Monday, October 18, 2010

The Bin - My Poem Writing Year #202

This is Poem #3 in Free Verse Week II, continuing through Friday.

This poem is for every child...and every child inside. 

In our early suburban years, Mark and I did not have children, but we did have a bright blue hammock in our backyard.  One sunny summer day, two girl neighbors, ten years old, came down to swing in our hammock.  Each carried a plastic bag swinging from her hand.  As I opened up the gate to send them on their swinging-way, I asked, "What's in the bags?"  They opened their grocery sacks and pulled out two well-loved baby dolls.  "We want to swing them on your hammock...but we don't want anyone to know."

Childhood is a beautiful time.  A time that should stretch out lazily into as many years as it wishes. As parents and teachers, it is our job to protect this time, to allow Puff the Magic Dragon to live with us for as long as he wishes to stay.  Adults - read the poem "On Turning Ten" by Billy Collins when you have a chance.

Students - this poem is a true poem.  Sometimes I call up the stairs to my own children, asking them to put any toys into the "giveaway bin".  They rarely do, and while their rooms and our house continue to fill with small animals and LEGOs, I'm happy that they love to play.  Play!  Play!  Play!  Play is the work of childhood!  Go outside!  Make something crazy!  Pull out a game! 

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


  1. Your poem today made a strong connection to me as I am packing up to move after 21 years of living at this house. What to put in the bin to give away... what to keep.

    I love your free verse. I know you gravitate to rhythm and rhyme and you are good at it, but I personally enjoy your images, which, to me are more poignant and sometimes stark when you strip away the rhythm and the rhyme.

    Thanks for today's poem.

  2. Oh Deb, I can only imagine the different bins you must have. Bins for grandchildren. Bins for your children. Bins to give away. Bins for friends. Bins for you for now. Bins for you for later. Bins for school. Bless you as you go through it will emerge freed from so many belongings. And thank you for your compliments on my free verse trials. Imagery has always been my left hand, my weaker element. To know that you are enjoying my attempts means so much. Good luck with all of those boxes. A.

  3. Amy,

    I love this poem! I remember going through all my toys that I was going to donate, but about twenty minutes in, you could always find me on the floor playing with it. It always started out with, "What's this toy do again?" and then I remembered just how cool it was! To this day, I do similar things.

    I absolutely agree that this does reach every child. Also, I love reading your poems! There's at least one (or 10!) that can reaches a hand to everyone. I also love that they all reach every adult's inner child, which is many times forgotten by the time you reach 18. I look forward to reading the poems you write in the future.

  4. oo by the way, the above comment is from me, Julie Batelli :D

  5. Dear Julie, I was very much hoping that was you...thank you! Your awareness of your own inner child and ability to keep it alive is such a part of your beauty and ability to connect as a teacher to young riders and readers. I want to be in your class someday! (And I bet you still have some of those toys.) A.