Spring Daffodils #SOL22

I loved this prompt from Denise Krebs on Ethical ELA’s #verselove.

It is called a 4 X 4 poem. Below are the constraints:

  • 4 syllables in each line
  • 4 lines in each stanza
  • 4 stanzas
  • Refrain repeated four times in lines 1, 2, 3, 4 of stanzas 1, 2, 3, 4. 

Bonus: Try writing a title in four syllables

spring daffodils
just greenery
tips of sunshine
perched and ready

checking daily
spring daffodils
when will you come?
it's been four weeks

two fallen blooms
awaiting more
spring daffodils
always past due

maybe today?
I can sense it
the brink of joy
spring daffodils
P.S. now on week five

Things I Know by Heart #SOL

My poem today is inspired by Emily Yamasaki’s post Core Memories on Ethical ELA’s #verselove April poetry writing challenge.

the exact spot you turn, turn, and plop into the crook of my legs in bed
the sound of Bubba's horn from across the lake
the time needed to boil the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter to the perfect consistency
the exact location where scar tissue replaces a lump
the eight digits pressed in order to reach you
the feel of the worn three panel leather ball resting in my hand
the sound of my father's whistle in a crowd
the boards that creak as I sneak out of your room
the woody scent of your cologne
the place between your ear and nose where I nuzzle you for a furry kiss
the blended sequence of breath and movement in a chaturanga
the harsh words spoken to me 40 years ago, 28 years ago, 3 years ago

My Happy Place #SOL22 Day 25

the invitation came after breakfast
coffee date after school?
a proposition I rarely turn down

a perfect parking spot found
one block from our favorite downtown coffee shop
a quick chilly and misty walk

the hand lettered chalkboard menu
with many options, but
I always stick with my love 
a rich, creamy latte 
in a "real" cup and saucer
with the signature seafoam Lucabe color

just enough left on our gift card
the tall table we favor open
settled in for an hour of
sipping and reading

easing into the weekend


Rain [Magnetic Poetry] #SOL22 Day 23

Thank you to Abigail Lund for her magnetic poetry inspiration.

We have endured two days of rain and have more in the forecast for tonight.

rain falls with no end in sight
but you say, it helps the grass grow

wet shoes, wet pants, wet bag, wet hair
but you say, this too shall pass

clouds hang overhead with no hint of brightness
but you say, there is sunshine in your heart

the wind is wicked and ruthless and angry
but you say, gentle days are ahead

the cycle of spring involves extremes
one can't exist without the other
one causes you to appreciate the other


every day a new HOPE

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

Emily Dickinson

A shovel poem using Emily Dickinson’s words

every day a new Hope.
morning mercy Is
on The 
horizon. Tune out the Thing
that fills you With 
fear. Shake off the Feathers

of yesterday’s failures That 
corset your mind. Success Perches
on your actions today. In
your words. The
message radiating from your Soul


Morning Porch Sittin’

Our rustic home for 3 days in Happy Valley, Tennessee

I turned over in bed and noticed the faint light penetrating the thin muslin curtains. Ah, morning time. I love the first streams of light and the soft nudge they give me to wake up and start my day in the stillness.

Brewed coffee in hand, I step out of the 100 year old cabin onto the front porch. The wooden screen door creaks on its hinges. I catch it carefully so it doesn’t slam. I breathe in the damp mountain air; feel the moisture on my skin of the fog rising off of the Smokies. I settle into the rocking chair with my books and notebook. THIS is what I came for. These next 120 minutes of time to think, reflect, observe, and be at peace in my mind.

I notice the chorus of little birds on the hillside across the quiet street. Swooping and calling in playful movements. So many varieties playing chase in the meadow.

My devotion and prayer time come first. I picked up a bible from the end table inside, inscribed with “Bobby Christian.” It molded to my hand, soft and malleable from years of use. I wonder what life was like for Bobby? Did he and his family attend the church two lots down?

A deer appears near the top of the hillside. His head on a swivel; frozen in place and looking for enemies. I beg him to relax and feel the safety of this place. He knows the area much better than I and the risk of being out in the open. Finally, he settles and feeds on the dewy grass.

Next up, notebook time. I let my mind process some of what the last month, last year has held. My role as instructional coach was put on hold to address many different needs in our building…tech support for teachers and families, teaching 6th grade math online, teaching 3rd-5th grade writing online, teaching in a very challenging 5th grade classroom in person for the last nine weeks, preparing for my son’s high school graduation and the open house that followed. Putting these thoughts on the page allows them to leave my mind; breaking the cyclical thinking attached to them.

My eyes search the unruly overgrown wire fence separating the road from the hillside. The green of the trees brings peace and calm to my being. I’m not sure what it is, but trees have this immediate effect on me.

