Search This Blog

Friday, December 11, 2015

Atonement


Atonement


They come from Syria,
walk in, boat in, seek trains
to ride to safety, carry only
their children and some money.

A three-year old washes ashore,
thousands are herded into a train station,
with no food, one water source.
Disaster continues.

Germany has seen mass migration before,
now opens its arms to the suffering,
does not know how it can succeed,
only that it cannot refuse.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Thought for Peace, written for Maggie Hubbard

A Thought for Peace



The Doomsday Clock is set to 11:57.
Someone has parked too close to Fred's Corvette.
Kitten videos are trending.
Winds in Chicago are blowing baby ducks around.

It’s too late to stop global warming.
We stand on the precipice of ignorance.
The world has never been safe.
Power, greed and avarice rule.

But humanitarians speak out and are heard.
The heart of the small child is abundant love.
Power resides in the cry of a newborn.
“Art in an avenue for truth.*”





* quote by Maggie Hubbard




Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Memoir Repost

For those of you who haven't read this before, I offer my  Halloween Memoir

For twenty years, I have bundled up precious cargo, hopped into the car or walked through a neighborhood, and participated in the ancient ritual called Halloween. I have never objected to its horrific side. I just ignore it and enjoy the excitement children exhibit when faced with large amounts of free candy.

The first year I lived on a farm, I bought bags of candy and waited for Trick-or-Treaters to appear, as they had in my suburban hometown. What a letdown! Not one goblin showed up. People on farms have to make appointments or they will pass each other in their cars. There are side benefits, however. Grandmas and neighbors make up for fewer stops by giving large bags of homemade cookies as well as full-size candy bars.

My favorite Halloween was in 1989. I had moved back to my hometown with three children, two hundred dollars and a college education. While looking for a job, I was a substitute teacher in five school districts comprised of more than fifty schools. With traumatized children and anxious parents, I cried every day over the loss of a farm, friends and my previous job. It was hard to get up in the morning, and the days didn’t get any easier.

October 31 came and we went trick-or-treating in Grandma’s neighborhood, where I had grown up. A transformation had occurred in this quiet middle class section of town. Decorations abounded in the yards, including strings of Halloween lights. One neighbor dressed up like a witch and cackled at the children from the top half of a Dutch door as she dropped candy into their bags. The weather was so warm we didn’t even have to wear jackets, and leaves crunched under foot as we walked. Friends walked together and greeted each other as children eagerly ran up to doorbells and gave their personalized rendition of “Trick or Treat.” For the first time since my loss, I had a sense of community. The children had never gotten grocery bags full of candy before. Although they always missed their father on holidays, they were pretty happy with this turn of events.

The weather didn’t always cooperate on Halloween. In 1995, the weather was the worst I can ever remember. In a pouring rain with a wind chill reading of twenty-nine degrees, I let my youngest child (aged 12) talk me into circling two blocks. The following week, she was sick. I am glad I went, however. The following year she preferred a junior high party to trick or treating. Had I known it was my last trip, I would have enjoyed it more.


©Linda Wallin 1997

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Family

It's been a busy summer for me. After traveling to Israel in March (go backwards from https://www.flickr.com/photos/25843907@N02/16699432839/) I had time to recover and go to Door County Poetry Camp with Robin Chapman before I taught at the Center for Gifted. My first class was Fused Art Quilts, followed by Artbotics, and Lego Mindstorms and WeDo. After recovering from five weeks of work, I began to clean out closets, the garage, and books. I finished piecing my daughter's "Unwedding Quilt" and pieced a donation quilt for my church.

Yesterday, I was able to inter my parents ashes, although they died years ago. It's a time of taking stock and letting go. I feel sad that they are gone, and that it took over two years to inter their ashes, and that there is a division in the family that has never been there before. It was a straggly crew, just me, my cousin, a son and another son's family. My mom's best friend had a flat tire on the way and missed the ceremony, but had time to sit and visit with us, remembering my mom and dad. My cousin and I have once again proclaimed our love for each other. So glad she was there. I spent the day at home after my beloved family left, just quiet and not knowing what to do (I know - just pick up the phone). I needed that time, though, to reach some peace about the situation. My parents are gone, they're not in the ashes in the graveyard, I know that. But there is a sense of place; of home, that a cemetery gives me when I take time out of my busy life to reflect on those that have gone before.

