SOL 17 & Poetry Friday: “Feather, Celebrating Valerie Worth”


“The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world.”
~ Natalie Goldberg ~

Last week, I shared Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderly, and Marjory Wentworth’s inspirational new poetry collection, Out of Wonder. Each poem is a celebration of another poet, either written in their style or about a topic dear to them.

Of course I wanted to try my hand at this. I found a lone turkey feather in the snow after the blizzard a few weeks ago that had been calling to me. I decided Valerie Worth’s “small poems” were the perfect model to use for a poem about this little gift.

After reading and rereading All the Small Poems and Fourteen More, I watched Renée LaTulippe’s interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins about Valerie Worth. Lee described Worth’s poems as “sharp, solid, eloquent evocations of ordinary objects” that “causes us to see the everyday world in fresh, insightful, larger-than-life ways.” Easy, right?

Of course not. Lee also said that Worth was “truly a craftsperson, who wrote, revised, wrote, and revised.” Knowing that no poem is ever finished, I have written and revised, written and revised my attempt at a “small poem” about a feather.

celebrating Valerie Worth

On turkey’s back,
a feather is
filaments of color
weaving a cloak
of shadow and light
that hides and

Fallen on the snow,
this downy tuft
transforms into
whispering secrets
of the woods.

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

It seems appropriate that this final day of the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge is on a Friday. I’m certain I wouldn’t ever have had the confidence to write and share poetry if it hadn’t been for this supportive community. My heartfelt thanks to you all, especially StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts. Also, be sure to visit Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

21 thoughts on “SOL 17 & Poetry Friday: “Feather, Celebrating Valerie Worth”

  1. Catherine, what a rich learning experience. I’m so glad to have read this. I raise my coffee mug to you this morning in celebration of your accomplishment. The poem is exquisite. Well done and Bravo!
    Thanks for the reminder of the interviews at Renee LaTulippe’s site. When I’m in need of mentors, they are there! But, I don’t always remember to look there first. Have a great week and I’m looking forward to Poetry Month with you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Catherine, I am so glad I met you first here and then in person this summer and so briefly in the hallway on the 18th of this month. I so appreciate you sharing your process you followed to write this gorgeous poem. So much research, so much writing and revising. And I’m glad you added the feather photo, too! I like knowing I have a friend who works on poetry! I need that kind of expert to check in and learn from. I do hope our paths meet in person again soon. Be sure to let me know if you come visit your son in VA. And I’ll let you know if I’m heading to TR. I am currently waitlisted for August Writing but fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sally! I am so grateful for all the connections I’ve made through TC and blogging! Sadly, I won’t be at TC this summer, but might be able to come into the city for a quick visit if you’re there. Brian and Jackie are moving into their new house today, so I hope to get down to see it sometime in the next month. I’ll keep you posted.


  3. Catherine,
    What happens if you edit your poem a little more?

    Turkey Feather
    celebrating Valerie Worth

    downy tuft
    colorful cloak
    weaving shadow
    and light
    to hide and
    a treasure
    whispers secrets
    of the woods.

    Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really admire what you’ve done here, especially the way you help us readers see this one humble object in one situation….and then in the next stanza….another situation. Same object, different meaning. This could be a great mentor for student poets trying on such an eye. Love. Happy almost Poetry Month! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved hearing the backstory of your writing today, Catherine, the research and I’m sure contemplation of how you wished to “offer” this feather. And, like others, I love that you gave two POVs, the “filaments of color” that were “whispering secrets”. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a lovely poem! I love feathers, so maybe I’ll try to write a feather poem, too! Ruth,


  7. I’m thrilled to see how many others have fallen in love with your writing and your unique way of seeing and sharing the world!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s