Abecedarian – Tree to be…

Each month, Michelle puts out a poetry challenge on Today’s Little Ditty. And this month was no exception. Write an Abecedarian poem, which is an acrostic-type poem working through the alphabet – in alphabetical order.

Usually life is so busy, the month has whisked past before I get to try the challenge – but this month, I was prepared! Perhaps I cheated – because in truth, this one was all-but written. 🙂

Abecedarian: Abby & Callan – Tree to Be…

Abby sprawled on the bed,
as thoughts wafted adrift in her head,
bemused at how she would fill her day
bereft of friends. Some holiday!
Callan slouched through the door –
slumped on the floor.
‘D’ya think they’d let us
drive the ol’ dunger – get us
escape from nowhere,
even if it’s just around … here and there?’
‘Forget it,’ Abby groaned,
‘Fat chance of anything fun,’ she moaned.
‘Grandma’s house is so boring, and she
gets all uptight and uppity.
How she imagines we’re going to get hurt –
her hovering ever alert …
It’s driving me insane!
I’d rather live and bear the pain.’
‘Just for another two days, Abbs. No
jape. Things’ll settle when we’re home, you know.’
‘Kinda too late by then,’ Abby said –
Kicking the end of her bed.
‘Lucky us. Let loose right in time for school.
Like that’s so cool.’
Memory tickled and Abby stilled …
‘Maybe I’ve got an idea,’ she whispered, thrilled.
‘Never say,’ Callan praised,
nudging his sis, eyebrows raised
‘Out with it. What’s
on your mind. I hope you’ve got lots
planned because I’m in!’
Possibilities were explored therein.
Quiet voices.
Quick words exploring choices.
Rather than risk being busted they
relocated outside. ‘What do you say?’
‘So long as no-one gets hurt
something tells me they won’t kick up dirt.’
They wandered along the dusty track,
talking it all out, before heading back.
Under the old fig tree, Callan paused, peered
up, inspecting thickly muscled branches that disappeared …
Vaulting into the canopy, Callan looked down from his
vantage point. ‘C’mon up, Abby. This is
what we’ve been imagining, only better by far!’
‘Wait for me,’ Abby grunted, scrambling up, ‘Ah,’
Excitement was thick. ‘Don’t slip!’ Callan warned, ‘Or you’ll be
X-rayed and in a cast so fast – and pity help me!’
‘You see if you can stop me now,
Yes, I’m free as a bird on a bough.’
‘Zilch can touch us,’ Callan smiled, ‘This is our
zone. Tree to be… The fun starts now!’

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

Tree to be…

Needless to say, I’ve taken the Abecedarian and tweaked the form to suit me – so there’s two lines for each letter, and a touch of rhyme.

The poem itself was not inspired by my life – other than that leafy escape ending. There was a tree at my Grandparents’ – and Grandma would have had fits if she knew how some of us (not me!) balanced along branches and onto the roof of the house. For me, it was enough to be clinging like a limpet, inching my way across to the concrete tank… a favourite spot with the cousins when we were all fortunate enough to be there together. (I had the best cousins!)

My boys had the old fig tree down the track in our house paddock, that featured in an earlier ‘Tree to be…‘ post – along with their WIP treehouse.

The tree pictured in today’s post is one of the locations for the Text As Art project I’m involved with, for the upcoming Crush Festival. It’s found in the main street of Bundaberg – but with careful angling, all things city could be concealed. 😛

Amy is hosting Poetry Friday this week at The Poem Farm, where you’ll find links to all sorts of poetry goodness. Thanks for hosting, Amy. And congratulations on your new book, ‘READ! READ! READ!’. It’s school holidays here in Queensland – the perfect time to climb trees… and READ!

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Calling Home – Calling Memories

Adrienne Williams is an artist in the Bundaberg-region who I met recently through my involvement in the Text as Art project –  a part of WriteFest and the 2017 Crush Festival. Adrienne is in fact going to be creating the art from a portion of the text I have written – but that’s another story! (Click on the links if you’re wanting to know more.)

