Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Painting Stripes, Painting Poems - #259

Students - I did not plan for today's poem to be a free verse poem.  In fact, I did not know what today's poem would be until late yesterday evening when I was on a long drive home.  I'd been on a long drive yesterday morning too, and so I was looking at a lot of road stripes.  This got me thinking about something which I've always found fascinating: other people's jobs.  Did you ever think about the fact that almost everything you touch or do or use is connected to someone else's work?  Someone's mother or father stripes the roads, stocks the shelves at the grocery store, manufactures pencils, examines x-rays, everything.  All of these jobs are so important.  Here is what a road striping truck looks like, in case you were wondering.

A few weeks ago, a local man died when his road striping truck was hit by another vehicle.  I guess I have not stopped thinking about this tragedy, and in a way, I wrote this poem to honor him.  I didn't know this man, but I do wonder if he had a child and if he ever took his child out to see his work.  Writing this poem, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be the child of a road striper, how proud I would be of my dad's straight lines helping everyone drive safely.

Sometimes we find writing ideas (or they find us) through the news.  Listen to bits of news, read magazines, let the outside world in, and see what it takes hold inside of your brain and heart.  The most meaningful things to you will grow roots and bloom into writing pieces, and you may never know which those will be until you face a blank piece of paper.

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


  1. I felt an emotional tug when I read the poem, and when I read the context I recognized the source. For most people, there work is their life. It becomes their identity in the world. It is how they write their name.

    I'm very grateful for the optimism and the sense of love in the poem. Penmanship paper. Two blue jays. You did not let this poem become quite bleak--as it might have done.

  2. their work is their life. sigh. bad typing.

  3. Blythe, Somehow I felt like I was riding around in that car with those two last night. Thank you for recognizing the optimism I tried to convey. 'Wish we could ride around in a car together, checking out the Christmas lights!