Friday, September 23, 2016

14th birthday, present

While you are sleeping
I find your sister's old phone--
the smart one--
and make the call.

Your dumb, old phone,
with its cracked screen--
"not your fault"--
lies in the hall,

full of stupid photos
and foolish texts sent
against the rules.
You never call.

I add another line and
increase the data plan--
that's my secret--
and pay for it all.

I activate your new phone,
congratulate myself--
birthday gift achieved--
and test a call.

There you are, goofing on last
year's voice message--"Like,
totally, like ciao!"
You sound small,

smart enough for a phone
but little, like a kid--
high, chirpy voice--
not cracked, not tall.

draft (c) HM 2016

Fourteen is different nowadays, huh?  I spent hours and hours on the kitchen wall phone with the long spiralled cord, sitting in the privatest place it could reach at the top of the back stairs, practicing my double entendre with a boy who was a friend, not a crush--safe space.

My son is moving from the "dumb" phone to the smart phone because he needs to start practicing how to use it wisely, but we have our qualms--unfairly, because we didn't have the same ones with his sister.  This rightly makes him indignant (but they have different strengths and weaknesses and are susceptible to different, shall I say, "cultural" dangers.)  However, he's getting his sooner than she got hers.

Hope it doesn't grow him up any faster than he's already going.

ADDENDUM:  No danger of that.  I showed him his birthday poem (so much for keeping secrets).  He stared for a while and then said, "Is that how you spell ciao?" 

But then, this is the same boy who looked out the car window recently and said, "Hey, look--is that guy RUNNING with a stroller!?"  They know so much, and then you find out what they absurdly haven't figured out yet...

The Poetry Friday roundup today is with Catherine at Reading to the Core.  Call in for plenty of poetry conversations!

Friday, September 16, 2016

OISG returns!

Strange how you can realize after the fact that something was missing, without realizing it at the time...last year in Second Grade, much was overheard, but not much of it made me laugh.  This year will be different, let me tell you!

"Overheard in Second Grade" (OISG) is supposed to be Tuesday feature, but here we are kicking off on a Friday this year.  The concept is that I share a quote from a 7-year-old and then use it as a writing prompt, which is how many of my poems come to be anyway.  All names are aliases to protect the privacy of my students (and you can forget right now what I said about all the angels two weeks ago), but the words are as verbatim as I can make them.

So....yesterday I'm doing a reading assessment with my student Latham using a book called "A Huge Mess"  (also an alias so that I don't violate any test security regulations geez).  I say the required intro--"This book is about a kid called Charlie who has a little trouble taking care of his things," and then I always add (probably in violation of testing protocol),

 "Is there anyone like that in your family?"

Latham pins me with his big brown eyes and says,

"Yes, and you probably know who it is, 'cause you're lookin' right at him!"


You Probably Know Who It Is

Is there anyone here who
can never find a pencil?
     Yep--and you're lookin' right at him...

Is there anyone here who
spills her juice every day?
     Uh-huh--and you're lookin' right at her...

Are there any kids here who
leave their jackets on the playground?
     Oh yeah--and you're lookin' right at 'em...

Here we all are
searching,  wiping,  fetching--
and lookin' right back
at you!

draft (c) Heidi Mordhorst 2016

The Poetry Friday Round-Up today is with Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.  Go eavesdrop on all the interesting poetry chat!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

all the world...

...has entered my classroom in the form of 16 children who are, in three cases literally, angels. (I have an Angel, an Angela, and an Angelina!)  This year, in addition to my old favorite Roxaboxen, I began the year with the picture book poem All the World by our friend Liz Garton Scanlon.  This poem (even without the Caldecott Honor illustrations by Marla Frazee) touches the sacred for me, and the way I explained it to the shiny new second-graders sitting on my shaggy green carpet is that it gathers up many small, ordinary things to make us feel one big true thing.  Here's an excerpt.

All the World | Liz Garton Scanlon

Rock, stone, pebble, sand
Body, shoulder, arm, hand
A moat to dig, a shell to keep
All the world is wide and deep.

Hive, bee, wings, hum
Husk, cob, corn, yum!
Tomato blossom, fruit so red
All the world's a garden bed

Tree, branch, trunk, crown
Climbing up and sitting down
Morning sun becomes noon-blue
All the world is old and new
Everything you hear, smell, see
All the world is everything
Hope and peace and love and trust
All the world is all of us

After I read this, there was this long pause, and then Andy (yes, I have an Andy too), raised his hand to say, "That book almost made me cry."  There was reverence in the room.

And that, my friends, is what they are ALL like this year:  full of hope and peace and love and trust, open-hearted and ready.  It's another miracle.

Just in case someone had thought to set this beauty to music, I searched a little and found my way to this, which plays with the end of the book to fit the music but comes out pretty wonderful.

SchoolTube video

Thanks to Liz, and thanks to Penny at A Penny and Her Jots for hosting today, and thanks be to the ebb and flow of the world that every year is different!