Slice 2013 5 of 31: The Legend of the Sanpodohavatulli Expedition


The Revolutionary War is part of our fifth grade Social Studies curriculum. In language arts, students read My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier and “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Listen my children, and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

(You can read the rest of the poem here.)

We had worked on this curriculum at the end of the school year, and the first few lines of Longfellow’s narrative poem were stuck in my head when my husband and I headed to Arizona to meet up with friends and family for a week-long adventure of rafting through the Grand Canyon. We had a glorious week: spectacular scenery, lively conversation, and fabulous food. By the next-to-last day we were all quite sad that our trip was coming to an end. I don’t really remember how it came about, but someone suggested a poem to commemorate out time in the canyon. Longfellow’s lines popped into my head, and I knew that his poem was the perfect structure for our tale.

Here, with some editing, is the result.

My son Brian in Lava Rapid

The Ballad of the Sanpodohavatulli Expedition

Listen my friends, and you shall hear

Of twenty-five paddlers without fear.

They left Lees Ferry one hot August morn,

Some with clean clothes that had never been worn.

Matt was their leader, laid back and cool.

Diana, his swampy, was learning the rules.

Lori swam Hance, then drank beer from her boot.

Next day she ran Crystal and thought it a hoot!

Rodney kept talking about his last trip,

While Catherine was scared into Lave she’d tip.

Shirley, tucked in at the back of the boat, asked

Is this a big rapid? You’re sure we will float?

El Presidente Zach strummed the guitar,

And sang of huge tents out under the stars

Brian, through rapids paddled with power,

But Julie kept asking, “Where is the shower?”

Eight days later we docked, our clothes filled with sand.

Some happy, some sad, to be back on dry land.

Though our trip, alas, was at its end,

There was never a raft filled with such friends.

With our good friends, the Santullis
Me, center, hard at work

It was such a joy to revisit this wonderful trip through this poem. The memories we made during our time in the Grand Canyon are priceless and will stay with me always.

Thank you to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting this Slice of Life Challenge!

6 thoughts on “Slice 2013 5 of 31: The Legend of the Sanpodohavatulli Expedition

  1. I have been to the Grand Canyon just once and I was blasé about it until I was there just walking on the rim. I want to get back, but somehow your rafting trip for 8 days was not what I had in mind. That’s too much water for me but I loved taking the trip with you… wonderful poem,


  2. I always lack confidence as a poetry writer, but one thing that has inspired me is “writing like” others. It’s less scary this way too. I love what you do with this….and the photos are a great add!


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