The framed artwork above Adrienne is three-dimensional, with intricate paper cutouts. Exquisite!

Adrienne’s collection, ‘Calling Home‘ is currently on display at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), accompanied by Andy Wilson’s soundscape. ‘The Vault’, is the perfect space for this immersive, surround-sound visual feast. Stunning!

Enter another world…

Enter ‘The Vault’ and you will experience a soundscape of the Subantarctic, including penguins (cue the memories!) skuas, seals and other native wildlife, and art of different sizes and dimensions, inspired by the penguins (individually and collectively) and the megaherbs of the Subantarctic region. There is so much to take in, and the grey-scale pallet is perfect – as are the select 3D pieces, with intricate cut-work.

Elephant seal greeting. You too can sit with the seals.

There are also seals! Yes – large as life real-deal elephant seal beanbags that you can nestle into, kick back and absorb the experience.

BRAG is running ‘Get Inked‘ – a kids’ holiday workshop with Adrienne, on 21st September. (Bookings are essential.)  But meantime, I thought a little bit of poetry might be nice… Adrienne’s penguins were just crying out for some shape poetry wordplay.

Calling home: no cable, data, or credit needed.

I had so much fun with these! They’re inspired by the image in the background of Adrienne’s photos, above. A modified version may even work its way into one of two projects I’m working on at the moment… which is a lovely little bonus! (They were just the impetus I needed to dive back into my Antarctic verse novel. Yay!)

I’m a little kicking-self here, because Michelle Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday this week, and I’d have loved to post my Abecedarian poem, since that’s the challenge she’s running on Today’s Little Ditty this month – but I really wanted to get Adrienne’s post in  today, before her workshop – so… no Abecedarian this week. I’ll have that here for you next week.

Meanwhile, Bundy peeps, you have until 22 October to get into the Art Gallery and be transported to the Subantarctic. Don’t miss this opportunity!

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Quoting the Kids

A little child shall lead them – up the garden path!

I toyed with posting these poems for last week’s play-based learning post… until I remembered my dress-ups poem and Soapy Sid. But these were too cute to keep – so why not share them this week, instead? Poems inspired by gorgeous things my boys have said.

 

Sowing Seeds to Bake Buns

A four year-old was castigating Mother on her waste,
when throwing out the sesame seeds, in her clean-up haste.
He grabbed the bread roll packet and retrieved it from the bin,
still scolding, as he hunted for a pot to put them in.

His mother patiently explained, “We cannot plant these seeds.”
But laddie was intent upon his propagation deeds.
“Well how will we get more buns then?” the boy wanted to know.
“We won’t have more fresh buns if we don’t plant the seeds to grow!”

 

Toadstool in a Tutu

The little girl up on the stage, all dressed in glossy white,
was twirling on her slippered toes and prancing with delight.
Her tutu wasn’t made of tulle, all ruched with gathering,
but satin, stretched across a hoop – a flat and skinny thing.

A young boy in the audience was clearly quite entranced,
but baffled by the rigid skirt that quivered as she danced.
This mystery he had to solve, before it drove him mad…
“Is she a mushroom, or a toadstool?” asked the puzzled lad.

 

Tuna Schooner

I like shopping trips with my son.
He turns mundane chores into fun!
When buying tinned tuna
that featured a schooner
he cried, “There’s a boat in this one!”

 

The Editor

my boy edits
paper planes
the cubby house
a construction project
and a poem

he edits everything
that needs fixing
because mum is
a writer

Poetry © Kathryn Apel
All rights reserved

Matt Forrest Esenwine will be shining a flashlight on Poetry Friday this week, so click across to https://mattforrest.wordpress.com to share your links and light up your night (and day) with poetry. 🙂

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Poetry Friday – Child’s Play

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Round-up. This is my first time hosting the Poetry Friday crew – and using a linky widget – so I sure am hoping it’s going to work first go!

