Poetry Friday: Heat by H.D.

Poetry Friday is hosted by  Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge

summer haze

It was above 90 degrees today.My kids came in from recess sweaty, stinky, and s-l-o-w…as in “I’m fried from the sun and can’t be expected to think” s-l-o-w.

By the time I left school for home, the temperatures had soared to 96. Yikes!  My minivan, normally a lovely cocoon of quiet after a day of nothing but noise, was hot enough to roast a Thanksgiving turkey (or so it felt).  By the time the air conditioning made its presence known, I was already pulling into my driveway.

Every blade of grass seemed to be wilting, every flower drooping, every leaf curling into its own cool, green self.

It’s May, but it felt like August.  Late this evening, it still feels like August.  And I am not ready for August heat, quite yet.

Heat by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle )

O wind, rend open the heat,

cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air—
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.

Cut through the heat—
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.

Poetry Friday: Time with You by Gary Soto

Welcome to Poetry Friday, the round up is right here!!!

Cherry blossoms and dogwoods are blooming these days, and so (apparently) is love in our middle school.  So many whisperings of who likes who are floating through the air, and so many rumors of who likes who are swirling back (it is middle school, after all).  I see furtive looks, sweet smiles, and gossipy clusters of kids with hearts aflutter.

It is Spring, and love is blooming…

tree heart

Time with You by Gary Soto


We’re thirteen, almost fourteen,
And so much in love

We want the years to pass—
Clouds roll at super speed, rains fall,

Flowers unfold and die at the snap
Of our fingers. I want to stuff sand

Through a fat hourglass,
And rip the pages from the calendar.

Let me blow candles from my cake.
Let my puppy stretch to full size.

When we turn eighteen,
Time will become a canoe on a still lake.


Poetry Friday: All In A Day by Cynthia Rylant

Poetry Friday is hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup 

It’s a yucky-mucky day here in Northern New Jersey, with torrents of rain and the kind of clammy cold that chills you to the bone.  Everyone in my house is under the weather, including our four legged members, whose job it usually is to cheer us up on precisely such days.  Happily, it is also Poetry Friday – so I have much to look forward to as I make the round-up rounds.  I had it mind to share a morose and bedraggled sounding poem which would match my mood, but thought better of it and reached for a golden ray of Cynthia Rylant positivity…

…accompanied by Nikki McClure’s gorgeous illustrations from the book of the same name…

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All In A Day by Cynthia Rylant

A day is a perfect piece of time
to live a life,
to plant a seed,
to watch the sun go by.
A day starts early,
work to do,
beneath a brand-new sky.
A day brings hope
and kindness, too…
a day is all its own.
You can make a wish,
and start again,
you can find your way back home.
Every bird and every tree
and every living thing
loves the promise in a day,
loves what it can bring. (Gorgeous page!)
There is a faith in morningtime,
there is belief in noon.
Evening will come whispering
and shine a bright round moon.
A day can change just everything,
given half a chance.
Rain could show up at our door
and teach you how to dance.
The past is sailing off to sea,
the future’s fast asleep.
A day is all you have to be,
it’s all you get to keep.
Underneath that great big sky
the earth is all a-spin.
This day will soon be over
and it won’t come back again.
So live it well, make it count,
fill it up with you.
The day’s all yours, its waiting now…
See what you can do.

Poetry Friday: Poems from “Soul Food”

Poetry Friday is hosted by JoAnn at Teaching Authors

Thursday is usually poetry day in my sixth grade classroom (here’s a post about what that looks like), but the PARCC test got in the way of our usual routine this week. Thursday without poetry just did not feel right, and I was feeling the absence of our usual unpacking of and delight in poetry when I arrived home.

Waiting for me in my mailbox was this lovely book, a thoughtful gift from my friend Kimberley:

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Somehow, she must have intuited my need for nourishing words on this cloudy, poetry-less day, and somehow luck delivered it at exactly the right moment.

