Category Archives: Poetry

Anne Morrow Lindbergh—Acrostic Follow-up

Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Who are you?

Wife of Charles “Lucky Lindy,” hero aviator pioneer, who piloted the first solo flight across the Atlantic. Covered in confetti and accolades. Yes, long before I was born, wifely celebrity status embraced you.

Overshadowed aviatrix in your own right. This achievement of yours evaded my knowledge. Was I the only one who knew not you, too, flew?

Mother of the kidnapped firstborn toddler son, agonizing weeks later found murdered, lifeless body once full of life within your womb, with no private grieving allowed for you, it’s true.

That you went on to bear five more children, this I did not know; more children, who despite their numbers could not replace the one snatched from your heart—from his crib, as peacefully he slept not far from you– nonetheless, I am happy that your arms were able to enfold a handful more–of your very own–newborns, to feel their baby-soft skin pressed against your own maternal skin. How often, I wonder, did your eyes meet theirs with tears and sparkles?

That the single Miss Morrow was a kind of academically-adept debutante-daughter of an American ambassador to Mexico, the last piece of your biographical trilogy I did not know. How lucky of you!

How much your public life was a mixture of classic romance, comedy, and tragedy! Your private life filled with heights of joy and depths of sadness, gave you so much to ponder, so much to write about. That the fruit of your experiences, crystallized as you explored the twin depths of a handful of seashells, as well as your own soul, bore stories that have touched women’s lives for more than half a century.

These are the things I know and not about you. Ah, and there is one new thing, in reminding myself of your life today. Sorrowfully I see—sad irony. For a time before your death at ninety-four, the mind and lips and fingers of the lyricist- journalist-philosopher that was you had been creatively inactive. Silenced.

No matter. Death or not. As long as I ponder the Gift from the Sea, the gift that is yours to me–the wonder of your insights, the depth of your compassion and empathy, no death—nowhere, no how—can take your seaside, soulful woman-to-woman, sister-to-sister, kindred spirit-to-kindred spirit lifetime of knowing myself through knowing you away from me. Forever. You remain my mother, my mentor, my muse—my very own Gift from the Sea.

on being sea-riously gifted

gift no blue errors (2)

Private Screening

Ending #1

Ending #1

privatge creeening w=2 (2)

Ending #2

“between” Haiku

 haikuhorizons1 (2)

bewtween still not working (2)

This “between” Haiku was written in response to Haiku Horizons Prompt: Thanks to , whose “liking” one of my poems brought me to her site and her invitation to take this Haiku challenge, too.

Flower Boot (15 word poem)

15WOLb1-e1439651802927-300x160   Here is my 15-word poem in response to Laura Purdie Salas’ visual prompt found here.  

          I’m off, post haste,

      Hobbling on just one leg,

   Delivering love to my fair lady.

Thank you, Laura!

Hook & Flesh Haikus

ronovan-writes-haiku-challenge-shadow REDUCED

                     Returning Evil

  By hook for a crook–                              
  Sweet pound of flesh: Revenge.                        
  Boomerang!I’m  d e a d….


                Love, Crocheted

Wool through gnarled fingers.
Frozen joints struggle to hook.
Grandchild’s flesh is warmed.

An “Old” Poem in celebration of the Day of Older People

Poetry_Friday_Button_2-210 REDUCED    If you have not yet shared with students (of all ages!)—or enjoyed for yourself–the HBO Family DVD, created in collaboration with the Poetry Foundation, A Child’s Garden of Poetry, I highly recommend the experience.

(Although I have shared the video with students, in total, well over one hundred times, and enjoyed it on my own, as well, I never tire of immersing myself in this presentation!)

To the students’ delight, more than a dozen of the world’s most beloved poems are brought to life with animation, music, art, and recitations by well-known vocal talent (and wonderfully, sometimes even the poets, themselves!).

Besides the multi-sensory presentation, what makes the experience especially accessible for students is that the introductions to/reflections on the poems are delivered by children of all ages. (A most welcomed absence: no grownups interfering, elucidating, explaining, and stifling …no authoritative proclaiming! …”Just” a very special dose of knowledgeable peer sharing.)

When I first projected the DVD to students, I was concerned that some poems were too “heavy” for the younger primary-grade students, and others were too “babyish” for the intermediate students. And so I intended to pick and choose the poems to share with various grade-level audiences.

What I soon learned was that the older students enjoyed “My Shadow,” for example, as much as did their younger schoolmates. Likewise, younger students  (surprisingly) loved “A Road Not Taken,” and “When You Are Old,” just as much as did the older students!

Undoubtedly, the visual presentation of the poems opened up their meanings for the students. Would the students—of all ages– have reacted as positively as they did if they had heard the words without the animated visual context/backdrop? …Probably not…

One of the responses of a child (probably no older than nine) who was featured on the video, perhaps, provides the best explanation—particularly for why students so loved “When You Are Old.”

She said, in essence, that although sad poems make you feel sad, they also are the most beautiful poems.

(In my words, sad poems are the most memorable, I think, because they are the ones that move us most deeply, touching us in places that are most vulnerable—making us feel most commonly human.)

So it was that, when I polled the K-Grade 5 students to learn their favorite poem from the video, even kindergartners chose “When You Are Old,” as did the older students, although the older students seemed more  often to choose “The Road Not Taken.”

In the latter category, there was one notable exception. In sharing his response, one fifth grade boy named “When You Are Old” as his favorite poem, citing it for having opened his eyes (and his heart, no doubt!) to see differently his grandmother’s recent-loss reaction.

“The poem helped me see why my grandmother always looks so sad,” he explained. “I’m going to spend more time with her. I told my family that, too. We haven’t been very nice. I see how she feels now that my grandfather died.”

Saying he was very happy I had shown that poem, he thanked me. He thanked me.  And I thought, it’s the poet he should be thanking. And I wondered if, when Yeats wrote that poem, he ever imagined that a ten-year old boy sitting in an elementary library would be so deeply touched and moved by his words to respond completely differently–so very compassionately- to his grandmother’s demonstrated grieving.

And I thought, too, of how–as I was preparing for her funeral–seeing photos of my mother as a young adult helped me to see her as a person, before, during, and after I entered the picture.  She had a life apart from me, apart from being my mother….She was a woman; a woman with a long personal history…

In that context, I suspect that the animation of “When You Are Old,” which showed the older woman as a beautiful young girl and then, morphed into a sad elderly lady, helped the fifth grader to see his grandmother as someone, once young, who loved, and someone, now old, who grieved that loss.

Given that yesterday (October 1st) was the annual International Day of Older People, I “have” to share the poem that for five years so deeply moved “my” elementary K-5 students.

(Yes! Without apologizing, for the last five years, it became an annual Poetry Month event to share the Poetry DVD to all grades of students. Although there were some moans at the repetition, most students looked forward to seeing their favorite poems on the big screen; many recited the words right along with the narrators. What a blessing that DVD was for me–and for my students!)

Now, Mr. Yeats–

                     When You Are Old

———————William Butler Yeats——————-

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


When you call to mind the most memorable poems, are they the “saddest” ones?

If you are sixty or older, I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s day in your honor! (If  you are not sixty or older, maybe you can get together with someone else and the two of you can qualify to celebrate!…Being old is good stuff–at least that’s what I’m telling myself.)