Monday, April 30, 2012


I started April with such good intentions.  2 challenges in one (Poetry and A-Z).  Then I got busy with other commitments. The beaded ornaments I photographed and gave away.  (I am working on five more for some friends who are retiring.)  I have also been working on a grant for our school.

Tonight I was looking through the NEAtoday.  There was a link for history, archaeology, and the arts (Athenaeum)   Well when I went exploring  but what should I find a lesson on Edward Hopper   Thought I would share the links.

May looks promising.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Yesterday we were acquaintances
Yesterday we shared a dream
Yesterday we shared a journey
Yesterday we became friends.

We planned,
We worked
We dreamed
We journeyed

We shared a vision
Literacy Without Borders.
Like the Hobbit's journey
We traveled.

We planned
We worked
We dreamed
We accepted challenges.

Funding, fund raisers
Coffee "the Readers Blend", nooks, raffles, sponsors,
One by one
Others shared our dream.

Joining us
Dreams turned into reality
Along the way
I got to know you

I learned to appreciate you.
I am thankful for you
I am grateful for your gifts
I am glad we journeyed together.

This is my gift
A keepsake of woven beads
Woven like memories through our journey
Dreams unlocked transforms reality.

Yesterday we were acquaintances
Yesterday we shared a dream
Yesterday we shared a journey
Today we are friends.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jars of Jelly and Jam

Choke Cherries - ready to pick.
Choke cherries 

Clusters of purple sunshine
Tart bites
Jars of Jelly and Jam.

Pick, wash, simmer
Empty jars, steam
Juice, sugar, pectin
Stir - a coated spoon.

Clusters of purple sunshine
Tart bites 
Jars of Jelly and Jam.

Rich molten purple
Mason jars
A water bath.

Clusters of purple sunshine
Tart bites
Jars of Jelly and Jam.

Choke Cherry jelly
Country stained glass
Purple of a rose window
Jars of Jelly and Jam.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I - Is for Icicle

I am Icicle
Who needs freezing temps
Who loves hanging around
Who sees the morning sun
Who hates warm weather
Who fears kids with big sticks
Who dreams of traveling to the ocean.
Who loves the poetry in "Water Dance"
Resident of roof tops, buildings, and occasional trees
I am frozen water.

A biographical poem based on a "I am - poetry frame"

Links of Discovery  Poetry frames

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for History - A List Poem

The old map
In the old trunk
The photograph album
The letters held together
Edison phonograph cylinders 1888-1915
A rolled poster
Silent Films
Silver Screen
Old Newspaper clippings
Memories of a life.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Gallivanting

Gallivanting is one of my husband's favorite words.  It means to travel, roam, or move about for pleasure. For today's post I decided on a spine poem.

Gallivanting In Montana

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is For Fear

I am words whispering in the wind
I am chills that inhabit the dark, buried
I am the monster reflected in the looking glass
I am fiendish words twisted

I am eyes of darkness, stalking silently
I am a heart beating a staccato rhythm
I am secrets hidden in your memories
I am shadows of your dark side

I am screams splintering the silence 
I am the sound of a round being chambered.
I am a single night of violence, repeated
I am secrets hidden in your memories

I am green slime oozing up from fissures of distrust
I am rapacious thoughts chained with rusty links
I am vindictive words that cut to the bone
I am resentment that plots revenge

I am memories imprisoned breaking free.
I am disorientation, stirring shadows, panic
I am isolation, confusion
I am secrets hidden in your memories

I am a family photo and no recognition
I am estrangement that accepts no responsibility.
I am a memento wired with mental land-mines.

I am a demon, my name is FEAR.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Entomology:  The Study of Bugs

I remember
the postage stamp garden
I remember
water mellon rinds, on the garden heap
oozing fermented, bubbling juice
I remember

A kaleidoscope of butterflies
Sipping, water mellon wine

I remember reading -
butterflies taste with their feet
I remember
black and blue flutterbys
With extended proboscis
I remember
butterflies staggering
too drunk to fly.

*Flutterbys, kaleidoscope, rabble are all words that mean a swarm or group of butterflies.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Diner

Edward Hopper’s Nighthawk

Gottfried Helnwein
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Alone he walks

Down the empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
He walks a lonely road
When the city sleeps.

