Friday, April 12, 2013

Common Inspiration--Uncommon Creations.12

This "Short Composition for Two Harps" by Tudor Tulok is 1 minute, 53 seconds long. In my mind, I saw daffodils blowing in the wind. But this is what I wound up writing:


Flowers aren't the only ones
who bloom in spring.

In classrooms everywhere
children are opening
as suddenly as tulips,
waving their hands in eager confidence
like daffodils in the breeze.
Stubborn and tenacious as dandelions,
they have mastered
subtraction or sentences or similes.

They have arrived
and they know it.

Teachers witness this glorious blooming
each spring
and it never ceases to amaze.

We know they will leave us soon,
so give us a minute
to appreciate the glory of spring.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2013

Yesterday, I let my students listen to this music so they could share some of their writing here.

that sound calms
me down every
time I hear
it going past
nice and fast
just the
way I



The brush of a harp.
The melody.
The sound.
The feeling.
The beauty.



It feels like
angels are flying
over me,
playing their soothing harps,
sounds relaxing.



When I think of flowers
    I remember the
sound of harps. They are
    both peaceful and
relaxing. They make me feel


peace    harmony



vengeance    sorrow
pain              agony

honor    courage




Two harps
two beautiful

like two flowers
twirling around and

like two friends
caring for
each other

like two blue jays
sister and brother

like two people
giving gifts on special days

like two children
to play

like two angels
for us

like two harps 


Had to remember
A loved one.
Running my fingers on the strings making 
Peaceful music.



That sound, what is that
it's so...peaceful.

It makes me calm down,
overjoyed, I went to where
it came from.

It was at a church
it was a girl playing 
her harp.

I walk in and 
she stops, she looks
at me then looks away
and starts playing



The music from heaven
letting us know the right way
like a rainbow in the clear sky
it is quiet music that
makes us feel safe.



The music is peaceful
like crickets making music.

All the sounds come together
like every feather of a bird.

This piece had harmony
like a two instrument symphony.

Playing my harp
making beautiful music.

Plucking the strings,
playing something inspirational.

that made this poem.


no stopping

back and forth, forth and back.
no stopping; for there is no
time in this new world.

back and forth, forth and back.
as i lean against ellis,
i try to remember those days.

back and forth, forth and back.
one year more until
this war is out of my head.

back and forth, forth and back.
my life is full of melodies,
and i need them to live.


Diane has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Random Noodling.

If you'd like to look back on the week, you can find Seurat on Thursday, Sioux Ghost Dancers on Wednesday, a surfer on Tuesday, and the Wikimedia Picture of the Year for 2011 on Monday.

The theme of my 2013 National Poetry Month Project is 

"Common Inspiration--Uncommon Creations." 

Each day in April, I will feature media from the Wikimedia Commons ("a database of 16,565,065 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute") along with bits and pieces of my brainstorming and both unfinished and finished poems.

I will be using the media to inspire my poetry, but I am going to invite my students to use my daily media picks to inspire any original creation: poems, stories, comics, music, videos, sculptures, drawings...anything!

You are invited to join the fun, too! Leave a link to your creation in the comments and I'll add it to that day's post. I'll add pictures of my students' work throughout the month as well.


  1. Oh my goodness oh my goodness...all such interesting work, but "back and forth, forth and back." Please tell S that I'm not entirely sure what s/he was writing about, but that I was able to create a huge and poignant story from that masterful poem! (The teacher's reflective poem is pretty good too.)

    Mary Lee, I'm not getting to the music--there's a gap at the top of the post that seems empty and the link doesn't lead to music that I can find.

    1. Give it a second to load. It's there.

  2. While my left hand, fingers, float,
    my right hand navigates the interior
    of melody,
    scaling solid lines of notes
    shimmering at an altitude that no one else knows.

    While my right hand, fingers, finesse,
    my left hand follows the heart
    of harmony,
    skirting the outlines of sounds
    weathering the storms that one else

    - Kevin

    And the podcast:

    PS -- love the use of music for inspiration and the sharing of student poetry.