Last week I posted some pics and collages from my experiences of Book Week in Australia. I mentioned that I was off to enjoy Boating Under the Bridge on the Saturday, so I’ll kickstart today’s blog with a collage from that day, because it was brilliant! So much free play stemming from a picture book that I’ve loved as both a mum and teacher, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’, by Pamela Allen.

A whole crowd of kids and carers spent a busy morning creating their own fun with simple and effective resources. It was just like #thegoodolddays #wheniwasakid and #kidswerekids. (Actually, it brought back more memories from when my boys were little, and building countless cubby houses, in trees, and from tin – and anything else they could find. And so much play!)

If you are a parent, carer or early-years educator in the Bundaberg region, get involved with the First Five Forever program, link in with Wide Bay Kids, and get yourself into your local library, because these three organisations, with the support of a whole lot of other community groups, are going to make a HUGE difference in the literacy and creativity of our up-and-coming generations! I was super impressed! Play matters – and these groups foster the fun of play-based learning, and recognise the crucial role of parents in that play. You can find more information on the Wide Bay Kids website – or ask at the Bundaberg Library. And get ready to have a whole lot of FUN with your kids!

I’d been planning to share a poem about my little nook of the world, but I’m realising it’s probably the perfect post to follow with a poem about creativity and play…

If I Dress-up.

Pirate02When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

With my stripy shirt in tatters
and my faded denim shorts,
I could wear a pirate’s eye patch
as I swish a sword of sorts.

IMG_5096

If I stuff Mum’s old brown stockings
and make goggle ping-pong eyes,
I could go and scare Miss Muffet
in my spidery disguise.

With my parka and Dad’s helmet,
winter gloves and sunnies too,
I would safely look quite speedy
just like racing drivers do.IMG_5171

If I use a bit of face paint,
make a wand and glitter wings,
I can flutter as a fairy
as I sprinkle joy on things.

If I grab my board, and swimmers,
and then smear my lips with zinc
I would only need a wave to
be a surfer, don’t you think?IMG_5155

When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 4 2006
All rights reserved.

And I know I’ve shared Soapy Sid before on Poetry Friday, but… #play #creativity #imagination #hereheisagain And there were pirates Boating Under the Bridge.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 3 2006
All rights reserved.

Maybe you, too, have a poem to share about creative play? Or a particular play-based memory from your childhood – or special moments with your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now, let’s see how I go with creating and inserting this widget (child’s play! 😉 ) so you can share the links to your inspiring poetry posts. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the wordplay!

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Mr Ferris Wheel – National Science Week

Inspired by National Science Week, I’m sharing a found poem, taken from the picture book, ‘Mr Ferris and His Wheel’ – a book that I borrowed as much for my late-teenaged sons as for myself. They’re both so busy with studies at the moment that a picture book is about all they have time for! (And we have always loved a good scientific picture book.)

“Before TV and the internet, people from around the globe gathered at World’s Fairs to share their different ways of life and new technologies.”

What grand events the World’s Fairs must have been! It made me a little envious of the days…

Mr Ferris Wheel

World’s Fair;
America to impress 
              the world.

Mechanical engineer
George Ferris
had 
      an idea
           a dazzle
                 an invention.


Construction chief:
                    “It would collapse.”

George:
        “You are an architect, sir.
        I am an engineer.”


        Dynamite.
Quicksand.
        Digging.
Solid ground
deep into the earth.


Trains chugged 100,000 parts.

Monster wheel had to spin;
elegant passenger cars
the size of a living room.

Two thousand tons of steel

                            up, up, UP.

Glimpses of faraway states!

Perfect escape was
                      fifty cents.

                Magical.

             Ferris Wheel.

This was a fascinating read into the skepticism that surrounded the birth of the Ferris wheel. And the success anyway! Without any financial assistance from fair organisers (convinced of its failure, but finding no better alternatives) and bankers (who ‘laughed him into the street’), 34 year-old George Ferris used his own savings, and with the support of a few wealthy investors, financed the monstrosity himself.

