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!
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.