“Then the guns were fired and the bells rung…” #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

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Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #19:Then the guns were fired and the bells rung…”

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A peek at my process

On April 19, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Rain still, a fine rain. The robin sang early this morning over the bare ground, an hour ago, nevertheless, ushering in the day. Then the guns were fired and the bells rung to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of a nation’s liberty. The birds must live on expectation now. There is nothing in nature to cheer them yet.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. April, 1852, p. 439)

In Thoreau’s day, what we now know as Patriot’s Day was observed on April 19, marking the exact date of the battles of Lexington and Concord. The holiday did not become official until 1894, thirty-plus years after Thoreau’s death in 1862. In 1969 it was moved to the third Monday in April and is observed as a state holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and, interestingly enough, in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and “encouraged” in Florida!

While some area church bells may ring early tomorrow morning, all other commemorative events have been canceled this year. The tourists who typically stream into the area for any number of events, or to mark the beginning of our April vacation week (also canceled), are not here. Many tourist haunts are eerily empty, as you can see in my photos. My husband’s ancestors participated in these famous events from both the Loyalist and Patriot sides! We frequently attend both Lexington and Concord’s battle reenactments, as well as one of the ubiquitous pancake breakfasts run by various scouting groups or the Lions Club. Our routine would also have us checking in on the progress of the Boston Marathon mid-morning, but that, too, has been canceled. This year, pancakes will be made at home with a bit of pancake mix I was able to rustle up. Strange times, these.

And now for…

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Our Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem.  Here’s our sweet poem thus far.

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold
hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
meet and lock. Time slows down.

It’s Tabatha’s turn today and she’s lightening the mood a bit. You can find the two lines she is proposing to the next host, Rose, on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. We are inching closer to my turn, the 24th line next Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28 Jessica Bigi at TBD
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offers up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!

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There Is A Tree #SOLC20 #SOL20 #PoetryFriday

Happy fourth and final Friday of the 2020 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers. It’s the last Friday the SOLC and Poetry Friday intersect. Where has the time gone? Today I am again slicing up a bit of poetry. Poet Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.  Won’t you join us there as well? Slicing poetry on Fridays during the SOLC has been a great way to flex those writing muscles. If you are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

There is a very special tree downtown that I can see from our second-floor bedroom window. Every time I walk into that room this time of year, its chartreuse glow catches my eye. It is a small moment on my day that brings me hope.

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday and every day during March. And thanks to Tabatha for hosting the poetic side of this week’s double celebration! Happy Friday, all, and be safe and well.

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Winter Poem Swap Kindness #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Michelle Kogan is our hostess for this final Poetry Friday roundup of 2019. I hope to see you there! Michelle shares a call to action for the sake of our earth’s climate. We’ve got to act and fast!

I do believe (fibonacci)

In keeping with Michelle’s urgent message, here’s a fib I created for my Kindergarten naturalists. They are the next generation of stewards for the earth, after all.

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For this years’ annual Winter Poem Swap, our wonderful organizer, Tabatha, paired me with none other than herself! She is a truly talented, kind, and generous soul.

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Tabatha knows of my love of all-things-nature. I’ve been wanting to read Gooley’s The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs for some time now, and my goal of nurturing my creative side outside of writing poetry is one step closer with the help of Nature Art Workshop. (Would you believe I instantly thought of Michelle’s stunning artwork as I was thumbing through this? If only!) I’m certain you might see my dabblings here soon!

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And Tabatha’s kindness did not stop there. Inside this wintery folio she had tucked a note, lovely handmade necklace (can’t wait to wear that!), and a poem card featuring her poem, When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Cat.

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Tabatha knows I am a Kindergarten teacher and when her daughter was my students’ age, she responded ” A cat,” when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. A purrfect (sorry!) response, don’t you think? I can just hear one of my kiddos saying that and explaining why, as Tabatha does in her poem. I think she captured beautifully the playfulness of a kitten, as well as the moodiness and cat-titude (sorry again!) to come.

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Using Canva, one of my favorite creative go-tos, I thought this sweet image of a kitten was an ideal match for her words. Thank you, Tabatha! I hope you enjoy this wee gesture of thanks.

Many thanks for hosting this week, Michelle. Now let’s bring on the poetry as we crawl towards the new year.

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Connected #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Tabatha Yeatts is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. Perhaps you’ll join us? Tabatha has a lovely invitation to the annual Winter Poetry Swap, in addition to poetry from Samantha Reynolds. I’m signing up for the swap right now!

I’ve been thinking about trees a lot lately. Their autumnal hues are breathtaking here in New England. I have also been reading lots of tree-related literature including The Overstory by Richard Powers. An amazing novel and a must read! You won’t look at trees the same way ever again. I am also interested in learning more about how trees communicate with each other. Can you imagine the information that flows from one to the next in the woods? A subterranean communication system we can not see, nor tap into. Curious and want to learn more? Check out this animated video from the BBC. It explains the Wood Wide Web.

These woody thoughts prompted the following draft of a poem.

Connected

Thanks for hosting this week, Tabatha. Bring on the poetry and if you take a walk in the woods this weekend, listen carefully.

