Poetry Friday: What the World Needs Now

Back in March, Irene Latham and Charles Waters visited our school virtually to share their passion for poetry and to create “wordzines” with our students. Before their visit, teachers shared Dictionary for a Better World, Irene and Charles’s amazing collection of “poems, quotes, and anecdotes from A to Z.” We were all inspired by the wisdom and love that fills this book. Our fourth graders were so excited about their wordzines and the poems in Dictionary for a Better World that they decided to create their own book of “poems, quotes, and anecdotes.” And so What the World Needs Now was born. My friend and colleague Bernadette Linero, teacher extraordinaire, found a way to publish the book and all students have a copy to keep and treasure always. Here’s a peek into the creative work of our fourth graders:

Thank you to Irene and Charles for helping our students to think deeply about empathy, kindness, compassion and more. Thank you for inspiring them to create their own art and poetry that will, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “create a better world for all who live in it.”

Please be sure to visit Buffy Silverman for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Poetry Friday: Fireflies

“Without awe life becomes routine…try to be surprised by something every day”
~ Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi ~

Today is the last day of school. It’s been a long week at the end of a long year. Earlier this week, as I sat on my deck for a breath of cool evening air, I was surprised to see a firefly. We usually don’t see them until later in June. This unexpected harbinger of summer made me very happy and helped get me to today’s finish line.

fireflies’ neon flashes
and flickers
bring the stars

within reach.

Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Photo by toan phan on Unsplash

Please be sure to visit Carol Wilcox at Carol’s Corner for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Today’s Hymn

It’s time for our monthly Sunday Swagger Challenge. Each month one member of my critique group provides a challenge for the rest of us to share on the first Friday of the month. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to use Cheryl Dumesnil‘s poem, “Today’s Sermon,” as a mentor text.

Sometimes such a wide open prompt is more challenging than “write a (insert form) about (insert subject).” I played around with different ways into this challenge, but ultimately found it easier to write about one central object. Changing “sermon” to “hymn” also felt important to me. This draft still needs work (an ending, for example) but I think it’s getting there.

Today’s Hymn

is the sudden shimmer 
of a lone angel wing shell

found in wet sand at low tide.

Today’s hymn is the belly button scar
where the other half of this bivalve

was once connected, 
cleaved by some unknowable force

and now lost.

Today’s hymn is a memory preserved 
in this alabaster surface,

scored with ridges and ripples,
like a recording of the ebb and flow

of endless waves.

Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Be sure to visit my fellow Swaggers to see how they approached this challenge:

Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche, who also happens to be hosting Poetry Friday today.