Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teacher Retirement Poem: Seeds You've Sown

I was asked to write this for a retirement reception for some special ed and kindergarten teachers. You may not understand it all, since it is specific to our school, policies, their sayings, and duties. I don't usually do rhyme, and I know the ending gets off meter, but I wanted to say what I wanted to say!

Seeds You've Sown

by Wynne Huddleston

No bells to alarm,
no papers to correct
no parents to charm,
nor money to collect,

no mindless repetition,
no children left behind,
no scolding, admonitions
no young minds to refine,

no discipline forms to fill,
no watching out for bullies,
no walking up the hill,
no cold morning duties,

no uniforms, no calming
kindergartners' fears.
From SPED and I.E.P.s
to mainstreamed and Tiers--

whatever the "powers
that be" contrived--
you put in the hours
and somehow survived.

Amidst chasing rabbits,
tornado procedures,
correcting bad habits,
and calling legislatures,

you still found time to give
a smile, a nod, a touch,
a cougar buck or high-five,
things that meant so much

to a struggling girl or boy.
Now you have done your best
time to go out and enjoy,
or maybe get some rest!

But this is not the end
bells will continue to ring
and surely you, my friend,
will be reminded each spring

that the seeds of wisdom you've sown
will become fruitful trees
and in turn, when full grown,
will replant those same seeds.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Drunk Drivers ~ Different Roads

Different Roads is about two wrecks in which drunk drivers killed (1) my best friend and (2) two little cousins. Both wrecks happened when they were on their way to church. This was published last year in The Shine Journal.

Dear God,

Please let me wake up
to something different;

when the sun rises high at noon
let it be pink or green—
anything but hot yellow;

let the cattle in the pasture
sing like birds instead of that
awful dull moo;

let cats tell us what they are
thinking when they stare
so mysteriously;

let dark clouds become silver
helicopters that fly us up
to take a bite of chocolate moon;

and bring us down softly to grass
made of gold feathers instead
of hard beds of brown mounded
dirt and pillows of gray

stone. Or, forget all of that if only
You would go back
to that fateful day and delay
their journey to church,
or have the drunk driver take

a different road.
But if you can’t do either, I pray
You’ll give me strength to make it through
each lonely day, the wisdom to stay on
the right road, and the hope that I’ll meet
them again in such a beautiful place.

Footnote: There are so many things I can say about Marcia that I've decided I need to write a memoir. But let me say that we met in college, had everything in common from being engaged to being music majors. She'd only been married a year when she was killed. Her husband called me after the funeral to tell me she had acted strange that morning, waking early and asking if he loved her as much as when they first married and could they go to the river. He said, no, we have to practice. They were to sing a song together in church the next day. After many years I tried to find him. I tried online through facebook and phone numbers but could not. This past summer I found someone on facebook that knew Marcia's father. He said that her husband had committed suicide. I don't know when it happened--after the wreck or years later--but I was heartbroken.

The children, CJ and Crystal, were my ex husband's 2nd cousins. They were close friends of my two boys. It was very tragic. The little boy had begged his mother to let him sit up front by his dad. So they traded places.

The really strange thing is that Marcia was my maid of honor, and the father of the children was our best man. He has another son now. I am divorced now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mississippi Poetry Society Spring Festival 2011

Wynne, DeSha, Doris
The MPS Spring Festival was sponsored by the South Branch at Gulf Hills Hotel and Conference Center in Ocean Springs on April 29-May1. I was surprised and pleased to win 1st Place for “Mother’s,” 3rd Place for “What Do You Know of Spring,” 3rd Place for a Narrative Poem, “Chopin: Robbing Time,” and an Honorable Mention for “Reaching for Light.” There was a Critique by panelists Dr. Will Watson (USM, Coast Branch), Tana Ford, and Tommy Little. I was fortunate enough that my poem was the first poem critiqued! Comments were very encouraging and helpful. I must quote Dr. Watson as calling my poem “sophisticated.” (W.W., your check is in the mail.)
Wynne Reading "Mother's"

Doris Jones, DeSha Montgomery, diana sue, and I went to Leo's Wood Fired Pizza, a new restaurant in Ocean Springs that has black and white pictures of movie stars and singers all over the walls.

DeSha, diana sue, Doris

Dr. Virginia Gilbert, recipient of the 2010 Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and award winning photographer, conducted a workshop on “What Our Words and Images Say about Us and How We Get Those Words out to the Public in the Computer Age.” We also did an interesting writing exercise that continued later that night.

Our Poet of the Year, Doris Jones, read from her book, Pull Down the Stories. Doris is also a storyteller and works in the schools.

Jeanne Smith Kelly presented Dr. Emory Jones with the MPS State Poet Laureate Award.

A book signing followed, and I even signed and sold copies of the anthology, From the Porch Swing–memories of our grandparents (Silver Boomer). I have two stories and a prose piece in that anthology.

A Banquet followed with dinner music by musician/composer Ken Davies on trombone and Elva Avara on keyboard.

Officers were installed Sunday:
Judy Davies-- Treasurer, Wynne--Secretary,
Jeanne Smith Kelly--VP, and Brenda Finnegan--President.

Dates were set for the Fall Festival in Jackson (2nd weekend in November) and the Spring Festival (last weekend in April). For more pics and details  see MPS Spring Festival 2011.

About Me

My photo
Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren.