I am not a fan of winter. I may have mentioned that once or twice. In fact, I confess, I am known to have at least one ridiculous emotional meltdown–a little kid unreasonable tantrum, when the first snow makes landfall. Yes, I am embarrassed. If they had a support group for Winter Lamenters Anonymous I would attend.
Once my tantrum is over I am resigned to winter. To not acknowledge that we are stuck with it for the next 3-5 months is added misery. I buy sweaters and sip cocoa. More books get read. I try to find the bright side to the dark days of winter. Nope, I don’t ski. I might be convinced to sled though.
For the most part I ignore creative acknowledgements of winter. Don’t sing to me about wintertime; I am not interested in chirpy little winter televised specials. Fine. Maybe the Olympics. So, I was surprised when I actually liked the poem that dropped into my mailbox that’s part of my subscription service. You do subscribe to a poem service, right?
This caught my eye since it caught how I feel about the onset of winter. It earned double appreciation points having been penned by William Carlos Williams–the doctor poet. Enjoy.
The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
where the salvias, hard carmine,—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.
Monday is the last week of school. My seniors are already done with their finals and have vamoosed. There is an empty spot in my schedule, and in my teacher’s heart. I so enjoy my AP Lit classes. I hope they remember the stuff I taught them or attempted to teach them when they are sitting in their university lecture halls.
This week the sophomores take their finals. They will be tested on their knowledge of Julius Caesar, the last unit of their tenth grade English. For the most part they enjoyed learning about this important Rome leader. They still have misconceptions about him though–such as him being the inventor of s salad. They were amazed July is named after him.
Some complained about how much history goes with English literature. One influences the other, is what I tell them. They still grumble.
My one another AP class, my AP Language, affectionately known as Langsters, will be presenting their Senior Project Starters this week as their final. Most will be moving on to AP Lit, so not too much sadness, although they did make my first year of teaching AP Language quite enjoyable. Juniors are done with underclassmen drama, aren’t infected with Senioritis, and realized that with a wee bit more effort it’s possible to get great SAT scores which can open doors to desired colleges.
After June 12th I’m free to get back to “me” pursuits, such as reading books, instead of essays. I also hope to finish up a YA novel I started (about five years ago). It’s tough finding time to write as a teacher.
Surprisingly enough, I’m on the short list to teach creative writing second semester. It’s been about four years, so I’m brushing off some of my lesson plans. One them involves parody writing. Tell me what you think:
“Imitation is the best form of compliment” or so they say. A Parody Poem emulates or copies a known style of poet. Special attention is paid to tone, diction, rhythm, meter—basically getting the poet’s style so that it is recognizable.
Here are some parody poems using the famous “Purple Cow” poem:
A Purple Cow (reading by Stuart S.)
by Gelett Burgess
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
And here are the parodies:
Edgar Allen Poe
Parody by Susan and David Hollander
One lonely, gloomy, windswept eve
A mournful sound did I perceive.
I cast my eyes beyond the pane
And to my horror down the lane
Came a sight; I froze inside
A spectral cow with purple hide.
Parody by Susan and David Hollander
On far off hills
And distant rills,
Sounds a distant moo.
A purple spot
I think I caught,
Yes! I see it, too!
In Bovine majesty she stands,
Her purple tail she swings,
The amethyst cow,
To my heart somehow,
Perfect joy she brings.
And yet the thought of being
Of that race of royal hue,
Though glowing like the violet sweet,
It really would not do
by C. Muse
Who cares about greens eggs and ham?
I like cows.
I like cows here and now.
I like cows and their moo.
Do you like cows?
You like them, too?
I like cows brown or black and white.
A purple cow?
I think not.
That can’t be right.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art so lovely, as thou eats hay.
Gentle creature, thou shows its color true,
Of thy hide of which you are adorned
A rich amethyst, a most unexpected hue.
Some may give shriek and others scorn
Yet, it matters not, thou still dost moo.
So long as all can breathe and see,
So all appreciate the purple cow that is thee.
Just a wee past Valentine’s Day, yet I thought I would let all the mush bucket poetry have its spotlight. I offer up Yeats for February:
O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes,
The poets labouring all their days
To build a perfect beauty in rhyme
Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze
And by the unlabouring brood of the skies:
And therefore my heart will bow, when dew
Is dropping sleep, until God burn time,
Before the unlabouring stars and you.
And so, a month of poetry has come and gone just that quickly. I thought it appropriate to end out this month of celebrating with verse with a poem by Ellis Levin’s “End of April.”
Enjoy. Thanks for another wonderful National Poetry Month