Monday, February 25, 2013

"First Line Poetry" on a Wintery Day

           One assignment that I routinely give my Creative Writing students is "First Line Poetry."  In this assignment the students pick a first line from a long list of first lines from famous poems.  Usually, though, the students have not read enough poetry on their own to recognize more than a couple of them. (That's sad... and the subject for another posting when I am feeling the need to vent.)  At any rate, I always like to do the same assignment as the students, as I've mentioned before, because I want to 1) show the students it is possible, and 2) keep my own writing sharp.  I usually pick one of the lines that the students leave on the list.  Their loss. Big grin.
            Today's skies were grey and cloud-filled: a bit of winter lingering in the encroaching spring.  A fellow teacher and I were on our way into the building to do our daily "Tardy Sweep" duty when she commented with a sigh that it had been so pretty earlier (when the sun was shining).  While I can acknowledge the beauty of a sunny day--all yellow and blue warmth--I must admit the preference for a wintery grey day where the clouds are hazy and look like felted shadows and wool sweaters piled on the floor of the sky.  Thus, while I didn't write this poem today, it popped into my mind because of the "cloudy and grey days" and the way they make me smile and want to share.


“Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright”—
I concur with Herbert: that is the life.
No pacing back and forth all the night;
Immune to the terrors of trials and strife.

Even cloudy and grey days make me smile
And shrug my shoulders at a weary world;
Living life to its fullest is just my style;
The King’s in this castle, the flag is unfurled.

Troubles and heartaches may come and go,
But I keep my head up and face to the wind.
Instead of keeping my spirits or thoughts low,
On my future all my best hopes are pinned.

A smile on my lips, a twinkle in my eyes—
I look toward a future of no sad goodbyes.

(with thanks to George Herbert for the first line)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Living in a house of glass

Life in houses made of glass would be quite interesting.
Drapery and curtain wholesalers’ businesses would boom
And car window tinting agencies would expand to do everything
From walls to floors and windows in every single room.

That is, of course, unless whole neighborhoods became nudist camps
And people, old and young, bared their all to all and sundry:
Then glass homes would show off everyone from baby to gramps,
And mom would never, ever, again have to do the laundry.

If we lived in glass houses, people would see into our lives
And be able to judge and gossip about what they saw there;
But then, we could do the same, and save all our best sighs
For when we saw the neighbors in their old underwear.

Throwing stones at other’s lives would become quite mundane,
For we’d all be exposed, and we’d have no room to complain.