Slice of Life: Caution Thrown to the Wind


“Imagination is the beginning of the cognitive process through which we create meaning.”

Betty K. Garner

One morning last week, I found myself following a builder’s pickup truck on my way to work. A long length of yellow tape was trailing out of the bed of the truck. At first, I was slightly annoyed that this tape was slowing me down, but I became so fascinated watching its gyrations that I was sorry when the driver realized what was happening and pulled over to capture the escaped tape.

Coincidentally, I had just finished reading an article by Betty K. Garner called “The Power of Noticing” in Educational Leadership‘s February 2013 issue on creativity. Garner explains that taking the time to really notice something “supplies the raw material for creative thinking” and that “this kind of cognitive engagement stimulates curiosity and creativity.”  So when I arrived at school, I rushed to my desk and wrote everything I remembered about what the wayward tape had conjured in my mind. Several days and several drafts later, here is a poem I created out of those images.

Charmed by the warmth of the morning sun

and the fresh air filled with bird songs,

a length of yellow construction tape

rises up out of its cardboard home

in the back of a pickup truck

and catches a ride on the breeze.

Dancing down the road,

it undulates like a cobra,

lured out of its basket by the call of a pungi,

waving back and forth,

creating serpentine shapes,

its message of caution

thrown to the wind.

© Catherine Flynn, 2014

Since this is the last Tuesday of National Poetry Month, I hope Mary Lee won’t find this poem’s link to imagination too tenuous and mind if I share it with the readers of her “Our Wonderful World” poetry project.

Thank you, as always, to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for hosting Slice of Life each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Caution Thrown to the Wind

  1. Even here, the ‘call of the pungi’, Catherine. I hope all is okay, have missed seeing your posts. This is terrific. I will share with the class where I’m working now. We’ve been working hard on “noticing’!


  2. Love the specificity of this poem. This trucker had no idea the poetic messages he was sending as he drove down the road! I do agree the noticing is the key. I have to admit too much goes on in our lives that we don’t see the possibilities waving right in our face! Love the last line.


  3. Noticing is something we all need to do more of. Really enjoyed your poem. You prove that there is poetry all around us if we just open our eyes to it.


  4. As you described the situation that led to your poem, my mind was picturing a cobra. So I was happy to see that I wasn’t off base when I read your poem. Perfect last two lines!


  5. I think you are right, rushing to jot those things you noticed right away is so important, if you had waited until the end of the day to write that poem I bet it would have been very different!


  6. beautiful poem inspired by such a beautiful event. I haven’t written any poems in a while- thanks for the inspiration…


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