Friday, March 11, 2016

the inside truth and the outside truth--and an invitation!


Last month I taught a poetry workshop as part of the Religious Education program at my congregation (are you a UU and don't know it, poet?).  The theme for the month--for adults and children--was truth, and particularly the unavoidable experience that "the truth" is not static, not often engraved in stone, but is more often mutable, a matter of perspective and situation, even when objective facts can be established.

That's how we looked at nature objects in our poetry workshop.  We compared a poem that expressed the "outside truth" or objective qualities of an object with a poem that included feelings, experiences and imaginations about the object to express an "inside truth."  The children, ages 5-11, were then challenged to choose an object and write about it in either way, with heightened awareness of where their ideas were coming from.

I wrote about a rather mysterious object which turned out to be an avocado stone:

Outside Truth

brown seed, round seed
heavy, brown and round
light veins, dark veins
rolling in my hand

Inside Truth

you round, brown seed--
what's hiding inside you?
where is the green we think we have seen?
are you dead or alive?
do we need magicado
to grow an avocado?

~ Ms. Heidi

Here are just a few examples of poems written-- fast--on a Sunday morning.  The authors' names are aliases for now.

 is a egg

Is this egg good to eat.
I can't even crack it!
Is there a bird in there?
Is it a robin why are there no spots?

~ Madalie L.

Hard, solid bird egg
don't hide your yellow
the bird nest is a
place to hold you until
you leave soon.

~Nadia O.

 Miraculous Egg

eggs are all around us but did you ever stop and wonder where do eggs come from do they ride a bus?  do they form from themselves?  is it something that we can't see?  what happens to the animal inside when you crack it open and cook it with fire

~ Matt H.

What are you?
You are a sticks
You are rough
You have acorns on you
You are hiding something
You look like a heavy but small torch
Are you hiding fire?

~ Ken S.

This poem by Zoe P. has to be seen to be fully appreciated! 

The Family on the Tree

All connecting from one
Even with their bumps and cracks
Staying in the same place,
Doing the same thing,
But some will crack off--
Following their own path,
Going to a place that they--
And maybe we--
Don't know--
But they will always be love,
They are all connecting from one--

~ Ari E.

There are many more, and they'll become a book eventually, for circulation in the congregation.  I hope it will eventually become a weekly poetry workshop, too, with so many poetic voices rising up!

The Round-up today is with Irene at Live Your Poem, where she's celebrating lots that is Fresh Delicious!


Inspired by Tabatha's "Poem-Song Match-Up" project, I'm going to spend April posting Poetry-Music Match-Ups, and I'd like to invite you to submit your pairings.   The airwaves are wiiiide open!  You can submit your own poem with music you think goes with it, someone else's poem with a music match, poems written AS song lyrics, poems written FROM songs, songs written about poems, poems written about songs, favorite nursery rhymes (which often have tunes).  I'll aim to have a daily posting, but I'll need to queue them up during Spring Break, so if you have an idea you can send it to me right away!  heidi dot mordhorst dot poet @t g  mail dot etc.


  1. I wish I could have attended that workshop! Looks like you will have a wonderful, thought-provoking book to share. Sending a big birthday hug!

  2. Happy Birthday, Heidi.
    These are excellent student poems. The family tree is inspired and I liked the avocado and the egg. This is a great exercise for all ages. I can hardly wait to try this, with Michelle Barnes and Amy Vanderwater's monthly challenge to write about something small and ordinary. Thanks for the inspiration. I love when the circles of poetry over-lap making a beautiful ringing sound.

  3. I agree with Tabatha. The poetry workshop you presented sounded fascinating and challenging but your students rose to the occasion. Did you see the post I wrote about Technique in response to your request for me to discuss what tools I use to create digital compositions? The link is

  4. I love the idea of pairing an "outside truth" with an "inside truth" and the poems you and your students created!

  5. I'll have to be the applause for your Poetry Month project. During Tabatha's pairings, I learned (unequivocally) that my musical intelligence is grain-of-rice sized. (Odd that unequivocally has VOCAL inside it...) I have yet to nail down exactly what I'm doing in April, or more exactly, HOW I'm going to do it...announcement soon...

  6. What a great inspiration for teaching poetry and teaching people to think deeper than the surface. UU churches do a great job of bringing people together.

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  8. Heidi, I now have an image of a lone egg riding a bus. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!