Friday, August 9, 2013


Hello and happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit amazing poet-teacher Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for Roundup!

And now, for more Valerie Worth! (See sidebar for previous posts in this series.) Today's theme is the beach, because who doesn't love the beach? Actually I can think of a few people... and I have my own peculiarities about the beach. Read on!


With sparks,
With flames,

The dark
To cling
And shine

Until the
Slow tide

Not even
What stars

Even so,

- Valerie Worth

I find starfish so inspiring. Their ability to regenerate -- I mean, what a great metaphor for all the ways we can grow and change and rebuild our lives after hardship.


The dead crab
Lies still,
Limp on dry sand,

All strength to crawl
Gone from his
Hard shell--

But he keeps a shape
Of old anger
Curved along his claws.

- Valerie Worth

One of my favorite memories from taking kids to the beach is going out after dark with flashlights to spot crabs. 

And THAT reminds me of a date I went on in high school: the boy went to a more rural school than I did, and he picked me up in a pick-up truck. We went to a dance at his high school, and afterwards we went spotting for deer. That's right: spotting for deer. This involved driving into a pasture and shining the high beams toward the edge of the woods. Sure enough, before long, we saw red eyes and deer leaping along the treeline. The boy I was with was pretty excited. It was a neat experience -- kind of like fishing, with all the waiting -- but that boy wasn't the boy for me.


The kite, kept
Indoors, wears
Dread paper
On tight-
Boned wood,
Pulls at the tied
Cord only
By its weight –

But held
To the wind,
It is another thing,
Turned strong,
Struck alive,
Wild to be torn
Away from the hand
Into high air:

Where it rides
A small, clear
Wing, having
Nothing at all
To do
With string.

- Valerie Worth

There's something about a kite, isn't there? Here's a pic of the kite we flew earlier this year in Destin, Florida.


After that tight
Choke of sock
And blunt
Weight of shoe,

The foot can feel
Clover's green

And the fine
Of gentle grass,

And the cool
Of the earth

- Valerie Worth

One of my kids hates the feel of sand between his toes (or on his skin anywhere). And while this poem is about bare feet in grass, when I think about being barefooted, I think about the beach. I mean, shoes are pointless on the beach! And me personally? I love the feel of sand. Especially wet sand or cool night sand.


My father's mother
Picked up the shell
And turned it about
In her hand that was
Crinkled, glossy and
Twined with veins,
The fingers rumpled
Into soft roses
At the knuckles, and
She said, “Why did
That little creature
Take so much trouble
To be beautiful?”

- Valerie Worth

That question at the end is one that we could ask of so many things in the world... so much beauty for no reason at all except to be beautiful. And don't we need beauty?! It reminds me of the great John Muir quote:

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”


The sun
Is a leaping fire
Too hot
To go near,

But it will still
Lie down
In warm, yellow squares
On the floor

Like a flat
Quilt, where
The cat can curl
And purr.

- Valerie Worth

Again, a poem not set at the beach but one I can't separate from the beach. While I prefer shade any day and love the beach at night far better than during the day, the is sun something, isn't it? I recently enjoyed this article about a large coronal hole near the sun's north pole. And who can resist the "warm, yellow squares" in this poem?

Wishing all of you warm yellow squares... summer vacation will be over in these parts in a week and a half. Too fast, I say. Too fast!


  1. Us too in a week and a half, although I'm going in now & then. More beautiful poems, & loved your comments too, Irene. So much to observe about the ocean and the beach. We didn't fly a kite this time, next year? Love the poem, 'Seashell'!

  2. So much beauty in these tiny poems. Thank you for continuing to share Worth's brilliant poems. I love "sun" and those "warm, yellow squares." Coincidentally, today I'm sharing an original poem inspired by one of those photos of the magnified sand!

  3. lovely poems by Valerie Worth. We can learn so much about technique from her spare but powerful poems.

  4. I think this is what they mean by mentor texts. I learn so much by paying careful attention to her poems. Thanks for sharing more of them.

  5. Valerie Worth really knew how to pack a lot into her small poems. I am enjoying revisiting her work through your blog, and I love reading your reflections that accompany each poem!

  6. These poems made me remember that it is still summer...although not for long! A lovely collection, and , like Linda, I loved all the stories that went with each.

  7. Thanks for sharing more of Worth's poems. She is so inspirational. And thanks for sharing the anecdotes between the poems. The "spotting for deer" on a date was a first for me. LOL!

  8. Love Valerie Worth, and these are some terrific ones! Thanks, Irene!

  9. I don't think my summer would have been complete without a last hurrah at the beach and these lovely poems to commemorate it! Barefoot and Seashell were my favorites... I'm not sure which I fell in love with more.

  10. Valerie Worth is a genius the way she magnifies the simplest things so we can see them differently.


Your thoughts?