Thursday, May 31, 2018

Some words to carry with you . . .


"Sorry No Image Available" by n e o g e j o

"Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook. You won't find it and it will bugger up your soufflé."       

                        – Tim Minchin


June 1st.

Phew, I made it! At certain points last month, I was doubtful I would. Life has been unfolding at such a fast clip, it's been a challenge simply to keep pace. No wonder I struggled to come up with a window poem last month—quite frankly, I couldn't sit still long enough! But thanks to Diane Mayr's helpful link to a marvelous series of "Haiku Windows" at the Haiku Foundation, inspiration appeared in the nick of time. (Read my window haiku here.)

My Wave Pics
I imagine many of you are also finding yourselves racing at breakneck speed toward summer's open door.

It's not just students who are smelling the lusty scent of freedom. Teachers wrapping up the school year are ready for something new, and parents, too, are suffering from physical burnout and mental malaise. While some teachers are putting their final marks on the year and others are envisioning what comes next (ie, life after teaching), there are parents like myself who have children embarking on new life adventures. Whether a teacher or parent, it's exhausting walking that line between trying to be helpful and letting our children find their own path. We all wonder whether we've done enough.


Time marches on.
My oldest is graduating high school tomorrow.

          Is he ready?
                                     I think so.

                      Am I?
                                     Doesn't matter. It's happening whether I'm ready or not.

To commemorate Dylan's graduation, I'd like to share some words from Australian entertainer Tim Minchin—his nine life lessons. While it's not poetry—it's a commencement address that took place at the University of Western Australia in 2013—you'll certainly find aspects of poetry, including metaphor, observation, introspection, and a fresh perspective.

(If you'd rather read a more traditional graduation-themed poem today, I suggest the one Linda Baie shared last week by William Stafford or my own from the Carol Boston Weatherford's abecedarian challenge last September—"A Mother's Advice.")

Comedian Tim Minchin has been described as "unabashedly offensive," but this video is fairly tame. There are just a couple of moments where parental guidance is advised. Minchin's recommendations include atypical notions like "you don't have to have a dream," "don't seek happiness," and "remember, it's all luck," as well as heartfelt pleas to "be a teacher," "define yourself by what you love," and "respect people with less power than you." You may not agree with everything he has to say (or how he says it), but he's funny, thought-provoking, insightful, and surely deserves twelve minutes of your time.

Listen up, Dylan—this is for you.


Minchin closes his talk with this:
Life will sometimes feel long and tough, and God, it's tiring. And sometimes you will be happy and sometimes sad, and then you'll be old, and then you'll be dead. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is— fill it. ... It's an incredibly exciting thing, this one meaningless life of yours.

His advice prompted me to check in with my one little word for 2018—RESOLVE. At the beginning of the year I resolved to find out what I was capable of.  How was I going to fill up this one wild and precious year of my lucky life? Reflecting on my specific goals, I've completed one of the two new manuscripts I intended to write this year. This is good—yay me! On the other hand, I haven't sent off nearly as many submissions as I *should* have by now. (I'm really terrible about submitting my work.) But that's okay. Perhaps I'll do some catching up this summer. Or, maybe I won't put extra pressure on myself to catch up. I'll just take things as they come.

If I'm to heed Tim Minchin's advice, Life Lesson #1 entails "passionate dedication to the pursuit of short term goals":
Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you might not see the shiny thing out in the corner of your eye.

"Noticing" by Mark

While Today's Little Ditty is on summer hiatus, I'll be enjoying some overseas travel, helping my son pack up for college, and, if all goes according to plan, welcoming my parents who are also undergoing a major life change this summer. If I commit to any more than that, I'm in danger of crowding out the shiny things. So for that reason, one thing I won't be doing this summer is forming a new ditty committee or working on a new volume of The Best of Today's Little Ditty. Instead, I anticipate a 2017-2018 edition coming out in 2019. I do have some very exciting Spotlight ON interviews scheduled for this fall, however, so stay tuned for those!

For now, I'd like to leave you with one final thought:

"Paper Trails" by Leland Francisco























Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.
                                                                                                                         – James Tate

Remember that even when I'm not here, you can satisfy your ditty-writing itch by using these handy-dandy alphabetical listings of Spotlight ON interviews and DMC wrap-up celebrations.



As for last month's fabulous challenge brought to us by Julie Fogliano, we've had several more window poems added to the padlet since last Friday. I've added them to the wrap-up presentation and sincerely hope that you'll take another look.

Diane Mayr has carried the window poem challenge into June! Be sure to check out the one she is featuring today at Random Noodling.


Random.org has determined that the winner of a personalized copy of a house that once was by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith, is . . .

JUANITA HAVILL
Congratulations, Juanita!


Join Buffy Silverman for a celebration of summer helicopter seeds and this week's Poetry Friday roundup.


