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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Poetry Month

I feel like I should post a poem here, since it is National Poetry Month. One of my favorites is called:

Cottonwood Snowflakes.

in slow motion
herald the beginning of summer.
Floating into
suburban pools and urban slums,
they have no opinion.

Swimming lessons, baseball games,
court convictions and funerals
continue unaffected.

and observe
as the miracles float by,
a caress from above.

(c)Linda Wallin 1997

I wrote that poem the year my cousin's son died at the age of ten. He was the same age as my second son and died around the time of Colin's birthday. He was born with his heart in backwards, and it gave him wisdom beyond his years. I was taking my daughter to swimming lessons and watching her sing the National Anthem at a White Sox game, which was in a very poor neighborhood at that time. My children's uncle was struggling with legal issues. I was struck by the gentle softness of cottonwood seeds constantly falling all around me, unnoticed by most people.

My students have discovered that it is not so hard to write a poem. My fifth grader wrote a beautiful poem about a walk we took outside the school. My third graders are searching their hearts for feelings and senses to put into their poems. My fourth graders are giving me their best effort. Every year I am amazed at what my students have to say that is unique to them. The best part - no grammar!

Today I was blessed with a trip to the Loop. My daughter Kim and I visited the Chicago Cultural Center, had lunch with poets, and then I went to a workshop at the Chicago Public Library by Poets and Patrons, followed by a Poetry Wheel led by Tom Ruby. My cup is full. I hope you all learn the joy of poetry if you don't know it already. It can heal your hurts, give you hope, and force you to explore parts of yourself you didn't know you had.