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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Of Pocahontas, Bungee Jumping, and Motherhood

My daughter, Morgan, bungee jumps in Queenstown, New Zealand.


Kia Ora! (That’s a Maori greeting from New Zealand). My daughter, Morgan, returned yesterday from a Furman University Education Dept. May-mester foreign study trip. On their last day, she was first in line to bungee jump from the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown (the world’s first commercial bungee jump!).

Watching the video, I was amazed at how she leapt without hesitation, and with grace to boot! You see, she had said she would do a Pocahontas swan dive, and she did.

And with her halfway through college, and my son Seth a rising high school senior, I can’t help thinking about leaps from nests. (Echoes of last week: my preoccupation with nests continues with wrens just outside the back door, and a new little peeping occupant – probably a robin – high up in a camellia.)

Morgan and I always loved the movie, “Fly Away Home” (1996), about a 13-year-old girl sent to live with her sculptor father in Canada after the death of her mother. She ends up raising a motherless brood of Canada geese, and with her father’s knowledge of Ultralight planes, they lead the young geese on their first migration south, ensuring their survival. Inspired by a true story, there’s plenty of drama (and doses of humor) in this tale of growing up and of tricky family relationships. The movie also features one of my favorite songs of all time, “10,000 Miles," by the incredible Mary Chapin Carpenter. (If you haven’t heard it, grab a hanky and treat yourself . ("Fare thee well... .")

Thanks for indulging me in an original, personal poem this week.

Pocahontas

When I was little,
my grandparents gave me
a Pocahontas doll.
I loved her red dress,
her smooth coffee skin,
her jet black hair.

I didn’t know I’d grow up
to have a real little girl
obsessed with Pocahontas , the Disney version.

In a flash she was a big girl, teasing her beloved AP History teacher:
Can’t we watch the movie in class?
(No.)


I didn’t know this girl
would be so thirsty for the rush of air
that one day she’d leap
(held only by a cable)
40 meters down
from a bridge 10,000 miles away
in a perfect
Pocahontas
swan
dive.

Someday, I know,
she’ll leap from this nest.

I’ll dry my eyes,
smooth my feathers,
and sing to the wild, swirling world:

See that one there? Soaring with those iridescent wings?
She’s mine.


©Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved

Thank you for visiting! Flap on over to Carol’s Corner for today’s Poetry Friday Roundup.
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Poetry Friday: Nesting with Robins

©Cory Corrado



Is this a great picture or what? At the Poetry for All Highlights Founders workshop last week, I shared my cabin with some special guests. Well, the inside top of the porch of my cabin. A pair of robins dutifully flew in and out and in and out to tend their nest.

The photo was taken by fellow workshop attendee Cory Corrado, a lovely and talented poet and amazing nature photographer who hails from Quebec, Canada. She spent a little time patiently waiting – okay, a long time patiently waiting – balancing herself standing on a deck chair holding out for just the right shots when the birds wouldn't fly away. See how her patience paid off?

Cory’s book of photos and poetry, “Pho-etry,” called Nature Inspires, was featured earlier this year on Poetry for All co-leader David L. Harrison’s blog (click here for the link.) You can also get a virtual look at Cory’s stunning work in the book by clicking here.

Well, I’ve been thinking about those robins. And I’m enjoying all the varied birdlife outside my own doors this spring. (Oh – and Susan Taylor Brown’s amazing bird photos on her Poppiness website! – Have you seen those or followed her bird stories there or on Facebook?)

Back to robins. Here’s a fun poem for today from The Golden Book of Poetry(1947) as shared on The Poetry Foundation website.

The Secret

By Anonymous

We have a secret, just we three,
The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;
The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

But of course the robin knows it best,
Because she built the--I shan't tell the rest;
And laid the four little--something in it--
I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute.

But if the tree and the robin don't peep,
I'll try my best the secret to keep;
Though I know when the little birds fly about
Then the whole secret will be out.


Now wing your way over to TeacherDance for more great poetry, where Lovely Linda has today’s Roundup.
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Poetry Friday: Poetry for All Workshop, and Jean Craighead George

Top: Eileen Spinelli, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Rebecca Davis, Melanie Hall, David L. Harrisonmiddle: cabin, and having fun with Rebecca S.,Rebecca K. D., Bill, and Jacqueline (and Cindi taking pix)with Marjorie Maddox; Joy Acey and Davidbottom: happily in the middle of a Spinelli Sandwich

What a week! I was blessed and thrilled to spend the last several days in Pennsylvania up at beautiful Boyds Mills with a few fellow Poetry Friday folks (Heidi! Joy! Liz! Julie!), and some wonderful new friends, and our fearless leaders of the Highlights Founders "Poetry for All" workshop: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, David L. Harrison, and Eileen Spinelli, along with special guests editor Rebecca Davis, illustrator Melanie Hall, and poet Marjorie Maddox. Whew!

