30 April 2013

The End, Again

Poetry month has come to an end. Here are two of my favorie poems by Shel Silverstein to close it out.

Happy Endings

There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.

Years From Now

Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing -- and smile.

29 April 2013

Sunday Salvation

We heard some great music at a very rainy Merlefest from the Avett Brothers yesterday, so I thought I would share one more song.  One of my favorites, Salvation Song.

If you take my heart
Don't leave the smallest part
I've no need to live if you're to come up gone
And as my life turns to a song
And if and when I treat you wrong
Know I never want to hurt our family
And I would give up everything
Know this is not just about me
And I don't know a plainer way to say it Babe
And they may pay us off in fame
Though that is not why we came
And I know well and good that won't heal our hearts
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
Now if I'm walkin' through the rain
And I hear you call my name
I will break into a run without a pause
And if your love laughs at your dreams
Well it's not as bad as it seems
Either way one of them has got to go
And if you take of my soul
You can still leave it whole
With the pieces of your own you leave behind
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
And I would give up everything
And if you were to come up clean
And see you shine so bright in a world of woe
And they may pay us off in fame
But that is not why we came
And if it compromises truth then we will go
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

28 April 2013

God on a Sunday Morning

It promises to be another wet day at Merlefest.  We are going for the Avett Brothers.

Me and God

Well I know a preacher he's a real good man
Speaks from the good book in his hand 

And helps all people when he can
But me and God don’t need a middle man

Now I found God in a soft woman’s hair
A long days work and a good sittin chair
The ups and downs on the treble clef lines
And five miles to go on an interstate sign

My God my God and I
Don’t need a middle man

Now I don’t doubt that the Good Book is true
But what’s right for me may not be right for you
So church on Sunday I stand beside
For all the hurtin people with the fear in their eyes

And I thank the Lord for the country land
And just like Paul I thank Him for my hands
But I don’t know if my soul is saved
Cause sometimes I use curse words when I pray

My God my God and I
Don’t need a middle man

27 April 2013

Healing Music

We went to Merlefest today.  This is a song by one of the bands that I was particularly looking forward to seeing, Scythian.

"Far Away"

Far away upon the other shore
I see the flags of home call from the whited moor
It won't be long til there be tears no more

Though ocean deep keep us apart
With back to oar we row with painted heart
It won't be long til we ne'er anon shall part

Though waves of sorrow crash
And fear of what morrow may bring with sainted lash
It won't be long til we drink out of one glass

26 April 2013

Somewhere Else

It's workshop day, so I am not in school.  I have the email and the smart phone, but am foregoing the Web cam.  

Gone High Tech

You may have noticed, teacher,
I am not in school today,
But the remote mike on my desk,
Will record each word you say.

Switch on my laptop’s Web cam
When you have something to show,
And if you pass out homework,
Find my fax number below.

I’ve e-mail and a smart phone,
So I won’t be hard to reach.
Since I don’t need to be in class,
I’ll do lessons at the beach.

by Douglas Evans

25 April 2013


I am a few hours early, but TGIF!

It's Finally Friday

It’s finally Friday—I’m so glad.
It’s been a crazy week.
I got chewed out on Monday,
and since then it’s all been bleak.
I lost my lunch on Tuesday,
and a parent went insane,
which shocked me so completely
that I almost popped a vein.
I poked my eye on Wednesday,
and the nurse gave me a shot.
She sent me to the doctor
when I fainted on the spot.
On Thursday I was tardy
’cause I kinda overslept.
And the snack that I was craving
came up missing in a theft.
And so it’s finally Friday.
No more pencils, no more books.
No more sitting in detention,
no more teachers’ dirty looks.
By Friday I’m exhausted,
out of energy and breath.
But that’s the day you’ll hear me shout,
“Rejoice, TGIF!”
And twice a month on Friday,
I remember why I stay:
You see, I am the principal—
that’s when I get my pay.

by Paul Orshoski

24 April 2013

Quiet Please!

