The duality of slow

In my recent reading
I have encountered
the duality
of slow…

educators know
DEVOLSON:

Dark
Evil
Vortex
Of
Late
September
October
November

a mysterious force
an epicenter
impacting
gravity,
functionality

(=dark matter:
a nonluminous material
causing several effects
in space)

yet in my reading
I also stumble
across the word
Slowvember:

an admonishment
an acknowledgement
that one cannot possibly
do all the things
well

so one might as well
choose to act
vs. being acted upon

a recognition
a submission
a slowing of the pace
even at the edge
of holidays
brimming
glimmering

they are,
after all,
celebrations
of light
(=holy-days)

allow me
an antidote
in an anagram
or two:

DEVOLSON…
Solved? No.
Do novels.

Carve the time
vs. letting it
carve you

nourish
your inner light

it is only flickering
not snuffed
enough is enough

-evil? No.
A divine pull
to the gift
of slow.

slow down, slow down, slow… Victor BezrukovCC BY-NC 2.0.

with thanks to Chris Margocs for the DEVOLSON inspiration

The snickersnee

On the first day of the August Open Write at Ethical ELA, Gayle Sands invited participants to scroll this site, https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/surprising-uncommon-words, for choosing an uncommon word to pay with in crafting a poem.

The word that caught me was snickersnee.

I’ll just let the poem speak for itself…

The Snickersnee

Woe to the olden blades
rusty, dull, disobliging—fie!
Off with thee, useless utensils
—begone!
Behold the Snickersnee:

So fine a blade
German-made
slicing mine vegetables
as if they were but a dream
or merely air…
I forgetteth this
exceptional sharpness
during the washing-up
whereupon the Snickersnee
indiscriminately
snicketh a chunk 
o’ me.
(Just a thin slice o’ thumb.
A profusion o’ blood,
nevertheless.
Alas.)

Behold the snickersnee

Anagram poetry

Today I had the pleasure of hosting Day Four of the June Open Write at Ethical ELA.

I shared anagram poetry:

Sometimes there’s a need for words when the words won’t come. Sometimes in naming the emotion we open ourselves to finding our words and our way.

As the events in Uvalde unfolded on May 24th, I couldn’t encapsulate my thoughts or my feelings. No words seemed appropriate or meaningful enough. 

One word kept resurfacing: heartbroken. I finally resorted to examining its anagrams. 

Those became a poem.

Process

What are you feeling today? What are you grappling with or celebrating? What words or phrases might you explore with anagrams to express your sorrow, fear, or joy?  You can type your word or expression in this Anagram Generator to get phrases. For example, if you type POETRY BLISS in the generator and select “Anagrams” instead of “Words,” 10,0000 phrases appear, including best prosily, blip oysters, blistery sop, priestly sob, and sibyl tropes, not to mention bless or pity. Tap into your feelings, type in your words (maybe not too many!) and see what comes. Weave the anagrams of your choosing into your own meaningful expression any way you like.

I left my anagram poem simple and stark. It’s what I needed to say.

May 24th (originally entitled Heartbroken)

broken hater
broken Earth

broken heart
heartbroken

Uvalde
valued

*******

I’ve enjoyed reading the many varied poems in response today. Some are gleefully nonsensical, sparking giggles. Some are deeply moving.

What fascinates me with this particular wordplay are the hidden meanings that lie in words, brought to light in rearranging the letters. It’s a unique alchemy, peculiarly lyrical:

it’s all such
lovey trope
lye overtop
overtly Poe

every lop to
ole poverty

love or type
poetry love

If nothing else, imagine a poem made from this elf row danger (flower garden):

Photo: flower anagrams. gilliflowerCC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Last day

What can I say about the last day of school?

Most students rejoiced. Not all. Some will miss their friends. Some will not return. They said their sad goodbyes. One little boy who just got here and who knows no English asked for a translator for this very reason. Some teachers will not return. Not necessarily a bad or good thing…there’s just no need to be flummoxed by flux. I think of the ocean. A sense that tides are turning…I stayed late to help interview teachers for next year. They radiate positivity. The grass is NOT greener, they say…one lovely candidate wearing a string of pearls posed this profound question: How do you feel about the people you work with? So much begins and ends with this, does it not? With the adults in the building?

And this was the last day.

Forgive fragmented brain-play with anagrams:

At sadly
last day
lad, stay

day salt
sly data
lady sat

sadly, ta

Seems fitting for the strange pieces of this year.

Peace…

Kid playing football.Wallboat. CC0 1.0.


