Friday, October 14, 2022

Teach a Whimsical Lesson

Found on a Walk
Photo by Amy LV

Students - This week I have been thinking about fall...and about ice cream. Yesterday, I started to think about interesting possible ice cream flavors: Cool Moonlight, Song Stuck in My Head, Breakfast for Dinner, Dancing Wildflowers. 

This week I am dogsitting my mom's dog Cinnamon, and yesterday afternoon, I found the above leaf on our walk. I really love the smell of fall leaves in piles and so many things about fall and decided to write an imaginary story poem about going to an ice cream shop and ordering a nonexistent ice cream flavor.

The idea for a lesson at the end of this poem did not come until I actually got to the end of writing it, but writing lesson poems (whether serious or whimsical) is one possible way to begin a poem as well. You may wish to try this. Think of a real or imagined lesson you might teach someone else. Then, build your poem toward it. Let your poem tell the story of learning the lesson, or allow your poem to explain the lesson. You might state your lesson directly at the end as I did...or you might just let your readers figure it out.

Do note how I have indented the ice cream lady's stanzas and kept the speaker's stanzas out to the left margin. This helps a reader know who is speaking. I also have chosen to use italics so that you know when the conversation is happening.

Matt is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme with a bit about his latest book and a poem about family. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

Remember: you give yourself a future present when you press a snip of nature into your notebook. This leaf is now living in mine, and one spring, summer, or winter day, I know that I will be very happy to find it!


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  1. An ice cream that's the flavor of fall - what could be better! Looks like we were both collecting leaves this week, Amy.

  2. That would, indeed, be a wonderful flavor! Although here in New Hamsphire, we have something pretty close called Indian pudding, which is like a grits-based porridge sort of dessert loaded with molasses, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and other spices - it's like drinking a gingersnap - and it's a common fall ice cream flavor, as well.

  3. I love how the lady at the counter becomes a co-collaborator rather than a nay-sayer due to the shared love of grandma stories!

  4. "If something does not exist. . ." Indeed, I agree, would love some of that autumn flavor, Amy. Yum!

  5. Another perfect autumn poem! The leaf that inspired it is stunning. I've seen so many variegated leaves this fall. I love the idea of capturing the essence of fall in an ice cream flavor, then savoring it with a friend and sharing stories. Your comment about not having the idea for the poem's lesson until you finished writing is so true!

  6. What a clever invention and invitation! Fall seems to have so many flavors. Here in South Louisiana, it's cane sugar. It's harvesting and grinding season. I admit I had forgotten to use Poem Farm in my poetry lessons this year. What was I thinking? I need to introduce my new crop to your wonderful site.

  7. Such a fantastic story in a small package! I love how the lady at the counter's attitude changes. I wrote about the smells of fall, but I'm loving your ice cream flavor of fall...and your other possible flavors!

  8. Thank you for the little lesson prompt -- and, I did buy pumpkin ice cream today to get my own bite of autumn (in the desert!)

  9. "If something good does not exist,
    sometimes a person must insist."
    is the 8-year-old version of
    “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” (Talmud)
    Thanks for taking me to some version of church via Maple Leaf ice cream cones. Whimsy can be seriously productive. Love you, Amy.

  10. Anything maple, please. I love this mixing up of autumn flavors, perhaps we can find red oak spice(coriander, clove, and cinnamon)

  11. Love the last two lines, Amy! Where would we be without those who insist and persist? :)

  12. I love everything about this poem - now I think I need to eat some ice cream and think about my grandmother.