DMC: "window seat" by M. H. Barnes





window seat
the mystery unfolds—
origami moon

© 2018 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Julie Fogliano. She has challenged us to stare out the window and write a poem about what we see. You might even consider writing something down every day for a week: 
At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.  – J. F.
You have until today at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our May 2018 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Julie's stunning new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:






Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DMC: A cherita by Diane Mayr





backyard gone wild
 

the grass needs cutting
desperately
 

it is too late, now...
three young rabbits have found
their world

© 2018 Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Julie Fogliano. She has challenged us to stare out the window and write a poem about what we see. You might even consider writing something down every day for a week: 
At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.  – J. F.
You have until Thursday, May 31st, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our May 2018 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Julie's stunning new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:






Tuesday, May 29, 2018

DMC: "The Unappreciated Ninjas" by Angelique Pacheco




THE UNAPPRECIATED NINJAS

I look out of windows,
in Japan where I stay,
I see rooftops,
Chimneys made of clay.

Rats scramble over shops,
And fly across flats,
I begin to imagine,
Urban hilltops.

Where ninjas battle,
And samurai’s hold sway,
Where fears are far,
And nerves don’t fray.

The train screams,
Pulling in the station,
I look down,
To see a Gaijin Invasion.

© 2018 Angelique Pacheco. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Julie Fogliano. She has challenged us to stare out the window and write a poem about what we see. You might even consider writing something down every day for a week: 
At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.  – J. F.
You have until Thursday, May 31st, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our May 2018 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Julie's stunning new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:






Monday, May 28, 2018

DMC: "Circle of Life" by M. Hogan




CIRCLE OF LIFE

Outside my window
morning light grows
the glassy-eyed chipmunk 
yesterday’s gift from my cat
still lies on the granite step

Last night
snarls ripped through 
the dark
My fervent calls
yielded no response
just furtive rustling 
in the shadowed woods
I slipped back indoors
into uneasy sleep

Outside my window
morning light grows
the chipmunk remains
my cat does not appear.

© 2018 M. Hogan. All rights reserved.

* Note from Michelle: I'm pleased to report that Molly's cat did eventually return!

 
Click HERE to read this month's interview with Julie Fogliano. She has challenged us to stare out the window and write a poem about what we see. You might even consider writing something down every day for a week: 
At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.  – J. F.
You have until Thursday, May 31st, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our May 2018 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Julie's stunning new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:






Thursday, May 24, 2018

May DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway


"A View to Remember" by Marjan Lazarevski

Only be willing to search for poetry, and there will be poetry:
My soul, a tiny speck, is my tutor.
Evening sun and fragrant grass are common things, 
But, with understanding, they can become glorious verse.
          – Yuan Mei

May's ditty challenge has been all about finding glorious verse in common things. 

Read my Two Line Tuesday post related to this month's challenge HERE.

At the beginning of the month, Julie Fogliano challenged us "to stare out the window and write what you see."  She elaborated:
Is there a bird out there? What is it doing? Is anyone walking by? Where do you think they’re going? Is it raining? What does it sound like?  Is there a car going by? A train? It doesn’t have to be anything big or exciting that you write about. Just write what you see. Do that everyday for a week. At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.

Apparently, many of you did see birds— 
along with a few squirrels, a cat or two, and numerous signs of the seasonal changeover.

On a personal note, I'm wondering if this is the month I break my track record and neglect to write something. It would be a shame—I haven't missed a challenge since the Ditty of the Month Club's inception in May 2014! But the month isn't over yet, so I guess there's still a chance. I'll be sharing a few more daily ditties next week.


Whether your view is grand . . .

Justin Kern

or more subdued . . .

Vladimir Agafonkin

your poetic perspective is always welcome here.


Many thanks to those of you who have already shared your window view, and especially to Julie Fogliano for the opportunity to slow down and let the world come knocking.


Scroll through the poems below, or for best viewing, CLICK HERE.

Made with Padlet


Inspired to write about what's outside your window?

Dan Vel

There's still time. . .

cgc76


Post your poem on our May 2018 padlet by 5:00 pm (EST) on Thursday, May 31st, and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation.









Participants in this month's challenge will automatically be entered to win a personalized copy of a house that once was by Julie Fogliano, with illustrations by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press, 2018). One entry per participant, not per poem.

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below. Comments must also be received no later than 5:00 pm (EST) on Thursday, May 31st. If you contribute a poem and comment below, you will receive two entries in total.

The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced next Friday, June 1st.



Margaret Simon has "More than Meets the Eye" at this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Reflections on the Teche. Thanks to a photo and poetry exchange among PF regulars, you'll find many more views and poetic responses. Enjoy!




DMC: "A Grand View" by Janie Lazo




A GRAND VIEW

Sticky fingerprints
A sweet reminder of you
Window to my heart


© 2018 Janie Lazo. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Julie Fogliano. She has challenged us to stare out the window and write a poem about what we see. You might even consider writing something down every day for a week:
At the end of the week, read through what you wrote and write your favorite bits on a separate piece of paper. I bet there will be a poem in there somewhere… see if you can find it.  – J. F.
Leave your poem on our May 2018 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration tomorrow, Friday, May 25th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her stunning new picture book from Roaring Brook Press: