Friday, December 11, 2009

more winter light

Poetry Friday is at Random Noodling with Diane Mayr...
Can't get enough of "natural light" at this time of year, and if it's not sunlight, then I'll go for wood fire or candle flame or . Here's another source, by Kay Ryan, making me want to brush up on my hagiology.

He Lit a Fire with Icicles
for W. G. Sebald, 1944-2001

This was the work
of St. Sebolt, one
of his miracles:
he lit a fire with
icicles. He struck
them like a steel
to flint, did St.
Sebolt. It
makes sense
only at a certain
body heat. How
cold he had
to get to learn
that ice would
burn. How cold
he had to stay.
When he could
feel his feet
he had to
back away.

~Kay Ryan

I can't quite go cold turkey, but here's my candlelighting poem reworked with fewer empty connectors. My first-graders memorized this without effort after three readings. I think that's a good sign. (I still don't know how to get Blogger to respect my indents so I'm putting ellipses in their place. It's not ideal, but...)

We Light a Candle

see how the wick waits
hear how the match scrapes
see how the flame leaps
now how the light creeps
.....comfort born

Friday, December 4, 2009

"just [the] facts, ma'am"

Last week Poetry Friday passed me by entirely as I attempted to plan for the next 3 months, during which I will be writing (not entirely by myself) an approximately 200-page charter school application--all in a revolving series of poetic forms, beginning with the following limerick:

A girl with too much on her plate
begins before it is too late
to "publish" a school.
Is she a fool?
If not, the result will be great!

Just kidding--the application won't be written in poetic forms, but I hope there will be some poetry ribboning through our vision for a small K-8 school--Global Garden Public Charter School--that aims to educate the whole child in a way that our huge, factory-model public school system doesn't.

But what I really want to do this morning is start following the advice of Lee Bennett Hopkins, who wrote to me this week after we met at the NCTE Poetry Party in his honor. (He interrupted my cherishing of his tribute book and his autograph to say that he would cherish MY book and MY autograph--fancy that!)
So here's a little poem that's been around for a few years, visiting with children whenever I do workshops at this dark time of year. I've thought it was right just as it is, but Lee has got me reconsidering the "and"s and "the"s...
We Light a Candle

see how the wick waits
cold and curled
hear how the match scrapes
hiss and burst
see how the flame leaps
tongue leaf horn
now how the light creeps
comfort is born

Those "empty connectors" are important to the rhythm, but I'm going to try reworking the poem without them and see what happens. What is it with me and the challenges?