Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Today We Were Lucky

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  - Helen Keller Today we were lucky. My first graders came walking into our classroom chatting as they unpacked for the day.  They excitedly talked about the antics of their elves, the news of their weekends, and their plans for the day as they settled into our morning routine.  By 9:15 the the only sound was the push of pencils as children wrote to share the stories of their lives.  Stories of weekend sleepovers, holiday shopping, and family gatherings filled their pages.  Isn't that what it is supposed to be like to be six? I walked around the room as they worked.  Happy to be beside them and understanding more fully today the privilege it is to be their teacher.  Knowing also I would do anything to keep them safe.  I checked in books as I chatted with students about their weekends pausing as I checked in Todd Parr 's, I'm Not Scared book.  At six, you shouldn't

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Image
Grandma and me When I was about nine I called my grandma to tell her there was an apartment available right behind our house.  Somehow she convinced Grandpa to sell their house and soon moved into the tiny space close by.  My dad cut a gate into the fence in our backyard so I could easily pass between our homes.  I spent a lot of time at Grandma's playing cards and hanging out.  Grandma kept up on all the latest fashions, singers, and culture.  She stayed up late, slept in every morning, and was always ready for fun.  Today my grandma would have been 92, if she were still with us.  I'm thankful every day for the time I spent with her.  I've thought of her often today on her birthday and smiled to myself.   Love and miss you, Grandma. The Quilt Climbing into the soft chair I sit beside Grandma and watch. The round wooden frame rests on her lap, carefully selected fabric beginning to take shape. Piece by piece she sews, working carefully  u

Cooling Off

Image
the sun beats down, hot on our shoulders. the air stands still, heavy, as it has for days. we turn it on. creak,        creak,               creak. the handle groans. the long serpent hose comes to life. soon cool relief sprays from small metal holes. we jump up and down expectantly waiting on the icy water to come to our side. spraying to ease the heat. finally it turns toward us. shouting with glee we race through the pulsating liquid. the sudden change of temperature providing respite. shivering we stand on the other side. the sprinkler, noticing we have run away, turns toward us. psh,     psh,         psh. it calls in warning. we dance in the grass, holding our breath, anticipating its chilly return in our game of water tag. teeth chattering, we spend hours, laughing, playing, in the afternoon heat. the gentle back and forth of our garden sprinkler is all we need for now. © Cathy L. Mere

Time Flies

Image
Today my youngest daughter, Cassie, turns 17.  I'm really not sure where the days have gone.  They seem to have just raced by.  This poem is for her one her special day.  She keeps me smiling every day.  #daughtersrock Cassie with her grandma Time Flies Yesterday  was pink dresses french braids red boots Barbies American Girl dolls Today  is prom dresses hair straighteners heels iPods cell phones Yesterday  was riding bikes jumping on trampolines traveling ball swinging on swings picture books Today  is driving cars bonfires school teams laying in the sun hanging out with friends Memories of yesterday Moments of today Lived Loved Making us smile Always

30 of 30: Poetry Hides

Image
Today is the final day of National Poetry Month .  Here's what I've learned... Poetry Hides If I have learned       anything, it is that poetry hides. Along the creek's muddy edge, under the dried fall leaves long forgotten. Poetry hides,      look. As flowers awaken, stars shimmer in the deep dark night. Poetry hides,      listen. To dawn's early chorus as the birds call to one another, crickets sing their nighttime song. Poetry hides,      remember. Days long forgotten, memories tucked deep within your heart. Poetry hides,      notice. It walks silently beside you. Waiting for you to pull out your pen to capture its words. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

29 of 30 Seagull

It is hard to believe it is day 29.  One of the things I've learned through my attempts to write a poem each day, is how carefully I must pay attention.  I take time each day to search for my poem.  In Bird by Bird , Anne Lamott reminds us, "Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on."  Yesterday at lunch I couldn't help but notice the seagulls flying over the parking lot much like it was the ocean.   I wondered if they were lost.  Did they know what they were really missing?  I tried to capture what I noticed here: Seagull white wings outstretched soaring gliding searching below hunting for food are you lost above the ebony pavement as dark as the ocean without the sun the parking lot of cars like waves stretched across the dark sea you rise and fall scavenging in search of morsels carrion discarded fries a piece of bread - anything to eat city seagull gone from the ocean are you lazy or quite clever?

28 of 30 Who Lives Here

Image
"Singleness of attention is the heart of a disciplined writing life."  Pat Schneider, Writing Along and with Others Who lives in this house, with its lavender siding, and royal purple trim, lattice adding character? Who sits in the turret, with its cone shaped roof, and circular walls, windows all-embracing? Who rests on this porch, with its rounded edges, chairs placed carefully around waiting on warmer weather? Who watches as I drive by this house on the corner where it has stood proudly for generations? Could it be the artist watching the sunrise from the windows eye-to-eye with the treetops? The poet observing the sunrise? The writer taking notes as people scurry about?    I can't help but wonder...             Who? © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

27 of 30 Rain

As a class we have been collecting a variety of words about rain to write a shared poem. All this talk - and a lot of rain this week - has inspired a quick rain poem. "The words!  I collected them in all shapes and sizes and hung them like bangles in my mind."  Hortnese Calisher Rain Drops Pitter-patter. Rain gently falls, Bouncing off rooftops, Dancing on pavement. Leaves turn toward the sky To quench their thirst. Flowers bow in celebration. Rain weaves it's way Through cracks in the soil. Roots stretch to catch This gift from above. Pitter-patter. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

26 of 30 Friday!

Yes, I know it is Thursday, but I'm looking forward to Friday.  My oldest daughter is coming home from North Carolina, and we are driving to see our son on Saturday.  I was thinking about how much we love Friday --- and how it gets all the attention.   Poor Monday gets no respect, We all just curse its name. And Tuesday gets ignored, The day is really far too tame. Wednesday's in the middle, We're all happy to be there. And Thursday sits near Friday, We can make it we declare. Then Friday finally comes, We're as happy as can be. We've made it through the week, We dance and shout with glee. Then Saturday arrives, And we're having so much fun. We enjoy some time with friends, Read a book, enjoy the sun. Then Sunday finally comes, And we look at it with fright. The weekend's gone so quickly, It's really just not right. ©  Cathy L. Mere, 2012

25 of 30: Our Pond

Image
I've been fascinated by the heron and egret that hang out together at a pond not far from my school.  Herons have become a more common sight in our area, but I don't see many egrets.  Since seeing them together I have started researching both birds.  I wrote about the heron here and here .  The information I have gathered about the egret is below.  It seems there are many commonalities.  I have been wondering how closely connected the two are.  Today I tried to write a poem in two voices to show how both sit and wait for dinner in their little paradise.                                          OUR POND                       sitting by the rocks at the water's edge where water trickles  from nearby drains life is abundant. i wait.                                                                      i sit across the pond                                                                     where the dirt meets the water                                        

24 of 30: Forgotten

Image
Today I am posting as part of the Slice of Life conversation going on at Two Writing Teachers .  Since completing the March challenge , I have been writing a poem each day with Mary Lee , Linda , Amy , Maria and many others (see side bar for National Poetry Month links).  I think I can safely say I am back in the writing habit.  I'm looking forward to reading the posts at other blogs today.     Today I was egret chasing once again when I wandered into the Clover Cemetery .  This cemetery isn't a strange place to me as I have spent many summer days researching our genealogy.  This cemetery is where my husband's great-great-great grandparents are buried.  There are many McCoys in this cemetery which is now surrounded by apartments.  Unfortunately, it has been more than time and weather that has started to destroy this old cemetery.  Though I knew what I wanted to say in this poem, I wasn't sure what voice to use to write the poem. "To allow the voice its chan

