Sweet Treats

A friend alerted me the first “Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy” over at Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’s blog, Math is Everywhere. As this is a theme at school this year, I was curious. This is an ambitious project. There are thirteen images to inspire any type of writing, “whatever suits your fancy for any kidlit age: board book through young adult.” The only limit is a maximum length of 200 words.

Many of the images are lovely autumn scenes, others lean distinctly toward a Halloween theme. There were several that intrigued me, but this is the image that I ended up writing about.

Even though it wasn’t a requirement, I wanted to stick with “Math is Everywhere,” so I wrote a fib poem. (I added a second stanza that counts back down to one syllable.)

Sweet Treats

Sweet
loot:
worms of
spun sugar,
dyed confetti hues,
fill my sack for just a moment,

then wiggle through the white stalactites and stalagmites

standing guard in the cave of my
mouth, inching toward
a hollow
hungry
pit:
Treats!

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

You can visit the official submission page to read all the entries here. Thank you, Kaitlyn, for this fun challenge!

Poetry Friday: Joy Harjo’s “Eagle Poem”

“We see you, see ourselves and know
that we must take the utmost care
and kindness in all things.”
~ Joy Harjo ~

Today I’m celebrating the appointment of Joy Harjo as our nation’s new Poet Laureate. I have long been a fan of Harjo’s poetry, and can’t think of a better person to “raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of reading and writing poetry” at this moment when our country is so divided. Harjo has said that “humanizing and healing will be her aims” as Poet Laureate. I’m with you, Ms. Harjo!

Eagle Poem
by Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear,
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.

Read the rest here.

Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)This image was made by Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)Email the author: David R. TribbleAlso see my personal gallery at Google Photos [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D via Wikimedia Commons
Coincidentally, yesterday was American Eagle Day. This day commemorates the adoption of the Great Seal of the United States and its iconic bald eagle by the Second Continental Congress on June 20, 1782.

Please be sure to visit my friend Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Slice of Life 19: 13 Ways to Eat a Chocolate Chip Cookie

13 Ways to Eat a Chocolate Chip Cookie

When my poetry pal and fellow Slicer Molly Hogan posted a poetry prompt to write about “Cookies!!! Christmas cookies, sugar cookies or any sort of cookie,” I had to think for a bit. Like many of you, my family has many cookie traditions to choose from. In the end, I decided to stick with the cookie that’s been part of my memories forever, chocolate chip.

Once I settled on the kind of cookie, I had to come up with a form. I like to play with poems I’m working on in my head as I drive to work. This isn’t always a good idea because I have to actually pay attention to the other cars on the road! But, as sometimes happens, inspiration struck. Wallace Stevens “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” popped into my head. There must be at least 13 ways to look at a chocolate chip cookie. Or, even better, of eating a chocolate chip cookie. So here you have it, my “13 Ways to Eat a Chocolate Chip Cookie.”

Raw*

Sugar dissolves on your tongue
Sweetness fills your mouth
The chocolate chips still crunch.

Warm

Eleven minutes of heat transform
Lumps of dough into a golden brown,
Gooey confection.

With a glass of cold milk

Break the cookie in half
Dunk one end into the milk,
The longer it’s submerged, the softer will be.

At Nana’s House

There is always a tray of my favorite treat
Waiting on the table by the kitchen door.
Nana serves me two cookies on a red and white plate.

In small pieces

Break the cookie into small bits around the chip.
Nibble slowly. The sweetness of the softened
Morsel explodes like a ripe blueberry.

With Breakfast

Instead of pancakes
Both have eggs and flour
Sometimes people add chocolate chips to pancakes.

Crispy

Let them cool completely
They will crunch when you bite down
And leave crumbs at the corner of your mouth.

After school

When I get home, I’m so hungry
Lunch was hours ago
Cookies ease my hunger pangs.

In two bites

This way your entire mouth
Can savor the flavor
But they’re gone faster.

Chewy

If you put a slice of bread
In the tin
Your cookies will become soft and chewy.

After sledding

While my cheeks are still cold
Cookies and hot cocoa
Warm me up in no time.

Before bed

A single cookie
Helps me forget my cares
And sweetens my dreams.

Anytime

Because chocolate chip cookies
make everything better and
Are the most delicious cookie ever!

