Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghost Villanelle

A poem to celebrate Halloween by Iowa poet Dan Lechay.

Ghost Villanelle

We never saw the ghost, though he was there--
we knew from the raindrops tapping on the eaves.
We never saw him, and we didn't care.

Each day, new sunshine tumbled through the air;
evenings, the moonlight rustled in dark leaves.
We never saw the ghost, though: he was there,

if ever, when the wind tousled our hair
and prickled goosebumps up and down thin sleeves;
we never saw him. And we didn't care

to step outside our room at night, or dare
click off the nightlight: call it fear of thieves.
We never saw the ghost, though he was there

in sunlit dustmotes drifting anywhere,
in light-and-shadow, such as the moon weaves.
We never saw him, though, and didn't care,

until at last we saw him everywhere.
We told nobody. Everyone believes
we never saw the ghost (if he was there),
we never saw him and we didn't care.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Renga Challenge

The renga challenge didn't go so well. Oh well, I know everyone is very busy at this time of year. Thanks to cloudscome for her two line stanza. There's still time if you want to play. The next person will write a 3-line stanza, the next 2 lines, and so on. Here's what we have so far. I can't wait to see what you will add!

crowded pumpkin patch
empty by mid-afternoon
autumn gone too soon

Earth's children all possess
thier own round orange space

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Come Renga With Me!

In the introduction of their new book, Birds on a Wire, J Patrick Lewis and Paul Janeczko (see last week's post) invite readers to "get together with a couple of your friends and see if you can create a renga of your own." Sounds like fun, doesn't it? I'm going to try the activity with my eighth graders, but I'd like them to have an example of a renga in progress.

Here's where you come in. It would be great fun if you could help me create a Poetry Friday Renga to show them. Here's how it works, I have written three lines about an experience I had last Saturday. The next person writes two lines, the next writes three, etc. Don't worry too much about strictly sticking to the rules of a renga. For me, poetry is more about getting your meaning across rather than being boxed in by too many rules. For example, my "starter" lines rhyme, most renga don't rhyme, but I kind of like the sound and couldn't think of anything I like as much so I'm going with it.

Here's a website I've found helpful in case you want to learn more about renga or other Japanese poetry forms:

Let's keep it going until next Thursday, that way my students can watch as new entries are made, and I'll post the complete poem for our next Poetry Friday. What do you think? Will you come renga with me?

crowded pumpkin patch
empty by mid afternoon

autumn gone too soon

Thursday, October 2, 2008

J Patrick Lewis

It's been almost twenty years since I bought a book of poetry by J Patrick Lewis called, Earth Verses and Water Rhymes. My students loved those poems. It instantly became one of the most popular books to read during D.E.A.R. time. I bought a second copy so that I'd have one for my personal collection.

Over the years I've added many of J Patrick Lewis' books to my collection including his latest, which I absolutely love, Birds on a Wire: A Renga 'Round Town written with the great Paul Janeczko.

You can imagine my excitement when I received an email from J Patrick Lewis! J Patrick Lewis! Wow!

The first thing I did was to print out that email for my memory book!

When I told Pat (I'm not sure I should be referring to someone so esteemed by his first name.) that my students are currently studying narrative poetry, he generously offered me one of his wonderful poems to share with my students and on my blog. The poem has appeared in several anthologies. After reading it, you'll see why it's been so popular.


Circling by the fire,
My dog, my rough champion,
Coaxes winter out of her fur.
She hears old stories
Leaping in the flames:
The hissing names of cats,
Neighbors' dogs snapping
Like these gone logs,
The cracking of ice . . .
Once, romping through the park,
We dared the creaking pond.
It took the dare and half
Of me into the dark below.
She never let go.

We watch orange tongues
Wagging in the fire
Hush to blue whispers.
Her tail buffs my shoe.
She has one winter left.

Maybe two.

If haven't visitied J Patrick Lewis' website, , you really should take a look at the terrific resources for kids, teachers and writers.