23 of 30 Pinterest

Image
Yes, the rocky poem days continue.  However, my goal all along has been to just get into a writing habit.  At 54 days I guess I'm getting there.  Hopefully this will at least make a few people smile or shout loud "Amens" from afar.     Pinterest is quite addictive. I could hang out there all day. Looking at pictures shared by friends, Pinning a better way. I can find a link to show me: How to make a tasty cake, The recipe for a side dish, Or the way to grill a steak. I can find a pinned description, To help me remodel a room. The perfect accents to display, Or the way to cut flowers in bloom. I can learn to organize a closet, Or to clean a space in need. I can find the secret to scouring a pan, Or the secret to ending the weeds. If I need a special trick, To teach students how to add, Or am looking for a poem, The ideas aren't really half bad. Finding all these delights, Is quite an inspiration. But really getting things done, Takes ef

22 of 30 Looking Forward

When Grandpa lined us up per Grandma's instructions to take the posed photo, when we all smiled, moved a bit this way and that, did he know that some day those photos would be treasured, giving us a glimpse of our life as the shutter quickly snaps capturing the moment that we let      slip          away? © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

21 of 30 Chips

What is it about eating chips, That makes me want to do flips? They're crunchy and good. Taste just like they should. Even better when accompanied by dips. I wish someone would take them away. I eat way too many every day. Once I eat one, I can't stop the fun. My stomachache surely will stay. I can eat them until they are gone. 'Til my stomach cries out something's wrong. I should've stopped before now, But I didn't know how, In my pantry they no longer belong! © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

20 of 30 Stories in the Wind

"Somewhere in the first draft lies an opportunity to make great discoveries by adding what fits, and then by cutting what doesn't match the richest additions."   Kim Stafford , The Muses Among Us .  Putting writing out into the world in its earliest stages has been the hardest part of the last two months of these challenges.  I always feel these poems need time to sit for awhile, then to be revisiting, and then to be re-visioned.  This draft awaits opportunity.   stories in the wind wind whispers stories familiar as it blows from places far away stories of yesterday's memories stories of today's triumphs sometimes stillness takes over we forget the sounds the feel of it as the breeze returns we are gently reminded of the stories yet again © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

19 of 30: High Dive

It's my 50th day in a row of writing.  I started with 31 days of Slice of Life posts, and now I am on day 19 of writing poems.  I just might make it to the end of April with this challenge.  I have been using the challenge to prepare for our poetry unit of study.  The young poets in my classroom have been reading poetry here, there and everywhere.  We're just about ready to start writing poetry too so I've been pondering some memories I think they might enjoy.  Last night I was thinking about summers at the pool as a kid.  Our pool had a tall high dive that was a must for every swimmer to conquer.  I thought I'd see if I could recreate that memory in a poem.   High Dive The long thin board looms over me, touching the sky step, climb step, climb step, climb slowly to the top each rung full of decision. Finally I arrive walk cautiously to the edge then peer out. I stand above the fence, the trees, the houses. All watch. All wait. I look down con

18 of 30: Determined

Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge , in PoemCrazy , considers, "If I don't flip that poem onto the page the moment it wants to come out, it can drift away like a dream or go lifeless."  I wonder how many poems slip away in the busy day? This one came to me this evening, and though I had a different plan for tonight's writing, I had to get it down.   Sometimes  climbing up is hardest.   Putting one foot  in front of the other. Making sure we are firmly  planted on solid ground before continuing. Sometimes  it takes all of our strength to  keep pushing, climbing, forcing  our way through the hard parts, stepping over obstacles, going around that which we cannot get over. Sometimes we want to turn around, go back, give up. Sometimes  it takes facing the obstacles, believing we can, knowing we must, to get there,  all the way to the top where the view is perfect.   Where we can say, "I made it." © Cat

17 of 30: Slideshow

Image
Today Charles Waters is visiting Author Amok  for the 30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets Series to give some advice for writing poetry.  In talking about writing poetry he says, "Writing every day is like boot camp for your poems.  The more often you drill, the stronger your work becomes."  Here's to day 17 of 30.   A regular slideshow pic: My brother, Chad, & I on my grandparents' patio SLIDESHOW Please we beg show us your pictures. Slideshow! Slideshow! Slideshow! We chant. We gather in the basement, flop on couches, fill chairs, lounge on the floor. Grandma brings snacks as Grandpa pulls out the carousels of photographs taken across the years. On the large white screen  pictures flash, of vacations, of places, of upside down trees, of family we know, and family we do not. We listen in happy silence for hours as  the stories  surround us filling our hearts making us smile. © Cathy L. Me