IMG_7648.jpg

I could share all sorts of interesting snippets with you, but where would I start… and where would I finish!? Instead I will say that you should just read the book yourself! And absorb the varied coloured pallets of the illustrations, that take you back to another time and magical place…

IMG_7652.jpg

My son’s favourite line of the book?

 “You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer.”

(There may be some bias in son’s preference. 😉 )

I have missed (in more ways than one!) Poetry Friday for some weeks now. It’s good to be back and posting! I’ll be checking out the links shared on Kay’s blog; http://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org. You can too!

TItile: Mr Ferris and His Wheel
Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0-547-95922-1

PS  Did I mention that I’m scared of heights? The slow and steady, creaky-freaky Ferris wheel is my least-favourite ride of the Show!

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Horsepower

Kicking off Text As Art

It’s Friday. Time for some poetry love – though I do hope you can love poetry every day of the week!

Today I’m sharing a solage – (and a rush of memories) and two snippets of news.

First the news… I was thrilled to hear that my poem ‘Big Blue Whale‘ is being used in a 7th Grade English second language text book, with Norwegian publisher Gyldendal Undervisning. Can’t wait to see it in its new print home! And exciting to have my first poem published in Norway. I’ll share pics when I see it! Until then, Yay! 

And… I’m also excited to be involved with Bundaberg Creative Regions’ Text As Art project, running throughout August (writing) and September (creating), for an October installation and 2-week display. Watch this space for more information, because I can all-but guarantee that I will be writing…. poetry! #anditwillbeFUN 🙂

Now, the poetry; a solage.

And doesn’t nostalgia bubble with that photo! So many beloved people – in a pic taken well before I knew them. And the house where I grew up in in the background (where my parents still live) and the tree that dripped sparkly green/silver/pink shimmer-berries with a distinctive aroma that I am smelling as I type this post. (Don’t ask me what it’s called because I couldn’t tell you – and the tree is long gone.)

The little ‘hut’ behind that tree was the cream room, where (full) cream cans were stored, stirred twice a day, and collected every 2 or 3 days for delivery to the butter factory. Not refrigerated, but cool (still is!) with strategic windows and thick, lined walls for insulation. (It has since been a chook pen and bird aviary – and now houses gardening tools, etc.)

The above photo features my dad, and aunt and uncles, and three of their Melbourne cousins. I love it! But an even older treasure is the photo below, which features my twinkle-eyed, larrikin Grandan and his siblings, minus his youngest brother. (I so wish he was in this pic, too!)

That sweet little girl in the middle, is the mother of the cousins of the first pic. She also was born in the same house, and bred on the same farm… and came back often to visit during my years growing up, always climbing ‘The Rocks’ on the hill behind our house, to look down on the vista of the farm and neighbourhood. You can spy her in the pic below, making the trek at the age of 95. This much-loved lady turned 100 earlier this month.

FYI: There are no photos of my siblings and I lined up like cylinders in a car engine, astride a horse. Fortunately, necessity didn’t involve ‘horse’power for our trip to school, because whilst I was (until the age of 18 ) frequently required to muster, or mind cattle on the road, this grazier’s wife who’s scared of cows is also scared of … horses! (Particularly when my brother was involved.)

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Katie at The Logonauts. Thanks, Katie. Meanwhile, I’m still smiling at all the macaroni cheese poems that surfaced last week – annatto and all! Who knows what treasures you’ll discover on the Poetry Friday rounds this week.

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Cheesy Mac

I was all set to roll with a horsepower post today… but then my tweet stream started to fill with… (Oh no! I forgot!!) CheesyMac!

Here’s the quickest-ever batch of Mac&Cheese that I have every whipped up!

When you’re wanting a tasty, quick snack
that won’t line your washing up rack,
grab some pasta and cheese,
cause they’re sure to appease,
when hunger pangs plead cheesy mac!

