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Past Poetry Posts

Spring 2012 Poetry Posts


Every night I go outside and
say the magic words big dipper
milky way and then they come down
and say go to sleep, close your eyes
and when they come down I feel
safe from every harming thing and
when I fall asleep they bring me
to my bed, then they go up to
the sky with all sorts of colors
falling from them.

-By Audrey Thomas
4th Grade, Lane County, Oregon


The Milky Way

When I was a boy, the Milky Way
 Floated just over the City
Of Boston, so I was lucky to live
 In that place, that
House where my father lathered
 His face & like the moon
Went out, came back, walking
 Winter nights beneath
The Milky Way. Few thoughts,
 Few fears, a way of
Sleeping through the night.

 When my son lay sewn
To the sheets, adrift in his
 Diabetic coma among
The blown, seductive stars,
 I could not think of
Anything to say, for he was
 Not anywhere nearby.
He said Papa & came back.
 Tonight in his play
He captains a sleek starship
 Toward the Milky Way.

When I was a boy, the City of
 Boston lay miles away
Within our sight. Evenings we
 Set our chairs upon
The lawn & talked. Few thoughts,
 A way of watching until
Dark. Then as our small wickers
 Floated through the night
I wished I might be taken away
 To live forever in that
Distant City made wholly of light.

-By Jon Anderson

1. If the stars came down disguised as people, what would they wear? What would they do? What would their voices sound like?
2. What if your lawn chair did float up under the stars: what would the journey be like?
3. What magic words would you say when the stars are covered by clouds?

Winter 2012 Poetry Posts


when a lion goes to sleep,
I think of wild.
When the lion cub bends
down to drink from the dangerous
when the king lion roars his
“I am the boss” roar,
I think of wild.
When the crickets cricket
while we sleep,
and a car starts its engine,
I think of wild.
When a new baby is born,
I think of a new kind of wild
coming into the world.

-By Renee Lee
Age 10, Lane County Oregon


 A Meeting

She steps into the dark swamp
where the long wait ends.

The secret slippery package
drops to the weeds.

She leans her long neck and tongues it
between breaths slack with exhaustion

and after awhile it rises and becomes a creature
like her, but much smaller.

So now there are two. And they walk together
like a dream under the trees.

In early June, at the edge of a field
thick with pink and yellow flowers

I meet them.
I can only stare.

She is the most beautiful woman
I have ever seen.

Her child leaps among the flowers,
the blue of the sky falls over me

like silk, the flowers burn, and I want
to live my life all over again, to begin again,

to be utterly

-By Mary Oliver

ASK THE POEMS: Untitled and A Meeting
1. If you began again, utterly wild, what would you be?
2. Wild can be very loud, and wild can be very quiet.  What are the loudest wildnesses? What are the most quiet? Which do you think are the most awesome?
3. Can you find a secret wild in an ordinary place, say, your house? The library? Your classroom? A box of crayons?  Wild where people usually think there isn’t any…?


Fall 2011 Poetry Posts

Chain of the Week

Monday is a hassle, a land of
volcanoes all around. Tuesday
is a world of accomplishment.
Wednesday, a world of wonders
and the shortest day. Thursday
is a haunting night with
ghosts and ghouls everywhere. Friday,
a much safer day. Saturday
is a day of no work.
Sunday, please don’t go.

-By  Kaleb Crouch
3rd Grade, Lane County, Oregon


This Room

The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.

We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.
- By John Ashbery

ASK THE POEMS: Chain of the Week and This Room
1. If the days ever changed from their usual ways, what was that like? Or, what would that be like?
2. On what kind of day do you wish you’d been born? On what kind of day do you look for secret luck?
3. What do each of the days dream about?
4. If each day were a box, of what would it be made?

Spring 2011 Poetry Posts

A Hint of Spring

Rainy days,
leaves falling,
Murky, muddy water,
Soft ground,
damp sticks,
ripples in the puddles,
Animals trying to find warm places,
Children jumping in puddles,
Muddy hikes,
Throwing pebbles.

