POETRY TIME BLOG #33
Hello children's poetry peeps.
Not going to lie, with all that's going on during National Poetry Month, I was going to recap all things poetical sometime in June when school is officially over across the country. However, two offers came up that I couldn't refuse.
The first is former Children's Poet Laureate of the United States J. Patrick Lewis e-mailing me with a request to post a poem here at Poetry Time about the late great baseball player/trailblazer Jackie Robinson. Pat has a book coming out about Mr. Robinson next year and since on this day, 69 years ago, Mr. Robinson broke the color barrier by making his major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pat thought to honor him with a poetic gift, which you can read below. Thanks, Pat, for choosing my blog as a poetic vessel for your poem about one of the most important figures of the 20th century.
Jackie Robinson Day
First African American baseball
player in the modern era
I run down
the line, eight feet,
nine….and feint to feel
the rush between the third
baseman’s brush back and home.
Whitey Ford stares through me, sneak thief
playing on his disbelief, a phantom blackbird
on and off
the dare, flinching,
inching along the ledge
to legend. I time the windup,
my pistons primed to shovel under
Yogi’s glove. Yankee Stadium is stunned!
But you can hear the cheering all the way from
©J. Patrick Lewis -- all rights reserved.
Also, PBS released a two-part documentary about Mr. Robinson to coincide with the anniversary of him breaking baseball's color barrier. You can find more information about the documentary here:
The second offer I couldn't refuse is my poetic pal and forever friend, Irene Latham, asking me to contribute to her annual Progressive Poem shindig, and I happily accepted! Besides myself and Irene, there is a big list of Poetry Friday bloggers who are contributing:
1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots
6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
10 Pat at Writer on a Horse
11 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
12 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Me at Poetry Time
20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write
On April 19th I will add my line to the poem everyone is stringing together day by day.
Here is the poem at it stands now with my lines in itaclics at the bottom:
A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I'd choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.
A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child's outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I'd dive, I'd dip, I'd dance with glee.
A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life -seen and unseen.
Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams --
West Wind is dreaming May, it seems. Golden wings open and gleam
as I greet the prancing team.
Gliding aside with lyrical speed
Also, on April 1st I appeared on the blog of award-winning writer Penny Parker Klostermann with two poems by me based on the drawings from my niece, Amani Gibson and my nephew, Dane Syeer Sanders. So thankful to connect creatively with my loved ones. Thanks for the opportunities, Penny! You can find the blog post here.
The organization Healing Arts Initiative, who, according to there mission statement: inspires healing, growth and learning through engagement in the arts for the underserved, commissioned me once again to perform my Poetry Time show. This time at The Pavilion at Queens for Rehab and Nursing. Most of the population there are senior citizens, so I had a chance to perform more of my mature children's poems, which I usually do for Middle School students. Each poem seemed to go over well, especially during my Thoughtful Set, which deals with poems about difficult emotions.
On April 25th I'll be performing at the Voila L. Sickles School in Fair Haven, NJ. Thank you Kathleen Bayer and Kerry Maguire for facilitating my upcoming visit. I've spent a chunk of time in Fair Haven before with friends, sailing, eating sumptuous meals, soaking in the Monmouth County atmosphere. I can't wait to come back.
I'm looking forward to making a return visit to The Churchill School & Center on April 26th where I'll be conducting workshops and helping students perform their own poems. Thank you Paula Zamora Gonzalez for the invitation.
I leave you all with a poem based on a true story of what I witnessed while walking to the Poets House for another marathon writing session.
On my way to the library I pass a senior citizen home.
Gazing into the window, I see wispy haired humans,
slouched over like crowbars had been inserted
into their backs, trudging along with the help
of stainless steel walking sticks. One block later
I glide by a nursery school, witness wispy haired
infants tottering back and forth before crashing
down on their bottoms, a worthy attempt at
walking foiled, for now. In one city block I see
the check points at each end of life’s rainbow.
© Charles Waters 2016 all rights reserved.