Monday, June 05, 2006


After the last day of school, I wrote a poem. This may not sound like such a big deal, but teachers on the last day of school are generally frazzled, exhausted, and thinking about what needs to get done to finish off the year. After the last day of school for students, a different type of work takes over for teachers: progress reports, student files, packing up the classroom, meetings . . . I'm still not writing as much as I would like to, but I have been writing under all sorts of circumstances including child on lap, while getting ready in the morning, in the car. Where's the strangest place you have written?

The Mockingbird Mama Is Never Far
J.B. Rowell

from the nest she makes annually
outside the classroom window
in dense shrub. The children look
out and report when she brings insects
or berries for bobbing open mouths.

As we walk by she waits nervously
on a branch or even in the street, hops
and flashes her white on gray wings.
Never swoops or harasses, she returns
to the nest after we pass on tiptoe.

The last day of school, the baby birds
are ready. They venture out to the ends
of branches. Cry, cry for her to come
with food in beak. They don't know
their bodies are capable, have become

full and feathered, with crowning tufts
over yellow eyes. Soon, the males will
mimic and swoop in circles above treetops,
and the females will make their own nests
near the comfort of commotion to be observed

by caged fledglings hungry for summer.

Thank you Debbie and Suzanne for your editing advice on this one. Debbie suggested changes to the last line and is credited for the last four words. I don't usually take someone else's phrasing as a suggestion, but she nailed it I think.

Okay, so let's hear about the strange places you have written . . .


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