The boys and I spent the last hour of our morning doing a little writing yesterday. We’re not doing anything much in the way of formal learning this summer. Joshua and Sam are voracious readers anyway, and summer gives us more time for art making, soldier fort building, and marathon Lego construction. Monopoly and Yahtzee cover math and probability. All that’s left is a little word play.
We sat a few minutes in our breezy living room, jotting down our strongest sense associations with summer. What smells, tastes, sights, textures and sounds are the essence of summer to us? Then we spent a few more minutes shaping those into free verse poetry. In the spirit of process over product, and still smiling over the easy fun of those moments, I’ll share the rough draft of my contribution:
Summer comes and calls
from the sliding screen and I follow
her out, closing the door with a snap,
metal on metal.
She is all flickering leaf shadows,
chemical cocktail of bug spray, sunscreeen.
She’s sweet-sour lemonade swallowed
all in one long icy gulp.
She dazzles my eyes with a riot of fuchsia roses,
the noon glare of the driveway,
the bright grassbound stars of daisies,
tethered to the long afternoon.
She follows me indoors
under the rhythmic wash of ceiling fan blades,
and sits at the still-sunlit supper table,
white plates and the sweet milky pops
of kernels bitten off corncobs.
As twilight finally creeps in
to our friends’ kitchen,
she is all blue
while outside the fireflies blink on,
Tonight I’ll rest and tomorrow
summer will be waiting
crouched beyond the drawn shades
of another drowsy, sleep-in
As I read over this first draft, I see perhaps only one or two phrases that will ultimately make it into a finished poem. But what I want to model for the boys, what I think may stretch beyond writing into this wholehearted living itself, is that we don’t wait for the one great wonderful idea to write the poem. We write, read, cook, make, to discover. The wonderful comes in the process, and sometimes the best part might not even be rows of words on a page, but the morning breeze, the focused faces, the flowers in the mason jars, the scratch of pencils and the imprint of memory.