When you’re a little kid and have a lifetime ahead of you, time crawls by at the rate of a slug with a headwind. When you approach the end of that long curve, it matches the speed of light. Not fair for it to be September, but the only thing we can do is sip our coffee and write poems.
Thanks to all who made weeds a busy subject that not only drew a lot of poems but comments as well. Now it’s time to wipe off the slate and begin anew. For September, let the word be light. Go!
I finally finished my contributionfor August’s Word of the Month challenge based on the word, weeds. Here it is.
This one hasn’t left the shelf in seven years. Published twenty years ago, the author knew her stuff for sure, but kids just didn’t care for her subject. The writing is charming, reflects a lifetime learning to do it right. She poured her heart into this book, the one she was born to write. Makes me want to take up knitting. Sigh. Good-bye, dear author.
This one? In its day, kids counted on this jewel to learn about the universe. Brilliant scientist. Great with kids. I loved it that he never talked down to them. Got knocked off by newer books. Better pictures. Hard to fight better pictures, more recent information. Good-bye, sir. It was a pleasure having you with us.
And you? Aw, not you! Am I really going to weed you this year? What a delicious plot. What amazing language. What a lesson for young readers on how use simple words to create powerful images, stir emotions. A masterpiece of writing, in its day. In its time, its place. Makes me sad to take such a glorious story and discard it because it has grown old and kids no longer love it the way we used to.
Every year some older books must go, give up their spots, make way for newer models. I get that. It’s my job. But saying good-bye to books you have loved, just as your kids once loved, hurts. So many bright, helpful souls. So many lifetimes. So much learning, practicing, dreaming, working, I stack solemnly, one on another, in a box to be taken away. Weeding makes them sound like weeds. Faded blossoms maybe. Weeds they never were.
It’s time to post a word for Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. This is the 153rd word since I started in October 2009. Other than me, we have no poets who have posted a poem for all 153 words but some have taken the challenge many times, including Mary Nida Smith, Jeanne Poland, Cory Corrado (Canada), Su Hutchens, Bryn Strudwick (England), and Jane Yolen. Who am I leaving out?
The first Word of the Month poem, back in 2009, was DIRT. In those early days we voted each month to pick a winner, a custom I dropped before long. We were in it to have fun and competition spoiled the fun for too many. I still have a record of the poets who were monthly winners that first year. For DIRT, the winner was Mimi Cross (New Jersey) for “Dirt Blues.” Winners of the other eleven months were “You’re Welcome” by Liz Korba (New Jersey); “Wishes” by Linda Kulp (Maryland); “The Time Ship” by Steven Withrow (Rhode Island); “A Country Drive” by Beth Carter (Missouri); 2-way tie: “Without” by Laura Purdie Salas (Minnesota) and “The Life of a Housewife” by Jackie Huppenthal (Indiana); “All Nestled In” by Barbara J. Turner (New Hampshire); “Stone Wise” by Mary Nida Smith (Arkansas); “Song of the West” by V. L. Gregory (Missouri); “Itch in My Sweater” by Silindile Ntuli (South Africa); “Modern Love” by Ken Slesarik — aka K. Thomas Slesarik (Arizona); and “The Book Movement” by Euleta Usrey.
We used to have a number of teachers who routinely posted the poetic efforts of their students in our student section of Word of the Month, but they’ve all quit. Too many other things to do? Poetry isn’t important enough? Kids don’t care? I wish I knew. I regret the decisions and circumstances that resulted in some many children in this country and around the world being denied the chance to grow their writing skills through poetry. I hope times will change and our teachers will come back to us.
Since 2009 I’ve accidently repeated myself a few times but Cory keeps and shares with me a record of words, which helps tremendously. I left home without bringing that record so for July I risk posting another duplicate. If this one is a repeat, I suspect it hasn’t been used for a long time so it won’t hurt to use it again.
Let the word for July 2021 Word of the Month Poetry Challenge be POEM.