Poet of the Week Archive: March, 2006
March 27 – April 2, 2006: Poems from Scotts Creek Elementary School and Cary Academy
Students at Cary Academy
Last fall I was invited to visit classes at two schools--Scotts Creek, a public school in Sylva, and Cary Academy, a private school outside Raleigh. At both schools, I worked with eighth graders, first of all explaining what my job as poet laureate involves and letting them ask questions. (At Scotts Creek, the first one was, "How much money does a poet make?" I told the young man that, alas, one wasn't likely to become a millionaire by writing poetry, but that one became rich in other ways.) Then all of us began playing around with words to see if we could kindle some poems from our wordplay. At Scotts Creek, we filled the blackboard with a list that included filigree, diamond, wolf, vale, and loam. At Cary Academy, the lists ran from things to eat (banana, pizza, tiramasu, bubble tea -- which I'd never heard of), to shoes (pink sling backs, flip-flops, fur-lined boots), to colors, each word or detail holding the kernel of a poem. We shared unforgettable moments (such as the day one student's braces finally came off!) and read some of the poems we had written.
A sample of all this work is featured this week, along with a poem that Phil Woody, the teacher at Scotts Creek School, wrote, joining his students in taking a word and letting the imagination spin it into a poem. The poems from Cary Academy show how the names of colors -- Atomic Tangerine, for example, or Cerulean -- can lead the imagination into some surprising and often haunting terrain. I am indebted to Mr. Woody for the invitation to visit his classes and to librarians Liz Smith and Carol Winslett for making my two days at Cary Academy an experience I will never forget. To teachers Delia DeCourcy and Carol Morgan , my gratitude for making poetry an integral part of your classroom activities. These young writers are the future of North Carolina literature and I'm excited to be able to give our readers a foretaste of what lies ahead. -- K.S.B.
Scotts Creek Poems
Students at Scotts Creek School, L to R:
Front Row: Heather Ensley, Eric Tucker, Ana Maria Balta, Kasey Hensley
Back Row: Phil Woody, Trenton Miller, Cheyenne Mathis, Paige Seago, Montana Frady
Not pictured: Adam Corbin
by Paige Seago
Yellow petals narrowing to a point
In front of a background of green
Like rays of sunlight
Between the trees.
The thought of it lofts me
into a winding stair going twisting
down like in a whirlpool then
falling out like down
from a water fall.
by Adam Corbin
As I walked down the road
smelling the roses and daffodils,
I thought about the beautiful sky
with all the wonderful clouds and I wished
they would take me away with them.
by Kasey Hensley
Lace as white as snow,
thin like a piece of paper.
A beautiful texture like velvet
on a couch sitting in the
mist of the cold night air.
The moon's light shining upon it
as if it were one of the most
delicate things in the world.
Three poems by Heather Ensley:
Over the hills it lies
Beyond the valley
Where my ancestors live
People took our land and our freedom
Many years ago
They tried to force us to live like them
But we said no for we want to keep our ways
We want to live and be free
In our sweet land of Cherokee
It lives in the sky
For everyone to see
And gives us light to light our way.
High in the skky
Halfway to heaven
Watching the fog lift off the mountains.
by Montana Frady
I like to live in the atmosphere,
to smell the flowers
and hear the calls of mockingbirds
to watch the ocean wash upon
land and soar far beyond
far far beyond
by Eric Tucker
One day I was walkking by the swamp
and I heard a croaking somehwere.
I looked around and you know what I saw?
A bright green toad, his warts
glistening from the afternoon sun
and the swamp bathed in shade and sunshine.
by Cheyenne Mathis
As the moonlight overcasts
the rocky heartland of my homeland,
I lie down in the soft octavious meadows
and gently touch the heart
and soul of the magical sounds
and whispers of the whipporwills.
by Ana-Maria Balta
I sit there, in bed
My thoughts are scurrying, darting through my head
Words, new philosophies, stories untold and unknown,
A boundless array through this jungle
They all pound; their shrill cries pierce my mind
They want to break free
Spanning through the deep abysses
Of endless lands, of endless space
They build up, they are a massive boulder
Hurled towards my tongue
But when they reach my mouth,
They roll; they tumble, stumble and crumble up
Becoming nothing more than anonymous blobs,
Of a peculiar, alien form.
by Phil Woody
By degrees we came
the Cherokee, the Cree
filling the fertile valley -
lilies of laughter, love and light.
The filigree of family.
And still we came
Joyner, Killian and McKee
Bird and Benton, Moore and Reid -
stone teepees of posterity.
Valiant vanguard of the vale.
And so we came
dancing our own destiny,
meandering the meadows,
for our pedigree.
And still we come
once wayward shards, now free
sinking roots into the loam
of this menagerie -
this Cullowhee, our home.
