Saturday, July 10, 2010

MyPoWriYe # 101 - Knowing

This poem sprouted from the thought that pets often comprehend more than we think they do.  A few months ago, I read MAKING ROUNDS WITH OSCAR by Dr. David Dosa and was moved by his story of a nursing home cat understanding which patients were close to death and staying with those people through their last hours.  It's interesting to trace back a poem idea to a book read some time ago.

Students - you will notice that this poem is written in free verse; it does not rhyme or follow a distinct metrical pattern.  I admire this style of poetry very much, and it is a writing challenge for me.  This poem feels risky because I am most comfortable in the cradle of rhythm and rhyme, and it's more difficult to know when to stop tinkering.  But just as we need to strengthen a weak eye by covering our strong eye, we can push away our "writing safety nets" and stretch into new (sometimes scary) territory, hopefully growing along the way.

For a celebration of free verse, check out the Free Verse Project at  What an incredible classroom project this could be.  I want to take a poem, a camera, and make tangible my own favorite lines of free verse, this one from our new Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin in "For the Anniversary of My Death".

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Hi, Amy--

    It's not that I don't adore rhythm and rhyme myself (and a thought crossed my mind last night that maybe I ought to work on some on purpose, just for a change of pace)--but I especially love this free verse poem of yours.
    "I was alone
    until all twelve popsicles were gone
    and my sister ate a real dinner" is tremendous in the way it counts the slow passing of time by meals--you almost don't need "one week" above it, and I admire the return of the furry circle.

    Put the patch on your strong eye more often, Amy!

  2. Heidi,
    Yesterday I read your "Frozen Angels" and Jeannine Atkins' "Not Today" to teachers, explaining how some poets can show it all with imagery and careful words. So thank you for inspiring my attempt and for your kind words and suggestions here! When I read your thoughts about "for one week", immediately I knew you were right. It's gone! This may be a week of (gasp) free verse poems.