Every Pen Has a Story

sol #SOL

Everyone has a story. ~ Neil Labute

Every day during the month of April, my ELA class begins with a poem prompt – a mentor poem. After we read the poem aloud a few times, the students take turns “noticing” things about the poem – its form, rhyming or not, topic, word choice etc. As the month goes on the “noticing” really induces great discussion about author’s craft.

The students then try their hands at writing in the form of that poem. Sometimes they work in pairs, sometimes alone. They usually have a choice. I always write with them and sometimes share my “best” lines with the class.

This poem was inspired by “Every Cat Has a Story” by Shihab Nye.

Every Pen Has a Story.

The blue one from Beneficial Bank
was her favorite.
It wrote in blue ink
She always used it
to write in her writer’s notebook.

The green one from Lansdale Catholic
was only used at faculty meetings.
It wrote in black ink and had a syllus tip too.
It seemed important.

One pen sat
at the bottom of her schoolbag.

One pen sat on her desk
waiting to get the chance
to correct papers.

One pen wrote
in gel ink.

One pen was all dried up.

A Friend

The only way to have a friend is to be one. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finds you when you need them the most
Reminds you of your best qualities
Interested in your well-being
Enables you to be yourself
Never expects anthing in return
Deserves your unending thanks

I am so thankful for my friends.  I hope that sometimes I am the friend they need.

Truly Me

sol #SOL

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who am I? Who do you think I am? Who do they think I am? What does it matter?

It is so hard to stay true to yourself, or at least the person you think you are, when others are beating you up or trying to hold you down. There is only one me albeit an ever evolving me.

Deep down I know exactly who I am – faults and all. Most times I dwell on the faults. Yet I expend so much time and energy trying to live up to some fictional version of me. A version created by those around me who think they know who I should be, who judge who I am. A version created by the need to live up to others expectations instead of my own wants and dreams.

I like the person I am. Oh sure, I could weigh less, exercise more, or eat healthier. But that just addresses the shell of who I am. Not my core.

I am sensitive, and I have been known to cry easily.
I am serious, and don’t take the world around me lightly.
I am creative – always looking for new ways to express myself
I am compassionate, and always try to put myself in someone else’s shoes.
I am loyal – loving the same man for nearly 43 years – a rarity these days
I am a mother – so very proud of my grown children
I am a nona – loving my grandchildren to death for they have stolen my heart.

This is part of who I am. Don’t look at me and assume to know who I am or how I feel.
Dig deeper, or you may just be wrong.

You Don’t Know Me

When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.
― Earl Nightingale

You don’t know me.
You may think you do,
but all you know
is what you see…the facade.

I am serious.
I don’t joke around much.
I don’t really know how.
That doesn’t mean I am unhappy, or sad.
It means I think; I ponder; I wonder.

I am not like you. That’s ok.
I only need to be who I am,
not who you expect me to be.

I worry about those I love,
those around me,
those I don’t even know.
I feel deeply, love deeply, hurt deeply.
That is who I am.

I would rather cry
than not be able to shed a tear.
You don’t know my story
or the burdens I carry.

You only know small details
that may leak out…
out of order…
out of context.
You don’t know me.

A Cinderella Story

sol Since I completed the #SOL 16 Challenge, I am going to try and continue to post in Slice of Life every Tuesday along with the other challenge participators.

The difference between the IMPOSSIBLE and the POSSIBLE lies in a person’s DETERMINATION. ~ Tommy Lasorda

A Cinderella Story – is a term “used to refer to situations in which competitors achieve far greater success than would reasonably have been expected.” While not a true Cinderella story, they were certainly not the favored team, yet last night Villanova University fit into the glass slipper and went to the ball after being away for 31 years.

I do not regularly follow college basketball, but I always get hooked on March Madness and the “Road to the Final Four.” Once in a while I fill in a bracket, but most of the time I just like to watch and see how the tournament unfolds. I am especially excited when one of our local teams advance. Growing up in Philadelphia, the home of “Big 5” (Temple, St. Joes’s, LaSalle, Penn, and Villanova) basketball, how could you not be rooting for the locals?

The game was a nailbiter from the start, and it ended in epic fashion with the North Carolina Tar Heels tying the game with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Then with only 4.7 seconds left the Villanova Wildcats inbounded and drove down court – sinking a game winning, buzzer beating three point shot to become 2016 National Champions.

More important than the final score and outcome of the game was the way in which all parties conducted themselves. The Wildcats were gracious winners and the Tar Heels gracious losers. The post game interviews with coaches and players brought me a sense of hope. Through exultation and elimination the young men continued to show their respect for the opposing team. They showed that they were men of character and class.

People can say what they will of this generation or that; these “kids” played with heart, determination, and an unselfish desire to win. They practiced and practiced to reach this stage, and their practice showed. It is a shame that there has to be a winner and a loser.

I can’t wait to see where their determination, devotion, and passion take them as some of them move on in the world away from basketball. If they take what they learned on the court and translate it to life off the court, I am sure each will be very successful wherever their dreams take them.

Monday Morning

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday morning is here again.
How did arrive so soon?
If I had my way I would stay in bed
at least until 11:00 or noon!

I have become the queen of snooze,
hitting that button a time or two.
Just a few more minutes is all I need
then I’ll be as good as new.

Remembering I didn’t pack a lunch
sends my head back under the sheet.
Getting ready and off to school on time
will certainly be a feat!

But once I am there and behind my desk
I know that I’m in the right place.
You’ll never see the queen of snooze again
No, not even a trace.

Trying to post a few more poems in honor or National Poetry Month.  Do you have a poem to share with me?