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?


  1. I've heard that about leaving out empty connectors, but I think sometimes they actually are important enough that they should be there. They connect. I think you should do what sounds best to you.

    I really like the poem the way it is, BTW. Light at this time of year is really key. Celebrate it!

    I am sad I missed NCTE this year. Sounds like it was great!

  2. a) I LOVE the idea that your charter school application would be written in verse! I've been wondering if it would be possible to write a professional book in verse...

    b) Can I come teach at your school?


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