Hello, worms and wormettes!
I’ve missed you! Although I’m still on blogging hiatus until September, I just had to row the boat back in real quick to host your wonderful poetry today. Leave your bait in the comments and I’ll reel you all in throughout the day.
I have been a busy fish. A large project has consumed me for months, and I’ve barely written a line for myself. I hope my fins still work. Back in May, however, I was inspired to return to my free verse roots over on David Harrison’s blog, where he has monthly poetry themes. In May, that theme was fishing.
Now, I have written exactly two free verse poems in the last twenty-odd years, and both are about my father. The first I wrote upon his death from cancer in 2004, and the second is the one below, from David’s blog. I am attempting a revision today, so let’s see how it goes.
But first, I have to give a
shout out to my poetry critique group, Poets’ Garage!
This marvelous group of poets kindly but firmly steers all my gnarly, scaly, hook-in-mouth poems into gentler waters. I’ve been a member of Poet’s Garage since January, and the advice, critiques, and support I’ve received there have made my flippers flap like you wouldn’t believe. If you click the badge above, you’ll see all the current members, many of whom are familiar fish-faces from Poetry Friday and the kidlit world. I hope you’ll go visit some of their sites and get to know their work!
Now back to the poem!
[FIRST DRAFT, MAY 2013]
My father was not a fisher,
though we went that one time
together in the boat
when I wouldn’t touch
worm nor fish.
Peaceful it was, bobbing
together in the boat
my father singing,
his tenor light as the tug
of the sunfish on my line.
Together in the boat
we floated through a day.
When we got a bigger boat,
we floated through more days
no lines or tugs now
just Willie Nelson
singing us into the lake
my father’s tenor
bringing down the sun
to join us
together in the boat.
My Garage friends baited me with numerous questions for me to tackle, among which:
- How many boats are there, anyway? [a rowboat in stanza 1, the boat above in stanza 2. The reader wouldn’t know that, though, so I see the confusion.]
- Why are you speaking like Yoda? [“Peaceful it was” – I am not familiar with Yoda, but I am miffed that he has ruined this construction for the rest of us]
- Does the narrator age considerably between stanzas? [about ten years, but probably better to tighten the poem into a single moment]
- Who is singing in stanza 2, Willie or your father? [both, but it’s not clear in the draft]
- Will kids know who Willie Nelson is? [No, but they can look it up! Willie is integral to my memories of my father, and I’m not willing to give him up.]
- This feels like two poems for two different age groups. What are you going for? [I don’t know! That’s why I’m here!]
- What am I to understand about what’s changed between the first stanza and the second? [um…good question.]
- Where’s the more lyrical language I’ve come to expect from you? [gauntlet thrown!]
Of course, the poets were more detailed and eloquent, but that’s the gist. I’m not sure I’m in any mindset to revise right now, especially regarding the last comment, but here goes!
[SECOND DRAFT, AUGUST 2013]
My father was not a fisherman,
though we went one time,
together in the boat,
when I wouldn’t touch
worm or fish.
Lake water lapped,
bobbing us a lullaby,
my father singing along,
his tenor light as the tug
of the sunfish on my line.
Together in the boat,
we floated through a day,
a soft sort of silence
bringing down the sun.
Looks like I had to cut Willie loose after all. But now I’m not happy with the first five lines…and some of the others, too. Well, that’s where I am with it for now! If I ever get it right, I’ll make a video.
Now for the roundup!
Look what’s on the hook today!
The glamorous Esther Hershenhorn at TeachingAuthors casts a line for her new baby board book, Txting Mama Txting Baby, in stores next week!
One of my favorite fishing partners — and fellow Poets’ Garage member — Penny Klostermann takes us back to the madness (March Madness, that is) with one of her poems, “Swimming Toward the Light,” a fishy tale of woe.
Yet another Poets’ Garage member, the insightful and all around good fish B.J. Lee, unveils her brand new blog and invites us to gaze through her “Blue Window” poems, lyrics, and haiku.
A pensive Father Goose Charles Ghigna is the “Invisible Man” at Bald Ego today, which also features a moody illustration by Chip Ghigna. Speaking of illustrators, Charles is also giving a shout out to all the illustrious illustrators of his books on his Father Goose blog.
Looky here, another Garage member! Gayle Krause is in with “Beware the Wild Rose,” a dark fantasy cleave poem — that’s three poems in one! She’s also celebrating the publication of her YA novel Ratgirl: Song of the Viper at her blog, The Storyteller’s Scroll.
That big lug Matt Forrest pulls the heartstrings with his poem “Constancy,” a tribute to his lovely wife, over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Sniff! And yes, Matt is also a member of Poets’ Garage. We’re everywhere!
At Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle Barnes shares “Five Things I Learned on Summer Vacation,” a lovely and lyrical reflection on summer adventures!
The exuberant Amy Ludwig VanDerwater also celebrates free verse today with “Mittens and Friends,” a poem about mittens and friends and free verse and metaphors! As always, you can find Amy writing odes to worms and kissing fish over at The Poem Farm.
At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret Simon shares “Famous” by Naomi Shihab-Nye and an accompanying story to make you go Awwwwwww.
At Wee Words for Wee Ones, rhymer Bridget Magee gives us “August June Bug,” a thug of a bug if ever I met one!
Mary Lee Hahn‘s thoughtful original poem “The Space Between the Breaths We Take” at A Year of Reading considers the moments of anticipation we experience every day.
At Author Amok, Laura Shovan is “Leaving AuntieLand” with three poems about aunts, plus her own anecdotes about being the most awesome auntie on earth.
If you’re up for a little science, head to The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts has poems about elements, stars, black holes, and a Mother’s Day poem to HD179949, all courtesy of science-minded poets.
Diane Mayr has lots of goodies to share today, including Haikube poems at Random Noodling; Carl Sandburg’s “North Atlantic” poem from the Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology Got Geography! at Kurious Kitty; and a Carl Sandburg quote at KK’s Kwotes.
Good fish friend Catherine Johnson gives us some bopping wordplay with “Cogs in a Clog” — over on her blog. Pollywog.
Beautiful skygazer Irene Latham lays out a smorgasbord of beach poems by Valerie Worth. If this doesn’t put you in a summer mood, nothing will!
At Poet! Poet!, Anastasia Suen ponders the good and the bad of a number in her poem “100 Again”.
I have a hunch you’ll like what’s in store for your at I Think in Poems, where Betsy shares her original poem “A Hunch”.
An enthusiastic Linda Kulp shares a fabulous poetry exercise based on her poem “Silence” from one of my favorite books, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School!
Check out the poetic form over at Tapestry of Words, where Becky Shillington gives us a recipe for and original samples of cinquain poems.
Heidi Mordhorst‘s My Juicy Little Universe is the place to be if you like delightful, inventive poems. Today Heidi shares her dual look at “Laps” from a kid’s point of view.
At Keri Recommends, Keri Collins Lewis gets squirrelly with her “Squirrel Antics,” a critter poem written for Buffy Silverman for the 2013 Summer Poetry Swap.
There’s another Poets’ Garage-r among us, this time in the form of poet and critiquer extraordinaire Carrie Finison, who treats us to a father poem of her own with “On the Beach with Dad”, a truly lovely memory poem. She even got her kids into the beach poetry action while on vacation!
Speaking of The Poetry Friday Anthology, editor Sylvia Vardell has a new poetry postcard up for Terry Webb Harshman’s “Underwear Scare”, plus a terrific list of back-to-school poetry books!
Ahhh. More beachy goodness awaits at Teacher Dance, where a refreshed Linda Baie shares her poetic thoughts on “Lingering at the Beach”, inspired by her summer family fun on Captiva Island.
At The Drawer of M.M. Socks, Mr. Socks hosts a “Gorilla in a Kid Costume” who swears he’s just like me and yoo-ooh-ooh-aaah!
Everyone’s favorite techie and March Madness guru Ed DeCaria has the video of MM2013 winner Dave Crawley putting a dismembered MM trophy back together again on live television! Oh, and he talks about the poetry tournament, too.
At Reading to the Core, Catherine Flynn shares her original poem “The Sand Beneath Our Feet”, a response to a most astonishing photo of sand.
Colette Bennett gives us “Thinking Aloud in the Cadence of Billy Collins”, a gorgeous tribute to Collins, who has been stuck in her head since she went to his reading last week. There are worse things! The post is FULL of Collins goodness.
The always joyful Joy Acey is back with “Summer”, a gentle concrete poem also featuring Joy’s original artwork — and it’s about a boat!
At Bildungsroman, Little Willow shares “Tangibles” by Carl Sandburg.
Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts tugs the heartstrings with “Jump. Don’t Trip.” by 17-year-old Jessica C. Galente, from the anthology Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers, edited by Betsy Franco.
Good things come to those who wait, and that is certainly true over at The Drift Record, where Julie Larios shares a truly delightful poem about a how the star-nosed mole got its star, from the book The Wishing Bone Cycle by Howard Norman.
Thank you all for casting your lines and bringing in such a delectable poetry haul!
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Don’t forget to check out the poetry video library.All content copyright © 2013 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.
Fish illustrations copyright © Stephan van den Brink. All rights reserved.