We have student W.O.M. poems!

Hi everyone,

With thanks to teacher/poet Ken Slesarik, who teaches at Esperanza Music Academy in Phoenix, we have four poems posted by Esperanza students this month. Click on “Young Poets W.O.M. Poems” and check out the efforts of two fifth graders, Daniela and Emma, and two fourth graders, Landen and Trace. Way to go kids!
Ken Slesarik Photo
I met Ken in 2011 when he was one of eight poets in my first Highlights Foundation workshop near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. We were all taken by Ken’s adroit juxtaposition of words, unexpected rhymes, and wry humor. He’s not only a master teacher and accomplished children’s poet, he also does school visits when his time permits. Meanwhile he’s inspiring Esperanzo students to reach higher and learn the satisfaction of expressing themselves through poetry. It’s a lucky student who has Mr. Slesarik for a teacher.

At a time when so many good teachers everywhere are struggling to find the moments to post their student’s work, Ken remains one of the few who somehow make it happen, and for that I’m grateful. Please read the poems by these young poets and give them the encouragement they deserve.

Thanks, Ken!


My December W.O.M. poem

ANNOUNCEMENT: Sorry about leaving the poem up so long. Like many of you, I have some shopping still to do! More soon.

Hi everyone,

Here’s my poem inspired by the month’s word: BREATH.

Breath of a Cat
by David L. Harrison

In first light
shapeless blobs
emerge as shrubs,
wrought iron shadows
as tables,

A round stone
below the feeder
is not a stone.

The breath of a cat
is silent as time,
quiet as blood warming veins,
still as bird smell on grass.

First birds stir,
begin to gather.
The stone waits.

is reserved
for success.

My Word of the Month poem for July

Hi everyone,

David publicity photo
Two days ago we discovered a large, beautiful moth resting for the day against the stucco wall outside our condo door. I knew it at once to be a Black Witch Moth.

My mind skipped back in time. I was 13 or so and had recently taken to bowling. On a trip to Mexico with my parents, we stayed in Mexico City in a hotel that had a bowling alley. My dad and I decided to bowl a couple of games.

I was soon distracted by wings in the night and the soft noises of insects bumping against a window. Collecting insects was my passion. When I looked out and saw dozens of moths fluttering around the light streaming from the bowling alley, I was entranced. Some of those moths were enormous! Giving in to impulse, I opened the window.

The bowling alley manager headed for the window on the run, yelling excitedly about letting in all the bugs. My father was mortified. I was in heaven as I gathered up several specimens as quickly as possible. Included in the night’s take were several Black Witch Moths.

I still have those beautiful moths in my collection. I haven’t added anything in the past sixty years but I still pause often to admire the beauty, albeit rather bedraggled these days, of my collection. You can see why it wasn’t such a big hop from a moth in the hallway in Florida to my moment in a Mexican bowling alley! Anyway, here’s the poem it inspired.
Black Witch Moth
David L. Harrison

Moth on the wall outside my door,
you startle me with your stillness,
transport me by some moth-witch telepathy.

I’m a boy again,
in a bowling alley,
in Mexico.

Your fore-moth 60 generations removed
(Or is it 600?) (Or could it be you?)
teases me at the window.
I crank it open eagerly
as one will welcome
a rare and desirable guest.

That guest still rests on its pin of honor,
wing to wing with Latin cousins,
its beauty preserved in my collection
for all to see.

For me the pin holds as well
the magic of the night,
the red-faced proprietor
swatting buggy intruders,
muttering at me,
my father’s eye-rolls and heavy sighs,
my once in a lifetime evening.

I forget what I bowled.