From my father, I learned a love of music, politics, and the outdoors. From my mother, a love of music, education, helping others, having fun, being myself. They had rough childhoods. My dad grew up in an alcoholic home, corporal punishment was common those days, and he was born less than nine months after they married  (shameful at the time). After he turned down two uncles who would have paid for his college, he rode the rails with the cattle to the south side of Chicago, then got a job in the steel mills of Gary from another uncle. My mom's dad compelled her and her 5 siblings to pray for an hour every morning and two hours every evening as a child, and she lost her mother when she was 16. She grew up on a farm during the depression where they ate what they grew. Motivated to do better, she became a registered nurse in Chicago, where she ran into my dad on the train going home. They married,then parted during WWII, where my dad carried dead bodies down from Monte Cassino and rescued Jews from boxcars. After the war, they settled in suburban Chicago to have and raise three children. Ken drove a truck for Dean's Milk in the days when unions provided a comfortable income for men to raise a family and women stayed home to raise the children. Adelaide began working when her children hit high school, in the Emergency Room of Northwest Community Hospital. All three kids went to college, paid for by their parents. All three kids stayed close by except for youthful excursions and later travel. All three participated in their care in their elderly years.

No matter how old your parents are, no matter how much they are suffering, it is still hard to say good-bye. After the distance of almost 3 years, it is much easier to write about them. I will always miss them.

I used to get mad at my mother when she would cry at every good-bye. Now I know, death is unpredictable and there is no one who can fill that hole.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Apps for Summer Learning

This is a handout used on May 18, 2015 in Palatine, IL for SPARK parents.

Apps for Summer Learning
Linda Wallin
lwallin@dwna.net
https://www.facebook.com/linda.wallin.777
https://twitter.com/lwallin
http://www.dwna.net/
847-812-1776



Let me be the first to tell you, if you haven't heard it before, that you are your child's best teacher. You know your child better than anyone else. Furthermore, it is your responsibility to see that your child's needs are met. Take classes, get training, communicate with the teacher or other team members, to get the most accurate picture of your child in other settings. As hard as teachers try, they cannot focus on your child only all day. They are trained, caring people, who want you to know what it takes to make your child successful in school and it never hurts to ask questions.

Technology is important. I tried to advocate for students who couldn't read, saying we should spend as much time teaching them to use technology as we spend teaching them to read. Some of my fifth grade students were very capable on the computer with only second grade reading skills. Unfortunately, it's hard to create a standardized test that measures technology skills. If you want to know what your child should know about technology, look at the International Society for Technology in Education's technology standards: http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards. They also have information about apps.

