Exploring Poetry

    “She Wrote…”

 By Lynne R. Dorfman

With words she
Reasons, ponders, and
Imagines the possibilities
That tickle her mind and
Even her soul with
Ripe ideas ready for story.

A Trade

    By Lynne R. Dorfman

Raggedy Ann kept Grandpa company.
Every day she traveled to work.
I stood on the curbside,
Jumping up and down…
Stretching to watch the old Dodge
Slowly make its way
Down the friendly Emmaus street.
Grandpa waving Raggedy Ann out the window,
Grandma clutching my hand to keep me safe.
Funny…that’s why I sent my doll with him –
To keep Grandpa safe.

Every evening they would return
With stories about their day.
Minnie (that’s what I called her)
And Grandpa had deliciously delicious tales.
Allentown Plumbing and Heating Supply,
A bustling place filled with mostly men.
I was secretly greener-than-green with envy.
I wished I could have traded places.
I wished I could have been that doll.
I yearned for all her adventures,
The fun she had each day with Grandpa.

Grandpa’s been gone for many years,
But I still have that doll.
She sits on my bureau where I can see her.
Every day, I see her and the photo beside her.
My eyes linger there for a long time –
The silvery hair and the too-much-time-in-the-sun face,
The hazel eyes that match my own and the high brow,
The strong hands that often held a rake or a saw,
The wisdom earned from being a stepfather and grandfather.

I am glad I still have Raggedy Ann, but…
Wish I could trade her for Grandpa.

Quiet Until the Thaw  
Her name tells of how it was with her.
The truth is she did not speak in winter.
Everyone learned not to ask her questions in winter once this happened.
We looked in her mouth to see if something was frozen. 
Her tongue maybe, or something else in there. But after the thaw she spoke again and told us it was fine for her that way. So each spring we looked forward to that.
Rain Straight Down   For a long time we thought this boy loved only things that fell straight down. He didn’t seem to care about anything else. We were afraid he could only HEAR things that fell straight down! We watched him stand outside in rain.  Later it was said he put a tiny pond of rainwater in his wife’s ear while she slept, and leaned over to listen to it. I remember he was happiest talking about all kinds of rain. The kind that comes off herons’ wings when they fly up from the lake. I know he wanted some of the heron rain for his wife’s ear, too! He walked out in spring to watch the young girls rub wild onion under their eyes until the tears came out. He knew a name for that rain, too. Sad onion rain. That rain fell straight down Too, off their faces And he saw it.  
Cree Indian Naming Poems

Her name tells of how it was with her,

The truth was that she loved to be with children.

Everyone knew she would let the children

               show the way…

Deciding to do a dinosaur museum,

Creating poetry performances and plays,

Writing skits for Reader’s Theater,

And basking in their parents’ praises

               during portfolio celebrations.

She looked forward to the summers

with mixed emotions,

Hating to watch the children leave

                       on the last day,

Brushing tears from her cheeks as

                       she said goodbye.

But in September she again felt

                       the quiet excitement

And told us it was fine for her

                       that way

Each year a new family to nurture

Each year watching the children learn

               and grow in wonder…

Her name was Teacher.

A poem using the scaffold of a Cree Indian naming poem, “Quiet Until the Thaw.” 

Poem by Lynne R. Dorfman