a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#TeacherPoets WEEK THREE

Chris Lehman is hosting Teacher Poets, a free online poetry workshop to connect, inspire, and rejuvenate teacher poets.   
This week's prompt was to begin by writing a specific description of an object; then allow that description to become a poem.  During the live streaming last week I started writing about an onion.  I fell in love with that onion.  I think poetry begets love.  

Chris had also given this very wise advice to his fellow Teacher Poets: try to avoid mystery in your poetry.  These words have been knocking around in my poet's ear.  I believe this is where the work lies in revising this week's poem.  So, inspired by Terje's bravery, I am posting my unrevised work here for your compliments, questions, and considerations (three components to address when workshopping a poem).


skin called white
holds shades of yellow, gold, lavender, flesh

lines of longitude reach from end to end
no latitudes to cross

flakes of torn skin hold on
refusing to let go

there’s a lot to learn
from an onion

careful study of its exterior
reveals little of its core

a world of latitudes
untouched by longitudes

layer after layer
of protective walls

pull back each blanket of white
to reveal a brighter interior

the deeper I travel
the further each breath reaches

digging deep
causes my eyes to beg for pools of water
to ease the vulnerable sting
of exposure.


  1. I am glad that you posted. I was waiting for your poems. I like the list of colors, "the flake of torn skin," blanket of white, and the latitude-longitude pattern. It could be that you really speak of the onion, but for me you speak of us all being human. Have you read Brene Brown's "Daring Greatly"? It talks a lot about vulnerability.

  2. I wrote about an onion as a response to my students, Christy, and here again you remind me of that vulnerability in many we know, including students. I like the idea of the 'vulnerable sting of exposure'. So, a question: if there are no latitudes, does that mean they must be revealed inside? It's fun to hear all about your poetry workshop!

  3. I thought your use of latitude and longitude was brilliant. Loved the two line stanzas until the end. I have pondered questions and considerations, but could not find any. You have a way if taking a simple item and relating it to deeper meaning in life. Lovely, Christy!