Friday, June 29, 2012

a kind, amiable animal

Idly, you understand, idly we had been watching the grassy neighborhood verges for realtors' signs, not taking the idea of moving too seriously, not investing overly because the whole idea of leaving our current house (pictured), of organizing a move, is beyond daunting--although a month ago we impetuously made an offer on one house which thank the stars we didn't get; it wasn't right at all, but we got our feet wet.

And then last Sunday there it was, a house just the right amount of bigger, in a spot neither too close nor too far away, nothing needing to be done to it, full of colors that spoke to us--if not laughingly, as in our current house, then expressively, in a few different languages, and with a garden that reminds us that outdoors is home too.  We let the sellers know by our offer that we could picture ourselves there and they believed us, and now we have bought a house.  Exclamation mark.  We are soaked!

All in the family agree:  we're excited for the new house, its fresh possibilities, but we're sad to leave the old house, which is, after all, a member of the family.

What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person
Denise Levertov

This person would be an animal.

This animal would be large, at least as large

as a workhorse. It would chew cud, like cows,

having several stomachs.

No one could follow it

into the dense brush to witness

its mating habits. Hidden by fur,

its sex would be hard to determine.

Definitely it would discourage

investigation. But it would be, if not teased,

a kind, amiable animal,

confiding as a chickadee....

Read the rest here, and stop by Paper Tigers for today's Poetry Friday roundup, where Marjorie has picked out a gem of a book to share!

Friday, June 22, 2012

cooling off and catching up

Well, after an unplanned hiatus of some weeks, I'm back, drenched in triumphant relief (I made it through the first full-time year since 1998!) and in summer solstice sweat, proudly sharing a small, cooling moment mined from the piles of folders and composition books and other Stuff from School.

Here is Duncan's haiku, which was in part a 3rd-grade cursive-writing exercise.  Dunc's not so practiced at pacing his cursive yet and ran out of room on the transparency he was writing it on--that's what all the blank space is for.  Hence the nontraditional line breaks, which almost fooled his teacher into thinking it didn't fit the prescribed 5-7-5 syllable pattern. 

Jack-Frost's Reign

Thorny vines reaching
Plants drooping under
Jack-Frost's spell of months
of ice

Here is the rubric by which his work was scored:

"My poem follows the rules of Haiku (3 points)
My haiku describes nature with descriptive words (2 points)
My handwriting is neat (1 point)
My picture describes my poem (1 point)
My poem has a title (1 point)"

 -- for which last Duncan got 0 because he didn't include the title he selected above, resulting in an overall score of 6.5 out of 8 or a B.  I love teachers, and we loved Duncan's teacher, but I always want the rubric, if poetry must have one, to include something like "My poem helped me see the world and use language in new ways, bringing joy to me and my readers."  Self-assessed, of course!

Happy summer to all, and see you over at The Poem Farm, where I discover that Amy is sharing a song written with Barry Lane that captures, more catchily and poignantly, the exact same point that I'm making here about Duncan's "number."  Thanks, Amy and Barry.

Addendum, 8:47am:  Duncan came in as I was playing the song for the third time.  When it finished, he said, "Wow.  Montgomery County Public Schools certainly needs to hear this."