Slice of Life 24 of 31

A love poem – this is the most revised poem I’ve written.

The Ruins

– For Hugh Cook of Farringdon,
the last Abbot of Reading.

The watery part of air swallowed
us in gigantic cold bursts that
we sat body to body in the smooth
oval of the ancient window. Parts
of the abbey were buried under
mounds of soft grasses and rich
sopping sod, but our window sat
proud of its barrow so we could
huddle in the dead of winter
night, and watch the silent rain.

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Slice of Life 23 of 31

This poem is about the cat I cared for before Mumphrey. I was also taking a T.S. Eliot grad class at SFSU and was reading Allen Ginsberg a lot when I wrote it.

In conversation with my cat I asked about
Eliot and if she’d met him, but she bit me
and told me she was just a cat who had
drank from the waters of Lethe.
To which 
I replied, “Yes, I gulped them too,
but I
 don’t think I drank that much.”

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Slice of Life 17 of 31

I wrote this poem after I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, then spoke to my parents who lived through bombings by the German Luftwaffe. My father’s family house was bombed completely, and they had to move to a different city temporarily during WWII. I have never found a title for this piece, so I leave it Untitled. I use anaphora in this poem too.

Untitled 2008

Because I never lived through it

Never heard the sirens

Nor saw the spiders under the

stairs, I can see how they were

innocent like us, and hated the

father and knew his lies.

Because I never ran for shelter

during school or dinner or

midnight rendezvouses, I can

feel their horror matched to ours,

and know some had hearts 
enlarged
to hide just a handful 
of Jews.

Because I never starved on

rations for years after

never struggled to buy eggs

or flour, I can understand they

were rationed too, and children

played despite the mires.

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Slice of Life 16 of 31

Today’s poem is an example of Prose Poetry.

In Memoriam, L23

To most that haven’t lived there it is a broken, rough, rundown sort of a place. I would stare at the ruined buildings from an old war and think, are they the reason my parents left? There are graves in the rough, rundown city that mean something to us, and every now and then we would drive to the graves in the broken city. Seemed like hours spent in daddy’s car to get to what looked like a forgotten patch off the high street in the district of Crosby. St. Luke’s Church Cemetary, L23.

And flowers were brought as my sister and I skipped in our matching mary-janes, holding hands. We would hop and glide to the back wall and find them, lying there, waiting for someone to remember. Minutes were spent cleaning and maintaining, and I would read and read and read. I would follow the names, most had two, then tried to find the oldest date, or the youngest death. But mostly I re-read their names and their years on the one that was ours.

They left behind a son and five daughters, grandchildren, and siblings. Only two of the daughters remain in the city, the rest left, like us. In the end, we moved too far away to stop by those graves that mean something to us, and I would like to think the living that remain still visit, as we who are not can no longer bring flowers.

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Slice of Life 10 of 31

Below is a found poem I created using the Verses Poetry app, available on some smart phones/tablets.

Found poetry is a great activity for students to explore the language and concepts from passages, or novels they have read. Found poems can also be created with word banks generated on a topic from a class discussion.

Found Poem

You real 
like moonlight

twice light.
 Full funny
moonfaced
 she’d say:
six sank
 secret, nine times.

He blinked, knowing possible

yawning editions of his

broken, uncorked changes

driving Route Seventeen,

plainly grumbled, why her.

Slice of Life 9 of 31

For Adrienne Rich

When I found her words
I was broken and
shattered into pieces
by me and men, and
our promises forgotten.

When I read her words
they seeped into my
heart, one by one, and
slowly she healed me,
soothing my memory

and replacing my
cowardice with womanly
bravery.  I dove with
her into the wreck, and
the pieces of me once lost
I found in her words,

like lifesavers
thrown out to me in the
depths, and they
kept me from sinking.

Her words are magick.
She told herstory
so women like you and
me could surface from
the wreckage of history.

Slice of Life 3 of 31

Poetry is my favorite genre of literature and I could write about it all day long, which is why I wanted to participate in the judging of my school district’s poetry contest. I’m thinking about poetry a lot this weekend, and all the times I ask my students to write poetically, makes me want to share a poem I wrote alongside my grade 10 students last year.

In our Springboard textbook we were looking at the repetitive literary device: anaphora (pronounced ~ ann-aff-ra) in the poem Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon, and relating the subject to our own lives. Students love to share stories about themselves, and the expression of where they are from in terms of their societal and familial culture poetically is an interesting activity for students to explore these concepts.

I too found it interesting and had just watched Paths of Glory and Oh! What a Lovely War when I wrote this around Armistice in 2011 🙂

Where I’m From

I am from the silver birches
and the white willows,
the beet beeches in towering
majesty – their leaves raked in
mounds for years.

I’m from meat and potato
pasties and lamb chops.
From Imelda and Stanley.
I’m from the Children Should
Be Seen and Not Heard,
from quiet restraint and
the belief in happiness.
I’m from all day Sunday walks
and the Dawn Chorus.

I am from old Roman roads
and red pillar boxes.
I am from the grim
and the grime of a dead empire
(the losses piled high,
slowly forgotten.)

I’m from men who fought
in trenches and men who
built ships of war.
From those that survived
on rations and triumphed
the barrage of the blitz.

I am from the millions of
war dead and from fragments
of civilization not left behind
in the foreign fields.

Granddad's WWI medals

Granddad’s WWI medals