Poetry Friday: “The Blue Between” by Kristine O’Connell George

Poetry Friday is hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater @ The Poem Farm


My students come to me one story at a time.  Even as I teach concepts and strategies, and seek to analyze and reveal truths in what we learn, it’s the stories that drive my instruction: who my kids are, what they can be.  That’s what it’s all about: our stories –  who we are, and what we hope to be.

In our classroom, digging into our stories begins with the day we personalize our writer’s notebooks and turn the first page to reach into our memories and begin writing.  That day was today.  Desk tops were covered with photographs and memorabilia, quotes,sparkly duct tape, team logos, and stickers.

And my kids shared their stories: annoying siblings, first sports teams, that time someone ate a giant bag of M&Ms in one sitting, kindergarten graduation,family holidays, cousins who live way too far away….

Beyond the funny details, the energetic descriptions, the dialogue repeated with hilarious gusto, were the beginnings of deeper stories of growing up, finding oneself, navigating through the mire of adolescence, figuring out what matters and how to pay attention to the world.  I am hoping that my students use their notebooks to see the span of their lives, and the blue between…where the magic lies.

The Blue Between

Everyone watches clouds,
naming creatures they’ve seen.
I see sky differently,
I see the blue between-

The blue woman tugging
her stubborn cloud across the sky
The blue giraffe stretching
to nibble a cloud floating by.
A pod of dancing dolphins,
cloud oceans, cargo ships,
a boy twirling his cloud
around a thin blue fingertip.

In those smooth wide places,
I see a different scene.
In those cloudless spaces,
I see blue between.






16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “The Blue Between” by Kristine O’Connell George

  1. I make a notebook alongside my students each year, too. I have a nice collection now. Who knows what’s written in them. Probably only treasures for me. This is an important tradition to continue.

  2. It seems that the writing bug has infected the students already, decorating those notebooks, starting to fill them. The poem is one everyone might use as a reminder, to see in others that “blue between” and inside themselves. Lovely, Tara. Have a wonderful weekend.

  3. “The blue woman tugging
    her stubborn cloud across the sky” Such fresh imagery! Something that Ms. George might not have guessed she would write when she sat down with an empty notebook.

  4. Seeing the Blue Between is one of my favorite poems and books about writing poetry. You’ve captured its essence beautifully in these lines, Tara: “That’s what it’s all about: our stories – who we are, and what we hope to be.” Can’t wait to hear more about the stories your students uncover in those shiny new notebooks!

  5. Yes! I love your description of your early days with new students. That’s exactly the way it is! Here’s to a year of great stories, even though an inordinate amount of them in middle school are about flatulence… 🙂
    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  6. I wish we had used writing notebooks growing up, it might have reduced my “fear” of them now. I need lots of rewrites, so the computer fits me perfectly. I can eliminate anything that I would find embarrassing later on and none would be the wiser!

  7. I’d never read this poem! It just brought to mind lines I penned in August –
    “high clouds
    split wide with
    seams popping
    show blue;”
    So many ways to look at the sky, so many viewpoints for artist’s eye. (oooh, another poem?) And those notebooks! I’m so jealous of today’s students. No creative writing was done until high school and no one ever had a writer’s notebook!

  8. “My students come to me one story at a time.” Such a loving place, your room. And I adore this poem and book. I so hope you and your students may choose to share at Sharing Our Notebooks this year… xx

  9. This is such a wonderful poem about looking at the world with fresh eyes. Your students seem to be having a blast with their notebooks. It’s wonderful to give them multi-sensory projects like this. The classroom needs more of them.

  10. I think about this poem a lot and it’s really shaped how I look at things since I’ve read it in college. I’ve been trying to find it for a long time! Thank you!

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