Monday, May 09, 2016


How to swallow a starfish? I wish we'd hung around to see how the seagull accomplished the feat, or if he gave up after awhile. I can't help but feel sorry for the starfish. 

Inspiration is low here this evening. Mother's Day was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm so thankful for my family and was happy to see or talk with all of my children, and my own dear mother and mother-in-law.

On Saturday morning, however, a friend left this life for heaven, at far too young an age, because of ovarian cancer. I've been reminded, again, of how fleeting this life is, and how important it is to live the gift of life to the full. My friend Sue certainly did. 

In English classes recently, I've been exposing my students to a bit of poetry. Today we studied Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" which ends with the question "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Alas, it seems that few young teens appreciate poetry, and I was left feeling a little blank. Perhaps, though, in years to come, a few of them will develop an appreciation for the distillation of thought that is poetry. One can only hope. I've asked the students to bring in lyrics to a favourite song and hope that they will be able to see them in a new light, as poetry. 

Do you enjoy poetry? Have you a favourite poet or poem? 



  1. It is so very hard to engage students in poetry. Believe me I tired for several years as I so lucky to get to teach Intro to Lit. I did all kinds of things to get them engaged. I used Youtube to find interesting and creative ways that some of the poems were presented. But still those students sit in their seats with those blank stares. Then I'd have them write about which poem touched them or said something to them and then I knew if I had been successful. They can all relate to The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost. Favorite poem? How does one choose? William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." Or Will Shakespeare's sonnet 18, "Shall I compare you to a summer's day?" Then there is Patricia Smith, who writes really rough, gritty poetry. She is African American who writes very edgy slam poetry, but I love her poetic tribute to Katrina, Blood Dazzler. She came to UNC for our Writer's Conference. While slam poetry and post modern poetry are not to my liking, I could not get enough of her and my students liked her poetry. It is a thankless job, isn't it? But even though you see those blank stares, they are moved on some level, they just don't know how or want to talk about the poem. Keep up your good work. I am so sorry that you have lost a friend. Ovarian cancer is such a curse. (I hope I did not carry on too long.)

  2. Anonymous9:32 PM

    My husband and daughter can really appreciate and grasp poetry styles. Sometimes poets are a bit deep or random for my brain to grasp well. I can still appreciate a good poem, though. What a great catch of that seagull with that starfish. We've had some tough news this week that has laid us flat. Joy and sorrow all mixed up...

  3. Hi Lorrie, last month I had a wonderful day at the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival and saw ten poets read and speak about their work. My attitude to poetry changed five years ago when I saw Sir Andrew Motion, our former Poet Laureate, and he said that poetry shouldn't be reserved for special occasions, it should be part of everyday life, "like breathing". So now I often dip into poetry, finding some more accessible than others. Could you bring some poets in to do a workshop with your students?...I feel sorry for the starfish, too. There is probably a poem in that! And I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. Take care. x

  4. So sorry to hear about your loss, cancer is certainly a very cruel disease. My daughter is a great fan of poetry and studied literature at University, she says there is style to everyone you just have to find it. Take care.

  5. My sympathy on the loss of your friend, Lorrie. I know just how you feel. My friend Carol (mamacjt) also passed away this weekend. The Good Lord must have needed some really special women in Heaven this week. (((HUGS)))

  6. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, Lorrie. It is so very hard to see those we love, leave us while they're still too young. Yes, living the gift of our own life is key. I'm glad that your friend did. Love and hugs are sent to you.

  7. Oh I am sorry about the loss of your friend. Two of my dear blogging friends have passed in the last several months from that vile disease. It takes too many. One I kept wondering about. She had told me that she'd be in touch. I finally did the unthinkable and searched for her finding her gone last December. I know that you'll understand when I say that I was stunned and haven't been able to stop thinking about it...only 58...years younger than I.

    As for poetry...

    I, too, dislike it:
    ~Marianne Moore

    until I love it. I don't want to dig too deep for hidden meanings or try to appreciate Ode on A Grecian Urn, but give me a poem that hits me in the solar plexus and I think about it forever. I believe that, could you see into the future, you would find that your scholars develop an appreciation along the way. They do like song lyrics, right? Poetry!

  8. I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend, Lorrie.

    I prefer novels and short stories to poetry. Have you heard of James W. Hall's "Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too"? I read this poem back in school and it's quite amusing. This may interest today's students who are fans of the Spiderman (and other comic book) movies. The following link contains the poem and poet's explanation on why he wrote it:

  9. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend Lorrie.
    I've not been one to read poetry although I like to include it in blog posts at times as an enhancer to my photos.
    Your idea of students bringing in favourite song lyrics should open their eyes to comprehend the words and think about reasons behind many of the songs written.
    Hope you find something inspiring to uplift your spirits this week.