16 of 30: Candles

Image
image from scenicreflections.com Bright flames Twinkle Glow In the air they Dance Flicker Colors trickle Melt Drip Silence transforms Singing Laughter Make a wish! It's your day! © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

15 of 30: The Chase

Image
Georgia Heard, in Writing Toward Home, tells us her friend Marie has her students "write ten observations a day.  Without commentary.  These observations become touchstones for much of their writing later on."  My poor husband had to find a place to pull over Saturday on a busy road with rain pouring from the skies after we noticed an egret wading in the water with a blue heron.  I was fascinated.  I tried to get a picture but I suppose I was a little too loud for their liking as they raced to the other side of the pond.   The Chase I stopped the car today Because I saw you Wading near the pond's edge As the rain poured down. You were there With your friend The great blue heron Who was wading also. I was surprised to see you But even more surprised To see you with the heron Who seems to prefer solitude. Oh, great egret I couldn't help but wonder What brought the two of you together Two friends hunting in the rain. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

14 of 30: The Procrastinator

"Poetry is when emotion has found thought and thought has found its words."   Robert Frost The Procrastinator sitting here by my french doors watching the rain slowly trickle i peck away at my computer writing this reading that i get up to freshen my coffee avoiding ignoring postponing pretending there is nothing needing completed prolonging my agony finding other things to do laundry windows closets things i normally ignore now look inviting i might even bake a cake - from scratch go to the grocery go through a stack of mail eventually i will be pressured to delay no longer i will have to get busy deadlines loom forcing my compliance © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

13 of 30: My Lucky Day?

Image
My Lucky Day? My alarm buzzed loudly  as I put my left foot on the floor to begin my day. Looking at the calendar I realized it was Friday the 13th. I smirked to myself. Thinking it might rain I grabbed my umbrella  popping it open in my foyer.  I stepped under the ladder  to get out the door.  My neighbor's black cat crossed in front of me as I went to start my car. The owl hooted three times as he eyed me suspiciously. I wrestled around my purse looking for my keys. I dropped my small mirror and it shattered to pieces. I was relieved to glance down  to find a FIVE leaf clover. My luck is turning around. Five has to be better than four. Right? © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

12 of 30: Searching

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."   T.S. Eliot I searched for you today in the crisp cool morning air surrounding me      the rising sun resting on the road before its ascent           the sounds of the birds awakening the sleeping world. I tried to find you in the tall blades of grass near the water's edge      the white blossoms on the tree lined roadway           the tulips bent over from the unexpected cold. I listened for your voice in the words that poured from the pages      the conversations of passersby           the sound of people busily moving about their day. It was impossible to see you in the darkness of the night sky      the shadowy line where trees meet sky           the purple-blue clouds protecting the stars from my eyes. Though I looked you slipped away unnoticed      I will search again...           tomorrow. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

11 of 30: Great Blue Heron

Image
I had so much fun writing a nonfiction poem last night  I decided to try it again tonight.  This time I tried to use the  research facts I found about the heron  on a previous post.  When I read poems that really take my breath away, I notice they have strong words.  They capture images, feelings, and truths I hadn't noticed until reading them.  I know choosing words for my poems is something I really need to improve.   Georgia Heard  in  Writing Toward Home  reminds us, "The true meaning of the word revision is this:  to see again."  She continues, "I need to see again to make sure those words reflect precisely what my eyes and heart see. (p. 121)"  Today I tried to re-see this poem and included my first draft at the end of this post.    Ohio Department of Natural Resources Great Blue Heron Patiently you stand erect at the water's shallow edge outstretched slender legs concealed from view solitary reclusive quiescent. You

