Friday, June 22, 2012

Poetry Friday -- Mentor Texts

I'm at the All Write conference in Warsaw, Indiana.
I sort of lost track of time and forgot it was Friday.
But Ralph Fletcher saved me.
At Ralph's session on mentor texts, he invited us to use the first two lines and the last two lines of his poem, "The Good Old Days" to write our own poem.

Here's my quick-write:


Sometimes I remember
The good old days

Getting my bike out of the little building
In the cool of the early morning

Snatching the ripest cherry tomateos from the vines
Before I headed to swim practice

Biking on the gravelly streets
Squinting into the sun

Throwing my towel on the still-wet grass by the pool
And diving into the shockingly cold water

Windmilling my arms to the end of the pool and back
Again and again until I was exhausted

I can't imagine
Anything better than that.

Amy at The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday roundup this week, but I can't seem to link to her yet. Use the schedule in the sidebar to find her.

Oh, and speaking of the schedule, there are three spots open on the July-December PF Roundup schedule. If you want one of those three spots, leave a comment here.


  1. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I love all the workshops you attend. The images of you on the bike is fabulous.

  2. Sad I can't be there, but hope you're having a fabulous time, as you wrote when you biked to the pool, hot summer day, nothing but fun and cool. Nice Mary Lee!

  3. Splash! A cooling poem on a hot summer day. And cherry tomatoes to boot :).

  4. Anonymous8:09 PM

    I love this poem and the idea! I think I'll try writing my own "Good Old Days" poem.

  5. That's a great exercise. You do a wonderful job with it, lots of action and detail.

  6. I love snatching the ripest cherry tomatoes before swim practice.

  7. Oh Mary Lee we were in the same room when you wrote this, I love that! I wish I could have read it in person. I can taste the sun warmed tomato and feel the cold water. A poem full of sensory detail!

  8. It is fun to imagine the little girl Mary Lee snitching tomatoes and windmilling in the pool! Thank you from posting "from behind the curtain." It's been neat to read these poems inspired by Ralph's workshop - you should send your post to him! a.

  9. Oh lucky lucky you! WENT THERE WITH YOUr beautifully layered but never overdone textures and tastes.

    You know, at roughly the same moment you were writing this, I was remembering in detail the steps I took in the backyard of 1306 Laburnum Avenue to get my golden clunker bike out of the shed (why did you call it a "little building"?), roll it down the narrow sidewalk between two garden patches (mostly kale) and out the side gate to fetch my papers from the dropspot or to ride to the pool with my towel around my neck and my book under my butt.

    Ralph is a genius because those four lines go exactly nowhere but everywhere, authentically.

    Missed you all these weeks that I didn't mean to be invisible!


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