Guest Writer/Journal Posting
Write On resident Liza Wiemer spent the week of January 21st working with sixth grade students at Southern Door Schools. Approximately 80 students gathered each morning to learn about the craft of writing and to share a story about an act of kindness.
These five words beautifully express the narratives started by the sixth grade students at Southern Door Middle School during our first period class together the week of January 21-25, 2019. Each student wrote about an act of kindness that had a profound impact on their lives, either something they did for someone else or something someone did for them. We talked about the power of showing emotion by using action, sounds, or non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions. We discussed the importance of setting and showing details critical to the story. We talked about the power of why. Throughout the week, several brave students shared their work with the entire group of eighty. And what a job they did! They inspired others, received praise, then feedback in order to make their stories shine brighter. One girl shared her joy in being adopted. A boy shared his pain of losing a wrestling match only to be cheered on and supported by his team when he walked off the mat. Another boy saved his sister from sledding into a tree and another helped an older woman put groceries into her car. Many students showed us their notebooks filled with details that brought their stories to life. Their pride in their hard work was evident by their eagerness to share and the smiles on their faces.
And perhaps one of the greatest outcome of all? The teachers decided to create a sixth grade wall of kindness, a place for students to add notecards highlighting acts of kindness that had a profound impact on them.
after the fire smoke
trees stripped no flurry of leaves
bark charred branches gone
night falls doesn’t lift
smoke lingers after the fire
trees tall straight leafless
after the fire smoke lingers
charred trees stripe the haze
darker on dark
we burn inside inside our homes
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
or used to be Dark and deep remain
Lovely maybe once again after
smoke clears, after rain, after sun
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
Fraction: trees w/o branches
Change to a decimal: .0001
Change to a percent: .01%
The grammar of unflowering trees
Subject w/o verb
Dangling participle: having little hope
Dark w/o spring
dark waiting for spring if dark
can be said to wait Or am I
the one who waits?
also missing birds
cardinal calls blackbird trills
squirrels on the chase
one after another fast
faster they vanish
i remember sun
imagine greening of trees
first leaf’s a flower
Somewhere in the dark a photographer
Somewhere through the haze an artist
Margaret Rozga is the Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2019–2020 and lives in Milwaukee. Rozga’s poems draw on her experiences and interests as an educator, avid reader and researcher, parent, and advocate for social and racial justice. She wrote this poem during one of Write On’s virtual Art/Speaks, our ekphrastic writing lab encouraging people to write in response to visual art. Margaret wrote in response to the painting “Emerging” by Door County artist Margaret Lockwood.
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