Friday, August 16, 2013


Well, hello there. How did it get to be Poetry Friday again?? Lisa has Roundup at Steps and Staircases.

Here, I am continuing my series of Valerie Worth poems, which, could, if I wanted, go on FOREVER. Such wonderful, inspiring work! Alas, I will be winding it up the last Friday of the month and moving on to something new for September. I mean, isn't that what September is for? New and sparkly things? If you're thinking "school," then yes, new and sparkly, indeed. My guys go back next Monday, which means I will once again transform from lazy-morning-pajama-mom to fierce carpool queen. Hey, somebody's gotta do it!

And now, without further ado: simple machines!

magnifying glass

Small grains
In a stone
Grow edges
That twinkle:

The smooth
Moth's wing
Sprouts feathers
Like shingles;

My thumb
is wrapped
In rich
Satin wrinkles.

- Valerie Worth

Are you familiar with The Private Eye inquiry method which utilizes a jeweler's loupe to change perspective and challenge you to go deep into analogies? That's what's happening in this poem... and it's one of my favorite things to do with nature items. I also love to use this method during poetry workshops in the classroom. Wonderful, mind-popping stuff!

This maple leaf photo is one my brother took after I asked him specifically to create some photos that magnified nature items. Pretty brilliant, huh? And gorgeous!
photo by MicaJon Dykes


This small
Flat horseshoe
Is sold for
A toy: we are
Told that it
Will pick up pins
And it does, time
After time; later
It lies about,
Getting its red
Paint chipped, being
Offered pins less
Often, until at
Last we leave it
Alone: then
It leads its own
Life, trading
Secrets with
The North Pole,
Invisible messages
From the sun.

- Valerie Worth

My husband has got to be the sweetest man on the planet. He often sings or emails or texts to me the lyrics of love songs. Lots of times I will pick up the phone and it will be just music as he's driving. One he often sends is an old song by Walter Egan w/ Stevie Nicks called "Magnet and Steel." He'll write: "you are the magnet, and I am steel." SWEET.


The hose
Can squeeze
Water to
A silver rod
That digs
Hard holes
In the mud,

Or, muzzled
Tighter by
The nozzle,
Can rain
Chill diamond
Across the yard,

Or fanned
out fine,
Can hang
A silk
Over soft fog.

- Valerie Worth

It pretty much broke my heart when news reports declared hose water unsafe to drink. I can remember many many MANY times as a kid dashing from the woods or the horses or the trampoline to refresh with the hose pipe. I mean, who wanted to go inside, ever? It would be like breaking the spell to cross the threshold from heat to comfort, adventure to containment...  

A new pail,
Straight, tight,
Brushed to a cold
Silver shine,

Soon learns
Other ways:
Once filled with
Oats or ashes,

Grayed by rain,
Its handle
Bent, its
Bottom dented,

Grown peaceful
And plain,
it becomes
A real pail.

- Valerie Worth

Funny thing: I pretty much never say "pail." It's always "bucket." Which of course is a bumpier word, with more dents than a pail. One never thinks of a bucket as new and shiny... always like the second part of this poem. Which term do you prefer?


Only a litter
Of bright bits,
Tipped and tumbled
Over each other
Until they huddle
Untidily all
In one corner,

Where their
Reflections wake
And break into
Crystals, petals,
Stars: only
The tricks of
Mirrors, but

Still miracles,
Like snowflakes
Shaken from jumbled
Clouds, or earth's
Rough muddle
jostled to
jewels and flowers.

- Valerie Worth

I've always been drawn to kaleidoscopes and stained glass and colored glass or jars on the windowsill. What magic, that mad swirl of color and shape! And so personal, too. Private. A secret world. I like that, too.

coat hangers

Open the closet
And there they
Wait, in a
Trim, obedient row:

Stirred by the
Air, they only
Touch wires with
A vacant jangle;

But try to
Remove just one,
And they suddenly
Clash and cling,

And fling them-
Selves to the
Floor in an
Inextricable tangle.

- Valerie Worth

Ever wonder who invented the coat hanger? I sort of can't imagine life without them. Of course their use is not limited simply to clothing. Check out 18 uses for a wire coat hanger. I do love to upcycle....


  1. Irene, I just love Valerie Worth. Such an inspiration. Will check out the up cycle for hangers who grow in closets.

  2. These are just wonderful! I've simply got to get myself a jewelers loupe! That sounds like so much fun!

  3. Irene, all the summer you have entertained me by sharing these wonderful poems by Valerie Worth. And I do love the comments too! I too use the word "bucket" yet this poem and your query took me back to grandparents and their use of the word. They used pail, 'milk pail', pails for berries and harvesting vegetables from the garden, taking corn to the chickens. I wonder if it's use has just changed through advertising? Hm-m-love all the poems too. Thanks much.

    1. Sorry-and I've used the Private Eye activities & had a set of loupes (now given to another teacher). They're wonderful!

  4. The smooth
    Moth's wing
    Sprouts feathers
    Like shingles;

    What a beautiful, detailed image.

  5. Each one of these is a treasure of finely noticed detail.

  6. Another fun mini-anthology! Thanks!!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Irene--The story about your husband sending messages to you is SO sweet. Hope your son's recovery is going well, and that you've enjoyed your time together.

  8. These poems remind me of how important it is to see the details of objects. I think this is going to be an weekly activity in my preschool class. I can't wait to see what they see and how they verbalize what they see. Who knows, maybe a poem will be produced by my early learners. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with us. Love it!!!


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