Friday, April 8, 2016

Janet Wong

"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 8 of FEET IN THE CREEK. And it's Poetry Friday with Laura Purdie Salas hosting the roundup at Writing the World for Kids.

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Today's featured poet is the very talented Janet Wong. We all love Janet and Sylvia Vardell's Poetry Friday Collections. If you haven't used these for writing poetry with your students, children, grandchildren, brownie troup, or the neighborhood urchins, click here immediately to remedy the situation. As a yoga instructor, I was delighted Janet's collection of yoga poems and bought it for my former yoga teacher to enjoy, so I'm excited today to be working from one of her yoga poems.

from Twist: Yoga Poems 

©Janet Wong, 2007. Illustrations © Julie Paschkis, 2007. Used with permission of the author.

My Intention: Write a free verse poem about a yoga pose.

Grandma's Crow

My grandma walks slowly
toward the creek, measuring
each place she plants her bare feet.

When she reaches the rock, mid-stream,
she lifts her arms toward heaven
and folds. The familiar hands
gently stroke granite, then plant
themselves firmly in place.

She bends her knees,
rests elbows on upper arms and lifts
her toes like the tail of a crow.

From my hiding place
beside the creek, I call.
Caw! Caw! Caw!

© 2016 Doraine Bennett. All rights reserved.


  1. LOVE your poem, Doraine! Thank you for this wonderful post!!

  2. Wonderful! I love your idea of using mentor poems this month.

  3. Grandma has amazing balance! Good for her. I like the ending :-)

  4. I love Janet's ending. I feel like a jelly donut in yoga class too. I am very impressed by Grandma's pose and I love the ending. Gracefully and playfully done. : )

    1. Thanks, Liz. Stay with those yoga poses! You'll be glad you did.

  5. This is beautiful! And what an awesome way to consciously use other poets to expand your own poetry skills. I'm going to have to try something like this--thank you. I love the playful surprise of the narrator at the end!

    1. I took an online class at the Writer Studio that used this technique and learned so much. It's a tool I use often now.

  6. I'm trying to imagine my grandmother doing crow pose, and my mind is boggling. LOL Thanks for that image.

    1. Remember grandmas don't have to be 80. They come in younger varieties. Although there's a very cool youtube video of an 80 year old grandma doing yoga. And the best yogis did poses until they died!

  7. Doraine, I am so excited that you used Janet's Finding the Center poem on yoga poses to write your own. Janet's wit came out at the end. Your poem modeled on Janet's was lovely. I was enveloped in the image of Grandma and then the child came out with a crow call at the end giving the poem a humorous touch. Nicely done!

    1. Thanks, Carol. Finding the humor at the end just sort of happened.

  8. These are both lovely poems with their humour and heart.

  9. Yoga poems = perfect pairings!

  10. Thank you for sharing both poems. As someone who can pull a thumb muscle driving a car in reverse, thinking of all those amazing body poses is exhausting. What a comic relief from the work I was imagining of the yoga poses to hear the call of the granddaughter. Hope having been "found out" by her spying granddaughter didn't knock grandma off her pins! God bless you. Thanks for the vicarious exercise!

  11. What a wonderful pairing, Dori! Janet, with her soft center, and Grandma's gentle strength.