Poesy to jumpstart the weekend


My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells. 

I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.

A child is not a poem, 
a poem is not a child. 
there is no either/or. 

I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.

Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.

A word after a word 
after a word is power. 

At the point where language falls away
from the hot bones, at the point
where the rock breaks open and darkness
flows out of it like blood, at 
the melting point of granite 
when the bones know 
they are hollow & the word 
splits & doubles & speaks 
the truth & the body 
itself becomes a mouth. 

This is a metaphor.

How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,
your first naming, your first name,
your first word.

Margaret Atwood

I randomly stumbled across this poem and couldn’t breathe by the end.  Words are so powerful.  I think of Lucy Calkins who wrote some inspiring stuff.  (I’m not sure if I would totally follow everything she promotes, but I do like what she has to say!)

“If we ourselves are immersed in an ongoing way in our own writing, we have a fabulous resource to draw from when we teach.  But it is not necessary to expect that all of us, as teachers, will regularly draft, revise, and publish our own essays and poems.  What is necessary, however, is that we have memories of a time when we loved writing and that we draw on those memories when we teach writing.  If we have even once in our lives experienced the power of wriing, our teaching will be forever changed.”

And when I read Atwood’s poem, I thought about my own flirtations with composition, and I am so thankful to empathize, feel, know what Lucy Calkins is talking about.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s