Sunday, April 15, 2012


Photo by Amy LV

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

Students - Yesterday was the first day that I actually considered opening up the dictionary again to find a different word.  But I did not do so.  (I am very honest.)  My first thought was, "Oh my.  First Jamaica and now Northern Ireland.  And I am not very good at geography or history."  I was surprised that out of 14 days, I would point to 2 country names.  Well, there are 195 countries in the world, so the dictionary is full of country names!

I like believing that things happen for a reason, and I believe this about today's post.  As soon as I began doing a bit of online research about Northern Ireland, learning a bit about its history, the country kept coming up again and again in current news.  Why?  Because the Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Titanic sank 100 years ago today.  I was meant to find this word.  There is a new museum in Belfast, the Titanic Belfast, dedicated to this disaster.

Reading on about the Titanic, I learned that she had two sister ships, sister ships that I had never learned about before.  So I read a bit about the Olympic here and here and about the Brittanic here and here.  I thought that I would honor them today too as they also did important work and met some difficult days at sea.

You may notice that this poem does not rhyme except for the very ending.  I love reading poems like that, with the end rhyme coming almost as a closing surprise.  In writing this poem, I also hope that the reader will be surprised to realize that the sisters are ships and not human girls.

I have mentioned Allan Wolff's book before, but I must do so again.  Today I tip my hat again to Allan for his beautiful and haunting THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT.  I will be reading this book again today.

If you are looking for other Titanic book recommendations, don't miss Patrick Allen's post here at All-en-a-Day's-Work.

In case you are new to The Poem Farm, this month I am walking, letter-by-letter, through the dictionary, (closed-eyed) pointing to a letter each day, and writing from it. You can read poems A-M by checking the sidebar, and you visit Lisa Vihos and read her accompanying daily haiku at, Lisa's Poem of the Week.

On Poetry Friday, we heard wisdom from and sang birthday wishes to Lee Bennett Hopkins!  You may still leave a message (until 11:59pm tonight) on that post to enter a giveaway for Lee's most recent anthology, NASTY BUGS.

Tomorrow I will be back with letter O, and I will also be visiting Greg Pincus at Gotta Book as one of his featured 30 Poets/30 Days!

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  1. Oh, boy Amy! I love Knickknack (a double K!), I love Lively, I especially love Macaroni, and yes, the world connects for those who open to connection--N. Ireland and Titanic. Also, thank you for the recordings...I'm off to see how to do these and may need your advice.

  2. I too loved the audio-good for you for doing that too! I too did not know about the two sisters. Thanks for their honor too, & for the links, Amy. It was an amazing time for ship-building then, wasn't it? Your poem is poignant for all three ships, a time we can only imagine. It gives me shivers that you pointed to these words-Northern Ireland-& on the 14th-serendipity? Or more? Thank you!

  3. Hi Amy! What a good and serendipitous challenge. Here's what I got for us on the haiku side:

    Northern Ireland

    Let us go today
    to roam along the rocky
    shore where selkies play.

  4. Love it! The ending was completely unexpected.

  5. Northern Ireland Haiku

    Say an Ave’ now.
    Northern Ireland’s sons ha’e left,
    In Titanic’s hold.

    Christophe Dean

  6. Thank you, friends! Lisa and Christophe - I love these haiku... Christophe - would you like to sit, make a bonfire, and carve walking sticks with us? 11 days left, and we have rations enough! a.

  7. I didn't know about the sister ships! Nice to know...and wonderful poem.

  8. Wow. That all tied in perfectly. It was like the Universe was tapping you on the shoulder saying "with hard work and my spirit we're going to create a fine children's poem." And that's what you did!