-- Malia Labrousse
Grade 4, Lane County


The Rainy Summer

There’s much afoot in heaven and earth this year;
The winds hunt up the sun, hunt up the moon,
Trouble the dubious dawn, hasten the drear
Height of a threatening noon.

No breath of boughs, no breath of leaves, of fronds,
May linger or grow warm; the trees are loud;
The forest, rooted, tosses in her bonds,
And strains against the cloud.

No scents may pause within the garden-fold;
The rifled flowers are cold as ocean shells;
Bees, humming in the storm carry their cold
Wild honey to cold cells.

--Alice Meynell (1847-1922)

ASK THE POEMS: A Hint of Spring and The Rainy Summer

1. What do that damp sticks say to the soft ground? What do the loud trees shout to each other? To the clouds?
2. What secret do the children find on their muddy hike? What secret do the bees discover in the wet flowers?
3. Who is happiest in these blustery, unseasonable worlds?
4. Who arrives unexpectedly in weather like this and do they join in the wet wildness or do they bring something new?

Fall 2010 Poetry Posts


Cami: Thunder, can I
  hear your beautiful

 You are the
 heartbeat of
 The earth. Oh,
 please, thunder,
 where do you get
 that wonderful noise?

Thunder: I get it from your joy.

--Cameron Cota, Grade 4, Lane County, Oregon


The Sound of the Sea

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ASK THE POEMS: “Thunder” and “The Sound of the Sea”
1.  When does your soul sound like thunder and seas?
2.  If you could fill yourself with another sound from the world, or fill the world with another sound from you, what would it be?
3.  What do thunder and water feel as they rush and roar?
4.  What do thunder and water dream when they are quiet? What do they say when they whisper?
5.  If you could make a collection of sounds, what other sounds would you choose?

Spring 2010 Poetry Posts

Sahalie Falls
Splashes dampen spring green moss
Singing river lava cliffs
Always moving never rest
Rushing river rolling home
Otter, dipper, chipmunk too
Play beside the river blue
Softly floating rainbow mist
Rushing river rolling home
Laughing dancing waterfall
Surrounded by the trees so tall
Alder maple cedar fir
Rushing river rolling home.
--Sahalie Pittman, Age 10, Lane County, Oregon


Some Things, Say the Wise Ones 

Some things, say the wise ones who know everything,
are not living. I say,
you live your life your way and leave me alone. 

I have talked with the faint clouds in the sky when they
are afraid of being left behind; I have said, Hurry, hurry!
and they have said: thank you, we are hurrying. 

About cows, and starfish, and roses, there is no
argument. They die, after all. 

But water is a question, so many living things in it,
but what is it, itself, living or not? Oh, gleaming 
generosity, how can they write you out? 

As I think this I am sitting on the sand beside
the harbor. I am holding in my hand
small pieces of granite, pyrite, schist.
Each one, just now, so thoroughly asleep.

--Mary Oliver

ASK THE POEMS: “Sahalie Falls” and “Some Things, Say the Wise Ones”
 1. In your world, how is water moved by everything surrounding it? Does it enjoy changing directions, or is it something to grumble about? 2. If I jumped into your water, how would my life be different and how would it be the same?? 3. How do you speak to the water? Has it taught you a different language? 4. In your world, how do things change immediately and over time as water touches them? 5. What makes water feel so generous or inviting to you?

YOUR TURN: What poem or story will you write?

Winter 2009 Poetry Posts

Finding Darkness for Hannah Burge
I would gather darkness from
a black sharpie
under my bed
a cave
I would gather darkness from
my mouth
behind a star
solar eclipse
I would put it in a blow-up beach ball.
The beach ball is green and blue with pictures of
I would put a green plastic piece in the hole.
I would give the darkness to Hannah Burge
because she has been watching her little sister.
I would find Hannah at her house, in her room,
watching her little sister.
When I give it to her she says what is it? A beach
 --Sierra Lambert, Grade 4, Oregon


If each day falls
If each day falls
 inside each night,
 there exists a well
 where clarity is imprisoned.
 We need to sit on the rim
 of the well of darkness
 and fish for fallen light
 with patience.

