Sharing Our Poetry ~ Parkview Manor ~ Westview Estates ~ The Elms by Pattie Bailey

“Peevish comments.” I read this phrase in an article this weekend, and I thought, “That’s a much nicer way to think of the comments The 4-B Kids made about how I was dressed.” On Friday, April 26, 2019, we were headed outside – ready to walk to Parkview Manor, Westview Estates, and The Elms to share our poetry. Several “peevish comments” were made because I was wearing my winter coat, a scarf, my stocking cap, and gloves. I had prayed for “No rain, please.” A little cool. A little windy. And brilliant sunshine. I was happy. My husband said we’d need fifteen minutes to walk to Parkview. I allowed thirty. With only a few distractions, we were only a few minutes late. Our best distraction was when Anthony Knaack spied a Bald Eagle flying overhead when we were traveling west on Clark Street. We stopped to look up (mouths closed, of course) until all of us had seen the beautiful soaring of the eagle. We had prepared two poems by Jack Prelutsky for a group reading: “Homework! Oh, Homework!” and “Louder than a Clap of Thunder.” In addition, The 4-B Kids shared poetry from their pockets (Each had designed a pocket from an old pair of jeans for “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket Day.”) What the students loved most was sharing the poems that they had written. We had spent several weeks reading and writing poetry in all different forms: the diamanté (a poem built with nouns, adjectives, and participles), fibs (based on the Fibonacci pattern of numbers), haiku (nature poems with a particular count of syllables), odes (a poem written to something they love), quatrains (four lines with a rhyming pattern), and acrostics (poems about a single word, bumped up a notch from what they’ve studied in the past). To see them pleased with their poetry, I knew I’d have ‘joy’ to write in my journal every day. After sharing poems at Parkview, reciting and sharing poetry at Westview (It was fun for them to find connections to people) and the Elms (My students were disappointed that they didn’t get to meet my math and English teachers at The Elms), we had lunch (yes, several looked sheepishly at me as they shivered without their coats and hats) and recess at Elmwood Park. The uphill walk home seemed longer, though we had fewer distractions. Our best Idea Catcher was on Randall Street – a marvelous oak tree. I need to go back to get a photo. When I returned to school, I had another peevish comment in my e-mail. My sister had seen me – she sent a reminder that the snow wasn’t forecast until Saturday. At the end of our very busy day, representatives from the Grundy County Natural Resources Conservation Service brought us tree seedlings for Arbor Day. (Our quote for handwriting: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~ Nelson Henderson) They demonstrated how to plant the seedlings and explained how to take care of them. This year they brought Bur Oaks which reminded me of “That Tree,” a page about a Bur Oak I used to view daily on Facebook which reminded me that in 2015 the image of the tree had reminded me of Ashlyn Moore’s Idea Catcher which reminded me that That Tree Guy had reposted the image and included Ashlyn’s Idea Catcher. This reminded me that I need to find the address so I can submit some of our poems for publication. It’s no wonder I never get to the end of my to-do list.