of the mind.
I have since come to better understand the many "uses" of poetry, especially in the classroom, which go far beyond pure intrigue and enjoyment. And, in the way of anyone who has practiced a craft for many years, I understand better now how much faith and flexibility, reason and discipline can go into the making of a poem that seems like a spontaneous flow or burst of the subconscious.
Unpredictable segue to Room 203, fall 2018: second-graders arrive from the tumult of recess followed by the Seventh Circle of Hell (aka lunch in the cafeteria). We settle into our circle on the carpet and the Afternoon Leader selects a Mindful Breathing Exercise. They are simple and brief, 3-5 breaths, and have names like Up and Down, Balloon Pop and Breathing Buddies. But they serve to regather and recenter us to the purposes of the classroom.
But now it is late winter, and the Great Second-Grade Shift has begun: we're bigger in our bodies and MUCH bigger in our brains; we no longer care so much what the teacher thinks and are MUCH more interested in what our peers are saying, doing, judging, inventing, choosing. We are able to comprehend and appreciate the two points of view in a genius poem called "In the Hood" by Marilyn Singer, but often the Big Bad Wolf gets carried away...
It's time for some bigger breathing called YOGA. Our simple Mountain Pose and Warrior Pose breathing exercises become part of a longer yoga routine like this one led by Leslie Fightmaster.
And I get out a book called Twist: Yoga Poems, also by Janet S. Wong and Julie Paschkis, and we begin with
Breath | Janet Wong
Breath is a broom
sweeping your insides.
Smooth and slow:
You pull scattered bits of dream fluff
and heart dust into neat piles.
Short and quick:
You coax shards of broken thoughts
out of forgotten corners.
Breath is a broom
sweeping you fresh.
Burst or flow of subconscious, crafted into a language object of gorgeous usefulness. Thank you, Janet--and Julie, will you illustrate my next book, please? It'll be a while; full-time teaching is ever so distracting.
But in the meantime I get a poem or two out into the world by other means...I'm thrilled to announce that two forthcoming anthologies carry my poems--as different in feel as you can imagine. The books are The Poetry of US, another National Geographic anthology edited by J. Patrick Lewis, and Imperfect: Poems About Mistakes, edited by Tabatha Yeatts.
The round-up today is with Michelle at Today's Little Ditty--can't wait to see what's breathing over there!