Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Little Bit of Spring, A Little Bit of Winter

                 Day Five of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.  Be sure to visit some of the posts. There are many wonderful pieces of writing to enjoy.

               I'm also slicing with my classroom at  Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog.

              My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. 
                        Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog

         I wrote a poem nearly every day last month for Laura Shovan's birthday celebration prompts, 28 sounds.  You can find the challenge here. There were a few of us who wrote each day, and it was an enthusiastic group, smaller than this amazing Slice of Life group, dedicated and supportive. This week with more snow, I again hear the 'crunch crunch' of the sound that Laura posted on Feb. 22nd, George Washington's birthdayAgain, my thoughts go immediately to Washington’s army. The facts say about 12,000 were there and about a third of them died of cold and starvation.  In my warm house with my Smartwool socks and fleece pants on, I too can only imagine!

A Thought for Valley Forge

Soldier, soldier, marching onward,
the cold and snow - unjust reward.
Bundled rags your only dress,
yet Patriot, on you must press,
in hunger, frozen at the core,
ever feeling at death’s door.
Do not forsake the cause you’ve taken.
We’re thankful that you have forsaken
your comfort for our freedom saved.
Those February days were grave;
we grieve your fight of long ago,
those crunching footsteps in the snow.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved               the sound here!

                     In this challenging winter, many write of the snow, the cold, the hard times, but also the beauty. I thought I'd add a little bit of summer thoughts for you, from a book I'm reading with a group at school.

             Among the three books being read, I am the facilitator for Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. It's been an active group, surprised at the language, the story, and the flawed main character who doesn't seem able to think before acting. There are parallels made between this society and our own, or others that have been studied. And there are beautiful words to savor. One of the goals I always have when I read with students is to aim for the personal connection, to show that there are no "perfect" heroines or heroes, but complex and flawed characters with whom we can sympathize. We are nearing the end, and today we enjoyed this passage, connected to our own 'arid Colorado' joy of rain in the summer, and a little hail, running outside to grab a few hailstones to eat, and to celebrate the much needed moisture. Here is Achebe's passage: "When the rain finally came, it was in large, solid drops of frozen water which the people called the nuts of the water of heaven. They were hard and painful on the body as they fell, yet young people ran about happily picking up the cold nuts and throwing them into their mouths to melt." The earth quickly came to life and the birds in the forrest fluttered around and chirped merrily."
The spring equinox is only 15 days away! 
Plants are coming up despite the snow. 


  1. Your poetry integrates historical content in such a lyrical way. The line, "ever feeling at death's door" sounds as though it was written long ago. Bravo! Thank you also for posting all the writing challenges. One great thing about participating in the Slice of Life writing is the opportunity to see what wonderful projects people are a part of. I can't wait to read more!

  2. As always your posts inform and delight. I loved listening to the sound of walking (marching) in the snow while reading your poem. Things Fall Apart is on my nightstand. Your words are pushing me to move it up on my TBR list. I love what you're saying about connecting complex characters to ourselves. That transference is the goal!

  3. I love the green peeking out of the snow. Hope! Thanks for providing an eclectic, inspiring and helpful site.

  4. Your poetry is incredible - always - and I appreciate the glimpse and hope of spring - as yet another ice storm descends on us here on the east coast!

  5. Beautiful poetry. Sometimes I this part of history almost is unreal, and the emotion and hardship is taken out of it. Your poetry reminds me of the emotion and heart connected to the story of our nation.

  6. We often write poetry in response to the history we study in 6th. grade, Linda - and your poem speaks to the power of such an endeavor. I loved Achebe's book, especially the wise and wry humor with which she looks at the world and teases out its imperfections.

  7. When I think about the conditions at Valley Forge, I'm amazed that anyone survived! Your poem is a wonderful tribute to their heroism. I'm despairing for our crocuses under a foot and a half of snow, with more added today. Thank you for sharing yours!


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