Thursday, April 23, 2015


In Room 166 this week kindergarteners are exploring in depth the question of "What Do Poets Do?"  With the help of Langston Hughes, Lilian Moore, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer and e.e. cummings we have learned that:

Poets choose to write about one small thing.
Poets choose juicy words that sound good together.
Poets choose where to put their words.
Poets create strong feelings.

I revised my poem selections this year because of a change in our curriculum, and we have a theme of "hands" going on.  Here's the poem--which somehow I had missed in my long study of cummings's work--that we read in search of a strong feeling (I selected the bold-type section for kindergarten readers)...and oh, people, I have just made a wild discovery.  See below.

Spring is like a perhaps hand || E. E. Cummings, 1894 - 1962


Spring is like a perhaps hand 
(which comes carefully 
out of Nowhere)arranging 
a window,into which people look(while 
people stare
arranging and changing placing 
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps 
Hand in a window 
(carefully to 
and fro moving New and 
Old things,while 
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps 
fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.
Here is the discovery:  in my haste to revise my poetry project booklet on Monday morning, I see that I left off the last line, "without breaking anything."  I just never even saw this wondrous final finesse of spring's perhaps Hand!

I don't feel bad about selecting the second stanza only for younger kids, but I do feel foolish for missing that last line--and yet for the kids, it was that (entirely plausible) ending of the poem on "and" that created the strong feelings of surprise and amusement and wonder!  In fact our response to the poem ended up being adding a word or phrase that seemed to follow this rather tricky abstract metaphor (which we concretized by acting it out.  Partner 1 was the window first while Partner 2 was the the hand, and then we swapped roles.)

"Wonder" is one of the Po-Emotions included in Mary Lee's NPM Challenge, too, on April 20.  Here was my response to the challenge.

Like the beat of your heart
wonder should be reflexive

all of a sudden daily you
should find yourself
pricked by a kind of desire
formless but strong
an itch of the mind
that you just must scratch

but it's not in your head
it wanders all over your body
your feet want to travel
your hands want to unravel
every sense wants in
on the wonder,

while your mind does the molding
stretching  & straightening the circling
into a bee-line towards that
exclamatory dot of Got It

--HM 2015
all rights reserved 

I'll end with Hana's response to "April Rain Song" below, and after tomorrow, when "I am a poet too" concludes our week-long intensive, I'll be able to do my annual sharing of kindergarten poetry.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you.

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.

~ Langston Hughes

"If the rain kisses me I will 
smile with the rain."

The roundup is flowing down at No Water River with Renee LaTulippe today--wonder your way over there!


  1. Love that 'itch of the mind/that you must just scratch', Heidi, & then the wondering all over the body. It happens, & it seems that you are making it happen with your kindergarteners too!

  2. I can see your poem as a concrete poem -- it would be fun to lay it out with a bee-line at the end and some circling at the top. Did you see Jama's post about e.e.cummings? Check it out!

  3. I'd never read that ee poem either. It really worked out well for a lesson to have it end with "and" and let them finish.

  4. Can't wait for the Kinder-Poems!

  5. What a welcome post this is - so refreshing with all the images of spring and rain and beauty.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!