I open Mary Oliver’s collection called Devotions. “I Worried” spoke to me. I love the last stanza: Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang. Then I read “Passing the Unworked Field” about Queen Anne’s lace, how it stands straight on its thin stems how it scrubs its white faces with the rag of the sun how it makes all the loveliness it can. Sitting in a rocker on the porch of a 100 year old cabin reading Mary Oliver. The perfect setting to feel the essence of her poetry.

I hear a rustle in the cabin. The others wake to the start of the day. My solitude time is over, but I am filled up and ready for the family time ahead.

The view from the front porch

Trees #SOL21

Inspired by Janeen Pizzo, I gave a go to my own Pantoum poem.

The tress, they stand through it all
A new fresh start every year
Shaking off the winter gloom
Green emerges, new life

A new fresh start every year
Blazing summer heat drips from your leaves
Green emerges, new life
A place for solitude and rest

Blazing summer heat drips from your leaves
Changing right before our eyes
A place for solitude and rest
You shed your coat of many colors

Changing right before our eyes
A skeleton of what you once were, strong and mighty
You shed your coat of many colors
The trees, they stand through it all


The Seasons of North Christian Church: Spring #SOL21

your grandeur is unmatched
vast all-embracing roof to shelter those inside
tall reaching spire that touches the heavens
our eyes reach upward
a direct line to God
lines, angles, symmetry
everything in its place

The first to arrive are the daffodils
announcing spring is here
perky and fresh, dewy and delicate
you skirt the majestic meeting place
with a canary smile

Tulip trees trumpet
(in case you missed it)
spring is surely here
soft pink petals adorn the trees
only to fall in a cascade of perfume
a carpet of silk leaves
cushion the magical fairy garden

two reminders that the next lap begins
a hand off of bitter days 
in exchange for glimpses of warmth
an emergence of new growth for the earth
and the soul 


The Sock Puppet Snafu #SOL21

Elementary Education Art

My daughter, Gretchen, is in her junior year of college at Indiana University. She is majoring in elementary education and special education. She is currently enrolled in her elementary art class. Who remembers that?? I sure do…a paper mache rabbit, clay face, stamping. Recently she was home for the weekend and working on creating a puppet for an assignment. When students presented their puppet, it needed to have some sort of speech. I was excited to “help” with her creation!

I think I’m just going to use a sock and make a bird.

Ooh, sounds perfect! Maybe the bird could recite a spring poem.

Gretchen finds an old sock and cuts a hole for the mouth.

Do we have any yellow construction paper?

Yes, check the den. It’s on the tray where I keep the printer paper.

Let’s head to the basement and look through the tubs with crafting supplies.

A treasure awaits us…googly eyes, yarn, hot glue gun, even some raffia that could make a “nest.”

We work together. I am in charge of hot glue dots while Gretchen applies the various parts to her bird. The masterpiece was finished!

What poem should I choose?

Maybe the one about hope by Emily Dickinson.

Oh, yes! That’s perfect!

After a few trial runs, Gretchen is ready for the zoom presentation the next day.

Then next day, during Gretchen’ class, I started receiving text messages:

There was a moment of panic, but all ended up well! It was fun to create with her. I’m looking forward to future lesson planning and sharing ideas with this new teacher ❤️


Sparks of Joy #SOL21

Every morning I pause and write one thing I am thankful for from the previous day in my journal. This practice sets my intentions on the positive and begins my day seeking sparks of joy. Two from this week particularly caused me to smile. And of course they are tied to reading and writing.

Board Books for Big Brothers and Sisters

When a family welcomes a baby, we give the student a board book to read to their new sibling. Included with the board book is a letter congratulating them and encouraging them to read a book everyday to their new brother or sister. We also have a letter for their caregiver highlighting the benefits of reading aloud, along with tips for the first twelve months.

This particular student beamed when she talked about her new brother, Cannon Matthew. She shared with me how she was responsible for feeding him in the car and how important it was to make sure there was milk in the nipple of the bottle. She told me that he was too little for her to hold now, but in a few weeks, she would be able to wrap her arms around him.

These exchanges remind me of the importance of making time for each student and their life stories. They are bubbling up with things to share with us. Pausing from the rush of the day and taking time for just one student is so important.

I hope in a few months this book will be tattled and worn from its use.


When she saw me walk past her classroom, she jumped up and ran to the door. “Mrs. Bless! I have something to show you.” She reached in her pocket and pulled out the smallest piece of cut paper. “Please read it.” I read her haiku aloud. I commended her writing and told her how peaceful it made me feel. I thanked her for saving it to share with me.

The next day, this student was having a rough day and needed to take a break in the office. I shared with her how thankful I was that she showed her haiku to me the day before. I even explained to her my daily ritual of writing down something I am thankful for each morning and that on that day, I had written down that I was thankful for her and her writing. Her eyes brightened and a small smile was visible (even through her mask). Yet another example of the importance of relationships and connections with students. They need us, and we need them!