Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 25, 2011

Lifelines: Celebrating Poetry Month

I wore my poetry hat to the budget cuts protest in downtown Traverse City this spring. Art and public education funding has been hit again. A mentally healthy government always supports education and art. It should support its elders, the poor and workers, too.

All we know about people who lived 2,000 years ago is through their art; their writing, songs, paintings and architecture. Art is how the future is going to remember us.

April is Poetry Month. Poetry, like all art, expands the space in our minds for our thoughts to move around in. Writing a poem helps us think creatively, and tell our side of a story. In a poem words have power and energy, and similes are like swords. Poetry communicates awareness.

Our nation's children, imagination and knowledge are some of our most important natural resources.

To celebrate Poetry Month here are some young graduates of my free verse poetry boot camps.

Clumsy Swan

By Madison Kadlec

Bellaire Elementary (5th)

Sitting on the edge

of the canal behind my house,

grass still dripping

with succulent dew.


Observing the ducks

bobbing up and down in the murky water

like buoys on a calm lake

for a mid-morning snack

of worm-souffle'.



bubbling and gurgling

like a river monster.


Out of the corner of my eye,

a graceful swan descends,

approaches the water.


The swan slips

on a puddle of goopy mud

dark as milk chocolate.


Summer-salts into muck.


He struggles,

orange feet flailing.


He regains his pristine grace,

stands up,

toddles off

into the bubbling,



The Cracking!!!

By Ryan Felton

Bellaire Elementary (5th)


Cracked my head open

like an egg.

Cried loud as a thunderstorm.


Mom heard me.

Rushed in fast as a bullet,

arms out like two large branches.

Tears in her eyes.

Picked me up and squeezed me hard.

Next thing I knew I was in the car

speeding down the road like a cop chasing a robber.

I passed out.

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