Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 23, 2012

Lifelines: Life from a kid's perspective

I had an epiphany about life when I was six years old. I was running down the driveway to get on the schoolbus. As I passed this mud puddle I thought, "When I run by here this afternoon is in the future. When it happens ... it will be right now."

Seven hours later I jumped off the bus, ran towards the house,and passed the same puddle. Whoa! Wow! The future happened in the present.

A few days later I was lying in bed waiting for sleep. All alone in the dark I thought, "Someday, a far time in the future, I'm going to grow old and"¦oh oh. When it happens, it will be right now."

Next morning mom found me curled up in a ball, whimpering behind the living room stove. "Now what?" she asked. I was always wondering or worrying about something.

"I don't want to be a skeleton," I whined.

If I tell kids this story, they laugh like little immortals. That's why I love working with children from 3 to 93.

April is poetry month. I'd like to tip my hat by sharing a few poems by students I've worked with this year. I wish I had more room. I could fill a school bus with their muse.

Writing for me is a way of capturing moments of life as time flows through us. I think a lot about that little boy, and the insight he gave this middle-aged man.

In my poetry workshops I try to give back what I've learned. Catch the kids' similes. They light me up like a constellation of haikus.

Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for 28 years. He is the creator of Stone Circle. Learn more about him at

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