Cary Academy Poems:
By Mary Karasek
An artist's paintbrush paints the way to the sky
A lovely young girl with golden hair and deep blue eyes
The color is cerulean
It's as powerful as a rushing river
It's as calm as a trickling stream
It's a soft pad on bongo drums
It's the loud beat of dancing shoes
Dancing away through the air into the sky
It tastes as if it's cold slippery water
Somehow concealed into a compact shape
It's a weaver's silken thread as she uses it to brighten a dark cloth
It has no shape
It's that doodle that a proud mother hangs up on the refrigerator
When her two year old tries to make her a mother's day card
It's the color of the tear of pride that she sheds when she sees how much work
Was put into this loving scribble
It's quality time
It's time itself
It drops like a waterfall
Then stays still like a cool, clear lake
Spreading out over miles and miles
Superior, yet humble
It observes everything, everywhere
It's a kite, against a blue sky
With it's tail whipping back and forth
In the salty ocean waters
It contrasts with the cool reds and greens
Of the coral and the seaweed
The fish that swim in it are angelfish
Swirling through the pouring light
It accents anything
It brings out the best in the worst of people
It can brighten a day or just brighten a minute
But it has brought light to this world and has been cherished
As it should be
As it should be
by Emily Bissett
What comes to your mind
When you think of
the color Atomic Tangerine?A rocket ship blasting into space,
flying a mile a minute,
Like the ones in Wylie Coyote cartoons,
A big juicy tangerine,Or maybe even a person!Someone exciting,
But not show-offy,
But not a brainiac.
They can be ditzy at times,
But always end up
with their feet on the ground
That sounds like the perfect person,
But I say,
It sounds like Atomic Tangerine!
by David Wieand
Black is a winter night,
smooth, cold, and calm-
like a metal bench,
alone in the cold.
it is licorice,
nothing else is like it.
it is the dark night,
anything stands out in it.
like the flash of a camera,
in a dark place.
it is the mind of the devil,
evil but intelligent.
it is outer space,
the absence of everything.
nothing else is like it.
By Brent Rappaport
masculine and relaxed,
filling and friendly,
color of dreams,
a head in the clouds and a leaf in the breeze,
floating up and about,
whisking through the air,
on a cushions of white air,
gliding over a teal lake,
with a faint and truthful flute directing it's way.
Evading a bright neon sign,
too bright with sound.
Just a loose hand writing in a casual pattern,
lying back on a straight line of air,
an oval cloud following behind,
for protection from disturbance.
Sighs of relaxation wisp through the wind
on warm and fluffy sugar clouds,
following the path of least resistance.
by Kadar Karkare
Crayola is its mother
And named it Tropical Rainforest
Though I, its friend call it
When I lived in Bermuda
I looked out to the ocean
I saw not Ocean Blue but
The melody of a beautiful song
Is clear in my head when I think of my friend
The melody played by
The wonderful smell
The wonderful taste
Like the lush juice of a watermelon in Summer
Like a smooth pebble
Brought to shore by
Like a kind person
Bringing back a lost pet
A little boy, so silly
A person who
Blends with all others
Except one: Black
Black: the bully
Overpowers all other colors
But doesn't lay a finger on
The perfect personality
One who likes all colors
The melody of the most beautiful song
The melody played by
Rings clearly in my head
Ringing and finding forever
A never-ending beauty
Though I call it
by Lauren Phillips
It's girly shimmer gleams.
It's the dress of a girl at her senior prom, matching her cheeks blushing
As she gets kissed good night,
It's the minor key music at the end of the show,
The soft sound no one hears.
The pink salmon tastes like caramel, oozing onto strawberry ice cream,
Like banana pudding decked with Nilla Wafers.
You cant hold onto the color,
It just slips out from between your fingertips,
Like grabbing water.
It rolls down a hill like it rolls from your tongue,
It's round shape carries it away,
Painting the ground as it passes by.
It's the shy girl in the back of the class,
The one no one ever takes the time to get to know,
It's reserved, poetic, yet insecure,
If only it was noticed,
If only anyone cared.
It compliments the bright yellow,
And the sweet baby blue,
And even looks great with the tough-guy brown.
But dark jock-blue overpowers it,
Along with the bullying purple.
Grey's too dull though,
Grey is a cloudy day,
Salmon deserves a rainbow.
by Emily Cornell
Burst of color
Exploding from the page
Pouring into your mouth
Sweet, juicy, citrus
Right off the tree.
Then solid and sleek,
Hard as a rock.
Lined up in rectangles
Next to friends
Yellow and lime green,
Talking to hot pink,
Razzle dazzle rose curling her hair,
And don't forget the perfect, pristine white.
Hyper and happy,
Bold, friendly, athletic,
Talkative, and outgoing.
There is never a dull moment.
Everything is bright,
Unlike black and navy blue, or
Dark orange, gray,
Dark green or dark purple.
Orange is not dark.
Orange is not the shadows creeping about
In a murky, gloomy basement.
Orange is the sun and
Orange is light as a feather,
Yet loud and in your face.
Go, orange, go!
by Ritu Prasad
I rummage through the box of crayons,
Through greens and blues that aren't quite right
That aren't quite what I'm looking for
Until I stumble upon a shade of blue
A quiet, soft shade of blue.
It flows smoothly onto the paper,
The color of a deep blue ocean,
The color of a dark blue night sky fading into black.
It's a bittersweet color,
Like tasting dark chocolate dipped strawberries,
Or blueberries that aren't quite ripe yet,
Like a windy winter night,
Sending a chill down your spine,
Or like the first breath of air after the rain,
Cool, crisp and fresh.
If I could hold this color,
It would slip through my fingers,
Velvety and soft,
Smooth and silky.
It is a relaxing color,
Like the sound of waves breaking against the shore.
A calming color.
My shade of blue.