Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Saturday is the last day of my challenge to write a poem a day during the month of July.  It's been a learning experience, both difficult and fun.  My goal was to have at least thirty poems I could continue to revise and polish during the school year.  I ended up with about twenty.  Some days I went back to revise the poem from the previous day and never got around to writing a new one. Even though I didn't meet my goal, I feel good about the experience, and I'm glad stuck with it.

This week I worked on writing poems that tell a story.

North Star

The summer our parents got divorced, my
brother and I were sent to the country
to stay with Grandma. I was eight, Jim was
ten— not knowing then how our lives would change—
we were wishing for something permanent.

Grandma knew
what we needed.

Every evening after supper
she led us to the backyard to watch
stars snuggle into the folds of night.

Tracing constellations
she explained
They change with the seasons,
but some things stay—

She taught us how to follow the Big
Dipper to the North Star— with a promise
it would be there when we need
to find our way home.

While Mom and Dad were splitting
a house of furniture and dishes—
Grandma kept Jim and me nestled
in the constant compass
of her love —

Thursday, July 22, 2010

POETRY FRIDAY: Miss Myrtle's Table

Miss Myrtle's Table

Every Saturday
Mom and I clean
Miss Myrtle’s house.

I like cleaning the dining room best,
it’s toasty warm in winter,
cool as a peppermint stick in summer.
The smell of cinnamon buns baking floats
from the kitchen.

And three tall windows let sunshine tiptoe
across the room all morning long.

I glide the dust mop over the hardwood floor
sweeping it around and around the big
chocolate brown table that stands
in the center of the room surrounded
by twelve matching chairs.

The table is covered with lace
like a hundred tiny snowflakes
carefully stitched together.

Cradled on top—
a dozen crystal candy dishes
each filled with sweet treasures:
lemon drops, caramel creams
butterscotch, bonbons, and lollipops.

I circle the table polishing it
watching wrappers sparkle like jewels.
I look over the candies carefully
imagining the liquid of lemon,
the crunch of peanut brittle,
the creaminess of chocolate kisses.

But I don’t touch them
because I know it’s not polite—

At the end of the day
Miss Myrtle pays Mom
and offers me the pick of the table.

It’s so hard to choose.

When I finally do,
I unwrap the candy
and place it on my tongue
holding it there
allowing it to melt
all the sweetness
will last.

When I was a little girl, we lived next door to my great-aunt.  She had big family dinners every Sunday, and there was always the most delicious smells coming from her oven.  Her house was filled with beautiful furniture, an organ, a piano (things I'd never seen in any one's house.) The thing that amazed me the most was a huge table with beautiful candy dishes filled with every type of candy your could imagine.  It looked so magical in the sunlight. 

More than forty years have passed since I last saw that table, and yet I still remember the excitement of choosing any candy I wanted.  Sometimes, she would give me a bag of candy to take home. I felt rich as I shared my bounty with my brother and sisters.  Even the bellyache was worth it!

To enjoy more poetry fun, head on over to Language, Literacy, Love for today's Poetry Friday Roundup!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

POETRY FRIDAY: Poems about Objects

Do you have an object that you never or hardly ever use, but you keep it because it reminds you of someone or someplace special? When I look around my house, I see all sorts of things that I don't use, but I could never part with them.  For instance, there's the mantle clock my mother gave me that hasn’t worked in years, a tarnished necklace from my first boyfriend (almost 40 yrs.ago), a baby spoon bent from getting stuck in the disposal, movie ticket stubs, a cocktail umbrella from a night out, and  a stuffed bunny my 12 yr. old cat played with when he was a kitten. Some people would see these items as junk, but to me they are all treasures. I keep them because they hold memories, and looking at them keeps a special time in my life alive. This week I wrote poems about objects.  I had a hard time coming up with the "so what" endings I was aiming for, but I decided to share two of them anyway. I welcome your suggestions.