People often comment about how quiet the library is.  Most day I would prefer more noise in here, either from teachers coming and going or students working.  But then there are days when the quiet is a blessing.  Today is one of those days.  Tomorrow, I will wish for more noise.


I like noise.
The whoop of a boy, the thud of a hoof,
The rattle of rain on a galvanized roof,
The hubbub of traffic, the roar of a train,
The throb of machinery numbing the brain,
The switching of wires in an overhead tram,
The rush of the wind, a door on the slam,
The boom of the thunder, the crash of the waves,
The din of a river that races and raves,
The crack of a rifle, the clank of a pail,
The strident tattoo of a swift slapping sail.
From any old sound that the silence destroys
Arises a gamut of soul-stirring joys.
I like noise.

by Jessie Pope

23 April 2013

No Fear

We had our annual poetry exhibition at school yesterday, followed by an open mic night tonight and students reciting poems at our quarterly PTA meeting.  Some students wrote their own poems, some memorized a favorite funny poem, others recited poems written by their moms. 

All of them did an excellent job and I was proud of them for being brave enough to stand in front of their peers and strangers to share poetry.  I saw some quaking knees and heard lots of deep breaths, but they all pulled through.  Fear didn't stop them, though most of them wouldn't admit to being afraid anyway.

I'm Not Afraid of the Dark

Oh, I'm not afraid of the darkness.
I don't mind an absence of light.
I can't say I'm scared of the sunset
or things that go "bump" in the night.

I've never been frightened of monsters
or tentacles under my bed.
Not skeletons, witches or goblins
or creatures come back from the dead.

I'm not at all worried of werewolves,
or even a vampire's bite.
I'm simply not scared of the darkness,
except when you turn off the light.

--Kenn Nesbitt

22 April 2013

Every Day Should Be Earth Day


by Jane Yolen
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.

And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here

That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.

21 April 2013


So Many Faithful

So many churches --
storefronts, stone --
sound bells to call
believers home.
Such heavenly voices,
gospel choirs,
rock the pews
set hearts afire.
So many faithful
clap and shout
chase away
blues, fear, and doubt.
Young souls, old saints
find repair
on bended knee
so deep in prayer.

by Carole Boston Weatherford, from Sidewalk Chalk, page 27

20 April 2013

Take a Knee

Our last Saturday flag football game is today.  Game over.

A Football Poem

A football poem
Should hit hard
Like a nose guard.

Or sail the sky
Like a long pass
On real grass.

A football poem
Should score
Inside the five
On fourth and four.

A football poem
Should sweat and grunt . . .
Or punt.

By J. Patrick Lewis

19 April 2013

Why Not?

Isaac can't wait to ride up front.  I'm getting nostalgic about car seats as he reaches the age of giving up his booster.  Is there a way to keep them from growing up?


Big kids always sit in the front seat
Little kids get stuck in the back

Big kids see what's coming
Little kids never see anything till it's over

by James Stevenson, from Sweet Corn, page 18

18 April 2013


One of my students is reciting this poem in our Poetry Exhibition next week.  It seems very timely.

I Dream A World
By Langston Hughes

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

17 April 2013


I am working with some of my students on haiku right now and trying to teach them about imagery.  Here is a beautiful image for you.


Can you paint a psalm?
Can you wallpaper a dream?
I can -- with my wings.

by Jane Yolen, from Least Things: Poems About Small Natures, page 12.

16 April 2013

Not A Box

Isaac brought home a large cardboard box from school last week, decorated it and created a flying machine.  What I love the most is that he is calling it his "not-a-box" after a book that we read years ago, one that is still a favorite of mine but that I thought he had long forgotten.  It made me think of this poem by Carole Boston Weatherford.