We had serious literary discussions and explorations of craft, and some rather silly times, too, and of course amazing food from gourmet chef Marcia and her wonderful staff. And wine every afternoon!

Relishing the natural beauty up there, I managed to get in a couple of walks, though we had lots of rain. I even had a family of robins nesting up in the corner of my cabin's porch.

It was wonderful dropping in on the Highlights and Boyds Mills folks Wednesday (Hi, Joëlle! Hi, Larry!), and on the way back from that trip to Honesdale, the driver of my car, Pam, slowed down for a bear crossing the road! A beautiful, agile young creature which bounded off into the woods.

For a taste of the amazing wit, wisdom, and experience shared with us, I'll offer just one quote (from my notes) from each of our speakers:

David: "I had 67 rejections for writing stories for kids. Friends magazine bought the 68th...."

Rebecca: "Brainstorm - noodle and doodle in sketchbooks. Visualize details."

Eileen: "The deeper we go into our hearts, the richer our lives become."

also,

Melanie: "We have to try to pull something new out of ourselves. That's the task for the creative person."

Rebecca Davis: "I love it when a poetry collection can be greater than the sum of its parts."

Marjorie: "As poets, we're witnesses of the world."

(We also had a special treat of a dinner visit and a few comments from Boyds Mills Press Executive Editor Liz Van Doren!)

If you've been to a Highlights workshop, you know why several of our 21 attendees had been before. If you've never been, try to get to one someday - your Muse will thank you!

Speaking of inspiration, I was saddened to learn, when I got home late Thursday night and reconnected a little with the world, that Jean Craighead George had passed away on Tuesday (just one week after we lost Maurice Sendak). I'd like to close today's post with the last few lines of her picture book, THE WOLVES ARE BACK (illustrated by Wendell Minor; Dutton, 2008). This is a picture book rather than poetry, but the words are lovely and rich.

The grasses grew tall; the riverbank stopped eroding. Willow and aspen trees flourished. Beavers built ponds. Birds sang. Flowers bloomed.

The wilderness is in balance again.

The wolves are back.


Thank you, Jean Craighead George.

(For more, see the author's website, The New York Times, and Publisher's Weekly, inlcluding a tribute from
Wendell Minor.)

And thanks to everyone for making the poetry workshop a resounding success. For more great poetry and for thoughts about living in the moment, stop in to see Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. for today's Roundup.
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Poetry Friday - May Day Musings (with Edmund Spenser)

Can it be that our wonderful, whirlwind Poetry Month unfurled itself right into May? I still have some catching up to do with all of the inspiring April posts in Kidlitosphere!

Today at our school (the pre-K-12 school which has helped raise both of my children – Morgan, now an elementary education major halfway through college, and Seth, a rising high school senior), a long tradition will be played out again. Fifth graders will wrap two colorful Maypoles in a lovely coordinated dance, and I imagine their parents will be snapping pictures galore. It’s part of a big May Day celebration, but for these fifth graders, it’s a rite of passage from elementary school to middle school. Seems like I just watched both of mine participate, and now they’re pretty much grown!

I thought we’d celebrate this (pagan!) tradition here, too – a tradition which drove the poor Puritan clergy, and others before them, crazy.

From the The Shepheardes Calender - Maye
by Edmund Spenser (published in 1579)

Yougthes folke now flocken in everywhere,

To gather may buskets and smelling brere:

And home they hasten the postes to dight

And all the Kirke pillours eare day light,

With hawthorn buds and swete eglantine,

And girlonds of roses, and sopps in wine.


[OK, 'far as I can tell: “brere” means briar; “dight” means adorn/dress; “sopps in wine” refers to the an old name for “clove pink,” or, carnation!]

If you’re up for struggling through the language for the whole month, which is an argument between “the persons of two shepheards Piers & Palinodie, be represented two formes of pastoures or Ministers, or the protestant and the Catholique…” here’s a link.

For more great poetry, and more accessible I’m sure, please go gather ye some rosebuds for your garland at Wild Rose Reader, where lovely Elaine is rounding up Poetry Friday.
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