    1. They were MESMERIZED. Using audio instead of visual TOTALLY changed their writing game. For the better!!

    2. LOVE "the heart of harmony, skirting the outlines of sounds"

  3. I say that you have a host of daffodils blooming in your class, Mary Lee. There are some beautiful lines in each one, and the fact that each is unique is also wonderful. Your metaphor is just right, isn't it? For all teachers, beauty in spring!

  4. Beautiful! Loved the choice of music for this. I could hear the music even after it had stopped, as I read "back and forth, forth and back" in the last poem.

  5. Going to respond to your writing first today, because the last couple of days I have not done a very good job. Mary Lee, I love the connection between spring, and watching kids bloom. So, so, so true. And we absolutely do need just a minute to witness this glorious blooming. So amazing!

    And I love what your kids did with this. Embarrassing to admit that I'm not sure I've ever used music to prompt kids to write. Think I will try it with some fourth graders today.

    Kevin, I love the structure of this poem, how you started the first stanza with the left hand and the second with the right. I can almost see the two harpists, playing with each other. And I love all the alliteration: fingers, finesse,
    heart of harmony- it just feels musical. And as always, I love listening to you read your own poems.

    Love that we are writing to the auditory today.
    I decided to confine my wordiness by writing in a particular form. An arun is a fifteen-line poem, written in three sets of five lines. Each set of five lines follows the same syllable structure: starting with one syllable and increasing by one (1/2/3/4/5 — 3x).

    "Morning Hike"

    birds trilling
    gravel crunching
    healing mountain noise.

    yellow primrose
    purple columbine
    colors to take home.

    let go
    listen to Him
    return to center.

    (c) Carol Wilcox, 2013


    "Morning Pond"

    still pond
    stone meets pond
    ripples spreading
    out, out ever out…

    the two meet
    sky and water
    mirror reflecting…

    we see
    someday we will
    understand fully.

    (c) Carol Wilcox, 2013

    1. Carol
      You poems have some wonderful visual structure to them. I may need to try that out one of these days. I liked "Morning Pond" as it captures a bit of quiet.

  6. Your kids' poetry was such a treat on this rainy, dreary New Jersey Friday. I love their flights of fancy, and the way the harp in particular evoked such wonderful images. Thanks for the reminder, too, to enjoy these blossoming delights in our's April, but I am already thinking of June and missing them!

  7. Litmus

    It makes you wonder about connections!

    I'm sorry the music ended so abruptly.

  8. Mary Lee,

    Your poem brings back memories of the years I taught elementary school. My students were always amazed at how much progress they had made when they went through everything in their writing folders at the end of the year. I was always amazed too!

    Even though I enjoy being retired and spending so much time with my granddaughter, I do miss sharing and writing poetry with children in the classroom.

  9. Coming to this space, where poetry blooms, is such a treat! You have a talented group of writers--good thing they have you, helping them grow and flourish!

  10. Lovely, Mary Lee, the music, your poem, and your student's poetry. I especially like M's acrostic. =)

  11. Anonymous5:55 PM

    You have some wonderful budding poets in your classroom. I suppose Re recently read Because of Winn Dixie. Is he/she aware of the literary device of allusion?
    There is such a comfort and confidence that comes with spring. Then we have to let them go out the door of summer.
    Give my high fives to your writers. Awesome!

  12. In writing workshop yesterday (Friday), my students copied their "best poem of the week" out of their writer's notebook, and wrote a reflection on their process/poetic decisions for that poem. Bridget, M wrote about his struggles to find just the right words for the letters in his acrostic so it would say what he wanted it to say! And was I ever embarrassed that I didn't work harder to find the meaning in S's poem. The speaker is an immigrant. ellis is Ellis Island. I hope you go back and re-read her poem now, with an extra "oh my" in your heart for what she's created.

  13. Nice to see the kids so inspired! And I especially like your line, "Stubborn and tenacious as dandelions" - so true!

  14. Using music was such a great idea. I love what your students did.

  15. Those are terrific student poems!! I enjoyed reading them very much and had too many favorites to single out only one. Great idea to share that music with them. :-)

  16. Anything to do with nature, I love!


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