Cardboard Box

What can you do with a cardboard box?
Use it to show off your precious rocks.
Build a clubhouse with a door
or a counter for a grocery store.
Make a stage for puppet shows,
a slippery sled for winter snows.
Invent a robot, a high-tech buddy.
Craft a chair to sit and study.
Design a rocket bound for Mars
or turbo-driven racing cars.
Make a sign that say No Boys
or a chest for all your favorite toys.
Don't throw that cardboard box away --
Save it to jazz up a rainy day.

from Sidewalk Chalk, page 17

15 April 2013

April Showers

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.

by Langston Hughes

14 April 2013



The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.
Yet the backyards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree--
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

by Sara Teasdale

Autumn Sports in Spring Weather

I missed posting yesterday.  One of the things that kept me away from the computer was Isaac's flag football game.  A friend sent us this poem a few weeks ago when we were looking for one for Isaac to memorize for school.  It fits.

You can take your golf and the rolling greens
You tennis with manicured courts neat and clean
Your soccer, your swimming, your basketball scene -
None measure up to............FOOTBALL!
You can reel in that trout on the end of your line
Spit out your chew while you're ridin' the pine
Pick up that spare with a strike, not a nine
But none spell excitement like............FOOTBALL!
The screaming, the cheering, the noise of the crowd
The crashing and bashing of helmets so loud
That winning touchdown that makes us all proud
Nothing's as awesome as.............FOOTBALL!
And there's not another thing I'd rather do
Than cheer for that team in the maize and the blue
My heart's in the 'BIG HOUSE' - I wish I were, too
There's nothing I love more than............FOOTBALL!

by Linda Ori

12 April 2013

It's Too Pretty to Work

This is pretty much how I feel this time of year.

I Meant to Do My Work Today by Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me. 

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?  

11 April 2013


What Happens to the Colors?
by Jack Prelutsky

What happens to the colors
when night replaces day?
What turns the wrens to ravens,
the trees to shades of gray?

Who paints away the garden
when the sky's a sea of ink?
Who robs the sleeping flowers
of their purple and their pink?

What makes the midnight clover
quiver black upon the lawn?
What happens to the colors?
What brings them back at dawn?

from My Parents Think I'm Sleeping

10 April 2013

Poetry in Motion

Some Chickens by Jack Prelutsky

Some chickens love running,
some chickens love jumping,
and some love to swim in the ocean.

These chickens possess
a remarkable trait --
each one is pure poultry in motion.

from My Dog May Be a Genius, page 94

09 April 2013

Guy Time

I had some work to do this evening so Isaac and Matt used the time to play video games.  Lucky.

Zany Zapper Zockke 
by Jack Prelutsky 

The greatest ace of video space 
was zany Zapper Zockke, 
for just a single quarter 
he could play around the clock. 
One day he played a fateful game 
he loved to zap those fishy blips 
to countless smithereens. 

They stormed in strange formations 
but he boldly beat them back, 
with both his blasters blazing, 
Zapper weathered each attack. 
They employed bizarre maneuvers, 
and they set uncanny traps, 
yes they met disintegration 
from his lightning counter-zaps. 

His hands were swift, his aim was true, 
his strategy was keen, 
he faced those fish invaders, 
and he blew them off the screen. 
They seemed to swoop from nowhere, 
but he calmly kept his wits, 
and with sharp and deadly volleys, 
Zapper shattered them to bits. 

The machine began to sizzle 
as the points began to mount, 
he zapped so many space sardines 
that even he lost count. 
Then, in a flash, he vanished, 
for he moved at such a pace, 
that he spun into a time warp-- 
Zapper Zockke's in hyperspace!

from New Kid On the Block, page 151

08 April 2013


The three of us went to see "A Place at the Table" at a small local theater yesterday afternoon.  It is about the problem of hunger in America.  Watch it if you have an opportunity.  

I am not sure how much Isaac internalized in between shifting around in his seat and curling up in a fetal position trying to stay warm.  Our pastor says that he doesn't mind children reading or writing or drawing during his sermons because he believes that they are listening on some level.  And I know that I have been surprised by what Isaac will ask about or refer to after listening to NPR on our commute to and from school when I thought he was engrossed in his Kindle or the latest Captain Underpants book.  So, I hope that, while he claimed not to have learned anything, some part of the movie will stick in his brain.

