Friday, July 21, 2017

paradis de Paris


Read about Poetry Friday here!
Today I'm sharing my first Summer Poem Swap arrival (which actually arrived quite a while ago).  Thanks to Tabatha some of us Poetry Friday regulars are receiving little gifts of poetry all summer; she's been organizing this for a few years now.  My gifter this time is Margaret Simon, who heard that I was traveling to France and--most reasonably--assumed Paris.

It's true that I have been to Paris; indeed while IN the south of France for yet another 4th of July, we realized that it was exactly the 10th anniversary of my family's Great Move to Paris, when we exchanged our house with a French family and moved to Vincennes, juste à côté du deuxième arrondissement, more or less across the street from a castle.  We spent only a year there, but all that Margaret has included in her dream of a poem was part of it. When we returned we fell back into life American-style so quickly and thoroughly that it felt like Paris actually had been a dream!


Luckily Margaret has that covered too; along with her poem, she sent a happy handcrafted exhortation to "BELIEVE" that it all really happened, and to "imagine you ARE heaven."  I'm not sure I can go that far, but having returned for just one beautiful evening to Paris, I can easily imagine that I was IN heaven!  I do long to live in France again--but perhaps in the south this time, along the Mediterranean...


I especially enjoyed (being, as I was once called, the love child of Emily Dickinson and e.e. cummings) how Margaret slipped in a few choice lines from Edward Estlin--can you pick them out?  And of course I must write a little response poem!  I'll work off of Margaret's piece and put in some of my similar but specific memories...isn't French a beautiful language?

Paris Parle

She moved to Paris--
was it a dream?--
floating over the river Seine
gliding through the Chateau de Vincennes
with new life in her love.

Paris spoke to her
in the silence of her listening,
the rush of the Metro,
the mélodie of the markets.

She marveled at espaces magnifiques,
spiral acres of concrete and
cobble, miles of white night.

Paris entered her
like Nutella on daily pain,
sucre citron and crêpes de sarrasin,
goûter de Papi Gâteau.
She moved through Paris as in heaven.

HM 2017

Thank you, Margaret, for the inspiration of your pieces, and thank you to Katie at The Logonauts for doing the rounding up today!


Friday, July 14, 2017

macaroni & cheese with my mother


I'm wishing a Happy Birthday to my mom today--which we have always known was Bastille Day--but it turns out that July 14 is also National Macaroni & Cheese Day.  Fancy that! 




It also turns out that there was a lot to learn about macaroni & cheese, especially the mass-produced kind that I grew up with (hey! it's a coupla years older than my mom, even!), and I will regale you with some interesting tidbits about its distinctive color before we get to my poem, which--as do all autobiographical poems--probably contains some powdery lumps of veritable untruth.



Industrial food coloring





Colby cheese colored with annatto



Annatto is used currently to impart a yellow or orange color to many industrialized and semi-industrialized foods. In the European Union, it is identified by the E number E160b.  Annatto has been a traditional colorant for Gloucester cheese since the 16th century. During the summer, the high levels of carotene in the grass would have given the milk an orange tint which was carried through into the cheese. This orange hue came to be regarded as an indicator of the best cheese, spurring producers of inferior cheese to use annatto in order to replicate it. The custom of adding annatto then spread to other parts of the UK, for cheeses such as Chesire and Red Leicester, as well as colored cheddar made in Scotland.[10][11] Many cheddars are produced in both white and red (orange) varieties, with the latter being more popular despite the only difference between the two being the presence of annatto as a coloring.[12] That practice has extended to many modern processed cheese products, such as American cheese and Velveeta.

A Threat

“Buy Sugar Pops or die!”
My brother, taller now, held a kitchen knife
to my mother’s throat.
He didn’t mean it, would never have hurt her,
but he was right:
my mother did not buy Sugar Pops, Coca-Cola,
or Twinkies. 
The closest we got to popular grocery products
was Kool-Aid,
lemonade flavor only, the thin packet only,
without added sugar.  She mixed it with less
than called for.
But I think, I hope I remember that we did have
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,
prepared with the amounts of butter and milk
specified on the blue box.

