Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

April 21, 2013

Terry Wooten: World in poetry, through eyes of children

The young woman working behind the cash register recognized me. She said I’d visited her Fife Lake School when she was in fifth grade, and again when she was a sophomore.

For her fifth-grade class, I taught a Watershed Critters writing workshop. The kids pretended to be critters indigenous to their area and wrote from the earth citizens’ viewpoint.

They had to add facts and similes to their free verse poems. She remembered she was a spring peeper. We laughed, and I told her I still use her poem as a visual teaching tool.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a poem that hasn’t changed me a little bit. I hope that’s also true for most students, especially the ones who have written Watershed Critters poems.

This writing workshop is a creative way to sensitize kids to their environment and all the living species of the puzzle they are a part of. In celebration of Earth Day and Poetry Month, here’s a herd of new Watershed Critters poems.

Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for 29 years. He is also the creator of Stone Circle, a triple ring of boulders featuring poetry, storytelling and music on his property north of Elk Rapids. Learn more at





Caw! Caw!

My deep black feathers

gleam like an igneous rock.

Many like me are hated.

I sweep over land

like a jet on a mission.

I see a woman’s shiny jewels

in a box,

calling me to snatch.

I go to a field

of edible corn,

free for me to swallow

like my ancestors snacked

on whole fish.

Footsteps full of hate.

Farmers! Dogs! I flee

to represent my defeat.

Caw! Caw!

We sing as one in a chorus.

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