Friday, August 05, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Gratitude List




Gratitude List

Praise be this morning for waking early,
tree crickets buzzing, the humid air,
the puffy clouds lined with pink first light.
Praise be my morning tea, steaming hot,
the cat underneath my feet,
the caterpillar on the sprig of dill
in a juice glass on the kitchen table.
Praise be these blueberries from Michigan,
this yogurt, thick and creamy,
from a local farm co-op. Praise be the basil,
sturdy and fragrant in the morning light,
and for the tall purple ironweed and the
goldenrod, both on the verge of blooming.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016




When the poem Gratitude List by Laura Foley showed up in my inbox via The Writer's Almanac, I knew I wanted to use it as a mentor text and paint a picture of a midwestern morning to mirror her ocean beach morning. It was a fun exercise and a good reminder that borrowing from another writer sometimes makes my own writing not just better, but possible on a day when I'm not sure I have anything to write about! Yes, this will for sure be a writing workshop minilesson in my 5th grade classroom!


Gratitude List

Praise be this morning for sleeping late,
the sandy sheets, the ocean air,
the midnight storm that blew its waters in.
Praise be the morning swim, mid-tide,
the clear sands underneath our feet,
the dogs who leap into the waves,
their fur, sticky with salt,
the ball we throw again and again.
Praise be the green tea with honey,
the bread we dip in finest olive oil,
the eggs we fry. Praise be the reeds,
gold and pink in the summer light,
the sand between our toes,
our swimsuits, flapping in the breeze.


by Laura Foley (used with permission of the author)



Tara has today's Poetry Friday roundup at A Teaching Life.



26 comments:

  1. Mary Lee, I am enamored of
    the caterpillar on the sprig of dill
    in a juice glass on the kitchen table.
    Wonderful images and yes, a great thing to bring to your students. I feel like nearly all of my poems are gratitude lists. xo

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  2. I also liked the caterpillar on the sprig of dill. I love your images, and I can picture the kitchen and feel the gratitude. I used a mentor poem this week, too. It's fun, isn't it? You get to try out something that you already know works.

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  3. Lovely, Mary Lee! Praise be for mentor poems and the gems they provide.

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  4. I'm already itching to try writing a Gratitude Poem and can't wait to share the idea with my students! What a wonderful way to focus on the details that make our settings come to life!

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  5. Always have an attitude of gratitude :)

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  6. Lovely! And, this is an infinitely reproducible idea of a poem... I think I could journal for an entire month with just this. Hmm! My November poetry may be shaping up.

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  7. I love your Gratitude Poem and I want to use this as a minilesson too. And by the way, the comment you wrote on my PF post last week made me cry, and I am grateful for YOU.

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  8. These are my gratitudes, too, this farm blessed morning. But you were able to craft your gratitudes so beautifully, Mary Lee. I loved this line "the puffy clouds lined with pink first light" - for they graced my morning, too.

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  9. I'm tentatively dipping my foot back in the world of poetry, so I wanted to start here today. You've always been a big motivator for me. Your poetry moves me and I love your style. One of my big teaching goals this year is to incorporate poetry into each week. I plan to join Poetry Friday starting September 2.

    Praise be for the teachers and writers we hold dear.

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  10. An excellent exercise in more ways than one, Mary Lee– poetry AND mindfulness! Your morning sounds entirely praiseworthy.

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  11. Praise be for poetry friends who craft lines that will all my day last! Lovely picture of your morning, and idea for a mentor text, a celebration.

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  12. I will follow your lead. I am walking with you on that morning walk. Thank you.

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  13. Praise be to whomever created the internet and all the inspiration and possibilities it allows. I think our minds were on a similar wavelength this morning, right down to the blueberries and yogurt! I love this post, Mary Lee, and will definitely be sharing it with students.

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  14. Love it. Great poem, Mary Lee and Ms. Foley's poem as well.

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  15. Thank you Mary Lee for using my poem as a "mentor poem." Wonderful to inspire so much good writing and gratitude.

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  16. This is wonderful Mary Lee! Thank you for leading me to try my hand at the work and then to teach. Love the "the caterpillar on the sprig of dill in a juice glass on the kitchen table"

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  17. I saw Gratitude List recently, too, and loved it, had the same idea, feeling drawn to write my own. Just lovely all around!

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  18. Thanks for sharing. I'll add this to my storage of poetry lessons. I love using mentor texts when I get stuck. I've done it quite often when writing my verse novel. I've decided that that is how my character discovers her own voice.

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  19. Grateful for these poems and you, Mary Lee. Praise be Poetry Friday inspiration. =)

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  20. What a great idea, to use the Gratitude Poem as a mentor for yourself and for your kids. Gratitude would be a good early-in-the-year habit to cultivate.

    A few lines from the poem, "Fold", by Naomi Shihab Nye, which reminded me of your gratitude for the small things, the little moments that make life rich:

    Even the doilies where cakes sat
    marked with small stains, crumbs of sugar...
    can you see my proclivity for the words
    "small" and "little", a diminutive tendency
    in a world given often to the sprawling and huge?

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  21. Yes! So true. Writers do borrow and what a great lesson to share with students. The images you create in your poem are breathtaking!

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  22. Mary Lee,

    I agree about using other authors' poems to inspire our own writing. Back in 2010, I wanted to write a poem for my daughter's wedding. I didn't know where to begin...what to write until I read Margaret Atwood's poem "You Begin." I modeled my poem after hers. I was really pleased with the result. My niece Carolyn did an outstanding job reading it aloud in the church. It was a personal gift that I was able to give to my daughter and son-in-law on their wedding day.

    I enjoyed reading both of the poems that you posted.

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  23. Praise be for poetry that touches our souls, Mary Lee. Would you like to also place this poem and photo in Summerscapes since it describes a morning where the writer drifts into thoughts? This is a great exercise to try out with children (adults too).

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  24. Yes, praise for both of these poems, and, like Irene, I'm smitten with that "caterpillar on the sprig of dill" - who knew that short "I" sound could be so enchanting?

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  25. love the repetition of "praise be". I love a world with that phrase repeated more. A friend of a friend of mine uses "blessed be" as a salutation. I like that too. The acknowlegdement of what's sacred all around.

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