Yellow-orange for years, until in 1993 Crayola
actually named an orange-yellow crayon
“macaroni and cheese.”
That color was how we knew we were getting
the real deal—
a real deal that my own kids were denied,
Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 having fallen into
rightful disfavor.
They ate the pale substitute, Annie’s Organic
Shells and Cheese, and they were
not fooled.
They knew the real stuff was inorganic orange,
and if Trader Joe’s had not found a way
to replicate the Kraft color using annatto,
it would now be me
with a knife to my throat, my tall son snarling,
“Buy Kraft Mac and Cheese or die!”

©HM 2017
*********************************************


I want to thank my brother, Mark Mordhorst, who has a better memory than I, and Catherine Flynn, for pointing me in the direction of an exercise by Rita Dove in The Practice of Poetry, which sent me down this path! 

The round-up today is with Tabatha, who had the genius idea of celebrating this day with mac&cheese poems!

Friday, June 30, 2017

I cannot fight a Fib

It's back to the math poetry this summer for me, and inspired by Jone's double Fib from last Friday, here are a few Fibs from France, for fun.



 neverending

 flow
 the
 water
 through the pot
 out and down, around
 and up, infinitively pool








complementarity


Green
grass,
yellow
buttercups:
little lavender
butterflies sup. Under the sun,
sipping among swaying sprays of
long lavender:
butterflies
yellow,
stems
green.



And now, an actual math Fib.


Tidy Sums

One,
two,
three, plus
four equals
ten. Divide by two:
five on one hand, five the other.

****************
The round-up today is with Diane at Random Noodling.  Count your way over there to see what other folks are up to today, and bonne journee a tous!



Thursday, June 22, 2017

welcome, summer: the round-up is here

Welcome, Poetry Friday friends, and glory be to the circle of the year!  We have come around again to that moment I love, where another year of teaching (my 30th!) is concluded and the summer break lies open ahead of me with time to do the things I have put off for days, weeks, months: writing, reading, rethinking, planning....nothing!

I like to think of myself as 50% teacher + 50% poet, but as all you other full-time teachers will attest, teaching is not a job which allows itself to be easily contained in a given chunk of time or attention. And if you add in a couple of family milestones, it's even easier for the 50% poet intentions to be overwhelmed by the ever-greater percent teacher obligations.

Just when we think we've got the hang of [insert your grade here] 2nd grade, along come new [insert your new initiative here] Monthly Instructional Reading Level assessments, and when we've got the hang of MIRL, along come [insert your next big thing here] Elementary Math Assessment Tasks, and when we've got the hang of EMAT, suddenly we realize that the daily discomfort is not an issue of "simple" overwork--it's an issue of INTEGRITY.  Am I spending my time in the classroom doing what I know is right for the children, or am I spending my time carrying out the agenda of adults who don't know my students?

The best classroom moments for me are when we are doing poetry.  Is it selfish to be thinking of expanding those moments, or is there something about the Lead Learner's passion that intensifies learning for everyone?  Right now I feel pretty certain about the latter.  On the very last day of school, I invited my class to collaborate on an acrostic poem using their class name, the Diamond Miners.  I typed their suggestions straight into a prepared format so that I could print it out and they could glue one last gem into their Poetry Anthologies.  Here is what they wrote:



What strikes me about this is the vocabulary they pulled out.  They knew we were celebrating our year, and I did give 6 or 8 examples of words we could start with (including "daring"), but other than that, my 2nd graders showed that they had actually taken in and now own the following concepts that were taught, modeled, discussed and practiced:

*accomplishment through effort, motivation and persistence, as by accomplished figures in American history
*moral courage, as in doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do
*open as in "open, open, o o long o"
*knowledge, as in what we know and have learned even if that doesn't include a silent k
*morning meeting as a way of greeting the day and each other, practicing silliness and mindfulness together
*intellectual risk-taking even if you're not sure
*that normal learning is enough for some
*that caterpillars metamorphose and so do we
*that "radioactive" is more than a cool word starting with R that names a song
*and that stamina, from the first day of school when we learned that IRS stands for "Independent Reading Stamina" to the last day of school when we all needed one more blast of stamina to get through, may be the most important learning skill

The surveys and letters I asked my students to write in the last days of school did not reveal this learning--a poem did! And it proves to me also that this poem also, used as a greeting and a game, sank in over 10 months.

