Not-So-Little Mrs. Mama

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Not-so-Little Mrs. Mama,
half asleep in her pajamas,
was eating her Special K.
Then along came the brood
all screaming for food,
and she knew she would miss this one day.

Copyright @ A.E. Edwards

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In Memory of the Central Arkansas Tornado (and a Ted Kooser Poem)

I turn to poetry when something hurts or feels weird, or when the world seems a bit tilted. It cuts it all down to the essentials…to the images, the metaphors, and the abstract thought condensed in a single verb and noun relationship. Poetry employs juxtapositions, which is a powerful technique. Playwriting should do the same with dialogue. It distills the complicated moment, the essentials of the characters, and the metaphysics that take place around it. Don’t worry, this is not an English paper. There is no time for that around here. This is an introduction to a contemporary poem by Poet laureate Ted Kooser. I turned to this poem last night.

I feel a great loss for the families in central Arkansas that lost their lives, their family members, their homes, their heirlooms, photographs – it hurts. This poem struck me in that place of great pain and loss. It was a place if empathy and compassion that I could barely stomach. That’s what I needed. I tossed it away “with great force”, as Dorothy Parker would say. It made me angry and I had to read it again. I battled with this poem all night. It pretty much describes the essence of how poetry is timeless and necessary in our cultural history when dealing with loss. I have not done a critical analysis of the poem, therefore it may not be about a particular storm, or a storm at all. It actually seems more like a story of a family losing their farm for monetary reasons. But for me it captured that loss juxtaposed with a sigh of relief I felt when I heard about the damage that the tornado on April 27, 2014 caused in central Arkansas. I felt a loss in that it is my own state, because I am a wife and parent, a family member, a friend, a homeowner, and all of the above. There is a story in every piece of rubble that remains from whatever storm may come through our lives.

Abandoned Farmhouse
BY TED KOOSER

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm–a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

Copyright 1980.

Ashley

http://www.poetryoutloud.org/

A Week of Reworked Nursery Rhymes

Odilon Redon, "The Egg"

Odilon Redon, “The Egg”

I love nursery rhymes. I read them often to my children and they are pretty easy for them to memorize and most students learn them as early as Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. We all know them. For this week, I am reworking some nursery rhymes to speak to the mothers (or any parent’s) heart. Below are some links that I am using to revisit old favorites. In the meantime, I will also be sharing the original nursery rhymes with my children and exploring ways to work with them and learn from them. So stay tuned and enjoy!

Nursery Rhyme General Information and Lists:
http://www.rhymes.org.uk/

http://www.nurseryrhymes.org/nursery-rhymes.html

http://voices.yahoo.com/a-reason-rhyme-nursery-rhymes-introduce-toddlers-1268235.html

http://wps.pearsoned.com/wps/media/objects/6524/6681334/NurseryRhymesTeachingSounds.pdf

Nursery Rhyme Structure:
http://kf016.k12.sd.us/lesson_two.htm

Poem from Mrs. Parker

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Bohemia

Dorothy Parker

Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.
Sculptors and singers and those of their kidney
Tell their affairs from Seattle to Sydney.
Playwrights and poets and such horses’ necks
Start off from anywhere, end up at sex.
Diarists, critics, and similar roe
Never say nothing, and never say no.
People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;
God, for a man that solicits insurance!

Haiku Mom: Spring is Here and Kids Learn to Write Poetry

Spring Is Here

I.
mamas wake early
to rain splashing the window
and little footsteps.

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II.
here comes the spring sun
children running across grass
rain is gone today.

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III.
bedtime now comes late
stacks of books by bed will wait
till we see the moon.

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Copyright@ A.E Edwards

Photo Credit Ben Edwards 2014

My second grader is studying Poetry in her classroom at school during the month of April. Haiku, an ancient Japanese form, is proving to be an easy way for kids to learn how to create poetry. It provides a simple structure for them to organize their thoughts. It is three lines with 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third (5-7-5). Haiku poems are usually about nature and include distilled thoughts on the seasons.

My daughter is working on some of her own. Since Mama is a poet, I have to remember not to be too strict on her to stick to “form”, but to let her be creative and explore making poetry in her own way. She wants me to post some when she is finished.

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Here are some easy and informative resources on Haiku poetry.

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/five-creative-ways-teach-haiku

http://www.poetryteachers.com/poetclass/lessons/haiku.html

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5782

The Anger Charm: A Pantoum

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You wear your anger
like a pendant
around your neck
and sometimes it chokes

like a pendant
it hangs there striking
and sometimes it chokes
as a reminder of the sting

it hangs there striking
possessing a cold beauty
as a reminder of the sting
conjured up not to forgive

possessing a cold beauty
it has you under a spell
conjured up not to forgive
it’s your weapon if needed

it has you under a spell
a charm or tempting hold
it’s your weapon if needed
but peace comes from unclasping.

Copyright @A.E. Edwards 2014