Slice of Life2

By Lynne R. Dorfman

I am participating in #SOL Tuesdays. Thanks to twowritingteachers for providing this space. This poem was written from a mentor text, Swift Things Are Beautiful by Elizabeth Coatsworth, a favorite poem of mine.

Old things are comfortable:
faded blue jeans
with holes in both pockets
and tears in the knees.
The smile that appears on my grandmother’s face
or the wrinkly frown when I’ve fallen from grace.

Old things are beautiful:
the clock in its tower
that tolls oh so sweetly
the change in the hour.
The leathery look of my grandfather’s hands
and beaches covered with timeless white sands.

Old things are wondrous:
the freckle-faced night
dressed up in diamonds
to give Earth its light.
The limbs of the apple tree dripping with fruits,
Its sturdy broad trunk and its gnarled strong roots.

New things are challenging:
the skier’s big thrill
when he steps from the lift
and attacks his first hill.
The child that bikes her two-wheeler with pride
Or a youngster who’s taking his first pony ride.

New things are frightening:
A groom turning blue
as he stands with his bride
and whispers, “I do!”
The writer’s attempt to fill virgin page,
A parent’s first try to be patient and sage.

New things are happening:
Man walks in space,
Upheaval in cities,
Freedom’s new case.
Jets that propel through the barrier of sound,
Organs transplanted, vaccines to be found.

Old things are dying:
the blazing hot sun
that burns up its life
and will one day be done.
New things are beautiful:
Freedom’s seeds that will flower
and reach for the heavens with God’s given power.




Celebrating Cycles: Old and New

By Lynne Dorfman

My mentor text for this poem is Swift Things Are Beautiful by Elizabeth Coatsworth. It has been a long-time favorite of mine.


Old is the silver of Grandmother’s hair,

New is the gold of child rosy and fair.

Old is the universe gyrating ‘round,

New are the worlds that are yet to be found.

Old is the dinosaur vanished from Earth,

New is the human who must prove her worth.


Old is the river, the song of the South,

Rolling along from its source to its mouth.

New are the skyscrapers sweeping the skies,

Buzzing with life in their honey-combed hives.

Old is the Bible whose prophecies unfold,

New are the stories that have not yet been told.


Old is the man who must walk with a cane,

Old is the downfall of sweet-smelling rain.

Old is the rose-fingered shimmering dawn,

The tides of the oceans, the days that are gone.

The world of Atlantis obscured by the sea,

Old is the yearning for all to be free.


New is the love for the life that we live,

New is each time that we take or we give.

New are the thoughts envisioned by minds,

Our hopes and our dreams, discoveries, and finds.

From Old, New is born – but before very long,

New will be Old and the cycle goes on.


Poetry to Promote Social Justice

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
                       Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A book of Poems. (1996) Random House, Inc.

Language has long been used throughout the ages as a vehicle to hold strong to hope and strive for justice through the spoken and written word. With incredible power to create new meaning for people, poetry can positively address social justice issues in our schools. Indeed, poetry reflects the values and beliefs that permeate our culture.

Poetry is a great equalizer, offering myriad opportunities for students in grades K-12  to speak about their world through speaking, reading, and writing. Poetry represents many perspectives, disrupting the mundane and the “this-is-the-way-it-has-always-been way of thinking, focusing on developing a language of hope and of change.

In the spirit of using poetry as a vehicle to ask questions and get people thinking, I used a poem by D, H. Lawrence titled The White Horse as my inspiration and mentor text to write this poem.

The Sounds of Social Justice

What sound does social justice make?

A fierce wind rolling over the tall grasses of the plains
The shhush-whish of ocean waves pulling us into a rhythm that
cannot be denied
Each desert evening that brings a constant change
The sounds of dust-patterned glass cracked by years of indifference

Thunders of an avalanche cascading down an unnamed mountain
The creak of boots in a blue night frosted with snow and moonlight
Scattering flaps of birds’ wings whose shadows paint the
canyon walls
The almost imperceptible burn of the ever-changing sunlight

The steady march of footsteps on roads that lead to Washington, D.C.
Words gently but firmly speaking a simple truth of a true heart
Teardrops splash pavements, prayers whispered softly, hands
clasped in unison

Social justice – humanity connecting, raising awareness, changing the world