Diamond Miners, diamond diggers
finding all the precious rocks.
Diamond Miners, diamond shiners,
lock them in your treasure box.

And just in case you can't guess, your treasure box is your mind and/or your heart.  Thanks for coming by today!  I wish you all a wonderful summer and look forward to being much more regular in my Poetry Friday participation than over the last 6 weeks.  Please leave your link below--it makes such a pretty patchwork--and enjoy the bounty!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

closing time

As I write this on Wednesday morning, there are still 7.5 days of school on the calendar, but for me only 6--tomorrow I will take off to see Daisy graduate from high school, and next week a morning to watch my son's promotion from 8th grade.  As a teacher, of course, I'm used to endings, but this year feels a little different, a little more momentous!

"Lyrics as Poetry" is a favorite theme of mine, and Tabatha has explored it thoroughly too, but the difference between a poem and a song IS marked, especially when the mood and melody of a song works to enrich the lyric.

I feel that way about this song, in which the structure and bittersweet tone the verse is what stands out and sticks with me rather than the refrain.  Others must feel the same way, because this song is used everywhere from radio stations to baseball stadiums to signal an ending.

I have always assumed it was beloved and often replayed because it captures that precise moment of graduation from high school or college, as young people step out into a new stage of life, so it was interesting to learn that it was written about an impending birth--that first "baby" step into a very new and different stage of life!

So, let my 30th year of teaching come to an end, let Duncan's little-boy days come to an end, let my firstborn's whole childhood come to an end. May it all close full of grace and gratitude.


Closing Time || Semisonic 1998


Closing time
Open all the doors and let you out into the world.
Closing time
Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl.
Closing time
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time
You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from.
Closing time
This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come.
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend.

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Yeah, I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

Monday, May 15, 2017

the clash, remothered, and call me, maybe

Tabatha's got poetic song lyrics at her blog this month--including advice songs on Friday!--and so I offer these, remixed for six moms to perform at a karaoke party for our graduating seniors...


Should You Stay or Should You Go || The Clash

Darlings we got to let you know--
Should you stay or should you go?
If we say that "you are mine"
You'll be here 'til the end of time!
So we got to let you know
You should not stay, yeah, you should go!

It's always "please, please, please"
You're happy when we're on our knees
One day it's fine and next it's black
And now we want you off our backs
Well, we got to let you know
You should not stay, yeah, you should go!

Should you stay or should you go now?
Should you stay or should you go now?
If you go, there will be trouble
And if you stay it will be double
So we got to let you know


This indecision's bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
We don't quite want to set you free (si no me quieres, librame)
We don't know who you're supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
We don't know which clothes even fit you (no sabes que ropas me queda)
But we got to let you know (me tienes que decir)
Should you cool it or should you blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Split!

Should you stay or should you go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
Should you stay or should you go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
If you go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if you stay it will be double (si me quedo sera el doble)
So we gotta let you know (me tienes que decir)
Should you cool it or should you blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Should you stay or should you go now? (tengo frío por los ojos)
If you go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if you stay it will be double (Si me quedo sera eldoble)
So we got to let you know (me tienes que decir)
You should not stay, yeah you should go!


Call Me Maybe || Carly Rae Jepsen


I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked for you as it fell
And you were on your way

I trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I always waited for this
But now you're on your way

Your hand was holding
Diapers, skin was showing
Long nights
Learning, knowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just raised you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other kids
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

You'll take your time with the call
Bet you can't wait until fall
You give me nothing at all
And still you're on your way

I beg and borrow and steal
There's no denying it's real
I didn't know I would feel this
But you're on your way

Your hand was holding
Diapers, skin was showing
Long nights
Learning knowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so so bad, bad, bad, bad....

