Friday, December 18, 2015

Poetry Friday: John Clare and Winter


"I love to see the old heath's withered brake / Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling...."
"...and coy bumbarrels.../ flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain...."

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Holidays to you all. I'm posting a traditional winter poem today, John Clare's "Emmonsail's Heath in Winter." Clare was an English poet who wrote in the first half of the 1800's - his personal story is a sad one, but his love of the English countryside is uplifting. This particular poem touches on everything winter does to us, I think - makes us think of age, of slowing down, of shrubs and twigs and icy weather, but also of life amid the bare branches (the bouncing, chattering and flitting of birds) and the desire to "start again." In the meantime, the poem plays with words I don't hear any other place but in Clare's work - furze, ling, cloven roves, fieldfares and bumbarrels (bumbarrels!) Hope you enjoy it ~ and that your winter is a happy one.

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by the always interesting and delightful Diane Mayr over at Random Noodling. Head over there to see what other people have posted. And if you've ever had trouble understanding the way fiction works, or why you like certain novels, check out my last post over at Books Around the Table before heading out.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Poetry Friday: The Poetry of Science

My copy of a newly revised The Poetry of Science arrived today - just in time for Poetry Friday. Hooray! 248 poems by 78 poets - a terrific collection edited by the ever-energetic team of Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, founders of Pomelo Books.  With a four-page glossary of scientific terms used in the poems, cute illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang (yes, Bug Wang - envy-inducing name!) and a detailed list of web pages for students to turn to for more information, this anthology is definitely going to find its way into many classrooms, and I'm proud to have five poems in it. Two are about scientists Rachel Carson and Albert Einstein, one is about a despondent moment in the science lab, one about how it rains metal on Venus (yes, metal) and one about magnets. Many Poetry Friday poets are included in the list of contributors -- you'll find familiar names!

My favorite poem in the collection is by author/illustrator Terry Webb Harshman titled "Queen of Night." It begins like this...

I am the moon, Queen of Night, 
riddle wrapped in borrowed light....   

I haven't had time yet to get permission from the poet to print the entire poem, but I hope to have permission soon. Until then, trust me, it's a knock-out.

Since I don't need permission to share one of my own poems, I'll do that today.  Hope you like questions. For me, questions are the beginning point of all scientific exploration. In fact, for me, questions feel like the beginning of just about everything.

Testing My Magnet

Flowers? No. Dirt? No.
Socks? No. Shirt? No.
Hamster? No. Snake? No.
Plastic scoop and rake? No.
Glue? Paint? Paper? Clay?
Sneakers that I wore today? 
No, no, no, no...

Pile of metal paper clips --
Yes! Hooray for paper clips!
Shiny whistle? Metal fan?
Dented metal garbage can?
Hammer head, bag of nails?
Ring of keys? Rusty pails?
Yes, yes, yes and yes!

Results of my experiment?
Magnets are mag--nificent!

The Poetry Friday round-up today is being hosted by Tara over at A Teaching Life. Head over there to see what other people have posted.