Sunday, March 29, 2009


I don't remember where I found this originally, but I ran across it while going through some papers and couldn't resist. Enjoy.


The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

- Roald Dahl

Spring … Sunshine … Soon …

It is always a sure sign of spring when
Mr. Edmunds gets to Wordsworth in the
Survey of English Literature. The day holds
sightings of him around Yuba campus with
the daffodils he proudly grows in his own
garden. Of course they grace the podium
as he teaches, but they also show up on
assorted desks around the campus as well.


I wander'd lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

- William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Quick Note

To all of you who stop by my BLOG and tell me what you think,
or just say hello,
I would like to say,
" thanks for noticing."

Friday, March 27, 2009

A day in the life


Sandra's seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblin's gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susie spied an elf,

But all the magic I have known
I've had to make myself.

- Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Value of Spaces


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of fuel
together, that makes fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

- Judy Brown, Teaching With Fire (2003).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Teacher's Legacy


- Mary Rita Schilke Korzan

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you displayed my first report, and I wanted to do another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you fed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you gave me a sticker, and I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you put your arm around me, and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt--but that it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you smiled, and it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, you cared, and I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking--I looked...and wanted to say thanks for all those things you did when you thought I wasn’t looking.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Offered without comment

Common Cold
- Ogden Nash

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I'm not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cough! Cough!

I just finished my first solo week, and I spent most of it with a 102 degree fever. I went straight to bed Friday after school and woke up about 2:00 this afternoon. While doing some recuperative surfing this evening, I found this. I think it's appropriate.

Being Sick
By Sharon MacDonald

Being sick is yucky!
I ache from toe to head
I take some awful medicine
And spend long days in bed.

Being sick is such a bore.
There is nothing much to do,
You watch TV or play with toys,
Or read about Winnie the Pooh.

Being sick is not much fun!
But when I do recover,
I feel so smart and smug because
I gave it to your brother!

I found it on this site. It is for both parents and teachers, and has some fun things for younger students.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Of Candlelight and Anchors (assignment?)

While I was studying commercial art, I was given an assignment to turn text into a piece of art, and the results still hang in my office. I used a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay for that piece. It's a poem that resonates within the heart of every harried college student - or teacher. Come to think of it, this poem could probably be named our national motto.

My candle burns at both ends.
It will not last the night.

But ah my foes, and oh my friends,

It gives a lovely light.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Old School"

Q. Who created the heavens and the earth?
A. God.
Q. How long was God in creating all things?
A. Six days.
Q. What did God create on the first day?
A. Light.
Q. What was created on the second?
A. The firmament.
Q. What the third?
A. Vegetables.

- Child's Scripture Question Book, 1879

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Haiku

Yes. It's that time of year, again!

Pilgrimmes on spryng braecke -
roadde trippe! Whoe farrtted? Yiuw didde.
Noe, naught meae. Yaes yiuw.

- Geoffery Chaucer (Sort of)

David M. Bader, Haiku U.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life's Rainbow
Sheila Banani

Beginnings are lacquer red
fired hard in the kiln
of hot hope;

Middles, copper yellow
in sunshine,
sometimes oxidize green
with tears; but

Endings are always indigo
before we step
on the other shore.

Martz, sandra.=, Ed. (203). When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the Words of the Wise and Humble Pooh

"Fish don't live in trees,
and birds don't spend too much time underwater
if they can help it."


"There's nothing wrong with
being able to whistle,
especially if you're a fish."

Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Monday, March 9, 2009

... like a dreamwalker

I've been thinking about my mom this morming. I miss the sunday talks, about what I had coming up in the week, among other things. My mother was quite reserved, not at all like me, (I take after my dad) and pretty serious; but she was a magical pre-school teacher, And when she worked for CPS she was fearless in defense of children. She thought I was a bit "high strung," but she believed in me unwaveringly. I miss you mom.

Lucille Clifton
poetry today, I think.

my mamma moved among the days
like a dreamwalker in the field;
seemed like what she touched was hers
seemed like what touched her couldn't hold,
she got us almost through the high grass
then seemed like she turned around and ran
right back in
right back on in

Lucille Clifton, good woman:poems and a memoir 1969-1980

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And I Learned

There is one book on my shelf that I find myself drawn to often these days. It is a book of poems and stories by local high school juniors and seniors. When I say local, I mean places like Olivehurst, Linda ... It is, in turns, painful and beautiful to read. It's called, Love Ties My Shoes, and is actually a CSU Chico publication (2004). I highly recommend it. Trying to decide on what to share has been difficult, but I hope you like my choice.

I Learned

My mom taught me how to be independent and respectful.

My dad taught me how to work as well as how to be responsible.

My sister taught me how to dance.

My teacher taught me how to set goals and how to accomplish them.

He also taught me how to work.

My mom and sister taught me how to cook.

I learned from myself how to have people and things.

- Luis Rodriguez

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


traces of a dream -
a butterfly
through the flower field

- Chiyo-ni

Donegan, p., Ishibashi, Y. (1998). Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Just a reminder - in the midst of preparing and grading and worrying and networking, and all the myriad things that must be done; I often forget to stop for a moment and just take a breath.

Flea's Hymn

All things brown and beautiful,
All things brown and small,
All things brown and difficult -
The big dog made them all.

Kathryn Walker

Hempel, A., Shepard, J. UNLEASHED: Poems by Writer's Dogs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

One way of life ...

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." - Erasmus

That quote pretty accurately describes my life long love affair with books; collecting, reading, and 'literacy advocating,' making it a fitting way to open this Blog. Sadly, school has cut way into my pleasure reading. But there is always time for poetry. As I was reading tonight, this piece by Langston Hughes made me think of my students, occasionally as I look back on them from the front of the room.

My People

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.