might swap it in for the other one, because I do like the idea of comparing a fictional account with a non-fiction one, and Jordan is closer to my students' age than Mark Pfetzer, who wrote Within Reach.)

I'm not sure why I have, in the past few years, developed such an interest in Everest. It's not because I want to climb mountains. I'm scared of heights. I can hardly read about the ladders in the Khumbu Icefall without covering my eyes. I get breathless and shivery as I go through these adventures vicariously. Plus, it's expensive to climb Everest. Even if I had that kind of money, there are so many other things I'd do with it.

Partly it's because I've fallen in love with Nepal. I've never been there, but I feel as though I have from all the books I've read. We were reading Peak in April 2015 when the big earthquake took place there. At that point my students remembered our 2010 earthquake very well, and they, and I, were struck hard by the event. We read articles together and lamented what those people were going through, and my kids had a bake sale to raise money, which they sent to a high school friend of my husband's who was working in Nepal. The accounts I read (and they were many) sounded just like ones from Haiti, except that in Nepal it was cold; my students and I couldn't imagine. I cried, imagining.

Probably it's mostly the metaphor. Everest is the ultimate symbol of an almost unattainable goal. George Mallory is famously supposed to have said, when asked why he wanted to climb the mountain, "Because it's there." But cavalier as Mallory was about it, plenty of people have not come back from their attempt to summit. Mallory himself was one of them. He disappeared during his climb in 1924 and his body was found 75 years later, in 1999. There are about 200 dead bodies still on the mountain, lying where they fell, still dressed in their brightly colored climbing clothes. Because of the cold, their corpses don't decay. (Here's more of the "gruesome truth" about that.)

In addition to being difficult, climbing Everest is about preparation, about sitting around a lot waiting for things to happen, and about being stopped by circumstances completely outside your control. You're only on the summit a few minutes; those few minutes are fueled by years of fund-raising, exercising, acclimatization, and scaling lesser peaks. And chances are good you won't make it at all. You might not get there because of sickness, someone else's foolishness, political upheaval, frostbite, bad weather, or dozens of other problems large and small. One guy in Within Reach dropped his mitten and couldn't get it back; that put an end to his summit attempt.

Sounds like life, doesn't it?

(Also, in climbing as in life, you definitely won't make it without other people's help. These books and the video all explore the role of the Sherpas, who work harder than the climbers from outside for less recognition.)

Early in our reading of Peak this year, we read Irene Latham's poem "The World According to Climbers" in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School as our poem of the day (we read four poems a week, Monday through Thursday, and then listen to a song together on Fridays).
Could it be that there's a middle school English teacher who doesn't have this book yet? If so, you should really go order it right now. I'll wait.

The World According to Climbers
by Irene Latham

They place their trust in a firm
handshake, steel-toed boots

and hats with wide brims.
Rope fibers groan as they cling

like beads of dew on mutton grass.
They don't lament the lack of wing,

only the fact that they can't fly

without them. They forget why,
shift their focus to how.

They carry on. There is no
such thing as tomorrow.

Irene's poem became a touchstone for us as we continued to read the book. I would often say, or one of the students would, "Hey, that reminds me of 'The World According to Climbers.'" An example is when Peak's mom tells him, in a somber call on a satellite phone, that he has to become selfish to succeed in summiting Everest. If he doesn't focus, he won't make it. She explains how she had to give up climbing because once she became a mom, she found her focus divided. (And that's a class discussion waiting to happen!) We talked about how climbing happens step by step.

The PFAMS suggests asking, "What risks are worth taking and what risks are not?" Everest puts that question front and center, but my kids face risks in their lives in Haiti all the time. In some ways, they are far less sheltered than American kids their age, living in a country with few safety features. In other ways, they are super-sheltered, at least some of them - check out this post to see what I mean. Talking about risk is always an interesting thing with these students.

I wrote to Irene and told her what her poem had come to mean to me and to the class, and she wrote back with some more background. She sent me the photo she used as inspiration when she wrote "The World According to Climbers."
She was writing poems at the time using photos of United States National Parks. (This one is from Mesa Verde National Park.) She intended to put them in a book but never found a publisher. She also said that her brother used to be a climber, "so I watched and worried and marveled over his adventures many times!" (Now he's become a cyclist, which I guess is marginally safer.) My students love it when I tell them the authors we read are friends of mine. Thanks for sharing all of this with us, Irene, and giving me permission to share it with my blog readers, too!

