Day 5: Among Dolphins

Happy National Poetry Month 2023! Curious about what I’m doing? Want to play along? Read more here.

[Heads-up: If you’re visiting regularly, please know that the bold, blue text is what I’m writing fresh each day. The black text is the same each day:>) ]

One of my very favorite childhood memories is swimming with my dad and a couple of my sisters in the ocean. This would’ve been New Smyrna or Daytona Beach, as I grew up in Orlando. We swam out far, heading to a distant sandbar, and we were out beyond the breaking waves. The waves were just swells that you could float on. Suddenly, dolphins! A pod went right by/through us. Their large, joyous grey bodies were so graceful. I hold that happy memory like a fragile glass bubble in my mind…

I tried to dig up words from yesterday’s pile that capture a bit of that moment and how being close to wildlife always makes me stop and feel awe. This one felt lovely to ponder.

Let’s see. Any kidlit connections for me? I ADORE The Music of Dolphins (Karen Hesse) and A Ring of Endless Light (maybe my very favorite Madeleine L’Engle book).

What words will we be digging through today?

And here’s the card that we might pull our topic from:

So some possible topics are:

  1. navy
  2. sky
  3. royal
  4. powder
  5. blue

Will you join in? Would love to see what you come up with!


11 Responses

    1. So very lovely, Diane. The pandemic sure made me value the power of touch. I love this, and that tentacle of promise. So unexpected, but it feels right!

  1. Poem from Day 4 words. Topic: touch


    A promise
    Will none suffer?
    Give power
    Turn us into healing fire.
    Spark, shape,

    I used two words not there: into, healing. I just had to!!
    Since I don’t have the magnet board and pieces, I make lists and find that jotting the words down quickly helps fill my brain.
    What I am finding helpful to get a poem attempt to come quickly:
    I make a list of verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns and “small words.”
    A scratch list. I try to decide ahead of time which concept word I might be thinking about.
    And try for a working title, but change at the end as needed. Later if I am “stuck” I go back and circle the words I have used on my messy draft trying to see what my be left. It doesn’t take me too long and then maybe I work to change my line breaks and shape the poem on the page.
    This reminds me of the work of Gabrielle Lusser Rico in Writing the Natural Way. It was a right brain/left brain book, a companion to Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, both of which I highly enjoyed and recommend. I attended a session with Gabrielle back in the later 80s in Penn. and loved her. She died young of cancer. Here is a brief link. She was a brilliant woman and so nice.

    1. What a powerful poem, Janet. Wow. Loved seeing a glimpse into your writing process and how you make it work w/o having the physical words to move around. I read–decades ago–Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, but I’m not familiar with the Rico book. Thank you!

      1. Thanks, Laura. I am learning a lot about my process by doing these and enjoying them a lot because ideas are coming rather quickly. The “constraints” help even though I deviate a bit. AND they are fodder for future revisions. I appreciate all you do. And have for so long. So glad I got to hear you talk way back at I think it was ILA in Chicago, though could have been NCTE, but I know it was in the Palmer House!!! I can still see you sharing. I was so excited to know their were kindred poetry people for children and did not know about the blogosphere then. So much to learn, so little time!

  2. I love “your” love for them, had a special moment once with a dolphin. I was out swimming in the ocean, parallel to the beach so I wouldn’t go too far out & heard lots of shouting. Finally I peeked around & a dolphin was swimming with me, about ten feet away. It was magical, picture in my head!

    1. I would love to hear more about this, Linda. Perhaps a poem with a blog post? Hmm. Have you done this already? I might have freaked out, so am very glad that you were calm and cool and happy!!!!

  3. I finally had a moment today — between teaching first graders about bats — to look at your instructional video of how we can play along with you this month in digging for poetry! I tried it — still don’t know if I’m approaching it the right way but here is the list of words I had — storm(s), million(s), rainbow, lift, gurgle.

    Here is the poem:
    Search for Rainbows
    For They Lift You
    Over Millions of Storms…Gurgle!

    It was challenging and fun! I know there isn’t only one way to make poetry — but am I on the right track with what you want us to do with this project? Thanks, in advance, for any clarification, Laura!

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