Part I. How do I locate apps for my child?
    ◦    There's always Google: “How to buy apps for kids” 77,800,000 links, took me to page that told me how to buy them with my microsoft account.
    ◦    http://a4cwsn.com/, on the other hand, has videos of the apps to show you what they do. (Apps 4 Children with Special Needs)
    ◦    Don't forget Pinterest
    ◦    Kathy Shrock knows everything about technology. How to select apps for higher order thinking skills (HOTS): https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=143
    ◦    Kathy also has many links to evaluate apps: http://www.ipads4teaching.net/critical-eval-of-apps.html/
    ◦    YouTube sometimes has demonstrations.
    ◦    Apple should know which apps are good: http://www.apple.com/education/ipad/
    ◦    Ning is an online community you have to join: http://ipadeducators.ning.com/
    ◦    So does National-Louis University: https://twitter.com/NLUiPadders
    ◦    Educators to follow:
    ◦    Lucy Gray (all things tech)
    ◦    Rushton Hurley
    ◦    Luke Allen (latest new tech)
    ◦    Luiz Perez (disabilities & tech)
    ◦    Bonnie Thurber (international projects)
    ◦    Arlene Borthwick (multimedia)
    ◦    Randy Hansen
    ◦    Rob Bowe
    ◦    Erin Preder (trends for students)
    ◦    Larry Ferlazzo (special ed)
    ◦    Ginger Lewman (latest trends in ed)
    ◦    Kevin Honeycutt (music)
    ◦    Joe Brennan (video)
    ◦    Judith Ormerod (hearing impaired, disabilities)
    ◦    Toby Price @jedipadmaster  on Twitter
    ◦    On Twitter using search for special ed apps
    ◦    ISTE has a list of leaders on its web site (educational technology leaders 2015)
    ◦    Read the reviews in iTunes, for example, the Xray app:
    ◦    “Junk by Kreneron
This is the worst app that I ever got. I say do not get this app because you can't use your ipad camera to see through things, you can only see the things that the game can remember. If you think that this is a good app, you, are wrong. “

