Slice of Life: Astray on a Summer Breeze


How to teach poetry? “This has always worked: find the material in your own life.”
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

Penny Kittle tweeted this last night from the Boothbay Literacy Retreat, quoting a line from Naomi Shihab Nye, the evening’s “Distinguished Lecturer.” I had been thinking about this very idea earlier in the afternoon after I saw this on my way home:


Needless to say, I did a double take. So I drove home, parked the car, and the dog and I walked back to the field to capture the moment. The camera on my phone really doesn’t do justice to the scene, so I’ll try to paint a picture with words.

A balloon bouquet,
astray on a summer breeze,
touched down in a
sun-drenched meadow
to dance with butterflies.

I hope you all have a chance to enjoy a few sun-drenched afternoons this summer!

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

21 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Astray on a Summer Breeze

  1. You remind me that when we do see something that causes us to do a double take, we need to pause, look, write. Thanks for taking the time to look and write. And then SHARE!!


  2. What a lovely poem! I admire how you first noticed, then thought/acted (going back for the photo) and then created. This poem is such a wonderful, whimsical example of finding inspiration in everyday things! I’d love to share it with my students next year!


  3. You painted a beautiful vignette with your words. After writing my not-so-beautiful post on housecleaning, yours reminded me to take time and enjoy some summer moments today, too.


  4. I’m with Melanie . . . loved the “to dance with butterflies”! I enlarged the picture but was still thinking “balloons?” and not quite certain. Always love the pictures you create with your poetry!


  5. I love that you returned to capture the moment, then wrote too, Catherine. I have my granddaughters in the afternoons this week, & we spent time with a swallowtail yesterday, watching it dance among the flowers. I think we might not be out so much today, supposed to be our hottest day so far!


  6. I love the poem. I was at a conference and sat in on a Naomi Shihab Ne workshop. OMG I learned so much for about getting ideas from real life. My favorite idea, which i recall frequently, but don;t actually do in a disciplined manner, was to keep a notebook and write down three things everyday. That way you have a collection of ideas for writing.


  7. Isn’t it frustrating how the camera just doesn’t see as our eyes do! Yet at the same time, it makes me value what I capture with my eyes all the more. The picture you paint with words is much more than the camera could see.


  8. I did a double take, too when I saw your picture of those balloons in the field. Love that you have to go back and get pictures. I did that today, going by daisies. Stopped the car and walked back…
    Your poem is beautiful. I always wonder from whom it escaped and how.


  9. Such a fun poem from this stray image that floated across your day! So glad you captured it. Thanks for the encouragement to pause and enjoy sun-drenched afternoons.


  10. Catherine, I live how you doubled back to capture the image. At first I thought it was a Gingerbread man balloon on the loose! Gorgeous light in the poem and scene. Next year, I want to go to Boothbay!


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