Surviving Teaching and Finding Joy

Not surprising, the amazing schoolteacher, Jennie, writes of her attitude shift in teaching and her subsequent ascension to perfect preschool teacher. 🙂

A Teacher's Reflections

Times have changed.  Teaching has far more demands than it used to.  Required paperwork, overcrowded classes, and lack of support begins to take its toll.  At first it all seems manageable.  That fire of wanting to teach keeps the motor running.  Then bit by bit, as demands and expectations increase, it becomes more difficult to keep the fire burning.  The love becomes lost.

Teachers are quitting.

Children have changed, too.  Their lives have less (or little) room for play. Most of their waking hours are structured – from school to sports to after school activities.  Oh, and then the homework.  Frankly, homework in the early grades should be reading.  Period.

Children are often coming to school feeling everything from anger to being overwhelmed. They may not know why, they just know they aren’t feeling happy.

Is it any wonder that America’s children are ranked 26th in reading  among the world?

View original post 530 more words

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

At long (and I mean LONG last), we have the winner for this week’s contest.

It is Doug.

Every Sentence Runs Out

by Doug

Sentences, gracefully elaborated, embellished
with the sounds of glorious triumph, played

with cacophonous instruments of
drunken loquacious musicians strung out
on their heart strings,

birds and cats
playing around with joyful noise who are mine,

these sentences gracefully making every trill
a wave to glory, oceanic, are not runaways,
being ensconced in dreams, and

pray tell, if I may continue,
the words of the angels
are infinite and concise like
love that sings forever charming and
as elaborate as is a sentence to joy,

many times re-phrased, re-claused
like a Santa Clause whose mythology endures
way beyond his run away sleigh, bells of grace
reverberating with every sentence pronounced
by judges and supplicants
gracefully joined in symphony, in
sympathy, in empathy, and joined on every path
to any pathy even daffy, because
the complex can be simply wonderful
like you all who indulge
the marathon run into oblivion
with a billion words and
who pause to hear my running word.

Give me my praise
I shall not want but my
thousand splendid words, and
she who is verbose, perhaps,
yea but

Maybe I should have met her
on every cherished thought I had

but nocturnal words are fickle
and u don’t know how much i tried

oh don’t scold me if I tell u others
of the old words that defy

Look up,
look it up:
those lucubrations

where I studied romance,
but feared to speak out loud
lest a candle be blown out
on a cherished doubtful notion

Maybe I could have known her
with every cherished thought I had

Devotions in motion maybe
are not a type face. I’m
looking it up.

Sometimes she’s in a digital box,
but now I imagine:

Looking up to the sky
she’s running wild style
climbing adventurous trees

Those wild trees uproot themselves
just to make a statement
even if they fall short of running
but, of course, it’s not recommended

Yes, trees can branch
that’s their slow motion adventure
when they must wait for seed carriers
that bear their fruit

Maybe she’ll come down
for our favorite wine
and a dithyramb
about ecstasy
and leafy love

I have seen her dither,
climb a tree in bloom
speak with flirty birds
and have a word with me
that is a subtle twitter bark
surrounding like a hug wood
a play with banter-word chirps

But wilder is better because
even in flighty tedium whims
she knows the prolix eagles
who extend their wings
and cry for hours when
she speaks their language

With a waiting twiddle I wanted much
to touch her since then, and
there is a flourish in melody
that accompanies the twaddle
of the giddy blooming of me
I hear when I think
of her as branching music
reaching for the sky

I know she’s reading
between tweets
sneaking a look at
longer things like me
world famous innuendo

Hello, I can see you dear and
I have words to sing.
Step away from the box screen
and meet me in the forest;
there’s a long body
of conversation
of pleasure

I want my thousand words,
don’t want to abbreviate you
or shorten the picture

I don’t see you as a u or pic, and
I’m so sorry u were picked on

I will file a brief
in the highest court for
je ne sais quoi appeals, and
run rampant on ramparts of verbosity
because at least prolixity has a tongue
a lingua frank and a lingua true
not politically corrected scrub
but where I could be a tree
and you could be a bush
in the metaphor field
away from the digital box
and on to lots

short enough for ya’
u,… Oh, I would ask
your real name, but
I forgot mine

Maybe if I’ve lost my mind,
all these palpitations I have known
will be smoothed by mellifluous U when
your dear ear is on my flighty heart, and
frenzied eagles clap their wings, but yes
it’s best to reminisce, be in the pasture
of the past remembering:

maybe I should have met her
on every cherished thought I had
on the euphonious sound
of the mind plays played out
splayed like detritus loved, but

I knew her in the protest days
when she had the cacoethes loquendi,
was a gifted articulate rabble rouser
in a day when there were no cell phones
just cells

Oh the sadness of her cacoepy when
she mumbles tripe into the belly of a text message
never speaking in a sentence that would echo
over the harbinger crows that these days
inhabit the empty speakers’ square
where passersby, no longer downtrodden,
are down headed streaming pap on screens

I knew her when she would stand on a statue
demand her rights when she was right, there
in the speakers’ square (secretly knowing she was cute)

But now she’s downheaded and confused
refusing the speakers’ platform
where birds and I
could hear some rhetorical question
that I profoundly would, with chalice aforethought,

mischievously answer in basso profundo
“Share my wine of fictional dictum in a cup”
and I could see now that
she’d pronounce us “Huh whaa?”
and does she know I know
she knows she’s cute

I think a kiss would be
better than a text message
or a revolution

Give me my praise
I shall not be wanted

My praise is in the valley.
There the lambs are abundant;
I do not need to want for lamb chops, and
no need for stewing.

Give me my paprika,
the shepherdess is at the barbecue

My staff, they comfort me,
the office gives me my just humor;
they humor me in cacophony

I cross the river into Egypt
and find my sticks, no carrots

do not fail me now, for
I must beg to be let to
come to the gates of Heaven
and plead my case in
the verbosity of the century, yea
I come to praise Caesar and myself in kind

Indeed tell me he is there
and I am ubiquitous in
the quadrillion words of praise.

Congratulations, Doug! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

If you managed to get through all of Doug’s poem, you may have thought, “Well, of COURSE he won. would have given him first prize just to stop reading!” …Maybe that was just me. But, I wish for all entrants and readers to know that length was not the primary determinant in choosing.

Length was one of the qualities that helped Doug win the crown, only because he clearly used length as an intentionally irritating characteristic. Besides incredible long-ness; I appreciated his word usage (in fact, Doug’s second poem almost won first for that, as well as two or three other submissions I received), somewhat-cohesive subject, more formal tone, and intentional (I hope) misspellings and mis-wordings.

That’s not to say the others didn’t give Doug a run for his …prestige of earning first prize. If you can stand to, read them all below:

In Praise of Verbosity

by Doug

Do not abjure verbosity in
servile service to the reckless feckless,
those pusillanimous brevity mice,
rodents on the road to hell paved
with the cheesy gold, like pyrite
written on the cave wall, those
who shun the consanguinity of
the synonymatic coinage, and who
at best are simpletons,
mere intelligentsia manqué
taking a wrecking ball to
a palace where formal balls are
hosted with complex word dances
with subordinate clauses and pauses
in pas de deux coupling of phrases

It is not mythomania
to champion verbosity against the normative nabobs
who can not lengthen themselves to Robert
and not be Bob bobbing in a tiny pond
when the oceanic awaits the big fish.

A penchant for words is the progenitor
of the verbose pension proscription
unless one eats one’s words.


Untitled piece

by Peregrine Arc

Over the river and through the woods
To loquacious land we go
Up and down, in and out
Throwing up long words and thumbing our snouts
Dotting our I’s
Hearing our tunes
Taking a breathe
Delivering ’til June
Free write is a way
To earn free spoons…

But did I tell, did you hear
The tune of a man who drove a John Deere?
Upwards and humming
Downwards and chummy
And boy did that grass grooooww—-oh!

Over the river and through the woods
To Captain Marvel we go!
Did you see the movie yet?
It was great, the actions spectact!
-ular, oooh!

Over the bridge and under the fire
Suddenly we’re quite alone.
I hear music a thrumming,
A child humming
And then it’s back to loquacious land we ….gooooooo……

Repeat ad naseuam.


Verbosity is my Name

by Ruth Scribbles

I want to write a story

But you’d be so bor-y-ed

I want to write a poem

And you’d be all ho-hum-ed 😴

I’d write you a tune

Yet you’d tune it out

Whoa is me

So I decided to write what pleases me

And they all said glory be!

Will she be verbose?

Or will we all become comatose?

