Friday, September 18, 2015

That Day - When Writing Comes from Many Places

Milkweed Plants on Raiber Road
Photo by Amy LV

Students - The picture you see above is of a little stand of milkweed plants on our road.  Early in August, my husband and I took a walk down the road and counted monarch caterpillars on the underside of the leaves.  I went back a couple of weeks later to look for chrysalises, but I did not see any, and I'm still wondering if those caterpillars turned to butterflies just a few yards away from our home. I smile to remember that weeks-ago-walk,  just looking for caterpillars and counting them together.  It is one of my favorite summer memories.

Later in August, our family visited and camped in Acadia National Park in Maine, and as part of our trip we went to Southwest Harbor where we found many more monarch caterpillars here in front of a shop called Sawyer's Specialities.  Can you see that chubby caterpillar just enjoying so much green?

Monarch Caterpillar in Front of Sawyer's Specialities
Photo by Amy LV

Well, yesterday I walked down our road again, and when I looked at the milkweed plants, I remembered the summer's excitement of finding caterpillars, imagining their mysterious change into butterflies.  The first line of today's poem just wrote itself on the page...and I went from there.

Remember in the summer

You might wish to try this.  Try beginning a poem or an essay or a story with the word remember.  See where the word leads you.  And once you arrive somewhere interesting in your writing, led by the hand by remember, you can decide whether to keep it as a first word or not.  You may choose a different beginning to your finished piece, but remember is a wondrous way to begin.

It is true that we found caterpillars this summer and true, too, that we often see wee toads.  Still, though, today's poem, I am sure, came from another place as well. From a book.  From TADPOLE'S PROMISE, written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross.  I learned about this book years ago, and a friend just reminded me of it the other day.  So, I pulled it out and shared it with our teenagers.  It's a funny and different book, and I won't say another word!

Image result for tadpole's promise

Poems surprise us in the way they take the many colorful threads of our lives - our readings, play, work, chats, loves, despairs, wonders, fascinations, confusions, joys, quiet times - and weave poemcloth.  You never know which thread will appear when in a poem.  And this, of course, is what makes writing such great fun.  Who knew that last month's poem would appear in my mind yesterday all mixed up with an unusual picture book?  No one knew.  That's a good enough reason to write, if you ask me.  Write to find out which poemcloth will weave itself that day.

Let your mind and heart surprise you when you write.  And if something you don't expect but that tickles you shows up on the page, please let me know.  It would be great to have you share it in this space.

Speaking of sharing, at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I continue to feature writer and teacher Michelle Haseltine.  Stop by to peek inside her notebook and leave a comment to be entered to win a new notebook!  In that space, I am currently seeking some folks to make and share little videos about how to use a writer's notebook: videos of teachers explaining notebooks, videos of students giving short tours of their notebooks, all notebook celebration videos.  I am also seeking notebooks of guy notebook keepers of all ages.  Please drop me a line at amy at amylv dot com if you are interested in sharing in such a way.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Today's Little Ditty with Michelle.  Enjoy her poem of remembering and celebrate poetry with friends old and new. All are always welcome at the Poetry Friday table.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


Tabatha said...

So much transition in your poem! The toad, the caterpillar, the two people (I was struck by the period after You. It's not You and's You. And me.)

Doraine Bennett said...

I'd love to walk down that road with you!

Tara Smith said...

Ah, so wistful. Summer and change and being with people we love. As always, I love the sound of your voice reading your poems, Amy.

Linda Baie said...

I listened to this way early this am from FB, Amy, another lovely memory from summer. There are so many good things to notice in our world. I found your tadpole book and will order it for the girls. They loved seeing all the little fish in the ocean, will love this I think. Thanks.

Margaret Simon said...

One summer I found swallowtail caterpillars and put them in an aquarium. It was so fun to watch the whole process of metamorphosis. Thanks for sharing your poem today.

Buffy Silverman said...

Love the connections you draw from tadpole to caterpillar to a shared summer day--delicious!

Tricia said...

Love your poem and the alliteration of growing glowing wings and the repetition of the -ing sound.

Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Wonderful poem about accepting change while simultaneously celebrating the way things were. I always appreciating your thoughtful approach to blogging and poetry, Amy. xo

Linda A. said...

Always a pleasure to walk with you and remember too.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Oh, goodness--again, and literally. And have I mentioned the word "effortless" to you lately?

I'm excited that with 2nd graders it will make more sense to visit the Poem Farm as a class, too. CU soon!

Gathering Books said...

Oh my! the poem seem so simple and yet so profound. I love the opposite, the idea of becoming and transitioning. That caught me off guard and I love that. I love the surprise of the depth and allowing me to pause and take into consideration the meaning behind the words.

Catherine said...

Amy, I just love this poem, especially the image of the caterpillar "growing glowing wings." Also this: "Let your mind and heart surprise you when you write." Such wise and important advice! Thank you!

katswhiskers said...

That last line is such a beautiful pause in reflection. Lovely, Amy.

Ruth said...

I wonder why I find change so hard, when so often the result is something so much better? Thanks for this poem.