Friday, December 2, 2011

Button in My Hand & Poems Around Town

Hope's Hand with Button
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I adore buttons.  I like their smallness and their mystery.  I like how they do so much for so little.  So sometimes, I write about them.  Once for SPARK, I submitted a poem about a button which Nancy Claeys responded to with beautiful photography, and I love Naomi Shihab Nye's poem, Famous, which honors the humble work of buttonholes.  Tonight I will hear Naomi read here in Buffalo, at Kleinhan's Music Hall!  Buffalonians...I hope to see you there!

One of the great gifts of my life is the opportunity to work with inspiring teachers. Annemarie Jason is a tremendously talented and dedicated librarian at Marilla Primary in the Iroquois Central School District, and today's poetry peek comes straight from her soul and her love of children and words.

From librarian Annemarie Jason --

It was exploding all over the place. Wherever you looked, there it was -- in the library, in the hallways and classrooms, in purses and backpacks and even in the air! Poetry was a'poppin at Marilla Primary this past Spring. One second grade student, Morgaine Marshall, wrote so many poems that she inspired students in all grades to write poetry too.

Poets Morgaine Marshall and Maggie Lenda
Photo by Annemarie Jason

Morgaine started her own poetry gallery in her classroom. There, she posted new work daily for visitors to view. Her teacher, Colleen Logan-Bruce, says that Morgaine opened and closed her gallery for limited viewing times and called it her poetry store. It cost viewers not one penny to enjoy Morgaine's wonderful words.

We read, wrote, and celebrated lots of poetry in the library. New student poems popped up daily outside of the library. My fingers nearly fell off from typing them all so that they'd look "professional". When one first grader handed me a poem that he'd written at home, he said, "You'll make sure the whole world reads it now, won't you?" I told him that I'd try my best to cover a lot of territory. That's when I got the idea to share our poetry in the community.

I contacted local libraries and businesses. Soon, our poems arrived in poetry baskets at each location. Anyone could take one home for free. Students loved it, and soon I got happy comments from adult poetry recipients too. I hope to spread "the word" again in this school year.

Poetry Basket
Photo by Annemarie Jason

We're all sad that our Morgaine has moved to Florida, but here are some of the poems she left behind. The first is a poem Morgaine wrote in the library in response to hearing other poems I read. I did not read snow poems, so this is Morgaine's original concept. When she read it to me, I knew that I was in the presence of someone who was born to write.


Plop! Plop! Plop!
Snowflakes tapping on our windows
with their icy snowflake fingers.
Plows are picking up little baby snowflakes off the ground.
Falling down from heaven,
snowflakes drift down with parachutes.

Morgaine Marshall

The next poem was included in the Western New York Writing Project's YOUNG WRITERS' ANTHOLOGY. Morgaine got to read it to hundreds of people at a reception for young writers.


Poets are graceful with words
and creative with titles.
Poets write poems
that change a person's attitude
and soon spread over the world.

Morgaine Marshall

Good writers are thinkers and observers. Poets put words in tiny packages that make readers say, "Yes! You made me look at that so closely, see it so clearly" or "That is so true. Why, that's just the way it is!"


The ocean shakes and turns in its bed
as the storms rage.
The ocean wakes up when it's sunny
and sends its friends, the seashells, to the shore
and hopes that a human will find them
and make them special.

Morgaine Marshall


Raindrops gracefully fall
like birds fly
and they're falling
from the clouds
on bungee cords.

Morgaine Marshall


Friends are like guardian angels.
They're always here for you.
They live in a house in your heart.
All the windows and doors are locked
So they'll never leave
your heart.

Morgaine Marshall

What a treasure! For more such loveliness...head on over to Carol's Corner for today's Poetry Friday smorgasbord.

And if you have not visited my new blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I invite you (and your students if you have students!) to stop by and take a peek into illustrator Shirley Ng-Benitez's drawing process. Please consider joining that blog so you receive new updates as new notebooks and sketchbooks are added.

Happy Poetry Friday!

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Treasure, indeed! Both Morgaine's poems and your poetry baskets. An inspired idea. How absolutely cool for these kids to know their writing is being seen by "the whole world." Or at least by the folks who stop by for an oil change or a library book. Brava!

  2. I think we're going to hear a lot of wonderful things about Morgaine Marshall in the future.

  3. Wonderful poems by this young woman, Morgaine. Tell her I will share with some young students at my school in Denver, CO (if you are still in touch). I loved the idea of the poetry baskets. Perhaps we can at least do that at school? And-I hope I can use your button poem, et al? I have used a jar of buttons to spark writing about a character & you've taken it to another idea for me. Thanks always for your creative touch. Plus, I love the new notebook site. My school does a lot with field journals & notebooks. This is a great site for mentoring.

  4. I agree about Morgaine's talent!

    Linda - you're more than welcome to use all of these poems! (I'm working toward a button poem collection too.)

    Thank you, everyone, for your notes.


  5. I love your button poem, and agree with the others about Morgaine's poems and the poetry baskets. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Morgaine Marshall...a poet to watch for in the future. I can't help but believe she's making magic in Florida right now. Knowing about her is like holding a secret magic button in my hand...

  7. My aunt had a wonderful button box I loved getting into as a kid. Enjoyed Morgaine's poetry. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I'm flattered by all the lovely comments here about me...

    Yes, I've found this page~

    Thank you so much for this..

    My face is so red right now (//^-^//)