* I know all about salmonella concerns, but some habits die hard

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2019

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

 

 

Slice of Life 19: The Cult of the Cooking Channel

This poem, which is partially true, evolved from a story idea I found in my journal. This cheesecake is delicious and has become a holiday tradition in my family. You can find the recipe here.

The Cult of the Cooking Channel

She “got” cooking like
some people “get” religion.
The lure of pristine,
well-stocked kitchens was
impossible to resist.

Her favorite high priestess extolled
the virtues of butter,
so tubs of margarine
were tossed in favor
of sticks of unsalted butter.
Garlic was now purchased in bulbs,
not bottles.

She found herself at the mall,
clutching a recipe for cheesecake
searching for the kitchen supply store.
The saleswoman showed her how
to use a springform pan,
Located the “perfect microplane”
For zesting lemons.

At her next stop, she found
red currant jelly, something
she’d never heard of,
tucked away on the top shelf,
filled her cart with cream cheese,
sour cream, and eggs.

Assembling the batter was
surprisingly easy; she just
followed the recipe,
step by careful step.

After the pan was filled
and safely in the oven,
she ran her finger along
the rim of the bowl and licked.
She’d never tasted anything
so delicious.

Baking this luscious concoction
was tedious, but she never
deviated from her mentor’s
instructions.

When her creation was cool
and topped with raspberries tossed
in the warm melted jelly,
she offered it to her family.

Their mouths dropped open.
They regarded her with new eyes.
Who was this woman who had such
hidden talents?

An acolyte of the cooking channel,
eager to discover new recipes,
new truths about herself.

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

Slice of Life 19: Pumpkin Bread

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of choice. Sometimes that choice is within a broader topic. This poem is an example of that kind of choice. This month I am also participating in Laura Shovan’s “February” Poetry Project. (Why we’re doing it in March is a long story.) The theme this year is food, and yesterday Laura shared a picture of sourdough bread as a prompt. She also offered the alternative to write about a “bread of your choosing.” Since I don’t have much experience with sourdough bread, and have been baking pumpkin bread every year for almost forty years, this was an obvious substitution. Like the goal of writing a daily slice of life, the goal of Laura’s project “is to practice the habit of writing regularly…so that we can focus on generating ideas.” I may return to this poem to rework the ending, or I may not. I did enjoy the process of writing, and the piece of pumpkin bread (from a loaf hidden in the freezer) I ate to help me write it!

Pumpkin Bread

In November,
After the geese have flown south
And only brown oak leaves
Still cling to tree limbs,
It’s time to make pumpkin bread.

The cookbook falls open
To the recipe,
Spattered and stained
From thirty years of use.
The heady scent of cinnamon
And cloves fills the kitchen
As ingredients mix and meld
Into honey-colored batter.

I fill the pans, like a bee
Filling honeycombs.
Then into the oven, where
The golden glop transforms
Into loaves of amber sweetness
That we will devour
When they cool.

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

Poetry Friday: “Instructions For A Life”

Today I’m joining millions of people in mourning the passing of poet Mary Oliver. Oliver’s poems, essays, and interviews comprise a master class not only in being a poet, but in being a better human. She taught us to live with our eyes, ears, and hearts always open to the multitudes of wonders and possibilities present in the world.  It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite poem or even passage. So instead, I’ve taken the seven magically simple words that make up “Instructions For A Life” and created a Golden Shovel:

“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver
1935-2019

 

Someone’s not-so-hidden entrance in this ancient rock wall in the woods behind my house.

Thank you, Mary Oliver, for so generously sharing your poetry, wisdom and love of our magnificent world. You will be missed. Please be sure to visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Finding a Poem

Last night I was at a total loss about what to share today. For some reason, I remembered this post by Irene Latham about using Google Arts & Culture as a source for images for her annual Artspeak! poetry project. When I opened the site, these stunning images greeted me.

These are all pieces of glass, but this image in particular reminded me of malachite.

Stained glass fragment, 13th century, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I wanted to confirm what I thought I knew about this stunning green mineral, so I Googled it and this image popped up.

Which led to this poem:

He pressed a polished malachite heart
into my hand;
whispered, “to match your eyes,”
then hurried off to Mrs. King’s calculus class.

No one noticed
as I sprouted gossamer wings
and floated
into

the stratosphere.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit Carol’s Corner for the Poetry Friday Roundup.