Thursday, April 25, 2019

npm19: all of the above 24/25/26

Wow, after writing choosing my Progressive Poem line and sinking deep into Spring Break last week, it was hard to remember that April was still NPMing with a vengeance!  I missed a few days because, you know, LIFE (although I am now pleased to report that our 16yo has chosen a new school which we hope will do more of the academic support that we've been doing ourselves & fie on my public school system for failing to serve his needs & thanks for listening)--but here we are again addressing
all of the above.

 It really mattered at the beginning of the month when I codified the range of topics (also describable as "distraction moves") in the badge you see here, because I've been playing with these four ideas all month.  Below in this post you can find yesterday's poem, which plays with choice c).  I've tried golden shovels, acrostics, lots of free verse forms, and some funky "silver shovels" where the striking line sits at the left margin.  I've done some poetry play a la Mary Lee & Co with Metaphor Dice, the Random Word Generator, and the postings of other bloggers.

My topics have included our earth and the climate crisis; spring, obviously; the richly inspiring last name of a person I randomly met at school (and who was up for the amusement of being written about); and of course a little about my own states of being.  In other words, this is all working out just as I didn't really plan it, my National Poetry Month UnProject.  Just as well, because there's a fair amount of pain flying around.

Constant hot-hued jangling of earthly spring
keeps me in a state of emergency, lovestruck
and full of desperate rescue intention,
uneasy truth of Eden hovering above:

There is no haven in heavens above.
What good is poetry, what action can my intention
achieve? I dig and strike and strike again, and struck
by words I speak, I spread this spring.

Now I'm late for school, where yesterday dandelions became "alien sheep grazing yellow in the grass," and though it be little, the power of poetry was fierce once again in the hearts of the children for whom we have to save this planet.  Our host today is Carol at Beyond Literacy Link; graze on over to the goodness that grows.


genes wear me out.
erring on the side of risk I
always go too far. I'm lured
in by a hundred wild ideas,
ten good projects the
tithe I pay
any given day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

npm19: all of the above 22/23

Here's one favorite of many for classroom use by Tom Chapin.  This year urgency crept into the lesson.  I think I scared some 2nd graders today.  But we'll stay calm, BE COOL, and take action to bring down Earth's fever.

The Bad News about This Pretty Planet
 by Ms. Mordhorst                             by John Forster & Tom Chapin © 1988

Have you heard?
This pretty planet is dying,
spinning hotly through space,
and where You're used to seeing a garden, 
where You're hoping to find a harbor, 
instead You're finding an unholy place
of flood and fire, bare and burned.

Gentle blue chokes on giant islands of plastic;
perilous winds spin us around.
All through the long night of ignorance 
we waited, we wasted. Now can we do
what it takes to be safe
'til the morning light?

Go here to read a piece subtitled "In the face of unprecedented assaults on planet Earth, what good is poetry?" 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

npm19: progressive poems lands here

Welcome to all, especially those who are following this year's Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, an annual April tradition begun in 2012 by Irene Latham of Live Your Poem.  One by one we bring a new line, developing the idea of the poem and spinning it in new directions. This year we're challenging ourselves to build a found poem out of song lines, as suggested on April 1 by our kickoff poet Matt Forrest Esenwine.  Read about this project and enjoy data on previous progressive poems HERE.

Well.  I had been planning to pump up the action with some B-52's beachiness here, but by the time the poem reached me, Amy and Linda had suddenly, interestingly, taken a different tack:

                                    "it's not easy to know
                                     less than one minute old"

"WHO, WHO, WHO?!" I shouted inwardly.  We've had an I, we've had a we, we've had a you, then another we, then an I, then a you again. But I wanted a line with we, you AND I together to the end, and I wanted a line with how--my thought was to find a line that would show that the relationship between these deep divers was new and untried (less than one minute old!), that it wouldn't be easy to know how the waltzing would go...

and the B-52's let me down!  I tried "Rock Lobster," "Nude Beach" and "Dry County," "Roam" and "Song for a Future Generation,"  "Dirty Back Roads" and "Deadbeat Club," and none of them produced exactly what I was looking for (although I did spend a tremendous hour or so reliving the extreme lunatical lyrical glory that is the B-52's).  Here's one I'd forgotten about, making me heartily wish I could work some cake into the scenario (you only need the middle 2-3 minutes of this 6-minute song to get the idea)...