So she began to write

The more she wrote

The crazier she felt

Until she saw herself sitting there

Writing about writing

Blah blah blah

Then she began to sing as she wrote

The words became a song

Verbose is the name of the game

Cringe if you must

But I will boast

That I am the most


After a cup of coffee

They call me verbosity

That is really silly,

Don’t you think?

Is your thinking verbose?

Wow…. now THAT my friends

Is morose!

I’m done now

So I’ll say goodbye

Or is the end better?

What is the best way

To end a verbose poem


Ba bye all yawl!!


Unfortunate Decision

by Violet Lentz

Dare you hear the haunted humming of your heinous, heathen, heroin heart? As it whines, whispers, moans, meows, making love to your muddled mind..

Even in sacred, solemn silence- it mouths, mimes, meanders, melding wit with wisdom, it’s wanton wishes, willfully woo you with, and without words.

Cunningly the darling devil delights in its own devious desires- dipping, delving, deeper, deeper, desperate to draw on your personal penchant for privilege- pestering, pleading, plying, pulling- please?

It gropes, it grasps, it gathers, regretfully you dis-graciously give in finally, to its felonious, festering, frivolity- finishing your frolic with a familiar foray into faux forever….

So stealthily has it succeeded in ceremoniously sucking you in, so slyly you have been smitten, smote, stolen, sold.  All attachments annihilated. Set adrift. aloft. alone..

In grotesque hues of envious green, grinning, glaring, gorging, gouging away at your still sensitive sane self, it splays itself, spread-eagle before you.. begotten, betrothed, bewitched, beguiled- be damned..

Openly, luring you with liberal libations, limitless ludicrous luxury, lovingly, lustfully leering, “look at me”… At last releasing, its succor, slowly, sensually, silently, seducing you. You succumb. Such sweet surrender….

Never one to linger, laughing as it lecherously leaves you.. You look longingly, lingering- lost… Addicted. Abused. Used-up. Useless.. Another unfortunate decision…


A Simple Song of Spring

by Trent P. McDonald

‘Tis spring!
A man thinks of the simple things
The important things
‘Tis spring
The vernal equinox
As the sun moves past the equator
No, that’s not right
The sun doesn’t move
Does it?
Well, technically, it does move
Rotating around the galaxy’s hub
While the galaxy zips out from…
Wait, what’s our frame of reference?
Where does the galaxy zip from?
Where did it start?
About 13 billion years ago
The universe was born
For the first few nano-seconds
Before matter as we understand existed
The Universe actual went faster than the speed of light
Well, light didn’t exist yet
It all slowed down to just a bit less than the speed of light
Now it has slowed more
Though the mass is unaccounted for
To make it slow so much
So we developed the concept of dark matter
It is possible that the dark matter
Caused the galaxies to form
From galaxies are born stars
Like our sun
And around our star, Sol, a system
The Solar System was formed
Which includes Earth
Which rotates around the sun, Sol
But the axis is tilted
So once every rotation
From a reference on Earth
(of course)
The sun moves past the equator
(From that frame of reference, remember!)
Heading north
Well, that brings us back to spring
Now doesn’t it?
‘Tis spring!
And man thinks of the simple things
The important things


Words, words and more words

by Greygirlieandme

What is a word you ask?
I’ll set myself to this impossible task.
A collection of letters
made by your olders and betters.
You put the letters into syllables
so they become understandables.
And then you add the syllables together
to make a word, one doesn’t do – you need more to blether
and blether and blether and babble
just like when you’re playing scrabble.
I always win the wordy game,
I don’t cheat, as you proclaim.
I know more words than you do, you know
please don’t keep up this horrible row.
And when you’ve got your words sorted out
that’s when you can begin to spout.
Proclaim to all and sundry, everywhere
at speaker’s corner, the market square. Here
you might find an audience
who’ll listen to your every sentence.
And when you’ve bored them into submission
why not audition for the television?
So many channels are on the air, cable,
internet, and the radio. I’ll ask my Aunty Mabel
which one would suit your constant blather,
don’t get yourself in such a lather,
your constant chit-chat
makes everyone say ‘What?
What is this person going on about?’
It makes my ears begin to sprout
little hands to close the lobes
against your words not as wise as Job’s.
Just because words come in trillions
like the lovely Brazilian’s
nuts, you need only use a few.
Like an orderly queue.
Not a raging mass of words
that turns my milk into curds.
It’s time to stop
before I pop.



by TanGental

There are those who think me alien
And whose gratuitous opinions pale when
They realise I’m sesquipedalian
A lot

Some will think it a pity
And others are just plain shitty
If I say it’s serendipity
Or wot.

