Friday, November 07, 2014

Poetry Friday -- Shadow

Flickr Creative Commons Photo


The shadow before me shimmers,
then waddles,
then has a white stripe
and a tail that's lifting
as I'm backing away
hands up
not a word.

I'm just a tall shadow
that will disappear as suddenly
as it appeared.

We both walk away
more wary,

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Early morning walkers in our neighborhood can't afford not to be watchful.

Speaking of watching...I'll be watching for many of YOU at NCTE! I was going to try to plan an official Poetry Friday Meet-Up, but it's going to be a busy couple of days. Hopefully I'll see you at one or more of these Poetry and Poetry Friday Peeps' events:

Elementary Section Get-Together where our very own Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche will be recognized as the Donald Graves writing teacher of the year!  4:30 PM - 6:00 PM in Gaylord National Resort, Maryland 1/2/3/A

NCTE Committee on Excellence in Children's Poetry is presenting a review of the 2014 Notable Poetry Books (2013 pub. date) 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM in Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor 12

Books for Children Luncheon with speaker Jacqueline Woodson. The 2014 NCTE Committee on Excellence in Children's Poetry will announce the children's poet who has been selected for the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM in Gaylord National Resort, Maryland C

CLA Master Class: Reading Poetry Across the Curriculum (roundtables hosted by Paige Bentley-Flannery, Jacqueline Jules, Heidi Mordhorst, and me; chairs/respondents include Laura Salas, Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, and Katie Button) 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM in Gaylord National Resort, Chesapeake J/K/L

Poem as Storyteller: Collaborating with Authors to Write Narrative Poetry (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Irene Latham, Katie DiCesare, Ann Marie Corgill, Kathy Collins) 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM in Gaylord National Resort, Chesapeake 4/5

Diane has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Random Noodling this week.


  1. Mary Lee, I am glad the speaker of the poem escaped changed but without getting sprayed! Thank you for this NCTE roundup of poetry. I will see you there! xo

  2. We sometimes have a skunk living under our front porch -- whenever it confronts one of the foxes or neighborhood cats -- ugh and ack!

    Have fun at NCTE -- looks like a busy weekend full of amazing events!

  3. I'm still wary of seeing a coyote in my neighborhood, & hope never to see a skunk. That word, 'wary', so good, Mary Lee. Wish I could be at NCTE-know you'll have a great time!

  4. If you don't actually see one, you can often tell a skunk is hanging out in your yard by the number of shallow holes it leaves behind in it's search for grubs! I don't know which is worse--the skunk or the thought of grubs.

    One of these years I may get to attend the NCTE conference. Do you know where it's going to be in 2015?

  5. I love the slow build of discovery in those first lines. The get-away is such a relief! We have to be very watchful in our neighbourhood, too.
    Have a great time at NCTE!

  6. Love the wary backing away from this shadow. Enjoy NCTE.

  7. We are still recovering from the night when our dog Sophie encountered the neighborhood skunk. Looking forward to seeing you at NCTE, Mary Lee - I'll be at the Woodson event.

  8. Ooh, I've been changed by such close encounters. :)

  9. As long as he's not "backing" away, in your direction!

  10. Mary Lee, I like the way you lead the reader into your poem with a visual. For children this is a good approach so that they can imagine who the shadow is. I am so excited about NCTE. Although Debbie Diller and my proposal did not get accepted this year (big disappointment) I am delighted that I will be able to attend other presentations and meet the Poetry Friday group F2F. I will be at the Elementary Get Together. Tara Smith suggested we get a table to cheer on Margaret.

  11. Mary Lee, Thanks for the Shout Out on your NCTE schedule. It's going to be great seeing so many Poetry Friday friends. What about breakfast on Saturday? I wish we could squeeze in some time to socialize together.

  12. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Nice escape! NCTE sounds amazing. Have a great time.

  13. Skunks are one of the few critters I have not encountered here in the desert - thank goodness! Love the line:
    "I'm backing away / hands up / not a word." It is a true "hold up" with the skunk using his tail as a weapon. Enjoy NCTE! =)

  14. Mary Lee,
    I'm glad you found a poem before the evening came to an end. A delightful one at that (at least with this happy ending).

    Thanks for sharing all of the poetry events to keep an eye on at NCTE. I appreciate having this information handy.


  15. Yikes! I've never come across a skunk here... only opossums and armadillos, though I have reacted that way to a snake or two. Sounds like your going to have a blast at NCTE! Notes and pictures, please. :)

  16. Really? A skunk? I love "hands up/not a word"--best policy, I'm sure!

    MANY thanks for that round-up of NCTE events not to miss. I'm getting VERY excited.

  17. Wary, indeed! Have a great time at NCTE.

  18. I'm looking forward to this session on Friday afternoon.

    Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Paul Janeczko–all three poets and veteran teachers of poetry--will discuss the enormous effect poetry has on students’ writing, not just poetry, but all other genres. The short story writer, Grace Paley, wrote, 'I went to the school of poetry in order to learn how to write prose.' What exactly did she mean? What is the school of poetry? What does poetry teach about writing, and what can it teach our students?

    Can't wait to see you! It's been way too long.

    1. Hi Mary Lee, I'll be at the Jacqueline Woodson luncheon and several of the poetry events too! I hope I get the chance to see you there!

  19. Anonymous5:50 AM

    I love "The shadow before me shimmers," and am glad all ended well.

    Looking forward to meeting you at NCTE!

  20. "Shadow" puts me right there wanting to back up already & disappear. Wishing you many more safe skeedadles.
    I wonder what makes a neighborhood white-striper friendly? Yours has the potential for a winning spray, tails down!

    Happy trails to you enroute & returning from what sounds like a delicious conference where people will shadow YOU.


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