10 of 30: Hummingbird

Image
Today is the Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge .  For those of you just stopping by, I'm writing a poem each day this month in celebration of National Poetry Month.   I have been thinking about nonfiction poetry and collecting titles to consider as mentor texts for my first graders.  Last night I came upon Jane Yolen's , Bug Off! .  On each page Yolen shares a poem about an insect with a few research facts carefully collected underneath.  So tonight I decided to try my hand at a poem with just a bit of fact peppered within. I have been collecting interesting hummingbird facts so I decided to give a poem a try.  It needs a lot of polish, but when you are writing a poem each day there is no time for that.   Photo from ODNR Hummingbird Dear hummingbird, You have already arrived From your summer home In Mexico. I heard you buzzing As I sat on the patio Admiring the flowering trees. Watching the birds build their nests. I heard you Well before I saw you, With

9 of 30: Wiggly Jiggly Tooth

As a first grade teacher wiggly teeth are my life.   I'm pretty sure most of our tissues are used for teeth --- not colds.  Today I thought I'd try a fun, rhyme-y poem about wiggly teeth. Wiggly Jiggly Tooth My tooth is loose, He said with a shout. My tooth is loose, Make it come out. He wiggled and wiggled, Moved the tooth to and fro. He jiggled and jiggled, But it wouldn't let go. I want it out now! He twisted left and then right. He started to howl. Pushed with all of his might. It would not come out, No matter how hard he tried. He started to pout; He cried and he cried. The kids all watched him. His teacher hoped he'd quit wiggling. Her patience was slim, As the class started giggling. He grabbed a tissue, Wiggled a little bit more. It was becoming an issue, As he sat on the floor. He soon felt a sneeze, Move from way down near his shoes. He said, "Excuse me please," And yelled ah-ah ah-choo. Across the whole classroo

8 of 30: Grandma's Kitchen

In Writing Toward Home, Georgia Heard reminds us of this quote by Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass, "Past and present and future are not disjointed but joined.  The greatest poet forms the consistence of what is to be from what has been and is."  I had to smile when I read this in Heard's book as Whitman's Leaves of Grass was a gift from my grandpa and grandma many years ago.  Oh, the little coincidences of life.  For a moment today as I was preparing Easter dinner I was taken back to my grandma's kitchen by the smells coming from my kitchen.  I really wanted to capture the smells, but I found that task to be quite challenging. Grandma's Kitchen Stepping into Grandma's house the smell of welcome greets us at the door. A roast in the oven. Pot pie on the stove. Bread freshly baked. Sugar-cream pie cooling on the counter. Walking into my kitchen the smell of Grandma's comes back to me. A roast in t

7 of 30: Night Reflections

This evening as I looked out my front door I noticed the moon resting on the branches of our front yard tree.   It rested there for quite some time as if unsure whether to stay or to continue.  If, like me, you find the full moon interesting you might want to stop by Mary Ann Reilly 's Portfolio:   The Moon and Night .   "Celebrate the ordinary, the obvious, the things that surround us."  Donald M. Murray, Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem Night Reflections The moon settles on the shadowed branches of the maple tree. Trying to decide whether to continue to climb or to stay and rest a little longer. Finally, it decides to rise to its place in the quiet night sky. There it shines brightly reflecting the light from the sun illuminating the night. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

6 of 30: Ode to the Reese's Egg

Image
Today's post should probably begin with an apology to the ode.  As I pulled a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg from the freezer today, I just couldn't resist this tribute.   Ode to the Reese's Egg Oh, chocolate peanut butter delight, How I shriek when you I see. I cannot wait to take a bite, I nearly burst with glee! I hold your delightful egg-like size, You rest within my hand. A truly wonderful surprise, I buy as many as I can. You'll be long gone, it is so wrong. You won't return until next year. I will be singing a sad sad song. I will miss you so, I fear. Oh, chocolate peanut butter delight, You must stay all year I beg. You're perfect always in my sight, I miss you already, Reese's Egg. Amy LV at The Poem Farm recently shared a poem, D is for Draw , in which she read a poem using SoundCloud .  I thought I'd give it a try with this ode.  I'm thinking SoundCloud might be another way for students to record poetry.  Tha