    1.    Part II. iPads and Special Ed
    2.    A. Social Skills
    •    Sosh, for older kids, many good features
    •    Look! Train
    •    Zanny, tells story, but also has feelings portion of book
B. HOTS, higher order thinking skills
    •    Monument
    •    Aqueduct
    •    C. Productivity Apps
    •    DropBox
    •    Evernote
    •    iBooks
    •    Dropbox
    •    Educreation (whiteboard)
    •    Prezi for presentations
    •    Popplet Lite
    •    Notability, can type or write on surface for taking notes
    •    iTunes U, vast wealth of free information
    •    Minecraft, if you don't know it, learn it
    •    D. Storytelling Apps
    •    Animoto
    •    Comic Life
    •    Little Story Maker (to save use back button)
    •    Model Me Going Places 2
    •    Pictello ($19.99)
    •    Puppet Pals HD
    •    Speech Journal
    •    Toontastic, adds location, characters, music into each of the basic parts of a story.
    •    E. Language Arts
    •    VoiceThread, repeated reading increases fluency, can be shared with distant relatives, limited # of projects for free
    •    Readability, makes web sites less distractible
    •    My Story, kids may get distracted by features
    •    Word Mess, find words, rhyme words, leveled by ability
    •    Seven Little Words, difficult word puzzle, creating words out of given letters
    •    Spelling City, (my url is http://www.spellingcity.com/lwallin/)
    •    Snap & Read, reads to student, adjusts reading level
    •    Speech Journal, iSentence, iLanguage, iConversation, Story Builder, iQuestion, language apps for higher ability students (third/fourth grade)
    •    VD Dictation takes disctation, writes text.
    •    Chat Cat gives fun ways to communicate, pirate, Santa, Snappy
    •    Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App, new version of old game
    •    The Story Mouse, has British accent, reads some stories for free, charges for others
    •    Read and Write, names, sounds of letters, also consonant blends
    •    Word Search articulation, for older students, middle school
    •    Book Creator, can be shared in iBooks
    •    Duolingo, learn a foreign language
    •    Translate, translates from one language to another, 70 different languages
    •    Chicktionary, fun game to make words out of letters
    •    Bananagrams
    •    Daisy the Dino, teaches young children computer coding (programming)
    •    Sight words
    •    DTT (Discrete Trial Training) Words, Letters, Colors
    •    Word Ball, make words out of letters
    •    Tap to Talk, limited menu for non-speakers
    •    iComm, gives choices but you have to put in pictures
    •    ArtikPix, gives pictures with words or sentences
    •    Articulation station, records data as student pronounces word.
    •    Game Words, delivers words for pictionary, charades, etc.
F. Writing
    •    Co:Writer, word prediction program for kids who have trouble spelling
    •    Scribble Press
    •    Most word processors are available as apps, including the free ones (open source software)
    •    Day One, reminder to write each day
    •    Write About This
    •    Prompts 4 Kids
    •    Book Writer
    •    Writing Challenge
    •    Shake-a-Phrase, prompts for elementary kids
    •    Imagistory, allows child to record story for given picture
G. Creativity
    •    Garageband
    •    iMovie
    •    Scribble Press
    •    Notebook, makes interactive whiteboard pages
    •    Haiku Deck, for presentations
    •    PlayTime, granddaughters loved it
    •    MoMA Art Lab, fabulous!
H. Science
    •    Discover gives free materials every few months
    •    BBBBombs!, children must calculate angles of bounce to destroy bombs
    •    Science 360, by National Science Foundation, for older students or good readers
    •    Sky Guide for those interested in astronomy
    •    Earth Now shows Vital Signs of the planet ( like temperature, etc.) as well as orbiting satellites
    •    iLearn Solar System, has both explore and quiz functions
    •    Living Earth, amazing!
    •    Star Chart, lots of information, including pictures from Hubble
    •    Kids Discover gives free materials every few months
    •    I. Math
    •    Math Challenges, challenging math activities besides computation, answers given.
    •    Grade 5 Math, Splashmath, space theme, wide variety of topics
    •    Threes, addictive game
    •    Math Zombies, strictly number facts, but cute interface
    •    Jungle Time, Coins
    •    Questimate, has you compare two items' size and then shows correct answer
    •    Little Matchups Tell Time, students have to match digital clocks to analog
    •    J. Social Studies
    •    Discover Kids has free apps every few months, Incas, Roman Empire, Washington, D.C., Civil War, also Science.
    •    Brainscape Mythology
    •    AP US History
    •    Google Earth
K. Collaboration Apps
    •    Showbie
    •    Edmodo
L. Early Childhood
    •    http://www.mobilemontessori.org/  is mostly geared to younger children.
    •    Dexteria
    •    My Playhome
    •    Photo Booth, can be used to teach speech or phonics
    •    World Book World of Animals
    •    Sound Book, makes sounds of animals, people and more
    •    Robot Maker, makes fun robots
    •    Artic2Go, student hears words, then records them
    •    the3Rs, student gets one word for each letter of alphabet, can write capital letters, add and subtract with manipulatives.
    •    Present for Milo, good for position words
    •    PaintMyWings, grandkids love it.
    •    My Little Suitcase, choose items going into suitcase, then tell where you are going
    •    Boca Nature, create a world with mountains, trees, and lakes.
M. Interactive Storybooks
    •    Busy Bunnies, interactive book, British accent
    •    Big Cat series
    •    N. Online Curation
    •    Pearltrees, http://www.pearltrees.com/lwallin
    •    ScoopIt http://www.scoop.it/u/linda-wallin
    •    Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3192310-linda
    •    Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/25843907@N02/
    •    Diigo, https://www.diigo.com/user/lwallin
O. Naomi Harm’s Contact Information:
    •    Blog: http://blog.innovativeeducator.us
    •    Email: naomi@naomiharm.org
    •    Twitter: @nharm
    •    Web Site: http://naomiharm.org
    •    Recommended sources for app information:
    •    Appitic
    •    iPad Curriculum
    •    iPads in Education
    •    iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch Users Group in Diigo
    •    Mind Leap Tech
    •    Handouts: http://box.com/naomiharm -> iPad Folder ->Presentations Folder

Friday, May 1, 2015

Talent

There are those who can sit and write whenever they want.
a prompt will start them writing
and a beautiful poem will result.

I can spend months on one poem, look
at it every day, put it away for a month,
bring it back out and change one thing.

In the end, it is good enough most of the time.
Sometimes it is beautiful.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's All in the Attitude

On those days when I think about writing
a poem,
wrinkle my mental nose at the thought,
think longingly of reading a book,
calling a friend,
sewing,

I check my email and find time to do some research
on that presentation I am going to make later next month.

I return to the blank page and sigh, begin to put
thoughts on paper,
with my editor working full time on every word
I write.