So we made it to the summit of our school year - today is the last day of classes, and we have three half days next week of exams and then all the graduations. In my newly-acquired free time in the next couple of weeks, maybe I'll write my own climbing poem. When you get to the summit of Everest, you have to head back down right away after posing for a few pictures; the human body can't survive for long at that altitude, called the "Death Zone." My mountain is a little less extreme. For right now, I'm just going to enjoy the view from up here a little longer before I head back down to the valley and start gathering supplies and strength to climb again next year.

Here's today's roundup.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Poetry Friday: Heavy Summer Rain

Heavy Summer Rain
Jane Kenyon
The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.

"I miss you steadily, painfully." For some reason there don't seem to be many poems about missing people, but the older I get, the more it seems to be the dominant emotion I experience, as life devolves into a series of goodbyes, sad announcements, and sorrow. Time to go cheer up now as today I receive all my students' final writing pieces! Enjoy everyone else's Poetry Friday offerings here!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Reading Update

We are testing at school this week, and I've finished all my grading and am not proctoring.  I left my Kindle at home by mistake, and I've been kicked out of my classroom because a class is testing in there, so I can't do the stuff that needs to be done in my classroom library or write finals or any of the other jobs that await me, so I'm just sitting around, which led to me writing this blog post at work. What are you reading? What do you recommend for me to add to my list?

Book #42 of 2019 was Felicity, by Mary Oliver. I found this while looking for poetry at the library to download onto my Kindle. I don't think it's her best work.

Book #43 was Career of Evil, the third in the Cormoran Strike series, written by Robert Galbraith, who is actually J.K. Rowling. I read somewhere that these books get less gory as the series goes along, but it hasn't happened yet. This one was very bloody and I hesitate to recommend it because of that, but I love the main characters, Cormoran and Robin. I've got the next one on hold at the library.  

Book #44 was The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See. This is a historical novel set in Jeju Island, South Korea, known for its tradition of Haenyeo, or women divers. I was completely unfamiliar with the place and its history, and it was fascinating to learn about. Content warning for massacres.

Book #45 was The Cruel Prince and book #49 was The Wicked King, both by Holly Black. Of course there's a third book, and of course it doesn't come out until November, so I have to wait until then to find out what happens. These books are about Faerie, not a lovely happy place, but the place inhabited by the kind of wild, unpredictable creatures who are responsible for such phenomena as changelings and souring the milk. Think Tatiana and Oberon from Shakespeare. These books are definitely not for children. 

Book #46 was The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, by Ben Philippe. This was recommended to me by a couple of friends based on the fact that the main character is Haitian-Canadian. Norris Kaplan enters the world of the American high school when he and his mother move to Austin, Texas. I enjoyed it, though all of the characters turned out to be less impressive than I wanted them to be, which I guess makes it quite realistic. 

Book #47 was The Pocket Enneagram: Understanding the 9 Types of People, by Helen Palmer. This was the only book on the Enneagram that the library had, and I've had it on hold for a while. I found it completely useless for what I wanted it to accomplish, which was to help me understand the Enneagram. It was just too much information in a completely abstract format. I've also been listening to some podcasts where we hear from interviewees who are all these different types of people. That's much more helpful. I do want to read a good book on the Enneagram, though - does anybody have one to recommend? 

I re-read book #48 because of the death of Rachel Held Evans a couple of weeks ago at age 37. I've read all her books, but this one, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, was my favorite. Rachel was known as someone who wasn't afraid to ask questions, and the grief at our loss of her speaks for itself. If only we could have kept reading her work as she continued down her road of faith. When I first read this book, back in 2015, I wrote about it here

Book #50 was Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to Be Noticed, by Sara Hagerty. I finished this one last night. I have to say it was a little scary to me how appropriate it was for some of the very specific things I have been experiencing lately. Almost as though there's an unseen hand directing my reading...

This post is linked to the May Quick Lit post at Modern Mrs. Darcy, here.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Poetry Friday: Youth and Mother's Day

This week I read the story about Patroclus getting killed with my eighth graders. I also read this poem published in 2019, and its references to Patroclus and Achilles and Thetis (Achilles' mother) remind me of one of the reasons I love teaching about the Trojan War; these stories are so timeless.

Thetis was a goddess, so the fact that she was immortal heightened her sense of the mortality of her son Achilles, but a sense of mortality is common to all parents. This week we saw yet another school shooting to remind us of that, plus of course all the other news stories that remind us, week after week after week, all year long.

Happy Mother's Day!

by Tom Sleigh
Smelling of sweet resin the Aleppo pines’
shadows grow taller by the hour. Two identical
twin boys chase each other through the shadows,
the one who’s ten minutes older yelling,
I’m gonna kill you while the younger one
laughs, Kill me, kill me if you can!
Day by day these teatime mortars
keep pecking at the blast wall that the boys
have grown so used to they just keep right on playing.
If they weren’t here in front of me, I’d find them
hard to imagine, just as I sometimes find
my own twin brother hard to imagine.
I’m supposed to be doing a story
on soldiers, what they do to keep from
being frightened, but all I can think about
is how Tim would chase me or I’d chase him
and we’d yell, I’m gonna kill you, just like
these brothers do, so alive in their bodies,
just as Tim who is so alive will one day not be:
will it be me or him who first dies?
But I came here to do a story on soldiers
and how they keep watching out for death
and manage to fight and die without going crazy—
the boys squat down to look at ants climbing
through corrugated bark, the wavering antennae
tapping up and down the tree reminding me
of the soldier across the barracks sitting
still inside himself, listening to his nerves
while his eyes peer out at something I can’t see—
when Achilles’ immortal mother came
to her grieving son, knowing he would soon
die, and gave him his armor and kept the worms
from the wounds of his dead friend, Patroclus, she,
a goddess, knew she wouldn’t be allowed
to keep those same worms from her son’s body.

I know I’m not his father, he’s not my son,
but he looks so young, young enough to be
my son—sitting on his bunk, watching out for death,
trying to fight and die without going crazy, he
reaches for his rifle, breaks it down,
dust cover, spring, bolt carrier with piston,
wiping it all down with a rag and oil,
cleaning it for the second time this hour
as shadows shifting through the pines
bury him and the little boys and Tim
and me in non-metaphorical, real life darkness
where I’m supposed to be doing a story.
Here's the poem, along with links to some of Tom Sleigh's other work. 
This post contains a poem I wrote about Thetis a few years ago.

And here's today's roundup.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Poetry Friday: Earth Day, Eco-anxiety, Prettiness

I don't know if you, Gentle Reader, have noticed, but I try to write positive things about my adopted country of Haiti. There is so much here that is beautiful and worth celebrating, and the vast majority of coverage of Haiti tends to be negative. I try to leave the criticizing (and admittedly, there are things to criticize) to others. (I'm not always successful. I grumble about the electricity situation frequently, for example, most recently here.)

Lately, though, I have been struggling, along with everyone else who reads the news, with eco-anxiety. And although the average Haitian person makes much less trash than the average American (1.5 pounds per person per day in Haiti versus 4.4 pounds per person per day in the United States; sources here and here), the trash here is much more visible than in the States. We don't have public trash receptacles everywhere like in the US; we don't have high-tech waste management; we don't have municipal trash pickup; we are an island and don't have extra space. And those are just the explanations that I, a total non-expert, came up with off the top of my head.

On Earth Day, my husband and I visited an area where a lot of trash has been dumped, and I wrote about it. I hesitate to share what I wrote because I don't want you to think Haiti is somehow guiltier about this than the United States. Please reread the last paragraph. And I will follow up my landfill/hell poem with a haiku about something lovely, just to make myself, and perhaps you, Gentle Reader, feel better.

Rivière Grise, April 22nd, 2019

On Earth Day
we wanted to go for a walk.
We ended up in Gehenna,
on the banks of the Grey River.

Might as well say
we ended up
on the banks of the River Styx.

It had rained all night
and the road was covered with mud.
On either side:
piles of earthquake rubble
piles of styrofoam
piles of plastic
piles of empty cans.

Goats and pigs
nosed around,
and white egrets sat sentinel
atop the mounds.
People picked through the refuse,
seeking treasures.
Smoke rose from
burning heaps of trash.
The air smelled of ashes,
decay and despair,
fire and brimstone.

As far as my eye could see,
these broken, discarded ruins
spread out before us,
eternal landfill.

“What branches grow
out of this stony rubbish?”
asked T.S. Eliot.
Well, a few.
Bright pink chain of love
and purple hallucinogenic datura,
sometimes called devil’s trumpets.
Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal.

Finally we came to the river.
It was dry-season low,
choked with garbage.

I thought of Achilles clogging
the yellow River Scamander with dead bodies,
and how finally the river god rose up,
scolding him for his mad killing spree,
and I imagined a spirit of this grey river doing the same.

