Community Collection 12: OBSERVATION with Jeannine Atkins

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!

 

Today’s Guest…

has devoted her writing talents to telling the stories of courageous girls and women who have made historical contributions to science and art. Please welcome award-winning verse novelist …

JEANNINE ATKINS

 

THE POEM

 

THE PROMPT

This poem shows a silkworm weaving a cocoon, while Maria Merian watches and wonders what will happen next. Scientists, artists, and poets must look closely, but also imagine change. For your poem, watch an animal or plant (in life, memory, or on youtube). Describe what you see, hear, smell, or feel, then end your poem with a few lines about how that life may or did change. Does the beginning of your poem hint at the ending?
 

COMMUNITY COLLECTION 12: OBSERVATION

WANT TO ADD YOUR POEM?

1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at renee@reneelatulippe.com and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!

*****

Opening Salvo

From tiny seed to bulb,
it learns to split and share
its yearly gifts.
It huddles underground,
patient, waiting to be called
from winter retirement.
Once again, it’s split by a green pencil
that journeys up through earth,
offers a bursting yellow cup
from spring rain,
sunshine days.
That bright gift shouts to us –
Spring!
Soon faded,
giving leave to other colors,
that  generous daffodil
awaits again for next year.

Linda Baie © All Rights
 

Out of Reach

The smell of the cat food’s appealimg.
If time hadn’t passed you’d be stealing,
but you’re hampered by age
and your legs won’t engage.
Dog, I wonder how that’s left you feeling.

© 2018 Colleen Murphy
 

Mousework

A brisk sunny day
In the forest
Squirrels chittered
Woodpeckers drilled
Scent of pine invigorated me
Just along the path
in the duff of the forest floor
a tiny mouse ran
carrying a giant mushroom
I watched
surprised, fascinated
As she pulled the stem into her burrow
But the cap
much too big to fit
stopped her progress.
Undaunted, she
backed that mushroom out
a mouse-step or two
And PULLED
No luck!
Determined, she
backed it out again
And YANKED
And again

She HEAVED…

A drama at my feet!
My respect grew with each effort
But then
A friend passed,
“Come on, you’re late.”
Oh how I wish I’d stayed

© Karen Eastlund
 

 

Who was here?

Spring snow
on frozen bog
tells me
A rabbit passed by.
There, an otter slid.
Beavers were out,
dragging logs
for their dam.
A weasel,
a fox
and a coyote
hunted breakfast.

©2018 Yvona Fast
 

 

A VERY PRIVATE LIFE

The oyster leads a private life
sealed off from every kind of strife
except the lethal oyster knife
All alone and quite unseen –
the only place it’s ever been,
going nowhere, locked between
the two walls of its separate cell.
And if its life’s not going well
there isn’t anyone to tell.
Does an oyster ever wonder
which way’s over, which way’s under?
Can an oyster make a blunder?
Do you think an oyster knows
about the sea that comes and goes?
Can it hear the wind that blows?
Does it know it’s in the world?
Or does it keep its dreaming curled
within itself, until it’s pearled?

© Kate O’Neil
 

EGG-CITING SURPRISE

Put some eggs
in an incubator.
Wait and watch and…
three weeks later…
PECK, PECK, SCRATCH!
Baby chicks will
PEEP, PEEP, HATCH!

© 2018 Dianne Moritz
 

THE PROMISE OF SPRING

From tightly wrapped buds
to pale pink peeking through
to full blossom splendor,
our pink camellia,
laden with buds and blossoms
tucked amid rain-sprinkled
brilliant green leaves,
speaks of April’s showers and
shouts the promise of spring.

© Ramona Behnke 2018
 

PHOENIX

Ashes
Matched the black hole in his heart
Bereft, alone
Permanently isolated
But a flash of color caught his eyes.
He noted a brilliance in his feathers.
He stepped out of his emptiness and into the water.
Clean and renewed,  he shook the drops of disillusionment away.
He spread his wings
And flew
Alive again,
Rising again,

Himself again.

@Kirstine Call 2018
 
BURDOCK

Behold the burdock plant
aka the “field thistle”
which locks onto its target,
a brambly missile,
hooking wholeheartedly into its victim
such that burdock balls
grasp one’s socks
and grip one’s trousers
and cling to the ears of one’s faithful pet schnauzer.

How inconvenient.

However, if you are the questioning kind,
a scientist perhaps
or better yet, an engineer and inventor
named George de Mestral
hunting with your dog in the weedy Swiss Alps,
you might notice, at home
while plucking the blasted balls from your clothes
and from your dog
that burdock, under a microscope,
reveals its secret—tenacious hooks
lying somewhere between thread stitches and glue
on the usefulness scale.

You might say, “Eureka!”

You might call it
nature’s Velcro.

© 2018 Heather Kinser

 

THE POET

Jeannine Atkins writes mostly about strong girls and women. Her historical verse includes Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis (both Atheneum) and Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie and Their Daughters (Holt). She teaches writing in the MFA program at Simmons at the Carle. 

Discover more about the author and her books at www.JeannineAtkins.com.