Thank goodness for the subconscious mind that wills a voice,
or the character that perseveres,
for the ability to move my fingers,
for those that have gone before and are going with,
for the courage to share my innermost.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finding Information on YouTube

Looking for apps to recommend
to parents of special education students.
My first thought is to Google.
But wait, there is a video on YouTube
showing how the app works.
Wow! How many other videos are on
YouTube about apps?

Too many.
Remember the old days, when you had to
use gopher through text menus?
Remember reading article after article
only to find it is not pertinent?
Remember having to filter through
page after page of topics that might be
related to what you want,
or might not.

Wait, we still do that.

Just Read the Damn Poem

Well, I need to revise this a lot.
It's not very good.
I didn't realize I was going to have to read it.
I just wrote down some of my ideas.
I don't want to read this.
It's not very good.
I can't write like you do.
This is just my first draft.
It needs a lot of work.
It's not very good.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sibling

Dean's Company picnic was a family affair,
with three-legged races, beer for the men,
Eskimo Pies for us kids.
We went for a walk behind the hill.

You began to howl.
I said, "Hush! You'll wake the rattlesnakes!"
I could hear them all around.
I was supposed to protect you.

Our parents laughed.
They heard us from the other side.
no rattle snakes, just locusts.
A short walk later, we were safe.

Now you have gone behind the hill,
and I cannot follow.
No parents to rescue us,
we walk our paths in solitude.

In the Kitchen

Yesterday at the Poetry Fest in the Chicago Library, Poets and Patrons sponsored a wonderful workshop called "Love Poems that Work!" We were given the following assignment. Think of a cliche and give it a twist, use at least 8 of the following words, (pretend, table, glimmer, flip, excuse,dishwasher, parakeet, Velcro, ghost and appetite), and write a poem in 8 minutes. My first thought was, "there's no way I'm able to do that!" but I tried anyway. Here is the result. Not my best work, but I did it!

In the Kitchen

You don't stand a ghost of a chance, unless that ghost is Abraham Lincoln.

The parakeet you gave me has no appetite.
I Vecro your excuse to the dirty dishes and
pretend the dishwasher is your coffin. I flip
the switch and no glimmer of love remains.

Long Sentence

The Long Sentence



It was a sorry existence that Mary lived,
going to the store for groceries to eat,
trips to the doctor for her latest complaint,
waiting for the end of life so
her back would stop hurting,
her loneliness would end and
she could sleep forever.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Insecurity

I buy my security.
Furniture, pastimes,
books, food.
Yet I know
my real security
is the belief
that you've
got my back.

Gail

I heard this morning you had a stroke.
I remember your happy face,
loving, energetic, smart.
We have so much in common,
you and I,
Swedish ancestors
suburban childhood,
excellent education,
creative endeavors.
You had better get well.
Yes, you had better.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Way it Was, Is

There was a time when cold fronts came from Northwest.
They'd blow up a storm you could see forming for miles.
In a bad storm, there might be one tornado.
The warmth on the south side of the front passed,
leaving much cooler air after the rain passed through.

Now we have hot weather with no rain for months at a time.
A front full of moisture pushes up from the Gulf.
Seventeen tornadoes rip a path through a swath of the state.
Twin tornadoes form, tornadoes
the width of seven football fields
travel thirty miles northeast.
Will my grandchildren see the end of the earth?

Cuba

My parents were glued to the TV.
I noticed, but had no fear. I was fourteen.
I had been prepared in school
to take cover under my desk
in the event of a nuclear war.
Anatoly Dobrynin and Adlai Stevenson
became familiar names.
Thirteen days they watched,
wondered if the earth would cook.
For once, the military did not rule.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hoarder

You say you have a book someone gave you
for free?
Yes, I'll take it, and read it, someday.

You're moving and you have some furniture?
I'll take some, and cram it in
my townhouse.

You have some fabric you don't want?
Of course, I'll take it.
I can make so many things!