Sometimes it seems we are surrounded by efforts to help solve the problem of hunger -- our church provides backpacks for needy families each weekend at a local school and collects food, cooks and serves at the local soup kitchen each month.  At school our Student Council does an annual Salvation Army food drive and our PE teacher heads up an effort to support a local organization that also provides food for needy families on weekends.  Despite all of the awareness efforts, however, the problem of hunger is rarely real to our family.  We have plenty.  It's hard to imagine sometimes that other people don't.  

There were a lot of tears in the film and in the theater during the movie.  There is not much to laugh about when there is "nuffin' in de pot." 

Philosophy by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I been t'inkin' 'bout de preachah; whut he said de othah night,
'Bout hit bein' people's dooty, fu' to keep dey faces bright;
How one ought to live so pleasant dat ouah tempah never riles,
Meetin' evahbody roun' us wid ouah very nicest smiles.

Dat 's all right, I ain't a-sputin' not a t'ing dat soun's lak fac',
But you don't ketch folks a-grinnin' wid a misery in de back;
An' you don't fin' dem a-smilin' w'en dey 's hongry ez kin be,
Leastways, dat 's how human natur' allus seems to 'pear to me.

We is mos' all putty likely fu' to have our little cares,
An' I think we 'se doin' fus' rate w'en we jes' go long and bears,
Widout breakin' up ouah faces in a sickly so't o' grin,
W'en we knows dat in ouah innards we is p'intly mad ez sin.

Oh dey 's times fu' bein' pleasant an' fu' goin' smilin' roun',
'Cause I don't believe in people allus totin' roun' a frown,
But it's easy 'nough to titter w'en de stew is smokin' hot,
But hit's mighty ha'd to giggle w'en dey's nuffin' in de pot

07 April 2013

Feeling Thankful

Psalm 100

God made us,
and we are His people.
So we should sing
songs of happiness!
Let's celebrate God's goodness,
His love that will last forever!
(from Psalms for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval)

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.    
Worship the Lord with gladness 
come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. 
It is He who made us, and we are His
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving 
and His courts with praise; 
give thanks to Him and praise His name. 
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; 
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
(New International Version)

06 April 2013

Never Only

Isaac was feeling better Friday and the weather had cleared, so we walked to the nearby movie theater to see The Croods.  It was an average movie with a common theme -- daughter feels misunderstood by her over-protective father whom she misunderstands but in the end they overcome their differences and have a strong father/daughter relationship.  Not the best children's movie I have seen, but not the worst.  Isaac liked it and I like seeing him laugh.

My late-thirties self tends to sympathize with the dad (or the mom, as the case may be) in these kinds of plots.  He is doing the best he can and his ungrateful daughter (or son) needs to show him more respect.  If I had seen the same movie as a teenager, or even in my early twenties, I am sure I would have felt differently. Parenthood definitely changes your perspective.

Isaac is pretty lucky to have the father he does, and while we will try to listen and be open to his opinions as he grows up, there will be many times that he, and we, will feel misunderstood and frustrated.  I just hope he can remember that we are doing the best we can.

Only a Dad by Edgar Guest

Only a dad with a tired face, 
Coming home from the daily race, 
Bringing little of gold or fame, 
To show how well he has played the game, 
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice 
To see him come and to hear his voice. 

Only a dad with a brood of four, 
One of ten million men or more. 
Plodding along in the daily strife, 
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life, 
With never a whimper of pain or hate, 
For the sake of those who at home await. 

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud, 
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day, 
Facing whatever may come his way, 
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn, 
And bearing it all for the love of them. 

Only a dad but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small, 
Doing, with courage stern and grim, 
The deeds that his father did for him. 
This is the line that for him I pen: 
Only a dad, but the best of men.

05 April 2013

Icky Sicky

Isaac had a short-lived stomach bug yesterday.  If he had to be sick during Spring Break, he picked the best day -- it rained, sleeted and snowed.  He spent most of the day sleeping, then woke up this morning his usual  quirky self.

Here's a sick day poem for you, even though the sickness has passed.

