Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Boiled Eggs

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Steve Johnson

A Quiet Life

by Baron Wormser


What a person desires in life
   is a properly boiled egg.
This isn’t as easy as it seems.
There must be gas and a stove,
   the gas requires pipelines, mastodon drills,
   banks that dispense the lozenge of capital.
There must be a pot, the product of mines
   and furnaces and factories,
   of dim early mornings and night-owl shifts,
   of women in kerchiefs and men with
   sweat-soaked hair.
Then water, the stuff of clouds and skies
   and God knows what causes it to happen.
There seems always too much or too little
   of it and more pipelines, meters, pumping
   stations, towers, tanks.
And salt-a miracle of the first order,
   the ace in any argument for God.
Only God could have imagined from
   nothingness the pang of salt.

(the rest of the poem can be found at A Writer's Almanac)



My environmental club kids were getting ready to create short videos of a bunch of the suggestions in 31 Ways To Change the World. They were having a hard time understanding how knowing your food could change the world, so I shared this poem with them, and then we thought about where our snack had come from -- fresh apples perhaps from last year's harvest in Washington state (and the machinery, trucks, and boxes to get them to us); apple juice (the apples, plus juicing machinery and plastic packaging for the cup); even just the box for our cereal bars (trees grown, harvested, ground and pulped, plus ink and machines to fold and fill and label each box). Maybe if we start with this kind of appreciation, we can raise kids who will make more mindful purchases and eat healthier (both for themselves and the environment).

Liz has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Elizabeth Steinglass.


27 comments:

  1. Cool. Just so cool. In 2nd we are thinking about the three kinds of resources needed to create the technology tools we consider important enough to research (shoes, glasses, clocks and books--my favorite), and we are also speculating on how we could use those resources to grow a plant on the moon. This poem takes us there and farther! (And once again I lament the fact that we'll never teach together in daily life...)

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  2. Have y'all read Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar, by George Shannon? http://amzn.to/1R6HrBE It's an awesome rhyming picture book that made me think a lot about what went in to something so "simple."

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    1. Yes! That's a great one! He also has Tomorrow's Alphabet (A is for seed...tomorrow's apple).

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  3. I truly love the idea of getting kids to think about where their food comes from, and how it gets to them. Brava!

    On a related note, I no longer boil my eggs. I stick about a half dozen in my toaster oven at 350-ish for about 30 minutes, then shut it off and let them cool down. They're just like regular hard-boiled eggs! (Of course, your mileage may vary.)

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    1. Wow, Diane. I'll have to try this!

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    2. So you've taken the pan and the water out of the mix! Do they peel easier?

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    3. They peel easily enough. I think the peeling difficulty has to do with the freshness of the egg, but, I'm not sure which is the culprit--too fresh, or not fresh enough?

      If anyone wants to try using the oven, there are a bunch of videos on doing it. Since I do it in my little toaster oven, I've made some adjustments to fit its temperature quirks.

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  4. Mary Lee, this is quite a creative endeavor. I am intrigued that you used poetry to allow your students to come in from a different angle. I would love to hear about the outcome.

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  5. This expresses so beautifully the way that everything, even our food and our cooking pots, are connected.

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  6. The extent of our reliance on one another boggles the mind!

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  7. I love this poem -- the idea of interconnectedness is so important and I do think kids (and many adults) need to carefully consider where our food comes from. We do take so much for granted.

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  8. Love the connections to food you are doing with the Environmental Club. And I love the poem: out of "nothingness the pang of salt" and a poem about connections and simple things.

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  9. Systems thinking is something everyone should consider. I love that you found a poem to share about it, and to help your students understand, too, Mary Lee. Wonderful!

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  10. I read this very poem this week. Did you post it? I never thought of having students explore where their food comes from. Will they write their own food poems?

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  11. Such important connections - and this astonishing line:
    Only God could have imagined from
    nothingness the pang of salt.

    Amazing.

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  12. I started doing the rounds of PoetryFriday for the poetry - but I'm loving the teacher-inspiration I get along the way! (And even the cooking tips, Diane.) Thanks, Mary-Lee.

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  13. Love the understatement in "This isn’t as easy as it seems." What I'm really longing for, though, is some of that "political peace." Thanks for sharing this, Mary Lee, and for always sharing your brilliant teaching strategies!

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  14. Yikes. How embarrassing is it to get to Saturday morning and realize that you neglected to include the link for readers to continue reading the rest of the poem?!?! (sigh) Oh, well, at least the rest of you will be able to easily access the full poem.

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  15. This reminds me somehow of that old nursery rhyme, For Want of a Nail. Reminds us how vital the simple and commonplace actually are. How getting the things we need depends on us all doing our parts in the larger world. Very profound and a great lesson for kids.

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  16. Came by in time to read the (linked) whole poem (one benefit of reading these late...) Great poem and thoughts to go with it, Mary. Things are never as simple as they appear at first blush. I was reminded of that as well when I recently read a book about early aboriginal life in Canada (The Orenda), and then imagining my life without the internet. Is there actually a way out of this maze?

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  17. What an important project; how blessed your students are!...Totally mind-boggling to think about our interconnectedness, and how we usually neglect to think about it! I love "The Quiet Life" poem for the well-needed noise it makes to wake us from our complacency, indifference, and ignorance! ...Speaking of connectedness: a bonus for me: an introduction to the Writer's Almanac, hosted by someone whose quote I used to accompany my email signature. Thank you for the link to the poem that led to that amazing resource!!! God bless you.

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  18. Wow - so many layers, Mary Lee - your classroom is a very important place. Fantastic poem; I'm also taken with that "Only God/pang of salt" line. Thanks for sharing all.

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  19. Did you hear this on the Writer's Almanac? Wondering if you and Karen E both got it from the same place (she shared this for PF a couple of weeks ago). Wonderful poem!

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  20. Love this poem - hadn't come across it, and what a wonderful teaching tool for thinking about where food comes from and what impact our food choices have. Thanks for sharing.

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