There's a special on tea?
I'll take two boxes, unless
they're really cheap - then three.

Is one of my students needing paper,
pencils, pens? I'll buy more
although I can't fit any in my drawer.

Consumer Reports has a new magazine?
Utne is about to expire?
Don't forget Quilters Newsletter.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Quilt Workshop

Quilt Workshop



They arrive as soon as the library opens.
Women with sewing machines, suitcases, bags.
There is one man today. 
The teacher is a genius, making 350 quilts
in her adult years, any one of which would
take me 10 years. She demonstrates 
the New York Beauty with paper pieces.
It's not easy to picture the seam under
two layers of fabric and a piece of paper.
But it's worth it. Although I "unsew" 
a dozen times, my finished arc has nice points.
My arcs go together, then the quarter circle
inside them, a finishing outer corner and 
Voila! I can do it!
Good teacher.
Fun class.

A Poem from Robert Peake's Poetry Writing Prompts

This is an attempt to use a poetry prompt from Robert Peake's Page.

The Leaning Tower YMCA


As we approach the Skokie landmark,
a gaunt homeless man drags his plastic bags
to the Touhy bus stop. Young men with their packs
don't notice. They drink liquid from plastic bottles
beneath the streetlamp poles under starlight 
unseen in the pink glow of light pollution. 
Their griefs are real to them, a broken heart, 
a friend's betrayal. Winters will be kinder to them
than to the invisible one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day

"I am leaving this state.
The taxes are too high."
said the young man
riding the train
into the city.

MOOC Education

I might try that. It looks good.
University of Iowa is known for
its writing program.

Hmm, a different platform.
How do I post?
Where did my post go?

465 people have posted
their assignments.
Won't be reading all of those.

You want me to write
four poems by Friday?
Sha right!


Monday, April 13, 2015

What Kind of World is This?


What Kind of World is This?


When a man reads that his company has gone bankrupt
before he learns he is laid off.

When a woman goes to work only to learn
her contract has been canceled.

When retirees learn the income they depend upon
will be taken by our government.

A contract used to mean something.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Free Shoe Shine

The Shoe Shine


"Shoe shine?" asked the middle aged man 
in the lobby of the Olive Tree Hotel.
He had a comfy chair just waiting for me.
I looked at my boots, all dusty from hiking. 
Suede. "No thanks." 
"It's free!"
"No thanks."

A long day later, dust from Herod's Palace,
the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jerusalem covered
the boots. He judged my fatigue well,
"Shoe shine? It's free!"
In a moment of weakness, I nodded
and sat down. If felt wonderful to rest.

I got up to leave.
His hand went out.
"What? No tip?"

In the Country


In the Country



I know each season from the bugs
that strive to leave through window’s view.
The ladybugs, the wasps and bees, and
mayflies, Junebugs, beetles, too.

The pesky ones are all about.
Mosquitos, flies, ticks and ants.
They bite, they feed, in house or yard,
and sometimes even in your pants.

When crickets jump into the house,
Box elder bugs are close behind.
My spider friends have laid their eggs,
their insect traps I never mind.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Adeline, Violet and Anshu

Adeline, Violet and Anshu




How to fight depression:
"When you feel sad, think about three things 
that make you happy," said my daughter.
Adeline, you are so beautiful without
being proud, so smart without bragging,
so kind without being wimpy.
Violet, your eyes and mouth show
your intellect and passion, you light
up the room just by dancing into it.
Anshu, you are the dark, handsome boy
who surprised me with your life, 
your humor and your loving spirit.
And then there's my three children.
And then there's the pets.
And then...

Preschool Special Ed Job


The Interview


She asked, “If I asked your students to give me
three words to describe you, what would they be?”
I giggled.
I was teaching high school students
with emotional disturbances.
Just this week I had been called a Nazi.
They waited.
I felt I should explain my giggles.
I didn’t get the job.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Anshu's "I Spy" Quilt

Ninety-nine squares, ready for the quilter.
My favorite is the pig in a convertible.
Sisters' zebra and giraffe watch over you
as you sleep. In the center square,
"Grandma loves me just as I am."

