Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Invitation Poem

Every winter my students and I explore a mini-unit on the poet Robert Frost.  We delve into three of his poems - Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Road Not Taken, and a shorter, less known poem called The Pasture.  I've shared it here for you to enjoy:

I am going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(and wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan't be gone long - You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother.  It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan't be gone long - You come too.
                    ~Robert Frost

After exploring this poem in depth, I ask the kids to write an "invitation" poem in the style of The Pasture, inviting the reader to come into their world and join them while they do something they enjoy.  The resulting poems are always so amazing.  Of course, I model the process by writing one of my own on the white board.  Having grown up in the desert of Tucson, I almost always choose to write a poem inviting the reader into that world.  On this quiet Sunday morning, I thought I'd share with you my most recent "invitation" poem about my beloved desert:

I hear the cactus wren call to its mate in the distance
The harsh "char char char" increasingly louder before a pause
The desert begins to awaken, to stir, to pulse with life
The Sun beats down and warms the rocks, the sand
Beckons the prickly pear and saguaro flowers to open and smile
Come explore the nooks and crannies of this magical place
           with me

I smell the creosote bush after a rare evening rain
That completely indescribable odor - sweet, clean, sharp
       that defines this desert
Quail scurry with their brood on their hunt for breakfast
and lizards emerge to do their push-ups and bask in the heat
Come explore the washes and gullies
           with me

I see the green arms of the ocotillo plant reaching toward the sky
  with its red blossoms punctuating the tips
While lower to the ground the cholla spread out, warning one to not
get too close to the long needles that seek a passing shoe or pant leg
The palo verde tree offers the only shade in this stark landscape
  under which sand rubies - small red gems - wait to be discovered
by anyone patient enough to stoop and let the sand sift through their fingers
Come explore
    come explore
          come explore the beautiful desert
                       with me

Enjoy your day!
Quote for the day:  Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Wonderful post - I love the thought of an invitation poem. The images are just what I needed to look towards green grass of spring.

  2. Fabulous assignment. I can imagine the imaginative invitations you receive. I don't know much about the desert, but this invitation sure lures me in to finding out. I would love to visit. I might use this post as a mentor text for one of my posts. Thank you twice.

  3. The description is beautiful. Come explore sounds wonderful.
    Mary Helen

  4. Such detailed description - I am ready to come explore! And thanks for reminding us of Robert Frost's poem. I remember it from my own school days - lots of good memories of finding the magic of well-chosen words. Plus, how often do we hear shan't these days?