Thursday, January 26, 2023

Poetry Friday - Final Words from a Leaf

            Poetry Friday is with Jan Godown Annino HERE at her website, Bookseed Studio.  In this wintry January, at least here in Denver, Jan brings garden delights in the name of Sharon Lovejoy. Don't miss her loving post! Thanks, Jan!

       Tanita Davis, who has a new book out, BTW, wrote this for her #PoetryPals as our prompt for this final Friday of January: Here’s the scoop for January: This month, we’re writing a CASCADE poem. The Cascade form takes every line from the first stanza of your poem and TRANSFORMS those lines into the final lines of each stanza thereafter. (The link helpfully creates a little form that shows you how easy this might be.) Beyond that, there are no additional rules. Long or short, free verse, sonnet, or sestina, find a way in which you can incorporate some inkling of the idea (or word) transformation as you write. You have a month to craft your creation and box it up on January 27th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

        Tanita's new book is titled Figure It Out, Henri Weldon.

        Another #PoetryPal, Laura Purdie Salas, has three books coming out this spring. You can find out about them here! And if you look further on her blog, you will see her review of Tanita's book! 

        One more #PoetryPal also has a new book out, Lola's Light, by Liz Garton Scanlan. If I've missed any of you, let me know! 

                              Congratulations to all!

     I haven't written for the prompts from #PoetryPals for a while and this one intrigued me. But, as I imagine many of you experience, I splashed around for a topic, and searched old poems that I thought might spark a theme, but didn't find one. Then, as our weather has been consistently giving us snow, I found inspiration. Here's the photo from outside on my patio and the poem. I didn't exactly follow the exact words for the "last line" expectation but considered it's the thought that counted, right? 


                       A Leaf’s Goodbye

 

I flew here from a maple tree, up there on the hill.

A woman took a pic of me, she saw me in the snow.

She wanted to remember me, a flourishing that didn’t last.

I’m glad to be a memory, like others in her past.

 

Photos give a taste of days that happened years ago.

The older ones are grainy, the new ones clear and bright.

No matter which, a life’s been lived, photos echo well.

Just like the maple tree I left, up there on the hill.

 

As I recall, the first of life for me was palest green.

Humans called me “budding”, a joyous circumstance.

I managed then, as days ticked by, to advertise a spring.

Another pic was taken, no snow on anything.

 

When humans grow, you need to know that they’re not like us buds.

They’re really slow, yet attention’s paid, and changes do occur.

From babyhood to young adults, parents revel every day,

Keeping their cache of memories, ‘cause budding does not stay.

 

A year has passed, the last I knew, found lying in the snow;

sun and shadow form a place, with nowhere else to fly.

Some years pass by, lives meander on, but to a leaf like me

Memory comes from spring to fall, on my dear old maple tree.

 

Linda Baie ©

 


Monday, January 23, 2023

Monday Reading - Fun to Share

 


    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 
       It's been snowy and cold all week with more to come. Hope all of you are doing great this beginning of 2023! 

          
       Most any age will enjoy this jam-packed book about all things concrete, from the earliest makers to the Romans, on to today's engineering marvels. Did you know that cement is different from concrete? Did you know the Romans had an original recipe for concrete? Imagine how they constructed the Colosseum, then the Pantheon! And then, it was lost. Years and years later, a man in need of the secret of a lighthouse that would not keep burning down, John Smeaton, perfected a new recipe. Larissa Theule packs a treasure of information in this history, including the important use of stone, too. She entertains readers with both text and speech bubbles, cleverly illustrated by Steve Light. Real people are depicted in a somewhat humorous fashion. Then there are skyscrapers and dams and gorgeous creations like the Sydney Opera House plus an intriguing art installation in a desert. Theule adds a bibliography at the back. It's a fantastic book for all but especially those budding engineers who ask "How?" 
Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