5 of 30: Spring Parade

Image
"Poems arrive.  They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice and give them form with our words."   Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge , Poemcrazy  I found this poem in our flowerbeds.   Spring Parade The purple crocus  Leads the promenade, With its thin blades of green Accented by violet blooms. Next the daffodil marches, With it's flower bouncing, Like miniature suns In the morning breeze. The weeping cherry Dances along the streets. It's plentiful pink blossoms Catching the attention of all. Delicate hyacinths, Tiny pedals intertwined, Quietly float by To catch our attention.   The tulips follow right behind  With their uniforms of many colors They stroll with grace To awe the crowds. The parade of flowers, Begins. © Cathy L. Mere, 2012

4 of 30: Oh, To Be Seven Again

Image
Today is my son's twentieth birthday (yes, I'm surprised I have a child that old too).  It's his freshman year at Toledo University; so unlike birthdays of the past, he has to attend classes all day and work until late tonight.  I'm sure he is missing birthdays when he was seven.   OH, TO BE SEVEN AGAIN Remember when the best day of the year was your birthday! Your friends at school ate cookies and sang happy birthday to  you . Cheeseburgers, pizza or macaroni. The evening meal was whatever was chosen by you . Basketball, Pokemon, or a knight's shield. The cake was the shape of your latest obsession. It took all of your might to blow out your candles after everyone sang happy birthday to you . Your wrapping paper, a favorite superhero. kept treasures hidden until opened by you . Transformers, legos, or an action castle. You shouted with glee as you discovered what was chosen for you . Oh to

3 of 30: The Goodbye Cake

Image
Today is my third day of posting poems for National Poetry Month.  I'm finding out there are quite a few National Poetry Month events and have linked what I've found to this sidebar.  This is our first Tuesday since finishing the month long Slice of Life March Challenge.  I have posted this poem as part of the Tuesday slices being shared at Two Writing Teachers.    "Begin here, with what you know."  Georgia Heard, Writing Toward Home  The Goodbye Cake Pulling the cake out of the refrigerator, She places it on the table. A silence falls around the busy table. It is glorious! We sit around the rectangular table As we do most every Sunday Having just finished A delicious meal.   Layers of cake. Layers of chocolate cake. Layers of chocolate cake standing high. No cake has ever compared. We laugh over stories Of the children, of  recent days. Her grandkids sit beside her, Knowing they'll be first. Light whipped cream icing covering the cake,

2 of 30: Nowhere to Hide

Image
"Poems don't normally have much to do with intention for me.  They're more likely to come unexpectedly in a place like this."  Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge , Poemcrazy   This evening I took Wooldridge's advice and walked through our back field searching for poetry.  I didn't find it where I expected, instead it found me.   Nowhere to Hide A sound comes from the patch Of wild black raspberry thistles Which look menacing. There are no leaves. There isn't tall green grass In which to hide. I hear it scurry quickly. Then silence. I try not to move. I am sure it knows I am here. Soon I see it, A small rabbit just in front of me. Both of us stand frozen. Both of us thinking We are hiding From the other. The rabbit turns slowly, His white bushy tail, A contrast to the muddy ground Where he now stands, Gives him away. His dark eyes turn to me, And he stares. We are now certain of one another. He pauses as if trying to decide Whether

1 of 30: The Long Road Home

Image
I enjoyed the month of March writing with the Slice of Life Challenge community.  Since I have established a better writing habit through the challenge, I want to keep it going.  I noticed Mary Lee at A Year of Reading talking about writing poetry for the month of April since it is National Poetry Month .  It sounded like the perfect way to keep the momentum going so I thought I'd join her.   The Long Road Home Sadly I say goodbye. I drive the long Curvy roads Over hills Around mountains Across bridges. I drive for what seems Like days Though it is not. Passing small towns. Slipping through The lives of others. Wondering what stories Live in these places. Finally I arrive home. Home. To the door  I have passed through Many times. Where the dog sits Wagging her tail to greet me. Home. Into the kitchen, Where the spaghetti From last week, Still sits in the refrigerator. Though the smell of it cooking Is l