North Carolina: On Her Way to the Graveyard: a 50 State Poems Poem

Happy Poetry Friday! This week, I’m sharing a poem from my new 30 Painless Classroom Poems book, Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems.

North Carolina: On Her Way to the Graveyard

Note: Cape Hatteras is the outermost point of land on the Outer Banks Islands. These flat, sandy islands lie about thirty miles off the coast of North Carolina. Cape Hatteras is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic because of the more than 1,000 ships that have run aground or sunk in the surrounding shallow waters since the 1500s. The Gulf Stream and Labrador Currents run close to shore, drawing ships near. When bad weather strikes, ships have often lost their bearing and sunk.


A Note from the Poet:

I admit that shipwrecks fascinate me. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a song by Gordon Lightfoot about a sinking on Lake Superior that happened when I was nine years old, is just one folksong about ships sinking that hits me in the gut. I focused on sounds in this poem, with “wild winds roar,” “wood scrapes sand,” and “groaning plea.” I wanted sounds that gave me the haunting feeling of a shipwreck.

 

Here I am reading the poem:

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Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems
Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems

 

This week, the Poetry Friday Roundup is brought to you by the wild Irene Latham at Live Your Poem!

48 Responses

  1. I’m excited about your new collection. Have downloaded it. State facts are fascinating. I love using poems to teach nonfiction. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Margaret. This is one of my favorite poetry projects I’ve ever worked on…I learned so much while working on it!

  2. I’m excited about your new collection. Have downloaded it. State facts are fascinating. I love using poems to teach nonfiction. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Margaret. This is one of my favorite poetry projects I’ve ever worked on…I learned so much while working on it!

  3. Oh, shipwrecks fascinate me, too! Thank you for the history you include here… makes me want to visit Cape Hatteras! Excited to read your poem for Alabama! xo

  4. Oh, shipwrecks fascinate me, too! Thank you for the history you include here… makes me want to visit Cape Hatteras! Excited to read your poem for Alabama! xo

  5. Laura,
    I’ve passed this post on to a school counselor friend. Schools need good resources for remediation. I live in NC so this one is special to me!

  6. Laura,
    I’ve passed this post on to a school counselor friend. Schools need good resources for remediation. I live in NC so this one is special to me!

  7. Congratulations on your latest, Laura! You are amazing. I loved reading this poem — that last stanza…sigh. And I am giggling over here to think of all us poem girls loving shipwrecks so. The story of finding the Griffin has me mesmerized! Happy Poetry Friday and as always, thank you for your inspiration and generosity. 🙂 x, a.

    1. That is funny, isn’t it? Thank you right back–your work and just you are always an inspiration. When I hear you speak in person, and hear the warmth you share, I think, “I want to grow up to be a speaker like Amy!”

  8. Congratulations on your latest, Laura! You are amazing. I loved reading this poem — that last stanza…sigh. And I am giggling over here to think of all us poem girls loving shipwrecks so. The story of finding the Griffin has me mesmerized! Happy Poetry Friday and as always, thank you for your inspiration and generosity. 🙂 x, a.

    1. That is funny, isn’t it? Thank you right back–your work and just you are always an inspiration. When I hear you speak in person, and hear the warmth you share, I think, “I want to grow up to be a speaker like Amy!”

  9. Good morning Laura. Born in NC, I was especially attracted to your post today. Your poem reflects the reverence I feel when visiting the Outer Banks. There is a different aura about, unlike that on the more popular beaches along our coast. The term “haunting” of which you spoke demands respect.

    Also, my husband would play “Edmund Fitzgerald” continuously if there were not other people in the house! Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Ooh, thank you for sharing that! I’m glad the poem connected with you. And your husband has good taste:>)

  10. Good morning Laura. Born in NC, I was especially attracted to your post today. Your poem reflects the reverence I feel when visiting the Outer Banks. There is a different aura about, unlike that on the more popular beaches along our coast. The term “haunting” of which you spoke demands respect.

    Also, my husband would play “Edmund Fitzgerald” continuously if there were not other people in the house! Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Ooh, thank you for sharing that! I’m glad the poem connected with you. And your husband has good taste:>)

  11. Another lovely state poem, Laura-loved what Catherine shared too. That “groaning plea”, sad to contemplate. I didn’t know the background history of this Cape. It would be amazing to live there wouldn’t it? Congrats on this book!

    1. Thanks, Linda–working with an emotional topic does make it easier to pick strong words, that’s for sure!

  12. Another lovely state poem, Laura-loved what Catherine shared too. That “groaning plea”, sad to contemplate. I didn’t know the background history of this Cape. It would be amazing to live there wouldn’t it? Congrats on this book!

    1. Thanks, Linda–working with an emotional topic does make it easier to pick strong words, that’s for sure!

  13. The sense of impending doom in the second stanza grabbed me! Hearing the poem read aloud emphasized the sounds of the effective words you chose. Living near Lake Michigan, I can relate to your fascination with shipwrecks!

    1. I love the Great Lakes, JoAnn. I’ve only seen Superior and Michigan, I guess (and Niagara Falls, part of the overall system). I really want to ride on a Great Lakes freighter–a 1,000-footer, if possible.

  14. The sense of impending doom in the second stanza grabbed me! Hearing the poem read aloud emphasized the sounds of the effective words you chose. Living near Lake Michigan, I can relate to your fascination with shipwrecks!

    1. I love the Great Lakes, JoAnn. I’ve only seen Superior and Michigan, I guess (and Niagara Falls, part of the overall system). I really want to ride on a Great Lakes freighter–a 1,000-footer, if possible.

  15. A good topic to interest kids, too! Strong narrative here in few words, Laura. I hope you share more from this book 🙂

  16. A good topic to interest kids, too! Strong narrative here in few words, Laura. I hope you share more from this book 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mary Lee! I hope you like them. It was perhaps my most fun project ever, writing these poems.

    1. Thanks, Mary Lee! I hope you like them. It was perhaps my most fun project ever, writing these poems.

  17. Hi there Laura — lovely, albeit tragic, poem. 🙂 Reminded me a little bit of The Watch that Ends the Night which documents in verse the greatest shipwreck of all times. I have yet to read that one. 🙂

  18. Hi there Laura — lovely, albeit tragic, poem. 🙂 Reminded me a little bit of The Watch that Ends the Night which documents in verse the greatest shipwreck of all times. I have yet to read that one. 🙂

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