In the playroom #SOL21 14/31

This month’s poetry prompts on EthicalELA have blown open my writing brain. I think it’s the combination of the book that Dr. Kimberly Johnson chose for mentor texts – Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s You are no longer in trouble and Kim’s gentle guidance on form (which I find comforting when I’m writing poetry). This, of course, makes me think about what I can take into the classroom: perhaps some of my students will also appreciate some structure, a gentle form to help them corral their wilder thoughts right now. I am inspired to offer that during our writing time this week. Until then, here’s a slice of memory as a pantoum.

In the playroom
for my sister

You no longer need to hide
with me behind the old blue armchair
where we hold each other so tight our memories mix
as the storm blows through.

With me behind the old blue armchair,
our words create worlds where little girls reign
until the storm blows through,
until we can come out and play again.

Our words create worlds where little girls reign,
your emotions are mine, mine yours
until we can come out and play again
I hold your fear.

Your emotions are mine, mine yours.
We hold each other so tight our memories mix.
I hold your fear.
You no longer need to hide.

11 thoughts on “In the playroom #SOL21 14/31

  1. I’m glad you’re popping in to write poetry this month and hope you’ll stick around in April. Like you I share emotions w/ my sister, so I’m inspired to revisit some you’ve prompted. I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways another person’s memories spark my own.

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  2. This is beautiful and painful at the same time. I often wonder at the way that information changes our reading, particularly of poetry and how the unique experience you create here can connect so many with a shared way of knowing. Amazing.

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  3. Beautiful and a little bit haunting. “I hold your fear. / You no longer need to hide.” Somehow everything turns on this insight and you can feel it throughout without knowing exactly what makes it so. Just the way a poem should. I also had never before heard the word: pantoum, but now I have and I am fascinated by the form!

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  4. The image of you hiding behind the old blue armchair is powerful and sad…but the poem is hopeful. I wasn’t sure if this was a literal storm or a family storm, and that certainly changes the image in my head. I had to look up pantoum…and then I had to reread the poem several times to notice all of the craftiness. I’m not sure I could manage this kind of structure, especially during this crazy month. How do you manage?

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  5. I feel so many layers to this poem. I love the idea of mixed memories, and I wonder if your storms are similar to mine. I may have to check out this form.

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  6. Lovely, lovely poem of such a beautiful memory. I always wanted to have a sister and now I have a glimpse of what it would have been like and what we could have shared. I have twin daughters who are that close and it’s precious!

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  7. Yay for your poetry voice coming out! You say so much about your relationship with your sister here, and I love the repetition. It’s lovely and hopeful and makes me wish for such sweetness with my sister.

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