Friday, January 15, 2016

Momentary Longings, Feeder Birds, & a Poetry Peek

View from Study Window
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Did you ever have a flash of, "Oh...I wish...!"  I sure have.  Sometimes a thought - maybe an impossible, magical thought - will enter my mind, a thought like, "Oh...I wish those feeder birds could come in and eat with me!"  The thought may come and go quickly, within seconds, replaced with a practical thought such as, "I should clear the table."

Well, today I would like to suggest that paying attention to fleeting, magical thoughts or momentary longings is a fine way to find writing ideas.  Listen to the thoughts that sneak in between some of your usual thoughts.  Allow an flash of insight or a quick wish to plant a seed in your mind and in your notebook, growing into a poem or a story or a painting.

The photograph you see atop this post is one that I took through my study window just last week.  I live in Holland, NY, a snowy place in wintertime, and this is what I see each day when I sit at my desk.  My husband feeds the birds to help them get through cold days, and I feel lucky to watch them eat.  But yes, sometimes I do wish to have them as indoor guests.

I shared this photo with my friend, Principal Anthony Morey, of Wealthy Elementary School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.  And he shared it with the students of his school, inviting them to write from what they saw.  Last year I was fortunate enough to meet these students (you may remember when I wrote about the visit HERE), and so I was excited to think about them writing from this bird picture.

This school will soon have a visit from Laura Purdie Salas, and the children have been studying her work.  One neat thing that Laura offers on her blog each Thursday is an invitation to write what she calls "15 Words or Less Poems."  Readers are welcomed to view a photo on her blog, to write a brief poem (15 words or less), and to share it in the comments.  You can see this week's invitation at Laura's blog, Writing the World for Kids,  HERE.

Well, guess what?  A few students from Mrs. Bishop's second grade class at Wealthy Elementary looked at my bird photograph, and they wrote 15 words or less poems of their own to share with all of us.  I would like to thank these writers, their teacher Mrs. Bishop, their principal Mr. Morey, and Laura Purdie Salas for combining beautiful energies to bring these poems to us today.  Enjoy!

View from Study Window
Photo by Amy LV

Bird Feeders 

There is a bird feeder outside
Hanging from a tree
So calm
No sound
Whispering breeze

by Skyler T.

The Post

A post stands
In the winter cold
Waiting for birds
Come to me birds

by Lillie A.

Bird Seed 

Peck, peck, peck
I am pecking for seeds
I wanted seeds
Mmmm, Mmmm
I love seeds

by Nava T.

Much gratitude to these young writers for sharing your words with us.  I so appreciate the way each of these poems takes a different perspective: Careful description, writing as the feeder, writing as a small bird.

This month I am tickled to host tremendous science writer Melissa Stewart at Sharing Our Notebooks.  If you have not yet done so, please do not miss her post and generous sharing of her own notebooks, process, and a poem that she wrote when she visited a wetlands with some students from Wealthy Elementary school recently.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is living with Keri at Keri Recommends.  Join her for a thoughtful reflection on creativity and to discover many poetrylove posts sprinkled all around the Kidlitosphere this week.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. What a creatively fulfilling and inspiring post! Thank you SO MUCH for your generosity in offering poetry--and beyond! open-eye lessons to young (and old!)Your poems are so simple, so true, so fit for witnessing to budding poets. Yet, on the other hand, they're filled with the complexities of life, and generosity, and looking out and much as looking in--fit for growing on, at all ages. It's as if we are the hungry birds and you've invited us in to your table of plenty, where you've generously prepared special treats to entice and to satisfy in a way that yearns for more. Thank you! (No wonder you were curious about the words that would be spoken by Scarlet Red Cardinal. ...I have no doubt that the trusting Cardinal would speak to you in ways kept out of others' hearing.) ... Now more than ever I wish I had been able to snap a photo of a deer drinking from a bird feeder on my neighbor's nearby suburban front lawn. You would have created some beautiful poetry-life lessons from that image, I'm sure!)...For everything: thank you!

