Poetry Friday: The Sand Beneath Our Feet

Image                  Image

TeachersWrite, the summer writing camp for teachers organized by Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles, and Jen Vincent, ends Monday. While I’m sad that the structured lessons, quick-writes, and feedback opportunities will be ending, I’m very excited about the writing I’ve done this summer. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait to get back to school to share these insights with my colleagues and students.

Sand, magnified 250x via Science is Awesome

Today’s poem was inspired by this photo, which a friend shared on Facebook a few weeks ago. I was amazed by the uniqueness of each individual grain, and it got me thinking. This is the current draft of the resulting poem:

Sometimes in our busy lives,

we brush others aside

as carelessly as we brush

the sand off our feet

after a day at the beach.

But what if we stopped,

took a moment

for a closer look?

What wonders might be revealed to us?

The geologist, turning

her microscope to those few

grains of sand,

is rewarded with

an astonishing menagerie:

a crystal jack, broken in half

translucent beads, flecked with whirls of milky white

ivory sea urchins

golden honeycombs

a swirl of pink cotton candy

amber snails, spiraling ever inward

a puffer fish, gaping up out of the darkness.

Shaped by forces beyond our ken,

each one as different from the other

as you and I.

What pressures shaped you?

What winds and rains buffeted you about?

What marvels have been forged

within your heart?

© Catherine Flynn, 2013

Many, many thanks to Kate, Gae, Jo, and Jen, for a wonderful, rewarding summer of writing. I’m looking forward to being back next summer! (And maybe meeting some of you at NCTE in Boston?)

There are more incredible photos of magnified sand at InspirationGreen. I think this would be a perfect quick-write to share with students of any age.

Thanks also to Renee at No Water River for hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up. Be sure to visit her and all the other Poetry Friday folks.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Sand Beneath Our Feet

  1. Catherine, your poem is absolutely stunning. I love this line so much: “What winds and rains buffeted you about?” Also, go read my comment to your comment on my blog… I’m smiling and reeling a bit. ❤ !!!


  2. Catherine – Very eloquent! I was astonished by that picture of sand particles as well. It looks like tiny shells, seaglass, and other ocean-related stuff all mixed together. Miraculous, I’d say!


  3. The picture is so cool. Thanks for sharing. Your poem is wonderful and so full of image and metaphor. I putting this prompt away for my students.


  4. Lovely poem, Catherine. That is an astonishing photo indeed! I have sand beneath my feet all the time — just think of the worlds I’ve been stepping on. Fascinating. And the summer workshop sounds like a dream!


  5. Hard to believe that this photo and the others on InspirationGreen are for real… SO. COOL. But it wasn’t just the photo that opened my eyes, your poem stopped me in my tracks and really made me think about my own life. I can only hope that the marvels in my heart are half as beautiful.


  6. Wonderful poem. Amazing too that I just saw this link today & shared it again on Facebook, Catherine. The details you see and wrote about in the picture are beautifully shown in your words. And I like the link to more-what an idea for writing prompts! Thank you!


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