Big brown rabbit

I am coming home late
if you are meeting me at the gate
unintentionally, but still
at the end of a long day
I shall go my own way
and leave you to play
sweet clover for you
sweet dreams for me
lettuce savor the evening
dear Big Brown Rabbit

Essence experiment

My kindred-spirit-blogger-teacher-writer friend Lainie Levin had a fun post this week on a favorite exercise with young student writers: playing with suffixes added to your name, then coming up with a definition of the essence of you. Lainie calls this “nounifying yourself.” Here’s her suggested suffix list:

-itude
-ness
-ility
-age
-dom

-ity
-ship
-sion
-ance/ence

-al
-ation
-iety
-ment

Naturally I had to accept her invitation to compose (read more about her process and see fun student examples in her lively post, Word Play – thank you for this, Lainie!)

Frandom

The quality of maintaining a quiet inner realm despite the world’s clamor, where one’s thoughts are free to be one’s own; typically achieved through experiences with reading, writing, nature, and awe.

A drawing of me by my granddaughter last year: Franna in her Frandom?

Definito poem

On Day 10 of National Poetry Month, my friend Margaret Simon invites teacher-poets to compose a definito poem for VerseLove on Ethical ELA. It’s a form invented by her friend Heidi Mordhorst: “A free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.” Margaret’s suggestions: “Choose a word that has a certain fascination to you. You can look for the Word of the Day or any word that comes to mind. Play with the etymology of the word. What do the sounds mean? How does the meaning play with your thoughts? Explore the word using imagery, metaphor, and word play.”

So… I tried, I really tried, two things: 1) Getting away from my OLW, “awe” and 2) Keeping to the recommended 8-12 lines. I failed in both. I did, however, have a lot of fun with the unfolding of this pseudo-definito…

Awe “Definito”

So, Children, 
maybe you have seen something
so wonderful
that you went all shivery inside
and maybe your skin
even got tingly
or goosebumpy

a thing
so beautiful 
that you don’t have a word
for how beautiful it is

the feeling you get when
the sun’s slanted golden light 
breaks through the clouds
after a storm
or when you see a rainbow, 
(not made with crayons,
a real one) in the misty height,
colors glimmering, glowing, blurring, 
an ethereal sight
—ethereal? Sorry. It means 
to be so airy and light and beautiful
that the thing almost doesn’t belong
to this world
like stars, crystal-bright
against the black-velvet sky
on a winter’s night

maybe you have felt their stab of
silvery coldness, looking up
while your breath
hangs white
in the air

—yeah, that’s the feeling;
should we stop to
discuss metaphor
again?

No, it doesn’t have to be cold.

It can be a rush of warmth
on seeing a puppy
tiny, pink-mouthed, and so new
that its eyes are not yet open

—please note: The word is not spelled
the same way as what you say:
Awwww!
This, Children, is a homophone,
a poem for another day—

and the feeling might not come
from something you see
at all. 

It can come from something you hear. 
Once I was in an auditorium
where a girl who was trained in opera
sang just one high note;
her lips never moved
I couldn’t see her breathing
and the sound grew bigger
and bigger
and bigger
until the room
and my brain
and my heart 
were filled, almost bursting
with the pure, clear
starlike sound

-oh yes, I can tell by your eyes
and your open mouths
that you are beginning
to understand
awe.

After the tornado

4×4 poem

Here is a variation of my previous post, Eggsultation, in the 4×4 poem form shared by Denise Krebs on Ethical ELA for VerseLove: Four stanzas of four lines, any topic. Note how the lead line moves in the stanzas.

Eggsultation

Exultation:
Finches return
to make a nest
atop the wreath

on my front door
Exultation:
grass artistry
made without hands.

Speckled blue eggs
—one, two, three, four.
Exultation:
tiny new life

incubating.
Morning birdsong
rises skyward:
Eggsultation.

House Finch PairBirdman of Beaverton. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Carry on

The bird at the roadside sat
day after day after day
by the body of his lifetime mate
after she passed away

The naturalist saw him there
day after day after day
’til finally with some rotting meat
she lured the bird away

You must carry on, old boy
carry on carry on carry on
a marvel, how you honor your mate
when she’s carrion carrion carrion

Dedicated to the local buzzard who mourned his dead partner by the roadside. Until this story reached me, I didn’t know that turkey buzzards mate for life. I’ve since learned that they lack vocal organs…they cannot call or sing or cry. They can only grunt and hiss as they go about the humble work of cleaning up carcasses…but not, apparently, those of their mates.

Photo: 11 Turkey Buzzard Pittsboro NC 9425bobistraveling. CC BY 2.0.

*******

with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in the month of March. This is my sixth year participating.