Your Youness

Yesterday I actually went in a few shops! After almost 15 pandemic months of staying out of most indoor public spaces, what use to be an ordinary act contained all the excitement of a winning lotto ticket coupled with the enjoyment of a yummy ice cream cone. My friend and I oohed and ahhed at all the cute little shops and lovely things we happened upon, enjoyed a scrumptious lunch and just had a really nice day. I fell in love with several unique papercraft pieces and came home and began working on my own flamingo. (pictured below)

Poetry is very subjective. Some believe poem #480 speaks about Dickinson’s love of God and others believe she is referencing her untold love for a man/woman. In both cases, the answer to the question asked in the first line -“Why do I love you Sir?” , is simply “because”. While acknowledging that love resists reason and logic, the narrator loves because it could not possibly be any other way. Today’s Carol and Emily poem speaks to being attracted to one who stands tall and proud in their “youness”, one not deterred by bullies, nor afraid to embrace their individuality.

I know I’m not always able to be that person, that unflappable flamingo. I’m a work in progress and the challenge to embrace my uniqueness, flaws, weaknesses and eccentricities is ongoing. May we all help each other find that path.


Emily Dickinson’s Love Life – Emily Dickinson Museum

“The Manner of Its Death”

I’m back after taking a little break to delve into my other creative projects! I wrote this poem just this morning as memories of my 4 year old daughter skipped through my brain. In her poem, Emily spoke on one her favorite subjects, death. She seemed to be saying that one should be able to choose their manner of death, much as she chose her burial attire and the manner in which she wanted her own death to be recognized.

When she ventured outside her Amherst home, Emily explored as an avid naturalist, and spent much time surveying, cataloguing and appreciating the wide variety of life forms. As a mother of two young children, I sought to get them outside as much as possible and to let them learn from and experience all the wonders of the natural world. On one particular trek through the woods in back of our North Carolina mountain home, my 4 year old daughter came upon a tiny fallen bird, unmoving and sadly dead. This poem is about how she reacted.

The next morning we arrived at the doorway to her Montessori preschool and she presented the Directress with the shoebox containing her discovery. As all good teachers do, during morning circle she used it as a teaching moment, as the littles solemnly passed the box around and they talked about what might have happened to the tiny bird. A simple playground burial followed, with the preschoolers expressing their genuine and heartfelt care for the tiny creature. Life is beautiful and poignant, gentle and harsh. May we all be as bold as preschoolers in expressing that same kind of genuine and heartfelt care for each other.

“The Moon Is Distant From the Sea”

Very distant indeed. It’s an average of 238,855 miles from Earth. And yet, its gravitational pull makes it a mighty force. Orbiting Earth approximately every 27.3 days, it is the second brightest object in the sky, reflecting the light of our brightest, the Sun. Some analysts see poem #429 as a metaphor for Emily’s obedience to God and others see her likening the sea’s obedience to the moon to reversing women’s customary obedience to men. Given our shared aversions to joining the organized church, and to being told what to do by anyone, I lean toward the later interpretation.

As an elementary teacher, I loved to incorporate poetry into not just my language arts instruction, but into the other subjects I taught as well. One year my 3rd graders studied and memorized Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”. Another year I orchestrated a spoken word play of Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise, Poems For Two Voices, a delightful book of poems about all types of insects. When lesson planning, I often sought out poems about Math, Science and Social Studies and found them to be very effective tools for teaching all sorts of concepts.

Today’s Carol and Emily Project poem is a short and sweet poem illustrating the moon’s tidal force.