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.


Carol Varsalona said...

Immensity is such a beautiful word, Ruth, with depth to it. I love how it is used to wrap up the poem. Thank you for sharing the first poem as well that I would like to show the HS teachers I work with. Have a wonderful start to school.

Molly Hogan said...

I love the common thread of "immensity" that you point out, Ruth. Lovely post and powerful poetry!

Irene Latham said...

I'm kind of in love with the immensity of trees and kids at this very moment, thanks to you, Ruth! Thank you. xo

Cheriee Weichel said...

I love Dante Di Stefano's poem. It inspired me to write a poem for one of my students, Amanda, who I still worry and wonder about. If you are interested, you can read it here.

I am thankful that we still have a couple of weeks vacation before school begins officially!

Ruth said...

Cheriee, thank you for sharing your poem. It is so sad. I left a comment there.

Michelle Kogan said...

A powerhouse of a poem by Di Stefano, and I especially liked these lines:
"Write elegies
on the nub nose of a pink eraser.
Carve your devotion from a no. 2

And what a wonderfully immense poem "Tree" is in so few words, thanks Ruth!

Tara Smith said...

Well,Dante Di Stefano's poem broke me...I always loved the kids who slammed the doors, whose pain was eventually revealed to me, which became a doorway to communication and growth. A stunning poem.

Jone said...

Wow...the immensity of the tree and poem. Thank you.

Mary Lee said...

Yes to the exhaustion (our first week too, and only three days will I manage five in a row? We'll see...) and yes to the "it's worth it." We can't even forget that.

Loved the Hirshfield. Saved that one to read again and again.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Happy New Year, Ruth! You chose two poems that speak the same truth in very different voices, and I appreciate the way your juxtaposition helps us interpret the redwood in a way we might have missed. Thank you!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Both such great poems, Ruth! I have the Di Stefano bookmarked from when I first heard it won the award for best teaching-related poem (or whatever the official award was called). It's a wonderful means for opening people's eyes. And the tree poem... immensely fantabulous. Glad to hear your new year has gotten off to a good start!