--Pablo Neruda, tr. William O'Daly

Ask the Poems for Finding Darkness and If each day falls... 
1.) How does darkness help you?
2.) Is there anything darkness shows you that can’t be seen in the light?
3.) Do light and darkness get along with each other?
4.) Does light make darkness hide? Do you think it’s a game they play?
5.) What does fallen light look like?
YOUR TURN, what poem or story will you write?

Fall 2009 Poetry Posts

Silently gliding across the sea,
sea is all that's surrounding me,
on it I feel peaceful and free,
on the mysterious graceful sea. 

I felt like a lock without a key
I felt like a garden without the trees
I felt like white flowers without the bees 
but then I discovered the great blue sea
and then I just knew that it was the key
to the used-to-be keyless lock in me.  

--Emma Shortt, Age 10, Oregon 


The Place I Want to Get Back To 
is where

   in the pinewoods

     in the moments between

       the darkness 

and first light

   two deer

     came walking down the hill

       and when they saw me 

they said to each other, okay,

   this one is okay,

     let's see who she is

       and why she is sitting 

on the ground, like that,

   so quiet, as if

     asleep, or in a dream,

       but, anyway, harmless; 

and so they came

   on their slender legs

     and gazed upon me

       not unlike the way 

I go out to the dunes and look

   and look and look

     into the faces of the flowers;

       and then one of them leaned forward 

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life

   bring to me that could exceed

     that brief moment?

       For twenty years 

I have gone every day to the same woods,

   not waiting, exactly, just lingering.

     Such gifts, bestowed,

       can't be repeated. 

If you want to talk about this

   come to visit.  I live in the house

     near the corner, which I have named


--Mary Oliver, Maine

ASK THE POEMS, Untitled & The Place I Want to Get Back To

 1.  When you discovered your gift, how did it change you? How would your life be different if this hadn't happened?

2.  How do you hold onto or let go of your gift? Do you have a secret place to hide things away, or can you only hold onto little bits and pieces?

3.  What kind of relationship do you have with nature? Is nature like a sibling to you, who you bicker with but love, or is nature more like a distant aunt who sends you the best presents?

4.  Who is still locked out? Can you invite your friends and family? How would you invite them?

5.  What things can you see that were invisible before? What about the other senses, what can you smell, taste, feel, or hear that you couldn’t before?

YOUR TURN, what poem or story will you write?

Spring 2009 Poetry Posts

Danger is the lightning in my heart,
The dying weapon used on us.
You danger are the bullet landing and
   the unbreakable tears.
Or the black hole swallowing my soul.
You are the family fights or the homework
And even the huge fire burning down
   all existing life on earth.
Danger you're unbearable for me.

    --Paloma Deinum-Buck, Age 9, Lane County, Oregon

from Negotiations with a Volcano
We will call you "Agua" like the rivers and cool jugs.
We will persuade the clouds to nestle around your neck
so you may sleep late.
We would be happy if you slept forever.
We will tend the slopes we plant, singing the songs
our grandfathers taught us before we inherited their fear.
We will try not to argue among ourselves.
Please think of us as we are, tiny, with skins that burn easily.
Please notice how we have watered the shrubs around our houses
and transplanted the peppers into neat tin cans.
Forgive any anger we feel toward the earth,
when the rains do not come, or they come too much,
and swallow our corn.
It is not easy to be this small and live in your shadow.
      --Naomi Shihab Nye, San Antonio, Texas

1.  What is the most frightening thing that could happen to a poem?
2.  How would you talk to the thing you feared most? What language would you use?
3.  Would you rather know what danger you will be in the midst of someday or would you prefer to let danger sneak up and surprise you? Why?
4.  How might you be rescued by clouds? In what way could they help or hinder you?
5.  If you could make scary things disappear just be pretending they didn't exist how would you remember them? Would you feel proud of yourself or sorry that you had erased such a powerful thing? Why?

This Poetry Post was produced through a partnership between the Young Writers Association and the Lane Education Service District.

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