Ocean: A Spark for Teacher-Writers

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I am proud to be part of an amazing group of teacher writers who come together virtually once a week and write as part of TeachWrite's “Time to Write” workshops. Last week, TeachWrite CEO, Jennier Laffin, invited us to write a poem inspired by the book Write the Poem by Piccadilly in which each page offers a word to inspire writing. TeachWrite members wrote poems sparked by the word “Ocean”. Here is mine.  

 

write the poem

Ocean

Ebb and Flow
Movement 
Mobility

 

Knees bent
hands held tightly onto
mine. 
A smile spread across his 
tanned cheeks 
lifting the edges of his lifelong 
mustache.

 

Icy water pulls 
the sand underneath my  
youthful feet
threatening my balance.
His strong hands
tighten around mine;
a lifetime of keeping me 
safe.

 

We both look outward
towards the deepest blue.
I think this is going to be 
a good one...
One
Two
Three
JUMP!
I soar over the 
wave
giggling with 
delight. 

 

The ebb and flow of life
passes.
His mobility
agility 
ability to 
bend
his
knees
and 
jump
slips away.
Yet I hold tight;
Tight as the current 
pulls 
at the tide of his 
life.

Author's Note

When I think of the ocean, I think of my dad and my many memories of swimming with him. He was a hands-on and active parent; always present and happiest when playing with my brother and me. When I was a young girl, we used to “jump the waves” together. As he aged, a degenerative disease stole my dad's mobility. One of the most significant indications of this cruel life transition was that he no longer wanted to swim. 

 

When I first drafted this poem, I gave more attention to the passing of his life. Upon revising it, I decided to focus on the details of these loving childhood memories because, during those raw moments when I miss him so much that I can’t breathe, they are what sustain me. This serves as an example of how writing can heal. I’ve also played with space and how the words appear on the page. This craft move is inspired by poetry lessons I’ve shared with my students by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and her series “Keeping a Notebook”. 

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