Friday, September 26, 2014

Big Dipper - Paying Attention & Reading Aloud

Finding a Friend
by Amy LV

Students - Two nights ago, my husband and I went for a walk in the dark.  It's very dark on our road as there are no streetlights and only four homes on the road.  This means that we can see many many stars.  As we walked, we looked up at the stars, pointing to the ones we recognized, calmed by just knowing they were there.

Today's poem is about someting that is always above me at night.  The Big Dipper is always here. But sometimes I don't pay attention.  Life is full of so many things that we don't pay attention to.  But today, or tomorrow, or next week...I challenge you to pay attention to something you usually just ignore.  Look at that long toenail.  Watch the spider spin her web.  Feel rain fall and run off of your own eyebrows.  Then...write.  See what you get.

For those of you who are new here, one thing I like to do sometimes is to share my drafts, just to show how messy writing can be.  When I am seriously writing, my hand might fly across the page of my notebook, crossing out and changing words left and right.  

"Big Dipper" Drafts
(Click to Enlarge)
Photo by Amy LV

The one thing I always do when I write a poem is that I read it aloud.  I read today's verse over and over out loud to myself.  Each time I wanted to write a new line, I read what I had so far out loud. Then I listened inside of myself for a possible next line.  Then I read the poem with the new line, asking myself, "Does this work?"  If it did, I left it.  If not, I crossed it out.  Then I went back to the top to read again with the new line, listening for what the NEXT line might be.

Your ears are your poem writing buddies.  Use them.

I often find comfort in the sky.  If you like the nighttime sky and today's poem, you might also enjoy reading "Orion" or "Everynight Everywhere" - two poems also here at The Poem Farm.

On a scientific note, the Big Dipper is actually not a whole constellation.  It is an asterism, or a smaller group of stars that has a name but is not as big as a constellation.  The Big Dipper is part of the constellation of Ursa Major.  One of the great things about the Big Dipper is that if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can always see it.  It is a steady pal up there.  And if you can find the Big Dipper, you can find The Little Dipper.  And the North Star too.

Visit Wonderopolis if you would like to learn more about the Big Dipper.

This week, I feel so lucky to host four (4!) student notebook keepers over at my other blog.  Please visit Sharing Our Notebooks to peek into the pages of the notebooks of: Sydney, Julia, Peter, and Erin, all writers who are part of the WNY Young Writer's Studio community.  There is a wonderful giveaway of a book and notebook too.  Please stop by and leave a comment for these thoughtful young writers.

Laura is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Writing the World for Kids.  All are welcome to visit Laura's web home, taste this week's yummy poem treats, and enjoy Laura's new series of poems and new book announcement.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Hi, Amy. Your Big Dipper poem is comforting. I like the idea of having a friendly shape in the night sky.

  2. I love that this poem came from a walk with your husband, Amy, a little memory captured! I barely see the stars in the city, but hope to get away so that I can. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty of the night sky.

  3. I was shown the Big Dipper as a child, and I still enjoy looking up at it at night. Ironic how something so impermanent as a star gives us such reassurance.

  4. Really wonderful, Amy, the whole thing. I particularly love the little song of the third stanza, and the declaration that The Big Dipper has "a solid name." Yes, it does, in the big ol' ethereal universe!

  5. I love that you shared your notebook drafts, Amy - so powerful for our kids to see the twists and turns our writing takes from first idea to published piece.

  6. That's wonderful that you live someplace with so little light pollution. "when your heart feels so alone" - I don't know how you always manage to write such emotional poems and yet never ever sound sappy. Such a gift to you and your readers:>)

  7. Many years ago I taught at an environmental education center where 5th graders would come for a week with their class. We'd take the kids on a night walk and show them a few constellations--your poem captured what I hope/think those walks accomplished, being able to "speak its solid name."

  8. "Your heart won't feel so lonely.
    The night won't feel so dark"
    Love these a celestial hug. Thanks for sharing, Amy. =)

  9. Wonderful poem and great advice. Thank you!

  10. I love the Big Dipper (and the Seven Sisters and Cassiopeia), but it's Orion who is my special buddy on my early morning walks from August - December. He's my Superman, my hero, my therapist, my friend. Your Orion poem is spot-on.

  11. That's how I felt as a child about Orion's Belt. It's still comforting to see it there, keeping the sky's pants up.

  12. Amy, this is a lovely reminder to look up and pay attention. I found my Poetry Friday post by doing just that this week. I agree with many others, your last stanza is perfect!

  13. Heartmelt for each - "Big Dipper" & also the artwork, "Finding a Friend" by Amy LV. Can you share more about the drawing Amy?

    And appreciations for teaching me about what an asterism is.

    I am leaving this sharing you've done feeling so bathed in starlight.