Friday, November 3, 2017

Look Out Your Window & Snag a Line

Past, Present, Future
by Amy LV

Students - Yesterday, while I was driving home from teaching, I saw a beautiful red barn with a neat woodpile and also a yet-to-be stacked pile of wood.  I stopped to take a picture. See it below?

Scene from My Car Window
Photo by Amy LV

Well, I love red barns.  And I love woodpiles.  So this was a dreamy scene for me.  Later I got to thinking about the wood: how it used to be trees and how it will one day be just smoke and ash. Just like all of us - once not here, now here, one day gone. This line floated into my head: "When I see a pile of firewood..." I just followed that line and it led to a whole lot of other lines which ended up as this poem.

Pay attention when you go for drives.  Don't just hold a screen up to your face.  Really look out of the window and see what is there, the real objects and animals and buildings and humans and plants and skies and weather all around you. What do you love and wonder and think about?  Each one of these thoughts could be a wondrous starting-off point for a poem or a story or another piece of writing.

And listen.  Sometimes, if you're paying attention, a whole line will just pop into your head whole.  Snag and follow that line...see where it winds and leads.  Often, your words will surprise even yourself.

Last week here at The Poem Farm, we were lucky enough to hear from Kate Coombs, author of BREATHE AND BE. The publisher of this book, Sounds True, was generous enough to offer a giveaway to a commenter, and the winner is...Frank!  Congratulations!  Please send me a message with your snail mail address, and I will send it along to Kate so that the book can wing its way to you.

In other giveaway news, through next week, Heinemann is still holding a giveaway for 5 copies of my new POEMS ARE TEACHERS at Goodreads.

It's a delight to welcome a new poster over at Sharing Our Notebooks.  Adjunct professor and writer-in-residence for the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, Julie Patterson shares an inspiring peek into her pages, something to try, and a book giveaway too. Please visit that post, enjoy, and comment!

Happy Poetry Friday, friends!  Visit Linda for this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at her welcoming home, TeacherDance. Join us in feeling gratitude for the beauties of November.


  1. Hi Amy. What a sweet poem about something that doesn't usually get such thoughtful attention. : )

  2. I will be looking at my woodpile (also stacked by our red barn) with a new perspective, Amy!

  3. One of the things I miss a lot from my old home is our fireplace and starting the season's first fire, thinking of the trees that give us that fall warmth. I love that you stopped for the picture, Amy and love 'whiperwindy morning'.

  4. When I see a pile of firewood, it takes me back to camping trips in the pecan bottom back home. Your poem brought back a special memory, and your words have reminded me to always be on the lookout for those lines to snag based on my noticings. Thanks, Amy!

  5. Red barns, wood piles and poetry--what a great combination! I love whisperwindy!" I also love the reminder to pay attention and keep your line in the water. You never know when you might catch something--be it a fish or a great line of poetry! Thanks!

  6. I love my morning drives to school watching the sun rise through fields of sugarcane. Thanks for your constant attention to detail and your encouragement to just stop and write about it.

  7. When I see a pile of firewood, I remember the sore muscles that chopped and split and stacked...and dream of the fires to come. And whisperywindy is my new favorite word!

  8. After listening to THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES, I'm afraid I won't be able to enjoy blazing fires as much. I will think of how he describes all the ways trees think, feel, hear, speak, care for their sick, elderly and babies.

    I totally agree with your line "Pay attention when you go for drives." I'd rather see small faces pressed to windows than passively watching a video!

  9. What a beautiful scene - we don't have a lot of woodpiles around my parts, so I'll have to just imagine your scene. :)

  10. I love red barns too! I'm always afraid of what might be in the woodpile besides wood. O_o Since I love a good, crackling fire, I don't think I will read the book Mary Lee mentions . . .

  11. Timeless and magical feelings emerge from where this woodpile has swept you Amy. And I like your sound suggestions to look out the window, actually it could be any window to look out on, inspiration can come just about anywhere, thanks!