This page offers a selection of poems either written or revised in 2011. Most of these were written between January and June, but do not include selections from the April Poem-A-Day Challenge. Poems from that challenge have their own page and can be found here. As with all of the pages under Writing Teacher Writes, these are the humble offerings of a Language Arts teacher. Some have been revised, others are still in their draft form. Comments are welcomed and appreciated, but please be kind.
Air hums with an electric tint; dry grounds
cracked in anticipation. Stretched out
on the porch, I wait: limbs loose,
head tilted back, one foot soothing
back and forth, back and forth the anxious
pup on the step. Both of us ready.
Goosebumps awake along my arms,
like memories of rain that has not
yet fallen, tree branches sway with the
weight of anticipation, anticipated rain.
There’s a soft swish-thump of a tail
marking time between heat lightning’s hello.
And thunder rolls. And the train comes.
And for a moment, we don’t know the difference. But dust
turns to clay, staining my soles red beneath my feet.
Tail caked and tucked Pup scoots beneath my knees,
and I close my eyes, waiting to fall asleep to this,
while light and shadows sketch premonitions of dreams.
“Lessons in Gardening”
We paraded proudly down the rows looking only side
To side with our wide-brimmed hats and simple pails of water.
At first we did not notice as they wound
around our ankles, shedding them like shoes.
Everything we learned said everything
We’d need was water and sunshine to grow.
Water and sun we had and we smiled,
While creeping roots stole silently beneath.
And then our walks got harder.
Calves straining at the tangled vines and our backs
wondered from where they’d come as we bent
fighting to free our legs from their wicked fingers.
Turning to our flowering friends, our innocent,
wincing eyes wept, straining to find hidden faces.
But salty tears do not grow beauty from shallow soil
And good and bad swirl together in their reflective pools.
“These weeds have turned to trees!” I shout.
Grasping, tearing with rough worn hands
“We’ll never get them down.” But we let the
Never carry over into our night-long toil.
The day soon rises on straining shoulders;
Our weathered faces speak the sun.
Pails are cast aside for buckets
And our calloused feet sigh in cool, soaked soil.
Our now muscled forms tread lightly on tender,
tended earth. Knowing eyes keep careful watch
over fledglings finally free. Lessons hard-learned
have rescued beauty from ignorance .
“Difficult Joy” (5/20/11)
Sometimes we love the difficult.
To be in like requires smiles, but
it is not always so with love.
Joy seeps out, or maybe in,
in sweat and sometimes blood,
In frustration ground out through
the biting the inside of our lip
and deep breaths behind closed eyes.
Reaching out we grasp tight the wrist
of difficult joy, finding that it seizes
our own wrists just as fiercely.
“Wishing on our Enemies”
I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy
is a thing people say, right?
We acknowledge that there are
basic human dignities that you
can’t out-evil? Or can you
commit such atrocities that anything,
any kindness is above you?
Ding dong the wicked witch,
the wicked witch is dead.
Except Dorothy didn’t drop the house.
And, really, Glenda wasn’t necessarily
rejoicing. That Lollypop Guild, though?
another story. So, where are we now?
Taking turns playing god? Evil, then us?
Now what did we decide again?
Do we take an eye for an eye?
or shall I turn the other cheek?
Would you like the side that’s missing
an eye, just for good measure? If we take
your hand, you can’t slap us anymore,
but then we’re left holding a bloody hand.
I rejoice that there is less evil in the world
today more than yesterday; we are safer;
families wrought with pain are healing.
I’m saddened that it’s not because you changed
your mind or your crusade against peace.
and I end up chasing my tail to reconcile
the bitter to the sweet and end up just dizzy.
“In the Snooze Button Time Lapse” (5/4/11)
Looking at seventeen hours,
at least, and some change,
of being alert, productive,
of being coffee fueled,
of being meaningful,
knowledgeable and all sorts
of other -fuls and -ables.
But these covers are warm
and the mattress perfectly dented.
The house is finally quiet, and
were those puppy-dog eyes I just saw?
The coffee must be twenty-five feet
away and my book only one.