        As Penguin Random House tells us:  "Inspired by Dadaism’s rejection of reason and rational thinking, and in cahoots with Blanche Fisher Wright’s The Real Mother Goose, this anthology of absurdity unravels the fabric of classic nursery rhymes and stitches them back together (or not quite together) in every clever way possible." 
       I say you have to read it to believe it. Jon Scieszka's books never fail to be entertaining and educational in that he calls out the usual to be the "unusual" and with illustrator Julie Rothman partnering in his mash-ups, readers will see a new way to imagine rhymes like "Humpty Dumpty", "Old Mother Hubbard", and "Jack Be Nimble" in book reports, in news reports, secret codes, even translations into other languages! The most fun is that there is a lot of back matter showing off the "how you, too, can do it" part. That includes Esperanto, pig Latin, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and more! For middle grades and up, I see kids who want to break away from the usual loving this book, a new way to kick out the old! 
         Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       Found at the used bookstore where I volunteer, a book by Joseph Bruchac from years ago that feels like a great fit for reading to a middle-grade or upper-elementary class. It brings in a contemporary story of a young Native American boy whose family has moved to Brooklyn for his mother's work. He is the only one like him and is teased with native stereotypes constantly. Weaving in the truth about his heritage with help from his father, readers are led to wonder if he can find the courage to find peace with his classmates instead of fighting them. Danny's ironworker father visits Danny's class to tell stories of his people's history and heroes which help a lot. It's a short novella that I'm happy to have found.
       Like all of the Steads' tales, this is beautiful to see and special to read. Three animals, a mule,
a milk cow, and a miniature horse, stand at a barn door waiting for the sun. They eventually realize that the faithful sun is late, not rising as it should have. Readers know those animals must be hungry! They go to ask Barn Owl what they should do and he sends them off on a journey to places they have not been before, to the edge of the world! Owl tells them to take Rooster along, and the magic, along with some fun questions about dreaming, happen along the way. What fun it will be to read with young children! It was fun for me, too! 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Poetry Friday - January Gratitude

           Poetry Friday is with Marci Flinchum Atkins HERE.  Be sure to see the books she's recommending that connect with her own interesting book for children, Wait, Rest, Pause, all about dormancy! Thanks, Marci!

       January welcomes a new year and in my part of the world, also means winter and of course, snow. We just had our snowiest storm in January since the nineties on Wednesday. I cleaned off the bird feeding station and my car (no garage), shook evergreen tree branches, and shoveled around the car (off-street parking). I love being outdoors but it was a lot to do! 

       There is a person, a Jennifer Thomas, on Twitter who shares words she discovers and loves. The recent one I read was mufflements. She writes that "it’s an old Lancashire word for thick, insulating clothes that keep the warmth in and the cold out." I thought you might like it, too!  

You knew there was a "but", didn't you? But, in January, thanks to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who has a new website here, for starting a marvelous tradition a few years ago of people sending postcards with beautiful words to others to welcome the new year. I was happiest this week getting my mail because instead of the continuing junk and pleas for donations, I received four cards from Jone, Mary Lee, Carol L., and Marcie, our host today. It's a lovely thing to receive "smiles" in the post box! Thanks to these four poets for them! Each seems to mirror Mary Oliver's words: “Pay attention. / Be astonished. / Tell about it.” 

I will remember:                         out of tree crumbs

                                                        live curious, each day a wonder -

            

                                                        create with peace

                                                                     after Carol, Jone, Marci, and Mary Lee



Monday, January 16, 2023

It's Monday - Add These to Your TBR Lists

    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 

          
  Remember Two Truths and a FIB, a poetry anthology edited and compiled by Bridget Magee. I'm shamelessly sharing again because it is such fun, and my poems are in it! I'm nearly through it all, 29 poets and 30 topics, including 32 poetic forms, a special book for the classroom and writing inspiration!  