I made myself a cup of green tea, found the right spot on my favorite reading chair, and immersed myself in poetry.  First, I came upon an old favorite:

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and then I discovered a new favorite:

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Finally, Thursday felt like Thursday again

Poetry Friday: “Dark and Late” by Catherine Abbey Hodges

Poetry Friday is hosted by: Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference

Every house we’ve owned has always had a front porch, it’s my one “must have” requirement.  And every porch of every house has always become the center of family life, from the first coat free day of early Spring to the last coat free day of late Fall.  So, it was no wonder that I fell in love with this poem by Catherine Abbey Hodges:

“Dark and Late” by Catherine Abbey Hodges

This dark porch
has brimmed
with light
like a bowl with water
like a throat with laughter

afternoons of light
years of afternoons
scintillating dawns
flagrant noons
underwater-green dusks

and nights
dark and late
lit by candles, hands,
eyes with the leap
that’s the life
we’ve come for,
what we carry
down the spill of years,
what carries us, what
meets us in the end
and on the way
in each other.

Poetry Friday & #SOLC17: What’s in My Journal by William Stafford

The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of  a writing community.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at The Poem Farm.


Here we are, the last day of another March Slice of Life writing challenge.  At the beginning of February, I began to have doubts about whether I’d participate this year.  I was in the midst of the writing doldrums; it was hard to think about what to write, and nothing I managed to write sounded pleasing or worthwhile.  By the end of February I knew for certain that I would not write, and (I’ll admit) I felt a certain relief.  The March Challenge is not for the writing faint of  heart, and I was feeling very faint of heart.

On the last day of February I shared my thoughts with my writing Voxer group.  I’ve made up my mind, I shared cheerily, but good luck and fare thee well!

They listened without passing judgement.  They expressed some regret.  And, on the first day of March, they wrote.

Driving to work that morning, I felt rather pleased with myself. I thought I’d made the right decision.  But, by lunchtime, I felt the familiar pull – the call of this writing community.  I remembered previous March Challenges: the collective cheer leading squad we became as one March day moved into another.  I remembered how our stories fed each others’  imaginations, how our ideas passed from one writer to another, blossoming and blooming into new ideas along the way.  And I remembered the sweet satisfaction of this day, the last day, and the way the community came together to celebrate the journey…weary, but proud.

So, at lunchtime, I wrote.

And something interesting happened along the way…I grew back into my writing life again.   Writers need authentic and supportive audiences, writers need the consistency of feedback, and writers need a sense of purpose.   As a writing teacher, I know that all of the above is important for my students  and I work really hard to make sure they are encompassed in our classroom writing community.  But, as a writer myself, I don’t think I work hard enough at making sure that these things are present in my own writing life. Luckily, the March Slice of Life Challenge offers all that, right here, day after day.  I didn’t know how much I counted on this community until I almost didn’t have it.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for gifting us this venue.  Thank you fellow writers for showing up, day after day, to write, read, comment, and cheer.  What’s in my writing journal these days?  Your words, and you.


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Poetry Friday & #SOLC17: A Dog by the Sea by David Salner

The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of  a writing community.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Catherine at Reading to the Core

Yesterday was #NationalPuppyDay, so the Twitter universe was flooded with photographs of puppies of all sizes and shapes with one thing in common: adorableness. This was my favorite Tweet of the day, of Congressman John Lewis and two versions of one thing – puppy cuteness:

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Our Sophie is no longer a puppy, which she is inclined to forget from time to time, especially early in the morning when we take her on her first walk of the day.  It’s a daily chore that we enjoy when the weather is not freezing cold, and we have time to take in all that surrounds us: the way the breeze blows, the tint of the sky, the sounds of leaves rustling, and the comfort of holding hands.

A Dog by the Sea by David Salner

Just after dawn, we get up,
without coffee, and let the dog lead us
through a grove of wind-stunted trees,
spiked succulents, red-berried holly,
and over the dune ridge out of the gray
of still sleeping minds. A line of pink
from the not yet risen sun
reminds me of the lilac shadows
caught in the radial grooves of shells.
I take up your hand and feel the blood
warming your fingers, as the dog bounds off
dragging her leash through wet sand.
She’s after gulls and a line of waves
that repeat themselves, she seems to think,
because they want to play.
A morning breeze
stirs the now turning tide, breathing over it,
sighing toward bayside. As the waves come in
whorls of light unfold on the sand. How I want
for us to repeat ourselves, on and on,
you holding the leash of a silly dog, me
feeling the beat, the blood in your hand.