Thursday, August 7, 2014

ORDINARY THINGS & Cherries from Keri!

Hello, and happy Poetry Friday! Please visit poet-reader-teacher Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for Roundup. Also, don't forget to enter to win a copy of my new book DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST at Goodreads! It releases September 1, so you'll get a sneak peek. :)

I've been reading ORDINARY THINGS: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring by Ralph Fletcher, drawing by Walter Lyon Krudop. It's delightful! But before I share some poems, I have to share my latest Summer Poem Swap treasure. It's from Keri at Keri Recommends. I've met Keri -- she's wonderful... and she's a beekeeper, and a new quilter! I could talk with her for days. And, oh my, THIS POEM.

Cherries (3098512076)
By Grzegorz Jereczek from Gdańsk, Poland (Cherries  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Breakfast Al Fresco
by Keri Collins Lewis
for Irene Latham

Robins
sing merrily,
perched in the cherry tree,
breakfast red and ripe for pecking:
fruit course.
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Isn't that succulent? Love! Thank you, Keri!

Now back to ORDINARY THINGS. It contains poems about everyday things in nature, and manmade things. Here are a few of my favorite poems in the collection:

stream
by Ralph Fletcher

No place better than a stream
to think out a tough decision
or just sit back and dream.

No one built the winding paths
that stream waters follow
except water and rock and land.

Stream decisions take time
and water is world famous
for stopping to change its mind.


mailboxes
by Ralph Fletcher

When I step from the forest
onto the hard black asphalt
my eyes start to play tricks.

That fire hydrant turns into 
a toddler dressed to the gills
in a snug winter snowsuit.

See those mailboxes over there?
To me they look like old people
dancing slowly cheek-to-cheek.


railroad tracks
by Ralph Fletcher

I got built ninety years back by
sweating stinking swearing men.

For decades every kind of train
screeched on my back. No more.

Winters here can be pretty bleak
but wildflowers always come back.

Empty nests have that forlorn look
'till the songbirds return in May.

The swamp is quiet but soon frogs
will take up their monotonous chant.

My back remains unbroken but only
ghost locomotives rattle these rails.




29 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Oh, I agree! I love anything in nature that shows it's okay to change one's mind. :)

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  2. Keri's poem is delightful with its "merrily" and "cherry" in close proximity!

    Ralph Fletcher's "railroad tracks" is so New England. I love how our old abandoned tracks are now overgrown with wildflowers and some are being re-purposed into a series of rail trails.

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    1. Keri did so many things with this poem that are just brilliant! The "pecking" instead of "picking"... wonderful! And you know, I would have said "railroad tracks" is so SOUTHERN! I guess there are abandoned tracks all over the country. Thanks for stopping by, Diane! xo

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  3. Ralph Fletcher has such an ordinary voice in his poems about ordinary things. I think that's what makes this a great mentor text for kids. They can imagine writing poems like that.

    Love those cherries -- poem and pic!!

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    1. I think you are right, Mary Lee -- these poems are not pretentious and very accessible. Yet each contains a lovely surprise, which is probably my favorite thing in poetry. Thanks for stopping by on a busy Roundup hosting day! xo

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  4. ORDINARY THINGS has been one of my all time favorite poetry books for many, many years. I love DAFFODILS. And MYRIAD. And the one about clippings from a haircut being part of a robin's nest.

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    1. Oh, wow, you really know the book Carol! I love hearing about people's favorites. "Myriad" is such a great word... I wrote it in my writing journal after reading that poem... must put in my writing somewhere! Thank you for visiting. xo

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  5. Cherries for breakfast -- delicious! What a treat to receive a poem from Keri. :-) I think Railroad Tracks is my favorite. So evocative.

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    1. Railroad Tracks is my favorite Ralph Fletcher poem, I mean. I love those ghost locomotives

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  6. This whole post - full of its touchable, smellable concrete nouns of daily life - is just what I needed today. Beautiful! Counting the days until September 1...

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    1. I love those concrete nouns, too, Amy. Thanks or stopping by! xo

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  7. Love Keri's 'fruit course'-what a picture she's created for you, Irene. And Fletcher has given so much through the years-beautiful poems here. Love "and water is world famous/for stopping to change its mind." Missouri has its "Katy trail", a bike and walking path all through the state-old Katy rr tracks. I don't think Colorado has done this-still using the few tracks we have!

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    1. Linda, that "fruit course" is pretty genius, isn't it?? I love the way some states are making parks/paths out of the old rr tracks. Really nice. Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  8. Great post, Irene! Love Keri's image of the robins, merrily singing and eating cherries. Mary Lee is absolutely right: Ralph Fletcher's poems are perfect mentors. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Irene, you presented the reader with quite a potpourri of texts to whet our palate and to top it off you presented Ralph Fletcher's poems in your beautiful, melodic voice. I enjoyed the sensory images that exploded on this page for me.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Carol, for visiting, and for listening! xo

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  10. Replies
    1. Thank you for mentioning the form, Monica! I love when a form poem comes off so well that we forget all about the form... then when we remember, we're like WOW. Happy day to you!

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  11. My favorite poem from ORDINARY THINGS is "maple syrup buckets." I've had the honor of hearing Ralph Fletcher read his poems on two different occasions. I own most of his books. No matter what genre he writes, nonfiction, poetry, fiction... the voice is always friendly and comforting. His work is an inspiration for writers of all ages. Thanks, Irene, for sharing these lovely poems.

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    1. Linda, why does it not surprise me that you are a RF fan?? Your voice is friendly and comforting as well. Thank you for visiting! xo

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  12. Keri is a multi-talent, isn't she? I like "perched" on same line as cherry. Thanks for the Ralph Fletcher poems - really enjoy his work.

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    1. Robyn, you are Keri are birds of a feather, you multi-talented gals you! Thanks for visiting. xo

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  13. What a lovely cherry poem by Keri!

    The poems you shared by Fletcher are wonderful. And listening to you read them doubled the enjoyment.

    Violet N.

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    1. Violet, so glad you enjoyed Keri's cherries. (I just want to say that again and again :) Thank you for visiting, and happy day to you. xo

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  14. I'm starting to think of the cinquain as Keri's signature form. They just keep getting more juicy and delicious! She picked a perfect title, too, didn't she? Thanks also for sharing the RF treats, Irene. I identified most with "stream," especially that last stanza.

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  15. Hi, Irene--

    My favorite one of Ralph's is "mailboxes," because of the way the mailboxes deliver a surprising look at the landscape, how the hydrant spews out a whole litt person!

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  16. Thank you for sharing Keri's succulent read - that was a beautiful poem, Irene.
    It is also the first time I'm hearing of fletcher's Ordinary Things, these are the lines that caught me today:
    "No place better than a stream
    to think out a tough decision
    or just sit back and dream."

    - I think I need more days like these. :)

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  17. I like the way Kerri stacked the lines like a tree with robins perched on the top and the perfect ending - fruit course. The voice of the tracks in Fletcher's poem "railroad tracks" leave me with the feeling that the tracks don't mind that the former screeching trains have been exchanged for the music of wildflowers, birds and frogs. Thanks for sharing, Irene, and congratulations on your forthcoming book!

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Your thoughts?