a WILD lesson

a WILD lesson

For more articles on today’s topic prompt – wild –
look for them at Live Your Poem, tamed by Irene Latham,
who is celebrating a 10th Anniversary of Live your Poem!


Wild oceans

c. all rights reserved  Jan Godown Annino
c. all rights reserved
Jan Godown Annino

At graduation from Coastal Systems Class last

week, I brought some of my mollusks. The animals were long dead (not by

my hand.)


(I am holding my rugged old conch)

Ever since my pudgy toddler hand picked up a Jersey shore

clam, I’ve been lured to shores to collect more.

c.2015 all rights  eserved JanGodownAnnino
c.2015 all rights eserved JanGodownAnnino

My pink Queen conch here ( found empty on Cayman Island sands)

amplified a traditional Pomp + Circumstance played

on another student’s phone, during the awarding of our certificates.

The pale, rugged Queen conch, a family relic from the mid-1800s

(fuzzy on the decades) found a student who knew what to do with

the sliced-off tip.

She got everyone’s attention.

c. 2015 all rights reserved Rugged queen conch is a horn, again
c. 2015 all rights reserved
Rugged queen conch is a horn,

The original owner sounded it long ago on the Delaware River

as he rounded bends. Family legend says this river trumpet belonged

to our relative, maybe even the boatman who used it as a horn.

I feel honored that it is entrusted to me.

A Wild Horn, Plenty
by Jan Godown

Conch spiral leads me inward

unwinding a calcium chamber

a big grit at birth

queenly large at death

How many years did this

creature vacuum sea grass beds

before a plucking by man

from coastal waters

I ask it

Who ate you

Who sliced your tip, making you into a tool

How many times did your dead chamber


Aural warning of a barge’s path

Siren saving river travelers lives

Many times I pet your shell, wondering this



Wild child

You will likely have similar remembrances to mine,
of two often-read children’s books with wild in their titles.
So I won’t spend a buncha time with them here.

WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD, ANNA is probably the first
book I read our daughter that she remembers me reading
to her. When I want to look at it, I can’t find it among the
hundreds of books on my wall of shelves. It’s in her room.
And she is post-college now.

It helped that her name is Anna.
But it more perfectly worked that Nancy White Carlstrom’s
tumbling words celebrating a child in nature, matched our Anna’s whirling
days splashing and dashing. But a child of any name and their parent
will want to run into the wild with this one. The crownng piece of the creativity
is the abandon Jerry Pinkney brings to his paintings of character Anna at the babbling
brook, blowing on the dandelion, always a spinning, turning, wild child.
I hope this will call you to go back to be wild with this book again or meet it, fresh.
Here is a peek of what awaits in it, by Nancy White Carlstrom.

c. Nancy White Carlstrom and Jerry Pinkney, WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD ANNA
c. Nancy White Carlstrom and Jerry Pinkney, WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD ANNA

Lifting up the pressing stone
beetles rushing giddy

Silent spinning
buzzing, blinking
breathing rainbows

©Nancy White Carlstrom

is even more wild a walk
through childhood than I remember, when read by
wild man actor Christopher Walken.
That’s all I’m sayin’. Go listen to what Walken does
with Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece. WILD!

And remember to congratulate Irene Latham at Live Your Poem (link above)


16 responses to “a WILD lesson”

  1. My grandparents had a few huge conch shells at their house at the shore when I was a child. Don’t know what happened to them and wish I had one! I loved your poem AND the reading of Where the Wild Things Are was hilarious! Have to play that for my grown daughter (not really a kid’s rendition!).


    • Cool memory, Donna. And you can have fun conjuring about how they came to have them. For food, or maybe they washed up empty.
      I like how listening to Walken’s tour of the book makes me see things I overlooked in the artwork. And yeah,
      this would be h.s. age + up.


  2. Congrats to you on adding a class to your world-class treasure trunk of knowledge! (See how I “Janified” that?) ;0) Thanks for sharing your wonderings and lovely words about a conch shell – they are magnificent things. Wild hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love all that you shared, Jan. I have a family conch on my shelf too, will see if I can make a sound with it. That picture book sounds wonderful, “breathing rainbows”. Your celebrations for Irene touch wildness in all of us. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, this is great. You are so bizee but if you
      happen to return here…
      Want you to know you are the 1st person I’ve heard who has a trumpet/horn cut
      queen conch for sounding.
      To me that’s so W I L D!


  4. Dear Jan, thank you for these wild thoughts! As I have a beloved niece named Anna, I will have to share this book with her. (No, I haven’t seen it before!) And I love the conch broadcasting pomp and circumstance. That’s awesome! Congratulations on completing the class and on your lovely poem. “How many times did your dead chamber trumpet?” is quite haunting and evocative. Thanks for being a part of my blogging adventure! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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