This year’s Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children is wrapping up this evening. Leaders Rebecca Kai Dotlich and George Heard host a wonderful group of poets each fall, and the Retreat Center is filled with rhythm, rhyme and wordplay. If you’d like a closeup look at what goes on, read attendee Matt Forrest Esenwine’s lovely blog post about the 2018 workshop.
Speaking of the 2018 workshop, some of Matt’s co-attendees wrote poems about the Highlights Foundation, and agreed that we could share them with you. Thank you!
One Iambic Morning, by Elizabeth Shreeve
I wake inside my Highlights bed
And as the day breaks, raise my head.
Then yawn and stretch and hit the floor
And eat and eat and eat some more.
Cabin #20, by Jena Benton
I’m at the back,
I cheer with an electric hum
every time the lights are flipped on
and a new suitcase
traveller after traveller
create with words and pictures
within my four walls.
I will be here
for years to come,
your dreams a kaleidoscope wallpaper
dancing across my wooden beams.
I’m at the back,
Great Green Roof, by Joan Riordan
Great Green Roof,
I see masses of snow on your peak
that the sun will melt to a
You weren’t waiting for me to arrive
to let that snow slide,
Were you, Great Green Roof?
By Shirley Thacker
Peaceful writing time
learning, practicing, sharing
Ode to Highlights, by Eileen Hession
Was it worth the angst, the money, the time
To join with strangers to make some rhyme?
I was sure that I could do it myself-
My rhyming dictionary is here on my shelf.
But I knew there was so much that I didn’t know
So, I packed up my bags and decided to go.
So scary to not know one person at all,
But the Barn had the bios up on the wall!
The people looked nice, I liked their looks,
But so many had published so many books!
Alas, intimidated once again,
I calmed myself by counting to ten.
What could I do? I couldn’t go home,
I’d stay, I’d learn, I’d conquer the poem!
I took a deep breath, and knew I’d be fine
When I saw that dinner started with wine.
And the food was so good and so was the group,
(Each breakfast had muffins, each dinner had soup,)
And the tables were filled with discourse and laughter,
(And I brought my dessert to my cabin for after.)
And the teachers were both so clever and smart
It was hard, at first, to tell them apart,
Both charming and witty, perceptive, unique,
I hoped they’d be kind when they did my critique.
I hung on their words like a raft on the sea,
(I think I just wrote a simile)
Their teaching was like a warm embrace,
Pity! the Floss was their fall from grace.
I loved the Barn, the haiku tree,
The Skype with Hopkins, Bennett, Lee
I loved the farm and the great outdoors,
and I learned that I really don’t like s’mores.
I loved the chefs and the kitchen staff,
And George and his old photograph,
Our R.A. Cat, the porcupine,
The yoga and of course, the wine.
And the Rebecca Davis Poem-Repair!
I learned from every person there,
There’s no question I’ll be back again,
No ifs, not buts, the question’s when?
I’m a disciple now, of the “Foundation,”
I’m inspired and filled with motivation,
There’s a book out there, I’ve got to write it
I guess you could say I’ve been Highlighted.