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

After Hearing Ender's Shadow from the Library

It Was Dark in Space



On the space station, all was quiet.
The humans had all gone to sleep.
Slowly, down the long hallway to the kitchen,
a very small cockroach crept along.
His rear left leg scraped a little as he walked.
It had been injured when the Pretallin insurgency
was in its infancy and insects were
the least of our problems.
As he entered the doorway, a mervin
stepped on him, and all went dark.

Monday, April 6, 2015

After Watching Law and Order

for ten minutes, I went to the kitchen,
found paper and pen, and sat down to write.
Ideas came easily - riding horses in the Andes,
the ache for human touch, quilts I have known,
stages of banana color.
Alas, my editor was working overtime.
She didn't like any of my ideas.
I'd like to put her in the TV for a while.
Maybe then the programming would improve.

Suddenly It's Spring

And everywhere I go
are my mother's blue flowers.
She reminds me of her great love
and the promise of Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring in the Country

Farmers in the field plow and fertilize,
a hawk sits on the fence by the wind-stripped tree,
while Grandpa rows upstream with his grandson
in a rowboat on the Rock River.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son

Complaining to his dad, I once said,
“Josh is unhappy because
I am putting the pancake on his plate
wrong side up.”
“Well, he replied,
"no one likes to look at the holes.”
.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

When the Garden Spreads into the Lawn

When the Garden Spreads into the Lawn


and tiny blue blooms burst their bonds,
those flowers were lovingly planted.
Blue flowers in my mother's yard
will spread long after I'm gone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

National Poetry Month

Last year I tried to post a haiku every day in April. This year, I shall post a short poem each day. They are not necessarily new poems, since I really don't think I have the stamina for that, but I shall write each day. I won't burden you with poems I think are terrible. Of course, I have a low bar to jump if last year's poems are any indication of what I like. Here is my contribution to  April 1st - April Fool's Day. To my children's father:

April Fool's Day


You were so easy to fool.
Just go to the window, look out, and say,
"Aw, darn it! The sows are out again!"
Your mood would darken.
Grumbling, you hurry to get dressed.
"April Fool!" 
You always laughed.







Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lemont Center for the Arts

Last week I participated in a poetry reading at the Lemont Center for the Arts. The Center gathered art works from area artists and had poets choose one item. We then wrote a poem in response to it. Here is my response to Charles Huth's "Heavy is the Head" which he created to study the intersection of architecture and humans.

Crown of Cement



“Nobody sees it happening, but the architecture of our time
Is becoming the architecture of the next time.” Mark Strand



No clinging to what was, what is,
a moment of crowning and we leave the womb behind.
We use our instincts to breathe, eat, sleep.

Pink or blue, the taste of mothers' milk, every pang of hunger a kind of silicon,
Every comforting caress or lullaby a type of sand.
Neural pathways form and we recognize feelings, movement, faces, voice.

Every fall from a bike, fight with a sibling, talent uncovered deposits a pebble.
Every book read, skill developed, meal burned, conversation with a stranger leaves clay.
Every love lost, snowflake, election, illness, best friend, adds lime.
Every last lonely day, sleepless night, stairway climbed, birthday party, deposits silt.
Every experience calcifies our minds with its imprint, cements us into a prison of thought.

Choices stretch into habits, accretions that impede or abet our growth.
Until at last, entwined by the accumulation of a lifetime, the crown
becomes too heavy to bear. Our heads hang under the weight.

We need assistance to breathe, eat, sleep.
a rattle of breath and we leave the world behind,
no clinging to what was, what is.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Refugees

Two areas of interest to me lately are poverty and refugees. Refugees are suffering the worst kind of poverty - the loss of everything. Huffington Post has an excellent article about refugees from December first by Sam Waterston. I repost it here.
The World's Refugees: In Need of Hope