A new favorite poem

Last weekend I found myself downtown with a little time to kill, so I went to the bookstore. I’m usually slow to make a decision at the bookstore, but this time I marched straight to the poetry section and picked up some Billy Collins and checked out. Then I sat on a bench, listening to a banjo-strumming busker and straining my eyes in the friscalating dusk light while I waited for my dining companions to arrive.

Collins’ “Today” was on Poppy’s memorization list a few years ago, because it makes me feel buoyant every time I read it and I hoped it would do the same for her. (As it turns out: She doesn’t remember memorizing it. I guess we’ll put it on next year’s list!) I wasn’t familiar with his other work, and I was happy to find that most everything in “Aimless Love” is just as accessible as “Today.” Here’s one of my favorites:

Litany

by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife.
The crystal goblet and the wine …
– Jacque Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is no way you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and — somehow — the wine.

spelling_featured

Tactile tactics and other activities for the reluctant speller

We started using All About Spelling with Pete last year in an attempt to address his difficulties with spelling, but apparently it hasn’t done the trick. It was the only area he struggled with on this year’s annual testing. I was surprised, because he seems to have learned the rules presented in AAS pretty well. He just isn’t applying that particular information outside of our designated Spelling Time.

The lady who administers the test said, “Pete is like a river. If he runs into an obstacle, he just goes right around it without a care.” And she’s right. He hasn’t had to do much writing yet, so he hasn’t had much incentive or opportunity to apply the rules.

At her suggestion, we’re trading in All About Spelling in favor of a slower, more hands-on approach to see if maybe that will help. I’m not sure what to do yet on the incentive front, but part of our exercises will be writing-based so Pete has the opportunity to use the words he’s studying more often.

To that end, I’ve been scouring the internet for fun and engaging ways to study spelling, and I’m saving every great resource I find on Pinterest. Here’s the board!

Follow Nichole E’s board spelling activities on Pinterest.

Here, there and everywhere

Hello again! As you may recall from yesterday’s post, we are currently smack-dab in the midst of a series of three posts comparing Rockford’s business-trip days with my own days on the homefront with the kids.

We don’t generally do much out of the ordinary when Rockford is out of town, but early in this trip I received a rather unexpected invitation and subsequently found myself spending time with the president of the United States. It was a thrilling opportunity, and it made my photo for Wednesday considerably more interesting than Rockford’s.

Wednesday, 4/15. 3:45pm
Wednesday, April 15. 3:45pm. Town Hall meeting with the president. / A taxi in Shanghai.

Wednesday, April 15. 3:45pm.
Town Hall meeting with the president. / A taxi in Shanghai.

Thursday, 4/16. 12:15pm
Thursday, April 16. 12:15pm. Shrimp at KFC in Shanghai. / Driving home from a morning of classes.

Thursday, April 16. 12:15pm.
Shrimp at KFC in Shanghai. / Driving home from a morning of classes.

Friday, noon and 5pm
Friday, April 17. noon & 5pm. The view from a Chongqing research hospital. / Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa.

Friday, April 17. noon & 5pm.
The view from a Chongquing research hospital. / Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa.

Saturday, 11:30am.
caption

Saturday, April 18. 11:30am.
Green belt testing. / A walk in Shanghai.