I lifted my camera to make an image of the murky water,
and sure enough, from the smoky distance
an angry dreadlocked figure strode forth,

Yelling what, I wondered,
awaiting the spirit’s arrival
at the car window.
Berating the poverty that caused this hellscape?
Cursing those who treated this valley as a dump?
Prophesying a post-apocalyptic future
when the whole planet would resemble this scene?

No, he was yelling at me,
selfish, bourgeois me,
for taking a picture.
I felt ashamed for
seeking prettiness
on Earth Day.
Is looking at beauty
just the art of ignoring the ugly?
Can there be heaven when
there is so much hell?

We drove
away from the Grey River,
hoping we weren’t too late
to get back to the land of the living,
drove fast,
not looking back.

Ruth, from

And here's the haiku, based on this photo I took this week:

Popsicle colors
Pink and white ice cream petals
Sweet afternoon treat

Ruth, from

Each Friday in April, I shared links to my daily blog posts. Here are the last four posts from National Poetry Month.

Jama's hosting today's roundup, so there's bound to be good snacks!

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Spirit of Spring

Our host for today, Carol, has asked us to write about the Spirit of Spring.

In the traditional Christian church calendar (the western version), we are in the season of Eastertide. This season begins with Easter Sunday and continues through Ascension Day (celebrated this year on May 30th) and then Pentecost Sunday, which falls this year on June 9th. Eastertide takes place in springtime in the northern hemisphere. The commemoration of Jesus' resurrection coincides with the resurrection of nature out of the death of winter.

As I pointed out in last month's SJFT post, I live in a place where we don't experience a cold winter. I mean, it feels cold to us; maybe it gets into the sixties some nights. But we don't go through the death, weather-wise, so the resurrection is less dramatic.

The truth of the matter is that our inner weather may often be completely different from the weather outside, anyway. If you live in the tropics and have year-round perfect weather, that doesn't necessarily translate into year-round joy and delight (though it is much easier for me to be cheerful when I'm warm and the sun is shining).

The spirit of spring is the spirit of resurrection, and resurrection only comes after death. As I was meditating on this post, I remembered something a friend, Corrigan Clay, wrote after the earthquake. I asked him then if I could share it on my blog, and he gave me his permission. Here's the original post, with his photo, from 2010. The first words are quoted from the Bible, the book of Ezekiel.
"I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of Man, can these bones live?"

Easter is more overwhelmingly awesome in a graveyard than in a shopping mall.

I urge you: Be where the bones are and breathe out all the life you have been given and watch them start to clatter and rattle...

"Behold, I make all things new."
As we live on this earth, we are surrounded by death. Right now many of us are overwhelmed with what I recently learned to call eco-anxiety, as we witness extinctions and the degradation of our environment taking place before our eyes. We see death in many other ways, too: we see people we love dying; we see dreams dying; we see evil winning. If I didn't believe in the resurrection, I wouldn't be able to go on. Because I do believe in it, I can.

Here are some words Jonathan Martin wrote this year for Easter:
Since this time last year, we've fallen off of some wagons, jumped on to some others. You got a raise or lost the money. You got drunk or sober, married or divorced. People were born, people died. Nothing could stop the rising. Your accomplishments didn’t speed him up, your failure didn’t slow him down. Love got up, in his own sweet time. Death was conquered. Maybe you don’t believe it. So? What you BELIEVE won’t make it more or less true. Resurrection is God's responsibility.
Some people will go to Church & be "strangely warmed" today. Some will leave still disillusioned. Either way, THE WHOLE COSMOS CHANGED. Easter is good news for every blade of grass & every nursing home, every animal on a farm & every angry atheist, every cell & grain of sand. Life conquered death & there's not a thing we can do about it. Receive it as gift, doubt it, be wayward or devout-it's happened & happening. Resurrection is not an edict or summons, but an invitation to know the open secret humming beneath all created things-DEATH IS NOT THE END.
Prayer: Firstborn of the dead, 
we awake this morning to the astonishment of your resurrection. Our hearts have been heavy for too long. Let us be given over now, to the gut-busting joy of new life, unexpected gifts, the surprise of resurrection in the deadest places. We cannot understand how it happens, or what it means. But we do not come to you looking for explanations--we come hungry for joy, ready for awe, desperate for Easter hope. Baptize us in wonder again, risen God. Amen.

"Resurrection is God's responsibility." That's the Spirit of Spring. We can't do a thing to make winter go away, or to bring life from death. But God can.