I admit I like things in order
And it’s true I’ve been known to murder
Those who enjoy schadenfreude
A lot.

And I’ll be the first to run a mile
And never forget to smile
In the presence of a logophile
Or wot.

And in truth nobody knows
How it drives me comatose
When I’m told I’m far too verbose
A lot

Because to me it would appear
That my meaning is always clear
Despite verbal diarrhoea
Or wot.

Some fear it might be contagious
And the suggestion really audacious
That we need to be more loquacious
A lot.

But the bottom line is why use one word when a dozen will do and if I didn’t go on and on and on and on then the howling void that comprises your puling mediocre lives would be so overwhelming you might think you had something important to say and that would never do.
Thank you
A lot.


Thank you; thank you for entering! You’ve ruined made my day, and the days of many lucky readers besides me.


Doug: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the 18th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest!

Wondering what we’re about? You’re not alone; read my terrible poetry how-to. We seek to tear apart all that is good and rhyming about contests and poetry, and to decide whether those two roads actually went anywhere in a yellow wood.

Here are the specific rules for this week:

  1. Let’s go with the Topic of Verbosity. Are you familiar in acquaintance with persons who cannot but broaden their sentences, their lexicon, the lift of their nose, and the limited attentions of your interest? If you are, you’re ready for this week.
  2. What about Length? This is a poem about wordiness, you know…
  3. Rhyme if you want to, but it’s not a requirement.
  4. Your creation must be Terrible. Professor Theodore Persimmon Wordsworth III will surely raise his person to a full, standing height; discharge an obstruction from the general vicinity of his windpipe; expound in the manner of a filibuster for the duration of several hours; return himself to a sitting position; and examine the comatose audience in bewilderment and consternation.
  5. Keep your poem a PG-rating or lower, if you please.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 22) to submit a poem.

If you are shy, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, then I will be able to tell you whether I received it.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!




Photo credit:
Image by Kai Trulsen from Pixabay

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

I say it every week. I know I do. But this week, I was closer than a toothpick’s distance to saying everyone was a winner. I was!

I’m fairly certain one of you wants the crown, however, so that victor is Michael B. Fishman.

The King

by Michael B. Fishman

There once was a King,
I’m not sure if he could sing.
(But that doesn’t really matter for our story.)

Maybe it does,
the bees do buzz.
(But I can’t understand what they say so forget I mentioned it.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, there once was a King
who wanted everything.
(But then I guess that’s a trait that maybe all King’s have?)

((Again, that doesn’t really matter for our story.))

So this king, he was needy,
and very, very greedy,
(But no one dared tell him that even though if they had
they’d have done him a great, great favor and saved him
a lot of angst, but I’m foreshadowing so go back and re-read
this line and stop after the word “favor”.)

And one day some guy into town rolled,
and said, “Who wants to turn everything he touches into gold?”
(But receiving no immediate takers the guy stood back and waited.)

And he waited.
Waited he did.
Ho boy did he wait.
But he didn’t wait long.

Because –

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
what the King said next,
may surprise you.

The King said, “Hey, dude, I want to be able to turn everything I touch into gold.
And for that service I’ll pay you five . . . no TENfold.”
(But the guy was hungry.)

The guy ate and then he gave the King the gold-making skill,
and the King was turning things to gold at will.
(But then he made a mistake.)

“I’m the King but I’m not the Kaiser although I sure do know how to roll.”
And the King realized that making puns should not – in life – be his goal.
(But the guy just shook his head because he knew that was not the King’s mistake.)

So the King’s mistake, I almost forgot . . . The King with the Touch ‘o Gold,
he gave his daughter a hug while her hand he did hold, and . . .
(end poetic pause here) (OK one more)
and . . .
The King turned his poor daughter into gold.

Poor girl.

So, long story short: the King panicked and he called
the guy who gave him the POWER OF GOLD and asked
him to reverse the spell,
and the King’s daughter turned back into a flesh and
blood daughter and was healthy and well.

But with this happy ending there’s one thing to remember:
Don’t be greedy because
what you have is enough
so look around you and
realize that and be happy.

And maybe go make something beautiful for the world out of papier-mâché.

Michael, Michael, Michael. You’re going to make me bring back the word limit too, you know.