  10. hello
    c'est maintenant que j'aime la poésie avant je ne m'y attardais pas
    je lis souvent Verlaine , Rimbaud , Nerval et les poétes " des lacs "
    toute ma sympathie pour vous , suite à la disparition de votre amie
    pour moi je me suis intéressée à ces poètes après avoir lu leur biographie

  11. Oh my...that poor starfish...such is the cycle of life. I am sorry to hear about losing your friend to cancer. That is never an easy thing, especially at a young age. Your photos of the dandelions are superb...they are one of my favorite subjects :) Enjoy your week.

  12. My 13 year old loves poetry - especially Robert Burns! She writes a bit of it, too! My other kids haven't been as enamored with it though. I think your idea of lyrics to favorite songs is a good one. That should engage them!

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Life is fleeting, and we don't know what a day holds but we know who holds today, and that is where our hope is.

  13. Anonymous10:03 AM

    That is an amazing first photo you captured. I bet that starfish didn't go down smoothly. :-) I like poetry if I can understand it. When I have to read it multiple times trying to grasp some type of meaning it is lost on me. I think that was pretty smart to appeal to your students' musical interests because that is definitely something that engages them.

  14. Hi Lorrie,

    That first picture is amazing; you always manage to capture such good, candid shots.

    I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your friend, Lorrie; ovarian cancer has claimed far too many women, I think. On the subject of poetry, I didn't really enjoy or appreciate it as a teen or even as a young woman. However, I do appreciate it now, and find myself much more willing to read it. I wonder if it's one of those things that takes some maturity to understand and appreciate?

    I hope you have a good week.


    Denise at Forest Manor

  15. Beautiful photo's Lorri. The cycle of life....

    I am so sorry for your loss. No words just prayers.
    MDay here was very, very sad but I made it through. Thank you Jesus.


  16. So very sad to lose a friend at such an early age. Life is fleeting indeed. I wonder if the young (I sound like my Grandma) have any concept of growing older, and of making the most of their life while they can. I didn't either. It's not till you are older that you realise what 'older' is, and how precious every moment is.

  17. I like very simple poetry, Lorrie. My favourite is Edgar Guest. I find it fun, yet really so true to life.
    I, too, am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I lost my sister to cancer before she was forty, it's hard. I hate this disease.

  18. Dear Lorrie, so sorry to hear of your friend's death. I wonder if we will ever understand the how and why of cancer, a disease that takes so many. My MIL had lung cancer, yet never smoked and there are smokers who live to be 80, 90, 100. My uncle died of brain cancer 3 months after my MIL in 2005. Both within 6 months of being diagnosed. The only poetry books I have in my possession are a couple written by Mattie Stepanek, the young boy who died in 2004 from muscular dystrophy. "While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day, knowing that we are becoming history with every work, every action, every deed." He was an insightful soul at such a young age. Have a blessed day. Tammy

  19. What an amazing shot of the seagull and the starfish. That deserves a prize!

    I enjoyed poetry during my school days...but don't read too much of it these days. I have written lyrics for many songs over the years...poetry set to music!

    So sorry for the loss of your friend. We lost a friend last week as who had lived life to the fullest and was ready to go.

  20. So very sorry to hear about your friend. You are right, a good reminder to us all to live the best life we can, for ourselves and for our loved ones who are no longer with us. Hugs to you. xx

  21. So very sorry about your friend :(

  22. I lost a best friend to ovarian cancer a year ago and sadly her son died from lymphoma a week later. It was so tragic. It reminds me to appreciate more, complain less, and enjoy life and to try to leave a legacy of good memories for my family and friends.

  23. I am so sorry to learn of your friend's passing. Death seems always to be an intruder; it is hard to deal with loss. It is reassuring that she lived her life to the full.

    Your photo of the gull with the starfish is amazing!

    I do enjoy poetry and I intend to read the poem that you referenced and share it with my student next week. The quoted line has impact!

  24. As a whole, I don't know much about poetry, but personally I have come to love Ted Kooser and St John of the Cross. Both have touched me immensely... My daughter introduced me to "slam poetry" on a video and honestly that touched me too. Much like rap. Not in as deep of a way but maybe in it's generation connection and the delivery is also how and why I was moved. I do hope they, your students can see the lyrics as poetry. I think the popular song "Hello" is poetic. I read that she left the intent open, that she isn't just "calling a man from a previous relationship" but perhaps calling herself in the past. Beautiful, isn't it?

    I'm so sorry about you losing your friend. A heavy time I can imagine. I'll say a prayer for all of you.

  25. So sad when our friends leave us so early. Memories become all the more precious. I love Mary Oliver - she seems to be able to get right to the point of things in such a lovely way.


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