© Kathryn Apel 2017  (All rights reserved)

Why are we all writing macaroni cheese poems, you ask? Good question! I do remember mention of it some weeks ago during Poetry Friday – something to do with National Macaroni & Cheese Day – which we likely aren’t celebrating in Australia… 🙂 BUT… I got a new poem… and my post for NEXT Friday is all-but finished. So I think that means I’m ahead.

Alas, I don’t have plans for Mac&Cheese for tea… though I’m tempted.

Go tempt your tastebuds with cheese treats and more at Tabatha’s blog, where I promise you won’t be indifferent.

Hairy Huntsman Spider – Repost

This week I’m cheating and linking back to one of my earlier bush poetry posts. I don’t feel like I’m cheating readers though, because Hairy Huntsman Spider is one of my better bush poems – and overseas readers will get a glimpse of an iconic Australian creature. And there are pictures. Big, scary pics… (Well – there was last time I looked – but it’s not a page I’m ever keen to revisit because #worstfear so I’m just going to assume they’re still there.)

But first… Don’t forget to visit Diane at Random Noodling for the full Poetry Friday round-up – where you are more likely to discover curiosities, than creepy-crawlies.

And without further ado, I’ll link you across to Hairy Huntsman Spider!

Click the postcard to read the full poem. (Beware. Bigger, scarier spider pictures in the linked post. This one’s a baby.)

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The Bowerbird – a poem

I was scrolling through the Instagram feed yesterday when this brightly colourful post by imagination.mama caught my eye;

Cue the memories! Because I might know a think about that… In fact, I may have even written a poem or two when my boys were in preschool.

For my international Poetry Friday friends, bowerbirds are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are a number of varieties, but I’ll link you to Graeme Chapman‘s page of photos – where you can see pics of the male Satin Bowerbird and his collection of blue treasures. And David Attenborough’s BBC video, showing the elaborate bower created. (It’s astonishing!)

A lot of years have passed since that poem was written… but not much has changed. The bowerbirds still make something out of nothing – and I can’t regret it! Having seen the benefits of creativity and problem-solving throughout the years, and the complexity of the projects they now undertake, I am quick to extol the virtues of creative play and recycled projects at a very young age. If there is one thing I did well as a mother, it was to feed my bowerbirds! And I’m thrilled that kids are starting to be inspired to play and be creative, through my author visits.

‘You said to go home and make things with boxes… so we did!’

To squeeze more poetry into your weekend, be sure to visit Heidi at her juicy little universe, where you’ll find the full round-up of the links. Thanks, Heidi!

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! Wonderful Wordplay!

Poetry is about word play – and I am loving the playful words that roll around (and bounce and soar) in this picture book about Aussie Rules, written by Katrina Germein and illustrated by Janine Dawson. AFL is not the game of choice in Queensland, where ‘real men play Rugby League’* – so I’m not as familiar with the rules and terms as some. But it is very obvious that Katrina and Janine have between them spent considerable time on the sidelines of the game (perhaps even starred themselves?) and were definitely on the same team when they produced Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! – a  picture book that exudes energy and enthusiasm … and alliteration!

The text is an ABC of AFL! From start to finish it tells the story of an afternoon of football.

Aussie Rules is awesome. I always arrive on time.

As the game progresses, the rain starts to fall…

Patterson pauses then passes to Piper. She positions herself and propels the ball past the post. Perfect play!                 <Click to Enlarge>

By the final quarter there’s quite a quagmire.

I’m super-impressed that Katrina managed to handball so many AFL terms onto the page, in a sequential sporty story that ticks boxes as an alliterative alphabetical text. And I love the details (and activity) that Janine jostled into the illustrations – making meaning of those sporty terms, for those of us not overly-familiar with AFL.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! is a picture book that make its mark. I’m sure AFL families will be giving it two flags up!

To read more poetry posts, click across to Carol’s Corner where you’ll find the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks, Carol!

* None of the real men in my family actually play Rugby League. It’s just a bit of interstate jest and no harm intended. 😉