I mean: congratulations, Michael! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

And you had tough competition. Everyone made me laugh, cringe, applaud creativity and cleverness, and wish that the moral lesson would come to an end much sooner than it did (even with the short ones). The teensy tiny boost that earned Michael this dubious title was that he had a surprisingly complete story; one that incorporated a few others, perhaps, but it’s there. Mostly I appreciated his story construction.

The rest of you, go buy yourself a treat. You earned it.

Seriously; read below and tell me whether I’m wrong:

A salient lesson

by Bruce Goodman

I have told you multitudinous times
not to make fun
of a baboon’s bum.
To illustrate why, here’s a story that rhymes.

When four-year-old Constantia visited the zoo
she had nothing better to do
than to laugh at the baboon’s bright pink bottom.
Her mother said, don’t do that, your manners are rotten.

Constantia fed the baboon a nut.
This, she said, is because you have a ridiculous butt.
At that moment the wind changed
and Constantia herself discovered that her own bottom had been rearranged.

Now Constantia is all grown up
and has an astronomical-sized butt.
It has made her social life inferior
because of her utterly massive bright pink posterior.

The moral of this story is questionable and digestible:
always eat your vegetables.


Never, ever.

by Peregrine Arc

Never end your sentences with an ox
For he’ll trample, dample all your periods into fox.
That will scurry, hurry, lurry into vegetable lo mein
My dear, where was the thesaurus again?

The moral of this story is: Don’t use Google Translate.


Be Swanky

by Ruth Scribbles

Have you ever? -Fill in the blank
Come on now, let’s be frank
You know to never rob a bank
Especially with a guy named Hank
Hank is bad, a very bad crank
He really likes to play pranks
He steals, he lies, he drank
Himself to death
Don’t ever play with a guy named
Or you may walk the plank
And die and really stank
If you never listen to anything I’ve said,
Remember be Frank
Be swanky

~I’m Frank~


Food Fight

by Violet Lentz

i overheard them
a note of superiority
had been struck..
dropping catch words
like sustainable,
free range, organic,
locally grown, and such..
and i could tell
from the tone of
their voices,
they had thought
about it, a lot..
about how elevated
above the masses
their pallets had become
and how their
cutting edge
elitist eating
set them
oh, so high above-
the impoverished single mother
struggling to feed her kids
in whose apparent
still chose? to fill
their hungry bellies
with mac and cheese
and pork-n-beans
and (gasp) a couple of
cool ranch doritos….


The Failure Of A Moral Compass

by Geoff

You self selecting knowalls who like to set the standards
Are also always least inclined to put in all the hard yards.
You moralise and come to judge and put us on the spot
And tell us when to do a thing and when it’s best to not.
You never have a shadowy doubt or moment’s indecision
Because you clearly understand the black from white distinction.
Your word is law and handed down with absolute finality
As you set us right like simpletons with patronising clarity.
It takes a certain chutzpah to share this clear eyed confidence
And hold the line, despite attacks, with constant insouciance.
But the point you miss when your only focus is on your moral compass
Is that the world at large hates no one more than a moralising smart-arse.


Good, terrible work, everybody! Now, go tell your friends and tune in tomorrow for next week’s prompt.


Michael: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, 16th installment. I may have miscounted, but we’re going with that number for now.

If you’re new, confused, and/or need directions; read my how-to about terrible poetry. I look more on the face of the cringe-worthy construction than the content of a poem’s subject.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: Stories with a Moral to be Learned. Unlike last week, I am not looking for a parody of a story. I seek, instead, a reference to one we know or a lamentation of how annoying such tales are -stuff like that.
  2. Write for as long as you would like, but please don’t exceed most readers’ attention spans.
    »»Likewise, I’m capping the submissions at three entries.
  3. Rhyming is optional.
  4. The number 4 rule is to make it terrible. Aesop, Rudyard Kipling, and Jean de la Fontaine need to roll over in their graves, read what you wrote, and come to life just long enough to write a fable admonishing writers to never do what you have done.
  5. Considering the general audience of most moral lessons, let’s stick with a G-rating.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 8, 2019) to submit a poem.

I’ve had more than one complaint about the submission form, and can only apologize on behalf of an internet imp who seems bent on swallowing what people put in there. He’s lost at least two poets’ attempts permanently, delayed another, and sent me scurrying around trying to piece together nonexistent crumbs from both these actions.

As such: if you are shy, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, just to be certain. Then I will be able to tell you whether I received it.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!


Photo credit:
Chen Hu