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!
At graduation from Coastal Systems Class last
week, I brought some of my mollusks. The animals were long dead (not by
(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.
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.
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
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.
Lifting up the pressing stone
beetles rushing giddy
©Nancy White Carlstrom
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE 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)