Silence shouts in the shadows
A diner on Murly Square

Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
Hidden among the sleeping streets
Disillusionment echoes

Darkness skitters, dancing with light
A solitary man, a felt fedora
Counterman, bent, washing cups
A man - a woman, a silent fight

Like Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer
Wearing his trademark fedora,
Lingering over a cup of joe
Vigilant, he waits - his normal manner

In my fantasy, the detective remains
Stacy Keach tipping his fedora

Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
Opening the box Pandora
I hear his voice over, speaking the refrain

Lyrics by Green Day -

“I walk a lonely road,
I walk the empty street,
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
When the city sleeps
I’m the only one, and I walk alone”
Hiding in the shadows, a hint of light
The credits roll - the image of the diner fades
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Research Notes

  • Edward Hopper painted Nighthawks in 1942
  • Gottfried Helwein painted Boulevard of Broken Dreams replacing Hopper's characters with pop culture icons (1984)
  • Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer detective novels were printed in 1947 first movie 1953
  • Stacey Keach is a classically trained actor who played Mike Hammer on the TV series.
  • Green Day is a punk rock group that recorded "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (Who nicked the title from a James Dean Poster - Helwein's painting)

Links for further discovery

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Cameo Carving - Found Poem

Cameo Carving

What is a cameo?
A gem carved in relief
A brief appearance
A decorative object

Origins 3rd-4th century
19th century - Roman school
Always used hard stone
Cameos a work of art

The best masters
Did not consider shells precious.
Later, jewelry cameos
Led to mass production.

All unique pieces
Despite the fact that some are mass produced
Shells cannot be carved by hand alone
Every shell cameo is different.

Specialized artisans
Carving hair, hands, or noses
A whole team's experience and skills
A finished cameo.

Master Carver
His or her hands transform
A piece of shell
Into elegant precious sculptures

Delicate and diaphanous portraits
Mythological scenes
True collectables,
A difficult art disappearing.

According to old masters
This painstaking art
Out of step with the frenetic
Rhythm of our times.

The text for this found poem can be found at

Cameo was the word I found during my dictionary hike.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Buccaneer

What’s a buccaneer? (5)
The Golden Age of Pirates (7)
17th century (6)
Caribean Pirates, dear. (7)

What did pirates wear?
Sailor’s clothing called “slops”
Canvas doublet and drawers
knitted woolen caps, my dear.

Laws concerning dress? (5)
English Sumptuary Laws (7)
Latin - expenditure (6)
Tools control the populace.

Sumptuary Laws(5)
dictated what you could wear (7)
Clothing marked social rank
This met with pirate guffaws.

They took great delight
Wearing garments from fabric
Previously banned,
Velvet and silk - civil rights.

A- Amorphous: without shape

April is National Poetry Month.  It is also the A-Z Challenge.  Amy at Poem Farm is doing a Dictionary Hike. So I thought I would see if I could combine them.  My word today is Amorphous.  Bud the Teacher is hosting National Poetry Month Challenge.  Then there is NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month.  So many choices.  Today I will introduce my students to the Dictionary Hike.

A - Amorphous: Without Shape

What shall I write?

Ideas tight
- I'm thirsting for -
I love the Haiku
6 Word Stories
I am from - poems

Words, thoughts examined in light
A-Z challenges
Dictionary Hikes
Slice of Life

I love the freedom of thoughts in flight
Winging into and out of lines
Dipping, wading, hovering
Just out of sight

What shall I write?
My thoughts are amorphous 
Without shape
Today I begin the Dictionary Hike.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Singing Contralto - Found Poem

When Marian Sang:  The True Recital of Marian Anderson, The Voice of a Century - Pam Munoz Ryan

Last year I found this biographical picture book.  I fell in love with it.  There are so many ways to use it in the library and the classroom.  First it is a biography.  Second it has to do with the Civil Rights Movement.  Then I think of Core Standards and I think of what primary sources are available.  I also think of research.  My question - Did the DAR prevent Marian Anderson from singing at the DAR Constitution Hall or was it the decision of the manager, Fred E. Hand?

I recently learned of “Found Poetry”.  The poem -“Contralto Singing” is the found poem I wrote based on the text at the site It is my first found poem.

I am also experimenting with audio and qr codes for the classroom.  My idea is to open a “Poetry Cafe”.  Students will read aloud their own work and share it with their families online.

Tools I’m experimenting with:
      Voice Thread
      Garage Band

QR codes
      QR stuff

Poetry Cafe

Singing Contralto - Found Poetry

You can also listen to the recording by going to

Singing Contralto (Found Poem by Ruth Ferris)

Family on Webster Street
Simple dignity, charming

A voice

Lincoln Memorial Concert -1939.

A voice heard
Once in a hundred years

Emotional impact
Broke color barrier - 1955

Emotional impact
A  singing legacy

Marian Anderson