      It is often interesting what authors create from their imagination. This time Jasmine Warga allows a rover, Resilience, Res for short, to tell its own story. She challenges us to imagine ourselves that a rover, really a computer, to learn and grow, then begin to question, eventually to imagine, human qualities, right? The adventure begins with Res' relationship with two "hazmats" as it calls them, Rania and Xander, NASA scientists, who are creating the code to prep Res for a trip to Mars. There is also another rover named Journey, kind of a thorn in Res' side who keeps chiding him for using words only humans should, like "worry" and "hope". The teasing "Beeps and Boops" from Journey gets Res upset yet he holds on to his new beliefs. Once in a while, Rania's daughter, Sophie, begins to write letters to Res. They occur once in a while to advance the story. 
        Days and months, then years pass, and finally Res, with a companion, "Fly", a drone, get going, to Mars! The trip and time on Mars itself is exciting, dangerous, and nerve-wracking. Another computer, Guardian, is a satellite guide, taking the place of a skeptical Journey, but as readers will see, human emotions sneak into all the thoughts and conversation. Res cannot ask questions of his humans, a constant frustration. What you will love is the change that happens through all the years and the emotions that do occur, yes, even in rovers!
       The story divides into parts, like "Launch" and "Roving" and the intros show illuminating illustrations by Matt Rockefeller. There is an author's note, acknowledgments, and one page of sites for learning more. It's a special book!


        Bryan Collier writes a story that he says he wrote during the Pandemic lockdown, using his children as models. This story shows how a young boy finds hope from the words and actions he has been given every day by his father and mother. Even in the darkness, someone can leave an opening for a rainbow to come in, this time, for this boy, it is music. With Collier's beautiful collage and watercolor illustrations, one can imagine the uplifting melody.  

       Richard Turee with Shelly Pollock, tells his own story of his frustration at the constant problem of lions killing his family's cattle. At the age of nine, he was put in charge of the herd. During the years, he was first terrified, then angry, at the lions who wanted his cattle! His people, the Maasai tribe who now mostly live in Kenya and Tanzania, tried everything, and most worked only a while. Lions were smart! Richard was always curious and began learning about electronics, even taking apart his mother's new radio. He did notice that lions were afraid of light but soon learned that the ONE light was something they could avoid. People could not kill the lions because they were a protected species. Richard worked and invented a series of flashing flashlight lights attached to every pole in the cattle enclosure. It worked! He has won numerous awards for his invention, an amazing creation that at that time only cost him ten dollars. The book demonstrates that through persistence, every age is capable of solving important problems. It is illustrated beautifully by Sonia Possentini, showing Richard growing up in his work, persisting in doing his so important job, protecting the family's herd. 
        There are pieces at the back showing the Maasai vocabulary used, a brief history of the Maasai, and further resources.  It's an inspiring story written about a young boy who figured out answers because of his family's dire need. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

#PoetryFriday - Giving A Thought

           Poetry Friday is with Susan at Chicken Spaghetti HERE.  She's sharing a poem with some sage advice! Thanks for hosting, Susan!


             Lots of good things happened in recent weeks. My "whole" family was able to have our Christmas together last Saturday. I am happy to have new volunteers at the used bookstore where I work and was able to get outside walking because the sidewalks are finally becoming clear of ice from the snow a few weeks ago. And, I've read a few good books. However, a couple of sad things have also happened. My daughter has many cats, some feral outside; some inside. One of them was hit in traffic a week ago and died. A volunteer I've recently spent some time with also lost her cat to a sudden illness. I don't have pets anymore but remember with much love a cat I had years ago named Max. Then, on the way home this week, I spied another cat by the side of the street, clearly dead from being hit. I needed to write.

           Someone’s Cat

 

Someone’s cat was lying on the side

Of the road

On my way to work this morning.

He was curled like his brothers,

Looking comfortable in sleep.

I wondered if someone’s hand

Was missing that soft gray fur,

If someone’s lap was missing his warmth?

I imagine the bowl of cream

Left out

Untouched.

I hear a voice calling for him

Out a back door.

“He’s always been there before.”

But if no one is 

Waiting,

Calling,

Crying,

Then I will give a thought to this gray cat,

And grieve for his passing.

 

                                  Linda Baie ©