Monday, September 20, 2010

MyPoWriYe #174 - Seasons Come


 Leaf Carpet
Photo by ?
  

Where we live in Western New York, our year has four distinct seasons, but the lines between these seasons are blurry at the edges.  Some days feel like winter in the morning and summer by lunchtime.  So it is natural for children to ask, "What season is this?" on a regular basis.  At our house, we talk about what season the calendar says and what season it feels like to our bodies.  

I was reminded of these recurring family conversations the other day when reading my colleague's blog, It's the Little Things.  Lori recounts a story here about Braden, one of her first grade students exploring this same thought, "How can we know when autumn begins?"  Ever since I read Lori's story last week, I cannot stop thinking about the honest thoughtfulness of this little boy who listens to nature.  My poem today is dedicated to him and to all children who see the seasons reflected all around them: in flowers, in smells, in blowing leaves.

Students - sometimes we hear stories that stick with us.  Stories that aren't even ours.  Stories that come from other lives, other times and places.  As writers, we can capture those stories and turn them into little bits of art.  In this way, they become our stories, our poems, too.

If you happen to have read this poem earlier and are revisiting it, you may notice some changes.  It used to be a first person poem, in the 'I' voice.  Now it is in the second person, using a "you" voice.  The story behind this change is that when I shared the original with my teacher, Lee Bennett Hopkins, he explained, "When you fill work with a log of I'm, my, I --you're 'stealing' from your audience.  It is all yours --not theirs--anymore." 

This is a new reading layer I will think through while writing future poems...it is fun to collect revision possibilities, like leaves in a pocket.  Am I stealing from my reader?

Of course, learning more from Lee and then playing around, this poem changed quite a bit!

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

4 comments:

Abecedarian said...

You gotta love iambic pentameter.

Lori said...

It goes without saying that I LOVE this poem!

Amy LV said...

Oh, Lori! I love your story! It brought back some happy memories of season-discussion at the bus stop.
Bill - I hope you're reading some poems (not mine - good ones) to that baby. A.

Abecedarian said...

Amy - we are reading lots to the baby, including all your GREAT poems. I made a mistake in my comment - your poem was written in iambic heptameter, not pentameter - it's been a long time since my college poetry classes. Either way, I loved it!