Sick Day
I’m feeling sick and getting worse. 
I think I’d better see the nurse.
I’m sure I should go home today.
It could be fatal if I stay.
I’m nauseated, nearly ill.
I have a fever and a chill.
I have a cold. I have the flu.
I’m turning green and pink and blue.
I have the sweats. I have the shakes,
a stuffy nose, and bellyaches.
My knees are weak. My vision’s blurred.
My throat is sore. My voice is slurred.
I’m strewn with head lice, ticks, and mites.
I’m covered in mosquito bites.
I have a cough, a creak, a croak,
a reddish rash from poison oak,
a feeble head, a weakened heart.
I may just faint or fall apart.
I sprained my ankle, stubbed my toes,
and soon I’ll start to decompose.
And one more thing I have today
that makes me have to go away.
It’s just as bad as all the rest:
I also have a science test
by Ken Nesbitt,
from When the Teacher Isn't Looking

04 April 2013

Lazy Day

The weather took a turn for the worse so Isaac and I voted for staying in our pajamas and watching TV on this gray Spring Break day.  What are you doing?

I Don't Know What to Do Today

I don't know what to do today.
Perhaps I'll go outside and play,
or stay indoors and watch TV,
or take a bath, or climb a tree.

Or maybe I'll go ride my bike,
or pick my nose, or take a hike,
or jump a rope, or scratch my head,
or play a game, or stay in bed,
or dance a jig, or pet the cat,
or drink some milk, or buy a hat,
or sing a song, or read a book,
or change my socks, or learn to cook,
or dig a hole, or eat a pear,
or call my friends, or brush my hair,
or hold my breath, or have a race,
or stand around and slap my face.

I'm so confused, and bored, and blue,
to not know what I ought to do.
I guess that I should just ask you.
So, what do you think I should do?

--Kenn Nesbitt, from My Hippo has the Hiccups

03 April 2013

Do I Have To?

2013 is my year to try new recipes.  Matt and I have enjoyed the variety so far and discovered some new foods.  But Isaac is not so thrilled to be asked to eat something other than grilled cheese and apples.  I can sympathize because I was a picky eater, too.  I don't think I ever tried this, though.

Twenty Bucks
By Darren Sardelli

When I asked dad for twenty bucks,
he said, “Lets make a deal.
I’ll give you money only if
you eat a healthy meal.”
I found him sitting on the couch
before I went to bed.
I looked into his tired eyes
and this is what I said:

“I finished all my vegetables.
The carrots tasted great!
I ate the piece of celery
that mom put on my plate.
The eggplant was delicious
and the string beans were divine.
The peppers were fantastic
and the broccoli was fine.
The giant baked potato
was the highlight of my night.
The juicy red tomato
filled my belly with delight."

My dad said he was proud of me
and handed me the cash.
I hope he doesn't find out
all this food is in the trash!

02 April 2013

Bouncing 'Round the Room

We went to Monkey Joe's today so this poem seemed appropriate.  Substitute "Easter" at the end and it is even more fitting for this week. Brownie points to the person who knows where the blog title comes from.

"Bouncing Off the Windows"

I'm bouncing off the windows.
I'm bouncing off the walls.
I'm feeling like my feet are made
of bouncing rubber balls.

I'm running like I'm crazy.
I'm running like I'm mad.
I might seem like a lunatic
but, boy, I'm feeling glad.

I'm jumping like a kangaroo
or like a jumping bean.
I act this way at least a week
right after Halloween.

--Kenn Nesbitt

01 April 2013

Springing Up

It is the first day of April.  The first day of National Poetry Month.  The first day of our full week of spring break.  And Easter Monday.  It is also the first day of me getting back into the habit of posting.  I will start with a poem a day and then focus on books once April is over. For now, enjoy.  This is one of my favorites.

Morning Has Broken by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning. 
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. 
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, 
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word. 

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlight from heaven. 
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass. 
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, 
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass. 

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning. 
Born of the one light Eden saw play. 
Praise with elation, praise every morning; 
God's recreation of the new day. 

Morning has broken, like the first morning. 
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. 
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, 
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.