So next I tried Natalie Merchant and the lovely "Milly and Molly and Maggie and May," which is an E.E. Cummings poem set to music, involves the ocean, and which also offers an ending assonance:

as small as a world and as large as alone

--which was cool, except that the emphasis was on small and alone, and still nothing happened. So then I tried Natalie's first outfit, 10,000 Maniacs, and an all-time favorite, "These Are Days," which gave me this line:

to be part of the miracles you see in every hour

--nice, but a little cheesy without its abundant context, and which again did not feel as active or forward-moving as I wanted. So I turned to that other great export of Athens, Georgia: R.E.M.  When you can figure out what Michael Stipe is singing (and sometimes even when you can't), you know it's definitely poetry.

I looked for some watery songs and and fell upon "Find the River," which is a folkier number of theirs and offered a line that didn't include its delicious "bergamot and vetiver" but which finally cements that WE and whizzes us along to the brink of something fabulous-- plus a rhyme. Plus "minute" and "years." Plus a light at the bottom of the deep? Please listen to this whole gorgeous song to get the full effect of the line!


Endless summer; I can see for miles...
Fun, fun, fun - and the whole world smiles.
No time for school - just time to play,
we swim the laughin' sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
It's the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever-ready? Set? Let's Go!
Come, we'll take a walk, the sun is shining down,
Not a cloud in the sky got the sun in my eyes.
Tomorrow's here. It's called today.

Gonna get me a piece o' the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there's a tiger in my veins.
Oh, won't you come with me waltzing the waves,
                                                                        diving the deep?
It's not easy to know
less than one minute old  

we're closer now than light years to go


Gosh, I hope that gives Buffy something to go on! Below is the complete list of contributors and lines, and I close with mighty thanks to Irene for making this thang happen every year, and to Amy for hosting today at The Poem Farm.  Happy spring holy days to all to celebrate!

NEW!!! You asked for it and now it exists--THE PLAYLIST!

Found Lines:
L1 The Who, 'I Can See for Miles' / The Beach Boys, 'Endless Summer'
L2 The Beach Boys, 'Fun, Fun, Fun'/Dean Martin, "When You're Smiling"
L3 The Jamies, "Summertime, Summertime'
L4 The Doors, 'Summer's Almost Gone' / Led Zeppelin, 'Good Times, Bad Times'
L5 Ray Bradbury, 'Dandelion Wine'
L6 Joni Mitchell, "Chelsea Morning"
L7 Paul Simon, "Kodachrome," "Dazzling Blue"
L8 Dan Fogelberg, "Run for the Roses"
L9 Spice Girls, "Wannabe"/Will Smith, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"
L10 The Beatles, "Good Day Sunshine"
L11 The Carpenters, "Top of the World"
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Underneath the Lovely London Sky" from MARY POPPINS
L13 Carole King, "Hi-de-ho (That Sweet Roll)"
L14 Steve Miller, "Fly Like An Eagle"
L15 Don Felder, "Wild Life"
L16 Nowlenn Leroy, "Song of the Sea" (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, "She Used to Be Mine" from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"
L19 R.E.M., "Find the River"

And you can see the list of Poem Line Contributors in the right sidebar!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

npm19: all of the above 17

is the title I selected.
are the words that appeared.

not the color of the notes.
could we call them garrulous.

is what happens to my hope,
meltings, little coolings

on the surface of my heart.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

npm19: all of the above 15/16

Image result for heptadecagon

    for Lauren and Jake

You don't notice it at first
so close to an ordinary circle
it appears, until you give it
a fraction more attention
hear the slight vibration
of magnetic poles around the edges.

This is no ordinary circle--
no, not even a regular heptadecagon
with its subtle bending song
of seventeen sides.

This figure will confound you
with complexity, will hit you
with the force of a ceremonial mace,
leave you quavering, semi-shaking
in your shoes, all the hairs on
your head risen in amazement at the
surprising dimensions of seventeen-and-a-

half sides.

©Heidi Mordhorst

Sunday, April 14, 2019

npm19: all of the above 14

suddenly a
tornado watch
ripples our screens
unhinges good sense
concern careens
kindling wind

©Heidi Mordhorst

Friday, April 12, 2019

npm19: all of the above 11/12

There's a whirlwind of poetry play going on around the Kidlitosphere this month, and we do all need more play in our lives.  Margaret has been using some of the toys with her students: Metaphor Dice, paint chips, Magnetic Poetry, Haikubes.  However, reading her April 10 post, a line caught my eye and became my plaything.  I hope Margaret doesn't mind.


The Poet Evolves

Gathering words from
the air
not using any toys

Gathering toys from
the words
Not using any air

Gathering air from
the toys
not using any words

In conclusion, evolution is overrated. 😏

Scroll down and see some of my other efforts from this unProject this week.  Then go gather some words from the air over at Live Your Poem with Irene, and don't miss Margaret's contribution to the Progressive Poem at Reflections on the Teche.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

npm19: all of the above 8/9

 11 Years Left

Get a grip, kid--
it's an unwritten rule of
the planet outside your head
that to withdraw is to lose it. 
It only persists in the flexible
copper wirings and firings of
your beautiful brain.  Use it.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

npm19: all of the above 7

   for Mary Lee & Hemingway

Writing or reading,
rafting or riding--
how could you fail,
with Rhino to guide you?

Hiking or hooping,
hiving or hiding--
Whatever you do,
have Hippo beside you!

ODT #6 : return

In January I settled on One Difficult Truth to try to keep in mind for the year, rather than One Little Word.  This truth is briefly best expressed as "Life is gorgeous AND bitter" or "this excruciating, beautiful life"--take your pick.  The point is the paradox.

Thanks to Ruth at There Is No Such Thing As a Godforsaken Town, I have another poem to add to my collection of ODT poems.

Instructions on Not Giving Up | Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

It would appear that Ada specializes in these sorts of poems, just based on the titles of her collections:
"Ada Limón is the author of Lucky Wreck (2006), This Big Fake World (2006), Sharks in the Rivers (2010), and Bright Dead Things (2015)."

"...a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us..."

Saturday, April 6, 2019

npm19: all of the above 6

spring qi

all this burgeoning does not unfurl leaves
of peace: this is an unsettling, a stirring of
the rested energies, a sudden squall
above warming earth.

all this springing brings growing pains
of stretch and struggle, wet tendons of roots,
the rage of change straining to get
above ground, to burst.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

npm19: all of the above 4/5

 online fraudulence

noggin gone
grading done
head ahung
bluntly wrong

©Heidi Mordhorst

Yes, it's that time again, where I attempt to encapsulate in single letters the unique and nuanced growth and progress of each child, across multiple measures and along a timeline of nine weeks: report card time.

I've tried to streamline it for myself with summaries like

A= consistently & independently       
B= generally & frequently         
C= partially & periodically       
D= barely & rarely

and for kids and families I've tried to help "standards-based" make some sense with

A= got it!
B= getting it!
C= learning it with help
D= working toward it...but not there yet

but let's face it--kids aren't numbers, and they aren't letters either. I might feel different if there were still a place for comments in the online gradebook, even though it would be more work, but no--we have abdicated professional responsibility for showing our knowing of students with words in favor of a lighter paperworkload. There is no place on the grid for words; only numbers and letters.

And truth be told, every kid is all of the above all at the same time.

The round-up on this first Friday of National Poetry Month is with Karen at her blog with the shockingly clever title.  You can also visit Jama's round-up of April NPM blog projects here.  Enjoy all of the above!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

npm19: all of the above 3

owning it

lift a lime, a loaf of bread
steal a scarf, a spool of thread
nick a nail, a bolt, a screw
all these things belong to you--

because you saw them, touched them, smelled them
then you listened as you held them,
now they live inside your head,
sneak into stories you can spread

©Heidi Mordhorst

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

npm19: all of the above 2

banging on the door
craving my attention
mouth full of yelling

As usual, this National Poetry Month, I will be delighted to join in the collaborative effort that is the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem.  With one new line each day, it's a feast of suspense and fun. Check out the first two lines with the third from Kimberly hot on their heels...

2019 Progressive Poem schedule:

1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
2 Kat @Kathryn Apel
3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites
4 Jone @DeoWriter
5 Linda @TeacherDance
6 Tara @Going to Walden
7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown
8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem
11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters
12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine @Dori Reads
14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering
15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink
17 Amy @The Poem Farm
18 Linda @A Word Edgewise
19 Heidi @my juicy little universe
20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog
21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @Reading to the Core
23 Penny @a penny and her jots
24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference
25 Jan @Bookseestudio
26 Linda @Write Time
27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro
28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass
29 Irene @Live Your Poem
30 Donna @Mainely Write

Monday, April 1, 2019

npm19: all of the above 1

burgeoning of spring + greenden shovel

here we are all
gazing down at the tender bright of
deliciodils, sheeny tulips; not at the
barely begun, unloved treetips above

©Heidi Mordhorst