Friday, August 25, 2023

Delight & Wonder & Story

Laundry Tree
by Amy LV

Students - Last week I took a long drive, and while passing through a small town, I came across the tree you see above. Honestly, I have not been able to stop thinking about it! There is something delightful in the unexpected, and I did not expect to see an oak tree wearing a rainbow of shirts. I turned my car around, stopped in front of the house, and took the photo. As I drove away, I could see the woman in my rearview mirror, touching the shirts to see if they were dry.

There are many ways to approach a poem when you have a wee idea. With this one, I decided to stand back and keep myself out of the poem. I read something this week about poems that do not use the words I or me and began there.

You might notice a bit of repetition here. First, I repeat the words the woman and the tree over and over here. This was not necessary. I certainly could have given the woman a name or referred to the tree as Oak or it. I didn't do these things because I love the idea of the woman being mysterious and nameless and any woman and the tree too...somehow by not naming them, it feels to me that they could be any one of us.

And did you wonder why that last line is so short? I played with other, longer lines that kept more with the rest of the poem's rhythm, but in the end, I wanted the end to leave the reader with a short statement of truth. The tree knows. By not including as many words in this last line, I hope to create a pause - a slowing down - in the reading.

This week I encourage you to try this. Look for something delightful or unexpected. (These things are everywhere...we just have to look.) Then, wonder about this thing you saw or otherwise sensed. Make up a story about it. Write all of this down, and see where it leads you.

Thank you to The Bookworm and to everyone who made my little book release party for THE SOUND OF KINDNESS so cozy and perfect. I am grateful. Please watch for some giveaways throughout this year of books, speech bubble sticky notes, and special napkins. Kindness parties all around!

Book Release Party for THE SOUND OF KINDNESS
August 15, 2023
Photos by Mark LV and Gretchen Oubre

Linda is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup today at TeacherDance with a magical poem about growing up...and play. Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.

May you find delight and stories in places you least expect!



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  1. Thanks for sharing the unexpected. I like the ending line, especially since you explained how it came to be. It’s a happy feeling to imagine the tree and the woman caring about each other.

  2. Amy, this is a tiny love story! Your interpretation of this scene makes me so happy. I love that the neighbor shakes her head, but that it doesn't bother the woman or the tree.

  3. This is such a cool relationship between the woman and tree. And a good reminder of how frequently I make snap judgments about small things--sometimes thinks I know absolutely nothing about.

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  5. Amy, it's a delightful find and also that you wrote about it! Thanks for all!

  6. Amy, I love all the process you shared for those who come after and would like to write a poem without using I or me, use repetition, and try a short line for pause at the end. You have given some good tips, and I love the photo and story you told, especially the details of the "pink and polka-dotted shirts"

  7. So much fun...I'm glad the tree knows.

  8. Of course the tree knows. And now I'll take your advice and spend the week looking intentionally for the unexpected. Thank you, as always, for filling our hearts and pushing our thinking!

  9. So much delight in the unexpected! Thank you, Amy.

  10. Look. Wonder. Write. Slow down. Such good life advice, too, Amy.

  11. I just adore the vividness and surprise of this!!

  12. I love the fact that there is someone somewhere hanging laundry from their tree. This is the type of thing that makes getting up in the morning thrilling! And I particularly enjoyed the line, "The tree feels fancy holding clothes".
    As I live in France, it's always so hard fro me to find English books, so I've just lately signed up to Queen's Library for an e-card and I asked to be alerted when they bought THE SOUND OF KINDNESS. I read it just yesterday, and loved it. Thank you for such a simple, but deep book.

  13. Amy, the tree knows-great ending! The story is short and surprising and the photo is amazing to me. Thanks for sharing your process note. I appreciated it, as did others. Quick coincidental piece of information: Over the past years, I have been sent many books by Magination Press so I can share with teachers. I am going to reach out to my content to see if he would place your book in the next package. Best of luck, Amy. I am impressed with this publisher.

  14. What a writing opportunity! I love how you just knew you had to share their story.