It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other kids
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
So call me, maybe

Thursday, May 4, 2017

may bloghopper




In the merry merry month of May,

I will be a reader and a commenter while I pull together and revise my (not nearly daily) math poems.

I look forward to portrait poems, #wonderbreaks, crayon poems and Malvina singing it--and all the other April series that I missed.

And now, May the Fourth be with me as I hop forth!

Friday, April 28, 2017

npm17 calculations




April 28

thousands

when I see it in words, I can keep it straight:
ones
tens
hundreds
thousands
ten ones= a ten  (that's its special name)
ten tens = a hundred (another special name)
ten hundreds = a thousand (the next special name)
ten thousands= ten-thousand?
                              that's not fair!
                             why doesn't ten-thousand get its own special name?
and then
ten ten-thousands = a hundred-thousand!
                                                 that's not only unfair,
                                                 it's getting confusing now,

kind of like trying to pay for a college with its own special name
that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars
and you don't know exactly what you are getting for all those thousands
                                                                                      and ten thousands
                                                                              and hundred thousands
of dollars that you are committing to spending.

at least with the numbers
neatly organized in periods of three digits (oh yeah, I've got the vocabulary)
you know exactly where you stand
and the special names don't matter so much

draft (c) HM 2017


The roundup today is over at Teaching Authors with Joann Early Macken.  I hope you can count on me to make it over there even as the count-down to decision continues!

Friday, April 21, 2017

npm17: 1+5+16+42 = infinity





1 teacher + 5 mentor poems for two voices +16 second-graders + 142 days of school = infinitely intriguing poems by 7-8's!






Dog and Cat in the Park
      by Melvin A.R.

Hi! Let’s go play
in the park, or on the
monkey bars,



So first, we’ll do what I want,


but if you don’t do
what I want,


then we can play everything
we want.




Oh, let’s play tag,
We can make a map
of the park,

and then we’ll do what I want,


and you don’t do
what I want,

then we can play everything
we want.

 **********************************

Yellow and Pink in Color Land
            by Nathan Z.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
yellow so bright

see me in the night

see me shine like a star

see ME so majestic

I think I’m brighter

pink in the morning

see ME so bright

see me brighting up the morning


     I think I’m brighter

                                   
                                           *****************************

                               Jacob and the Moon on the Moon
     by Jacob L-M.

Moon, are you made
out of cheese?

Can I eat you?

Maybe we can have a
snack together?

No, I don’t think so.

Yay! Mmm! Is this
New Zealand cheddar?

Definitely.


Yes certainly!

No! You cannot eat me!

Why yes!  Did you bring any
food?

Well, I have no choice.
We can have my cheese.

Of course!  Do you like it?

I’m glad!


                                ******************************

Soccer Ball and Kid on the Soccer Field
                     by Kelly M.

Kick me kick me
kid!
I am a
big soccer ball
so kick me
kid!




If you do
I will give you
a goal!!!






Okay I will
kick you but
first let me
put my cleats on
then I will kick you



Here I go!!!

*************************************

Wolf and Bird in the Forest-Woods
            by Joseph S.


I’m a wolf who howls
at the moon.

I live in a forest.  I jump high
and I eat birds.



Sometimes I go in
the dark and I
catch birds.


   

I’m a bird who flies
in the sky.

I like the sky.  I make sure
I look for food.  If I
get food I bring
it to my babies.


And I need to get out
of here!

                                            *******************************
                          
                              Ms. Mordhorst and Students in School
            by Roselyn H.


Dear Students

I hug you up

Oh yes, I do,
yes!


I don’t mind at all
oh no I don’t

I hug you up with love
happy wishes to you






The round-up today is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.  Let's have some poetry conversations!


Dear Ms. Mordhorst

with every piece
and with all your heart

Oh do you?
Oh  how nice


Oh I hope you don’t


we do too!
we love you.