  2. Love your tea party for the birds, Amy. And the synergistic poetry project inspired by you and Laura and Principal Morey.
    Congrats to Skyler, Lillie, and Nava on their fine poems, and thanks, all, for sharing!

  3. What a lovely image- the feeder birds dipping their beaks into Grandma's tea cups! I'm glad you followed this "magical thought" with us. I enjoyed reading
    the student poems too. Your posts always put a smile on my face. : )

  4. Wouldn't that be something to invite our feathered friends to dine with us?! Loved contemplating this reality in your poem, Amy. And your student's poems are gems. =)

  5. I love the idea of inviting birds in, the description of the tablecloth, and the image of china teacups filled with treats. A longing is a wonderful poetry topic--you've started me thinking!

  6. I'm amazed by the saturation of snow in your picture. And birds come? They should all be down here where it's warm. I love your invitation and those sweet student poems.

    I have a budding new poet, a first grader. Here's the tanka she wrote this week:

    Grandma's Flower Garden

    Butterflies swarming,

    Dragonflies too,

    I hold my arms out,

    Like a tree,

    Let little creatures swarm on me. (Lynzee)

    Emily's birthday is Sunday. We celebrated today.

    Thanks for being you!

  7. What an inviting scene you've set, Amy. Who wouldn't to "come in from the cold" to feast at your table? I have an apple tree outside my office window that bluejays congregate in. I could watch them all day, but it never occurred to me to invite them in! Love the second grader's poems, too.

  8. Your snowy picture shows just how much you need to have that tea party for those shivering birds. Love the thought of those birds coming into tea on that old-fashioned tablecloth, Amy. The poems from the second grades are terrific, too. Fun to hear the school connection between you and Laura.

  9. I love your reminder to pay attention to those fleeting longings. And I love the thought of the birds coming in from the cold.

  10. Oh! Oh! Oh! I'm adding your poem to my collection of ALV faves! (Love the student responses to your photo as well.) Miranda had an oh-I-wish moment just yesterday. I had told her about a stray cat I saw in our yard on a 29 degree morning earlier this week. I put out a box with a towel inside in case she wanted to use it to get out of the wind. Miranda said, "Oh I wish we could leave the back door open and invite it in. That way Daddy would HAVE to let us keep it!" I wish it were that easy.

  11. Amy, I have not seen the snow yet but imagine it as I read your poem and looked closely at your photo. You imagine your polite guests being thankful in a special way-bowing their heads. I love the description of the table where the supposed birds feeds. I can see that this poem would be appealing to young readers as evidenced by the student poems.

    May I capture your photo and poem for the winter gallery that I have not announced yet? How do I get in touch with the students' teachers you showcased to add their work to the gallery? Thanks, Amy for bringing the snow side of winter to me.

  12. Resolved: more magical in the midst of the practical.

  13. Oh I wish... I could help Amy LV prepare the table for these feathered guests... what kind of napkinholders and namecards and napkins shall we make? :) Thank you, Amy, and students, for these lovely (winged!) poems. xo

  14. I love when our PF paths cross -- how fun for you and Laura and the students to all be together, in a sense!

    Close the window now,
    and I'll wipe my tiny feet
    and let the snow drip
    from my wing tips
    before I join you
    for tea.

  15. Amy,
    I long to attend that tea party. Lovely! I shared this on my Facebook page. I want all my friends to discover your beautiful poetry!

  16. Giving thanks for sky is beautiful - and fills me with gratitude. Somehow your poem reminds me of Michael Rosen's Forever Flowers - have you read that one yet? It's exquisite.

  17. Thanks, Amy, for the shoutout :>) Well, this is just a lovely little collection of poems, yours and students', that makes me want to invite the world in for hot chocolate and birdseed! Myra is right--your poem makes me feel grateful!