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Day 24: Haiku Generator #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM

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My #NaPoWriMo Poem-A-Day project is Playing With Poetry. I am tagging along with Margaret Simon, Jone MacCulloch, Molly Hogan, and Mary Lee Hahn. We will be playing with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry, Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry (I raided Home Depot).  I’m even throwing in nail polish color names as inspiration, just for fun! Play along, if you’d like! We are using the Twitter hashtag #playwithpoetryNPM to see what poetic mischief everyone is getting into.

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A peek into my poem and process:

  • We have a tulip that’s a newcomer in our garden this spring. I can’t remember her name, but she’s a stunner. I love how rose-like the layers of petals are. I’ve been wanting to write about her since she made her first appearance here the other day.
  • Have you ever tried Poem Generator online? I noticed a few folks using it to drum up a bit of inspiration, so I thought I’d give it a try. I selected the Haiku option and ran word choices through a few times. I didn’t love (or even like, for that matter) any of them in their entirety, but the last one created a phrase I thought was worth hanging on to — “at the perfect sky.”

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And now for….

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

On April 1, the Poetry Friday family launched the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. (Click here to learn more.) Many of us have signed up to provide a line for the 2019 poem. Author/poet Matt Forrest Esenwine kicked things off with some familiar “found” phrases merged to get us going. Today’s line comes from Tabatha Yeatts. You may find her line here on her blog. Participants are having fun song lyrics. I was excited to provide the 14th line on April 14th. You can read it here. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens next! Here’s the itinerary for the rest of the poem.

April

1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

2 Kat @Kathryn Apel

3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

4 Jone @DeoWriter

5 Linda @TeacherDance

6 Tara @Going to Walden

7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown

8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading

9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog

10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem

11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters

12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine @Dori Reads

14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering

15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink

17 Amy @The Poem Farm

18 Linda @A Word Edgewise

19 Heidi @my juicy little universe

20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog

21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan

22 Catherine @Reading to the Core

23 Penny @a penny and her jots

24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @Write Time

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Love Is #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.  

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On Monday, during his monthly-ish appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition, poet/author Kwame Alexander issued his latest poetic challenge to loyal teacher listeners. Listen up, teachers! Kwame’s talking to us!  The challenge this time is to give the following prompt to our students: “Love is…” and see what they come up with. Participants may submit individual lines, an entire poem, or even an audio file. On Valentine’s Day, Kwame will be back to share submissions with host, Rachel Martin. I can’t wait to get started with my Kindergarten poets next week. 

I’ll be honest. I wish Kwame’s visits with Rachel occurred weekly and not monthly-ish. Their rapport with one another is endearing, to say the least. What a way to start your morning! These segments usually air when my husband and I are just sitting down at our kitchen island to eat breakfast together before heading off to work. As soon as Rachel begins her intro, my husband says, “Here’s your Kwame! Poetry time!” We listen together. Together. I think that’s part of why I love these segments so much. It’s a small moment in the day that my husband and I share. He knows the role poetry — reading and writing — plays in my life, and appreciates that it’s a part of who I am, just as history is for him. 

To get caught up on some of these poetry segments, you can listen to:

For more information about Kwame’s current “Love is” challenge, or to submit your students’ poetic offerings, click here

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there.

Swap treasures in the mail! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! I’m back after a bit of a hiatus while the school year finished up. Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is our hostess this week, and she’s showcasing some sweet summer souvenirs!

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On the very first morning of my summer vacation from school, our mail carrier delivered a delightful package from poetry swap-mate Brenda Harsham, who blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. It was bursting with color, ladybugs, and a friendship theme. What a way to begin the season!

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the best friends appear when you need them like ladybugs — Brenda Harsham

I adore ladybugs (how did she know?), so I will treasure her creative offering. I also chuckled when I saw Brenda’s return address on the envelope and realized we live SO CLOSE to one another and I know exactly where she lives! Let’s meet some day, Brenda!

And then, a few days later, this arrived.

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The True Definition of Vernal Pool
Vernal pools, could just as easily be called poke puddles, observation opportunities or wonders water. These pools typically fill when kindergarteners are indoors missing the outdoors due to seasonal weather. If you’re fortunate, Mrs. Wyman will bridge the gap between vernal pools and lessons with jackets, boots, journals, pencils and a wander plan. Hands will get muddy, wonders will arise, research will begin. Poems about frogs, leaves crustaceans and life cycles will be written. These pools will continue to lure insiders out-of-doors whenever there are learners near a Massachusetts woods and Mrs. Wyman to lead them. — Linda Mitchell

Wow. I’m not going to lie. This left me in a puddle of the-school-year-just-ended-and-I’m-a-bit-of-an-emotional-wreck tears. Some of you know of my fondness for vernal pools. Ok. Let’s be honest. It’s an obsession! I write about them often, in both poetry and prose. Linda Mitchell (we ARE going to meet IRL one day, Linda!), who blogs at A Word Edgewise, followed along faithfully during the month of April, as I wrote a poem a day about vernal pools as part of poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s 1 Subject 30 Ways challenge. My journey began here.  Linda had never heard of vernal pools and…well… “poems are teachers,” as Amy’s book is so aptly titled. Now Linda knows all about them! And her card will be treasured along with Brenda’s.

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts, who brilliantly coordinated this summer poetry swap!

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I hope you’ll join Tricia and the rest of us for some summer Poetry Friday fun here!

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