Visit Carol's blog to see what other participants have written on this topic.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

What I Learned in April

April is National Poetry Month, so this year, as in the past, I learned a lot about poetry, and was introduced to many new-to-me poets and poems. I did daily posts all month, which I very much enjoyed. I read, and wrote, poetry, and that's something that makes me happy, even when the subject matter isn't cheerful. There's just something about that little burst of creative energy, whether other people read and appreciate it or not (though of course I like it when they do).

Early in the month I listened to this podcast, called "Listening to God in Anxiety." Not only did I listen to it, I followed along with my notebook and did all the journaling too. I felt faintly ridiculous doing this on my own in my room, but I found it very helpful and would recommend it. (This is all from a traditionally Christian perspective.) Here's a summary: responding to anxiety by praying about the things that are making us anxious can, paradoxically, backfire, because the added focus on the anxiety-producing problems can cause us to ruminate even more on them. Nader Sahyouni suggests praying with these three postures: first, please; second, thanks; third, yes. Please involves simply asking God to take away the things worrying you, as Jesus did in the Garden, asking God three times to remove the cup of suffering from Him. Thanks means praising God for what He is doing through the troubles you're experiencing, even if He doesn't take them away. And Yes is accepting what God is doing in your life, asking for what Sahyouni calls the "trifecta of grace": grace to let go, grace to know the truth, grace to have more faith. In the second half of the podcast, you'll be guided through thinking about these steps in the context of your own individual life situation. I hope this is as helpful to someone reading this as it was to me!

The morning after listening to this and reflecting on it, I had music playing in my classroom as I was getting ready for the day, and this song came on. It pairs perfectly with the insights from the podcast.

The other thing I learned in April can be summed up by the word "Birds." Back in November I found out about Nokomis, a great blue heron from Maine that has been fitted with a transmitter. She winters in Haiti every year, or at least the past three. I wrote a poem about her, and shared it on Facebook with the Heron Observation Network of Maine, and through that started exchanging emails with a biologist in Maine who works with schoolchildren. In April she sent me a list of questions about birds in Haiti, and in addition to discussing them with my eighth graders, I also did a lot of research on them myself. I made some new Haiti friends (yay for new friends!) and learned about many new-to-me resources, like the Audubon Center of Haiti, Zwazo Yo, The Audubon Society of Haiti, and I've learned in the past that people who are experts in their fields are often unexpectedly willing to share with absolutely clueless beginners, and I found that this time too; I loved having an inbox full of messages from new friends full of enthusiasm and suggestions. Next school year I am hoping to start a bird-watching club of some kind at school, have some speakers visit, and just generally learn much, much more about birds.
National bird of Haiti, the Hispaniolan Trogon. 
Photo source: Société Audubon Haiti

So to wrap things up, I learned again in April that learning makes me happy. To quote Merlin in T.H. White's book The Sword in the Stone:
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NPM: Day 30

Poems definitely add value to my life, but I have to say that the thirty days of National Poetry Month always wear me out. This year was no exception. At least I did a little desktop decluttering with my month-long project of posting links I've been saving, then closing the open tabs. We won't comment on the fact that I've accumulated almost as many new tabs.

For the last day of National Poetry Month, I'm sharing a poem that has only been on my desktop for a few days. It was chosen as Poem of the Day by for April 22nd, and it made me snicker.

The Creative Drive
by Catherine Barnett

A recent study found that poems increased
the sale price of a home by close to $9,000.
The years, however, have not been kind to poems.

The Northeast has lost millions of poems,
reducing the canopy. Just a few days ago,
high winds knocked a poem onto a power line

a few blocks from my house.

Here's the rest.

The last line of the Progressive Poem is here!  Thanks for another fun collaboration, everybody! Let's all write our individual poems instead for a while, but see you again next year!

2 Kat @ Kathryn Apel
4 Jone @ DeoWriter
5 Linda @ TeacherDance
6 Tara @ Going to Walden
8 Mary Lee @ A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @ Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @ Live Your Poem
12 Margaret @ Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine @ Dori Reads
17 Amy @ The Poem Farm
18 Linda @ A Word Edgewise
20 Buffy @ Buffy's Blog
21 Michelle @ Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @ Reading to the Core
25 Jan @ Bookseedstudio
26 Linda @ Write Time
27 Sheila @ Sheila Renfro
29 Irene @ Live Your Poem
30 Donna @ Mainely Write