Thursday, August 30, 2012

Once In A Blue Moon

               Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Sylvia Vardell, at her blog site, Poetry for Children.  Thanks to Sylvia, we can enjoy much poetry today from many.  Come read!



I love Karla Kuskin’s poem, Write About A Radish, and often use it to encourage students to write about the little things, the small unnoticed parts of their lives that are important in personal ways, or important because of an emotional connection-seeing, hearing, touching, and so on. 

I also love the moon, perhaps since I watched those courageous astronauts walk there, and then another connection occurred this past week when we said goodbye to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.   I become moon struck perhaps because I grew up singing the old songs about the moon with a piano-playing grandmother.  Several times through my classroom years, I did a moon journaling unit when we observed the moon for 31 days, journaling each night, drawing, painting and writing-yes, about the moon.  It became beautiful science, art and writing that culminated in a full moon walk on the prairie. 

Yesterday, I read an article from The Smithsonian magazine announcing that tonight is a blue moon, the last one we’ll be able to view until 2015.  You can see more about this rare beauty at this Nasa site. And, it’s poetry Friday, so I thought I must write something to reflect this special event.


Last night it was serendipitous that I took time to read all of the poetry anthology The Arrow Finds Its Mark, A Book of Found Poems, edited by Georgia Heard and illustrated by Antoine GuilloppĂ©.  In this collection, those poets who contributed found beauty in varied places such as detergent boxes, directions on a computer, road signs, and bird books.  Because I read the article, had just read the anthology, I thought I’d craft a poem-yes, about the moon—from the Smithsonian words. What fun; it was like the book gave me permission.   Here is my latest tribute to the moon, despite Kuskin’s good advice, this time a colorful one!
the 30th-not quite blue

Blue Moon, I’ve Found You

Look to the night sky,
the unusual occurrence
of a second full moon
in one calendar month.

A truly modern piece of folklore,
masquerading as something old, and
appropriated for everything –
a popular Belgian-white style beer.
On a very rare occasion
the moon actually can appear
blue.
Particulate matter
suspended in the atmosphere
interacts with light
reflecting
off
the 
moon,
scattering red wavelengths of light.

A bluish hue
happened several times
in recent history:
the June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo
caused the phenomenon.

Be patient
and wait around
for a volcanic explosion.

Once in a blue moon.

30 comments:

  1. I learn so much from you - including the need to watch the sky tonight. Thanks! The poem is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katherine. Hope your moon is beautiful & your weekend restful!

      Delete
  2. A truly modern piece of folklore,
    masquerading as something old, and
    appropriated for everything

    How interesting to distill the idea to this essence, Linda - brilliant. The moon over New Jersey last night was spectacular, and I spent quite a bit of time just emptying my mind and drinking in its beauty - and felt the better for it, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was a wonder to see & I'm hoping even more tonight. Enjoy your weekend before you start!

      Delete
  3. Oh, I love your poem and learning about the blue moon! I'd heard about it via Susan Branch's website. Quite something -- I'll look to the skies tonight :).

    Didn't they sing "Blue Moon" in the movie Notting Hill? Love that film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they did. I almost added the lyrics, but thought it was too much. It's such a beautiful love song! Thanks Jama.

      Delete
  4. Linda, you must write more found poems! Love this so much. I love celestial happenings, and I'm just hoping these clouds push away so we can glimpse the moon tonight. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope we don't miss it, too, but usually it's clear skies here, hence our no rain! Have a good weekend, Irene!

      Delete
  5. Beautiful.

    My scout and his dad will be camping tonight under that blue moon -- maybe I'll stay up late enough to share it with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I bet it's a gorgeous night for camping. They might not need flashlights! Hope you can see it too, Katya.

      Delete
  6. Linda,
    Great found poem. Thanks for posting all the good information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joy. I'm happy you like it, & hope you'll enjoy the link.

      Delete
  7. How fun, Linda! Making a poem from The Smithsonian was a great idea. I enjoyed reading about your connections to the moon. Up until his death, our elderly next-door neighbor would bring his telescope out on special occasions. I miss seeing him setting it up. My grandfather also loved his telescope -- I wish I had a photo of him with it. I hadn't thought about their telescopes in a while; thanks for bringing those memories back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tabatha. I've had a few experiences with a telescope. They really do show the sky in amazing sights. Thanks for the memory!

      Delete
  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your poem - and it was so informative, too! It makes me think about all the special ways we could introduce poetry in the classroom - our budding scientists could be sharing their essential details through poems. The moon was gorgeous last night!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was gorgeous, I agree. I get special pleasure in integrating different topics, showing students how so much is (or can be) connected. Thanks, Maureen.

      Delete
  9. Hi Linda, I remember that Mount Pinatubo eruption quite distinctly. Nothing but ask everywhere in the Philippines. I was a teenager then, the year I met my husband. Once in a blue moon indeed. Thank you once again for sharing with us your love affair with the moon. I would like to think that I am a child of the moon, myself. Lunar. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I remember too, Myra, although I was far away. We were worried about my husband's nephew's wife's family. I don't remember at all about the moon part then however. I just learned that from these articles. Thanks!

      Delete
  10. Beautiful! I find it very hard, actually, to write found poems--you did a terrific job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janet. I think they are challenging, but another kind of word play really, so fun, too.

      Delete
  11. I love your found poem! I saw the rare blue moon yesterday morning. Thought I'd drink a Blue Moon in its honor, but turns out we only have Summer Shandy. Good enough. Here's to you, Moon. And to you, as well, Mr. Armstrong. Best wishes on your final flight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary Lee. Sorry no Blue Moon. Amazingly, I did have one left from when my family was here a few weeks ago. It's been a big week to sky gaze, hasn't it?

      Delete
  12. I need to teach my students about found poems. Thank you for sharing your work. Have you heard Patrick Alger's song, Once in a Very Blue Moon? Nanci Griffith sings this and your poem reminded me of the song.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I know it, Jeff. Thanks for telling me. I'll look for it. And yes, try the found poems with your students-much fun, & challenging word play too.

      Delete
  13. How lovely and interesting is this! It just so happens that every summer our local poetry group sponsors a reading series called the Blue Moon Poetry Readings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice title, meaning not always I suppose, but sometimes? Thanks, Violet!

      Delete
  14. Wow, what a beautiful patchwork poem you found! I am also crazy for the moon and never tire of looking at it. I missed the blue moon due to clouds, but the next evening we took the kids to see the sunset on the beach and were treated also to the moonrise, its white light peeking up bit by bit from behind a cloud. It was full and immense and low in the sky - gorgeous!

    Thanks also for introducing me to "Write About a Radish" - great advice that I will be taking.

    BTW, your moon unit sounds wonderful...and didn't Frank Zappa name one of his kids Moon Unit! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love your beautiful poem and learning about the blue moon :)

    Warmly
    Marinela

    ReplyDelete

Having a conversation is a good thing!