Dad's Corvette

Every Saturday
Dad waxes his Corvette

until it shines
Candy apple red

But he hardly ever drives it anymore
with its engine that rattles and roars
so loud you can hear it
two streets away
(so embarrassing).

When Dad asks
if I want to go for a ride
I just roll my eyes
and shake my head

This morning when
I asked Mom why he keeps
that good-for-nothing car
she said it’s not just a car,
for Dad, it’s about memories

of their first date
and how they got soaked
in a sudden spring shower
before Dad put the top up

of me age three
sitting behind the wheel
pretending to drive

of going to car shows
with Grandpa
the year before he died

Now I understand
It’s like my collection of postcards—
they help me remember
all the places I’ve been

So next time Dad asks
if I want to go for a ride
I won’t roll my eyes
or shake my head—
I’ll  just smile and say

Grandma's Teacup

Grandma’s favorite teacup
sits on the kitchen shelf
she gave it to me to remember
our tea parties—
       the two of us sipping
       cinnamon apple tea
       eating oatmeal raisin cookies
       and playing card games

But every year that passes
I remember less and less
So now and then
I take her teacup down
and make cinnamon apple tea
just the way she showed me
and all the sweet memories
of Grandma
float back
with every sip

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at my juicy little universe.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

POETRY FRIDAY: My Poetry Month So Far...

This week I did a lot of playing with poetry exercises and forms. I didn’t put much time into revising because my goal was just to have fun and get some rough drafts down.

One exercise I tried came from Charles Ghigna’s Father Goose blog. The idea is to write metaphors for a poem. This would be an excellent activity for introducing the concept of metaphor to students. You can check out the details of the exercise here.

I wrote four little "poems" comparing a poem to all sorts of things such as a skateboard, a comet, and a kitten. I wrote this one after looking at a picture of my grand-daughter, Evie.

A poem is a baby
Smiling up at you
Full of surprise and wonder
Discovering something new

Another picture of Evie inspired this little poem.

Swimsuit Edition

Those models in that magazine
They think they’re pretty cute—
But they haven’t seen me yet
In my brand new bathing suit

I also worked on some tanka.

Left Out

Boys shooting baskets
laughter bounces through the air
I sit on the porch
watching them and wondering

Why won't they ask me to play?


Maggie’s father left
in the middle of the night
without a good-bye—
It’s been over a year now
she still waits for his return.

No letter, no calls
she believes he once loved her—
Did he change his mind
wanting his freedom instead
of a daughter who still waits.

A special thank you to Amy (The Poem Farm), her encouraging words were much appreciated this week!

Carol's Corner is our host for Poetry Friday this week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Poetry Friday

For the past ninety-two days, I've  been enjoying the very talented Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's daily poems.  In fact, I've enjoyed her work so much that she has inspired me to jump on board and try my hand at writing poems for the month of July.  I"m only working part-time this month, so it's the perfect time to try this experiment.

This month I'm hoping to accomplish three things: to get into a daily writing routine, to gain more confidence in my writing, and to have a group of poem sketches I can revise and polish during the school year. 

I'm  nervous about sharing this commitment, but I need to make myself accountable.   To stay on track, I'll post an update every Friday.  I don't have the time or confidence to post daily poems, but I promise to be honest about my progress. 

I am grateful to Amy for encouraging me to try this experiment. If you want to read some great poems head on over to  The Poem Farm. Amy is also our host this week for Poetry Friday.

Today I'm sharing the first poem sketch  from MyPoWriMo. I decided to make a list of some of my favorite things about summer, and this is what I came up with so far.

Summer Fun

Snow cones, sweet tea, lemonade
Ice cream, picnics,and parades

Riding skateboards, scooters, bikes
Sunday morning nature hikes

Baseball games played in the park
Catching fireflies after dark

Watching movies, staying up late
Sleeping in way past eight

Playing outside in the sun—
Let’s go have some summer fun!