Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 23, 2012

Lifelines: Life from a kid's perspective

By Terry Wooten, Poet Bard

---- — 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

Nighttime Driving

Kristina Wendling (5th)

Bellaire Elementary

As the car came to a halt

four deer emerged

from the dark murky woods.

I stared,

they stared back

with eyes

bright as the twinkling stars.

First a doe,

then three fawns with white spots

scattered like snowflakes

across their delicate backs.

Mom made up

clever voices

for each one of them.

I giggled

like a schoolgirl.

The last one


into the deep dark forest.

The Woods

Corey Newsome (5th)

Bellaire Elementary

Walking through the woods

with my dog,

my only companion.

Her fine brown fur

dazzling the darkness

like a shooting star.

Lighting up the musky fog

like a ruby in complete darkness.

We were playing

cherishing every second

as if it were our last

in the motionless forest.

Our friendship

stronger than any bond

like a chain

that cannot be broken.

She is my best friend.


Reese Wagner (6th)

Glenn Loomis Montessori

Those trees had faces

I barely remember.

They were staring

at me

like an angry bull.

I ran.

No help. NOTHING.

I hid.

No help. NOTHING.

Those trees,

they knew everything.

Scared me.

Watched me.

Stalked me.

Those trees were crazy

like the woman who owned them.

3rd Period

Cameron Case (6th)

Glenn Loomis Montessori

Two minutes left

in the 3rd period.

(My teammate) passed the puck!

I shot hard as a professional.

Didn't know where I shot.

The crowd went wild

like a lion running for food.

I scored!

We were now in the playoffs.

I will never forget that.


Christian Smith(4th)

Blair Elementary

I skidded across

the pavement.

The roads were

watery, slippery

like an ice rink.

My bike slipped.

I flew headfirst

into the pavement.

That did not feel good.

My friends were laughing at me

like I was a clown.

I grabbed my bike

and got up like nothing happened.

A little later

my friend fell off his bike

like he got hit by a snow blower.

His hard handle bars

fell right on his stomach.

I said, "Howdoes it feel?"

"Not so good."

Betty Dunham (81)

Kalkaska Elders Project

By Hope Clayton (6th) SEEDS

I was a mischievous kid.

Never liked anybody to tell me

what to do.

I probably spent

half of the fourth-grade

under the table

in my classroom.

I wouldn't shut my mouth.

The teacher put me there,

but I liked it because

I could reach the books.

I've always been a reader.

I read

before I went to school.

I loved school,

and my favorite part was writing.