It’s National Poem in Your Pocket Day! My school is closed for spring break this week, so we’ll celebrate next week. When we do, I’ll be carrying Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody, Who are you?” especially for a fifth grade student who asked almost the same question in a poem she wrote last week.
“I’m Nobody, Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – Too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
I was thinking of this poem while I walked this morning. When I heard an unfamiliar bird calling from the top of a tree, I automatically asked, “Who are you?”
Who are you, flooding my dreams with your rosy chee-chee-heeee?
Who are you, bouncing through the apple tree’s golden finery?
Who are you, sipping the last beads of dew from tender new leaves, like it was nectar for the gods?
“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley”
~ Robert Burns ~
I started working on the poem I planned to share today on Monday. I drafted two versions and played with them both throughout the week. I recorded different lines on my phone on the way to work. But when I sat down last night, nothing worked. The poem just wouldn’t come together and it’s still a muddled mess.
My day was filled with poetry, though. I shared Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poem, “Wonder,” with teachers at our Language Arts Committee meeting this morning:
Water the wonder
that lives in your brain.
Water your wonder
with questions like rain.
Read the rest of the poem, and more about Amy’s 2016 poetry project, here.
Then the principal and I read this Douglas Florian poem during morning announcements:
I shared many poems with my students throughout the day, but didn’t have a minute to think about my own poem. By the time I left work, my prime writing hours were long gone. The weather was writing it’s own poem, though. Dark gray clouds piled up in the northwest, while the sky was still bright blue in to the south. Impatient rain drops were falling and the wind was picking up. It was a gorgeous sight that made me think of this Emily Dickinson poem:
“A Drop fell on the Apple Tree” (794)
A Drop fell on the Apple Tree –
Another – on the Roof –
A Half a Dozen kissed the Eaves –
And made the Gables laugh –
A few went out to help the Brook
That went to help the Sea –
Myself Conjectured were they Pearls –
What Necklaces could be –
The Dust replaced, in Hoisted Roads –
The Birds jocoser sung –
The Sunshine threw his Hat away –
The Bushes – spangles flung –
The Breezes brought dejected Lutes –
And bathed them in the Glee –
The Orient showed a single Flag,
And signed the fête away –
Please be sure to visit Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at her lovely blog, The Poem Farm, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.
This period in history has never interested me too much, but after reading the reviews, I’ve added this book to my “to be listened to” list. (Have to save my precious reading time for fiction and poetry!) So imagine my surprise when I found this a few days later as I was reading from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson:
Witchcraft was hung, in History, But History and I Find all the witchcraft that we need Around us, every Day—
I love Dickinson’s sly use of the word “hung”and how she alludes to Mother Nature, that most mysterious witch of all.
Happy Halloween, everyone! Be sure to visit Jone at Check It Out for the Poetry Friday Round Up.
I treated myself to an early birthday present on Tuesday, and bought a copy of J. Patrick Lewis’s latest anthology, National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. What a treasure! Like it’s companion volume, National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, it is filled with stunning photographs and beautiful, evocative poetry. And it’s exciting to see the work of so many Poetry Friday regulars in this collection! Congratulations to Matt, Kelly, Charles, Mary Lee, Julie, B.J., Laura, Amy, April, and Janet! (So sorry if I missed anyone!) And what would a collection of nature poetry be without poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Georgia Heard, Marilyn Singer, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Yolen, and more. I know I’ll be savoring this book for weeks to come.
Many classics are also included, and I was happy to see this old favorite:
“The Morns Are Meeker Than They Were”
The morns are meeker than they were, The nuts are getting brown; The berry’s cheek is plumper, The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf; The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.
by Emily Dickinson
If you haven’t gotten a copy of this gorgeous book yet, don’t delay! In the meantime, be sure to visit Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, whose wonderful poem “Petrified Forest” is included in the book, at The Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Round Up.
One of my earliest memories is finding the remnants of a robin’s egg under a tree in my grandmother’s front yard. When I showed her my treasure, she “oohed” and “ahhed” and told me all kinds of interesting things about robins.
I’ve been thinking about birds a lot these past few days. Now that spring is finally here, birds start singing in the tree outside my window before my alarm goes off. I don’t know as much about birds as my grandmother did, but they still fascinate me. So yesterday, when I stopped in at the library, my eye was immediately drawn to this book on the new book display shelf:
A Spicing of Birds (Wesleyan University Press, 2010) is a gorgeous book. Jo Miles Schuman and Joanna Bailey Hodgman have selected thirty-seven of Emily Dickinson’s poems about birds and paired them with illustrations “by late eighteenth century to early twentieth century artists/ornithologists.” An introduction describes Dickinson as an “intimate of birds;” someone who “observed them closely and knew intimately their songs, habits, and characteristics.” Her poetry is filled with the fruits of her noticings. Here is one of my favorite poems from this lovely collection.