Tuesday, September 23, 2014

OIK Tuesday: signs of fall

Today the Mighty Minnows went out for a very short walk, to notice some signs of fall--you know, the regular ordinary things that tell us that the new season is arriving:  changing leaves, acorns, reddening berries. As we stood under an oak tree at the edge of the parking lot, noticing that all the leaves were still green but that acorns were crunching under our feet, I kept up my teacher refrain:
"Leaves turning red is a sign; acorns on the ground are a sign; berries on this bush are a sign..."

In great excitement Hector interrupted,"I see a sign too!"  I turned to look at Hector's sign of fall and found him pointing to

After 25 years there are still things I should anticipate--and forget to.


Seeing the Signs

I saw an orange leaf
I felt a cool wind
I held a smooth acorn
and felt its bumpy cap

I saw a red berry
I felt the chilly dawn
I held catalpa pods
and heard them rattle-tap

I saw a metal pole
I felt its cold holes
I tried to read this sign
but I'm only five--I can't.


Go read more poetry signs at Writing the World for Kids with Laura the Prolific.

Friday, September 19, 2014

bittersweet twist

To my 6th grader

oh little boy
chubby baby who woke me at 5 every day
who taught me to rise before light
to capture the hour of my best self

oh little boy
bony 1st-grade early bird up at 6 every day
swinging sticks and pecking at order
catching little minutes of your best self

oh bigger boy
wiry twelvish boy grown tall on a diet of
filthy fingernails, outrageous belches,
lengthy detailed days of strategination

oh bigger boy
now, when you must wake at 6 every day
you huff and snorfle, make unrising noises,
fight me for two more hours of sleep

Heidi Mordhorst
DRAFT 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

arrow to the mark

I saw that this week's host, Renee, featured Lee Bennett Hopkins on Lilian Moore a couple of weeks ago, so I went trawling to remind myself of her work.  In my travels I read that Lilian was the first editor of Scholastic's Arrow Book Club in the 60's--somewhat before my long and delighted relationship with that institution.  (There are still paperbacks on my shelves that I ordered from Arrow--notably an edition of Robin Hood--labeled with my name in terribly inexperienced 3rd-grade cursive. Was there anything better than finally receiving the fresh new books you'd ordered on the newsprint form and awaited for weeks?)

I found my way to this one, a swoon-worthy shaft of perfection that flies to my heart, singing out "Why d'you have to go and make things so complicated?"  Seriously, it's time for me to get back to where I once belonged and write some simple, straightforward rhymes of joy.  Perhaps I'll let Lilian shake me, take me, make me fly....

Go Wind | Lilian Moore

Go wind, blow
Push wind, swoosh.
Shake things
take things
make things

Ring things
swing things
fling things

Go wind, blow
Push things

No, wind, no
not me–
not me.
These first weeks of September have been hotter than most of August was where I live.  Today the Mighty Minnows made their second visit out to our special tree, where we steamed and sweated in heavy humidity and worked to draw like scientists, observing textures and colors.

Tree trunk
tree bark
I think I'll park
myself in maple shade.

Tree branch
tree leaf
my rest is brief--
I need some lemonade.

By golly, I believe Lilian's inspiration blew over me indeed!  Enjoy the round-up today at No Water River.