THE BOOKS

FINDING WONDERS: THREE GIRLS WHO CHANGED SCIENCE
Finding Wonders celebrates three girls born in three different centuries who went on to do groundbreaking work. Most of the poems show Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell at about thirteen years old, when their commitment to studying plants and animals, fossils, and the night sky deepened. The final poems in each series present the highlights of their extraordinary careers.

Maria Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell all had fathers who encouraged their curiosity about the natural world. They also all lived during a time when science was developing, and was more interwoven with art, literature, and religion than it tends to be now. While an emphasis on looking long and hard remains, those doing science in earlier centuries often depended on what an unaided human eye could see, and the arts, which help sharpen vision, were a common part of a naturalist’s education. Religion and science were sometimes at odds, but many, including these three girls, found ways to unite them. They also found beauty and mystery in poetry, which both Mary Anning and Maria Mitchell included in their daybooks.

Paying close attention, discovering, making mistakes, and being disappointed or astonished, all three scientists explored what was hidden: the origins of caterpillars and moths, the world’s history as written in stone, and what can be seen in the sky only with telescopes. (from the author’s website)

STONE MIRRORS: THE SCULPTURE AND SILENCE OF EDMONIA LEWIS
Edmonia Lewis studies faces for truth or lies, checks classrooms for safety or traps. She’s sixteen, the daughter of an Ojibwe woman and a free man of color who crossed the country’s border for safety before the war between North and South.

The nation is still divided when Edmonia leaves Oberlin under a cloud of accusation. Can she escape sharp words about poison, pearls, and stolen paints?

She aims a chisel, swings a mallet, sculpts the brave, the good, a queen and a young woman like herself, splitting stone to become whole.

Her marble statues now stand in museums, but much of the artist’s story was lost. Jeannine Atkins fills silences and folds facts into imagination to create a glimpse of what might have been. (from the author’s website)

BORROWED NAMES: POEMS ABOUT LAURA INGALLS WILDER, MADAM C.J. WALKER, MARIE CURIE, AND THEIR DAUGHTERS
(in the author’s words): In Borrowed Names, I wanted to show not only the difficult paths toward achievement and celebration, but ordinary moments, too: turning points that most of us face, such as leaving or returning home, and themes of anger, forgiveness, longing, judgment, ambition, faith, and disappointment. I looked through biographies for scenes and objects that pulled me closer: the green felt of a handmade writing desk, a hard bar of laundry soap, miniature jade elephants, and green butterfly nets. When facts failed to answer questions, I let in imagination to coax out what seemed hidden behind surfaces. I hoped each poem could stand alone, but also together suggest the shapes of lives and the connections among the different daughters and mothers. And I hope those who read about these girls and women may recognize parts of themselves, too. (from author’s website)

 
Don’t miss a prompt! Save this calendar to your desktop.

CALENDAR OF POETS ~ APRIL 2018

Check out the poetry video library!
“Circles” and prompts copyright © by Jeannine Atkins
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Bubbles photo by Anthony via Pexels (no attribution required)

You may also like...

6 Comments

  1. I remember reading that poem about Maria noticing, then wondering. It is one that would be wonderful to use with students in their field studies. Thanks, Jeannine and Renee. I love that thought-filled prompt.

  2. Thank you, Jeannine, for sharing your inspiring poem and prompt. I love how you weave poetry, art, history, science, and women’s stories in your books! I look forward to reading them. BTW, the Carle Museum is one of my favorite places in New England…such a treasure. I’m due for another visit this summer.

    Linda

  3. Beautiful inquisitive poem Jeannine, thanks for sharing it with us!You write in areas that speak to me and are close to my heart, girls, women, nature, and our freedom. Thanks for your carefully thought writing prompt. Thanks Renée for sharing Jeannine and her books with us today!

  4. Just popping in with some Jeannine-love and some Renee-love… what a rich feast you’re spreading out here this month, Renee! And I love this Maria poem, Jeannine, in the book and here on its own. “What will emerge” from this month of inspirations? :0)

  5. Oh, I have loved all the poet days….but a poet of history just makes my heart sing. Thank you for visiting today, Jeannine. Thank you for such a great opportunity, Renee.
    I did go to youtube….I did not watch something from the natural world….but I did watch something that has been intriguing me and calling to me. It’s time to engage and then write. Stay tuned!

  6. Hi Renee. When you have a moment, would you please post my poem?

    BURDOCK

    Behold the burdock plant
    aka the “field thistle”
    which locks onto its target,
    a brambly missile,
    hooking wholeheartedly into its victim
    such that burdock balls
    grasp one’s socks
    and grip one’s trousers
    and cling to the ears of one’s faithful pet schnauzer.

    How inconvenient.

    However, if you are the questioning kind,
    a scientist perhaps
    or better yet, an engineer and inventor
    named George de Mestral
    hunting with your dog in the weedy Swiss Alps,
    you might notice, at home
    while plucking the blasted balls from your clothes
    and from your dog
    that burdock, under a microscope,
    reveals its secret—tenacious hooks
    lying somewhere between thread stitches and glue
    on the usefulness scale.

    You might say, “Eureka!”

    You might call it
    nature’s Velcro.

    © 2018 Heather Kinser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *