What Could the Title Be?

Driving to school, I came up behind a pickup truck when I stopped at a light. It had a large decal picture on the tailgate.

A toad, a lizard and a frog frolicked on the beach at sunset. The toad and the lizard danced gleefully. The grinning frog sat atop a pile of books with a book open across its lap. One of the books in the stack had lettering on the spine, but, try as I might, I could not get close enough to read the title. I really wonder what it might have said! Would it give a clue to explain the odd little scene? What do you imagine the title of the book was?

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Mother-Daughter Moments

This story is not about me and my daughter. It is about a glimpse I had into some mother-daughter moments with students from my school and their moms. It happened on Saturday, at a district-wide event: the annual Multicultural Festival. The event includes performances of music, dance, poetry and speeches by students from elementary, middle and high schools, as well as displays of work by students that show how diversity is embraced and practiced in our schools. Our display featured “Where I Am From” poems written by 5th and 6th grade students to celebrate family heritage. We also had a table with writing materials, a copy of our mentor text (“Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon- 2015-16 Kentucky Poet Laureate, author and teacher), and a description of our writing process. Several of the student writers were scheduled to come throughout the day to interact with visitors, to share their poems and to encourage the visitors to try writing a poem.

A was the first student to arrive. I was a little worried when she first walked up to our display, because she was by herself. Since the program was at a local mall, in addition to approval for displaying the students’ work, I had requested in the permission form that a parent come and stay while their student was at the festival. It turned out that her mom was there, waiting nearby in the food court. A helped me finish setting up the display. I reminded her that her job would be to talk to visitors, ask to read her poem for them, and see if they would like to try writing a poem- and if they did, she could explain how we wrote our poems at school and guide the person as they started their poem. I suggested she could practice with her mom.

She went and got her mom and brought her over and introduced us. Then she pointed out her poem and asked her mother if she wanted to hear her read it. Of course, mom said yes. A proudly read her poem. She got a lot of smiles and a big hug. Then she showed her mom the materials on the table and asked if she would write a poem. After a brief protest, “Me? Write a poem?” mother and daughter went to work. What a magical moment to watch! Heads bent together, they laughed and talked happily as A showed her mom the brainstorming sheet we had used to gather ideas and mom began jotting things down. I even overheard A say some of the same things I had said to the students as we worked together at school! Proud smiles were on both faces when a draft of the poem was done. And, of course, I had a big smile, too.

A was an enthusiastic promoter of our display. She got a couple of other visitors to read her poem. She even got the district director of curriculum and instruction to sit and write a poem! It was a revelation to watch A. All too soon, it was time for her to leave.

I was at the table alone for quite awhile before M and her mom arrived. M read her poem and got a hug and smiles (and a big laugh) from her mom. She, too, explained to her mom how she wrote her poem and got mom to try it. When I asked her if she learned anything she didn’t know about her mom and their family, she grinned and nodded her head. There weren’t any other visitors for M to talk to (she might have been too shy anyway), but it was a great experience for her to share with her mom.

And those mother-daughter moments made my day!

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Spring Breezes

Gentle spring breezes
fly through the
tree branches,
setting the leaves
like the wings
of a thousand
emerald butterflies

Posted in poems | 11 Comments


I got up early this morning. I rushed to get ready. I had an important stop to make on the way to school. I got in my car and made the short drive to the local fire station. Approaching the door, I was met by an enthusiastic bunch of campaigners. I walked in and right up to to the table. The poll workers greeted me and had no trouble finding my name. There was no pressure or distraction from a long line of voters waiting behind me. There were no other voters behind me. I got my ballot and went straight to the booth to mark my choices. I took a few steps to the machine and inserted my ballot. I was voter #2!

It was early. The polls had not been open too long. Usually, though, the opening hours early in the morning, as people stop by on the way to work, are the busiest times. Today is the primary. There won’t be as many voters. Still, there are important decisions being made. I am glad to have a part in the process. I am not that political, but I believe in voting-
it is my right, duty, and privilege as a citizen.

I’m proudly wearing my voter’s sticker at school today. Our school is a voting site for the surrounding community. The students will see voters coming in today. I hope that with the example of teachers wearing “I voted” stickers and watching the process take place in their gym, the students will absorb a lesson they will remember as they grow up to become citizens with a vote, and that they will vote.

What about you? Do you cherish the vote you have?

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Another ABC Poem

Uninspired, unimaginative
Vapid, vacant, vexed
Weary, wilted, worn out and worn down

If the teacher feels this way after days of testing,
what about the students?

ABC Poem: A poem that creates a mood, picture, or feeling.The first four lines have a word, words or phrases that begin with letters in alphabetical order. The fifth line is a sentence beginning with any letter.

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Fifteen years ago, this date was Good Friday.
Fifteen years ago, love trembled in the air.
Fifteen years ago, treasured words were spoken.
Fifteen years ago, sweet embraces were shared.
Fifteen years ago, a battle was lost.
Fifteen years ago, countless tears were shed.
Fifteen years ago, a victory was won.
Fifteen years ago, we sang Amazing Grace.
Fifteen years ago, we began missing you.
And we still do.

In loving memory, JWA,
December 1952- April 2000

Posted in home and family, memories, poems | 9 Comments

ABC Poem

Lonely tonight
Melancholy heart
Nostalgic and wistful
Only me, myself, and I

Sometimes I still yearn for the past.

ABC Poem: A poem that creates a moood, picture, or feeling.The first four lines have a word, words or phrases that begin with letters in alphabetical order. The fifth line is a sentence beginning with any letter.

Posted in poems, Uncategorized | 2 Comments