Slice of Life Tuesday: Write-Along

Each year, I have my students craft forced association poems, where they pull together a poem that’s written about one thing…but it’s really about another.

We start by thinking of places or things (usually in nature) important to us: that one lilac bush, the park we love to play at, a favorite tree. Then, we think of the people important to us.

The title of the poem is the person we’re thinking about, but nothing in the poem mentions them – an invitation to our readers to make the leap into metaphor.

Whenever I sit down to craft in this fashion, I’m continually amazed by my train of thought. I start to list ideas, and then BOOM! I’m surprised by a new insight that’s made itself clear to me. It’s also fun to watch the kids in their prewriting phase as they do the same.

“The tree is almost to big for it” – I wonder if this lovey sees the power in that phrase…
“If I didn’t have it…I would be lonely”

Here’s my contribution for the day.

My Boys

The irises in my yard
were gifted to me,
bulbs planted years ago
without a plan:
a vague arrangement
plopped into earth
with a trowel,
some water,
and hope.

Ever since, they’ve spread
across the garden,
rhizomes rooting,
leaves messy and full.
I don’t know whether to be
by the chaos or
for the bounty.

Late in spring,
after crocuses and
forsythia and
hyacinth and
lilac and
I wait…wait…wait…
And when I’m not paying attention,
(it’s always when I’m not looking)
the iris will bloom:
showy, stunning, emerging
with too-big heads
that need support
to stay stable and upright.

I’m lucky.
I’ve got plants
a girl can take care of –
not fussy ones
weeding and
pruning and
oversight and
piddling with.
give me greenery
that finds its own way,
survives the rough stuff,
returns year after year
through its own strength.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

4 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Write-Along

  1. This is so dear – irises growing like children, rough and tumble, everywhere. I love these lines especially,
    plopped into earth
    with a trowel,
    some water,
    and hope.
    That is a beautiful metaphor for raising children!

  2. This form is new to me. I like how it makes the writer think and the associations that are made. I think that the jotting down of ideas and then getting that sudden insight is something students need to experience.

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