#SOL16: Observing

“Writers look closely at the world, they see and feel things intensely.”


My gaze is outward.

My gaze is inward.

The coffee gurgles.

The wind is blowing.

The sky is beginning to brighten.

Time is fleeting; time to move.

A faint shape; a daily appearance.

My daily path.

Finally, the coffee is done. I pour a cup.

I sniff the air.

I wrap my hands around my mug and embrace the warmth.

No rain today; I embrace the crisp air.

I look again, outside my window.

I check for scents, again.

I reach for my phone, punch in the code, click on the camera.

I study the window. Did I see movement?

My morning and evening visitors.

That two-legged creature stuck inside.

What do you see when you look closely?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

22 responses

  1. I love the format of the back and forth, side to side of this poem. And your pictures adding to the description. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome, Christine!
      It’s that time of the year when the deer take over the countryside so it’s always fun to add in their “viewpoint”!

  2. Oh, that two-legged creature inside! So much inside. Love the way you have created this post.

    1. Julieanne,
      The inside/outside idea sprouted from a “character traits” chart . . . Thanks!

  3. Marvelous: anticipation, suspense, and then the surprise. Well done, Fran. I was actually looking for more bindweed yesterday when I found a small butterfly still drinking from the blossoms! To wait and look is a good thing!

    1. Thank you, Linda.
      I’ve been thinking about “pacing” and “revealing” the surprise . . . even in short pieces. Looking often sends me in a multitude of directions!

  4. Love the inside outside, too – noticing it all just makes life so much richer.

    1. Thanks, Tara! Amazing how little things noticed can become richer parts of our lives! Pretty sure that those deer think the outside world is truly the best right NOW!

  5. Wow! What an exciting reflection. I loved how you included the photo with it!

    On Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 7:04 AM, Resource – Full wrote:

    > franmcveigh posted: “”Writers look closely at the world, they see and feel > things intensely.” My gaze is outward. My gaze is inward. The coffee > gurgles. The wind is blowing. The sky is beginning to brighten. Time is > fleeting; time to move. A faint shape; a daily appearance.” >

    1. Thanks, Sarah!
      I didn’t have time to play with a reflection of myself in the window so I took the easy route with the pictures of the deer . . . they are here DAILY!

  6. “That two-legged creature stuck inside.” kind of says it all. The animals were here long before any of us. I wonder if we are like animals in a zoo to them enclosed in our cages of glass and stone? Thanks for sharing, Fran.

    1. You are welcome! I love surprise endings. It kind of reminds me of “Zoo” by Hoch ( http://stevenliter.com/Reading/zoo.html ).

  7. Love the structure of the poem – a craft young writers would love to use as a mentor. I could feel the coffee cup in my hands. Amazed you read the quote…. and were off and writing.

    1. Thanks, Clare. I’m trying to build up some of my own mentor texts. This morning it was totally wishful thinking as my coffee pot has totally quit. Store & new pot on the list before I go home!

      And yes, also working on increasing my “responsiveness to writing”. I still hate all the timed writings that students with IEPs had to do in my SPED program. It’s incredibly hard for adults to “do” and so very inappropriate for our most vulnerable learners!
      (And practicing up for #NCTE16!)

  8. Your poem is just beautiful! It would also make a great mentor text for point of view. I often wonder what some animals think of us humans.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Some days it seems as though our dog and the deer have lengthy conversations. It would be quite fun to know what they think of us.

  9. We are studying point of view vs. perspective now in class. I love this poem!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. It was fun to write!

  10. Love the back and forth – right and left cadence of this piece. Beautiful “ending” which seems so much more of a beginning.

    1. Thanks, Dayna. There is something about studying craft and then also having a goal in mind that can steer a piece a certain way. I don’t think we always have to “announce” our purpose in the fist sentence!

  11. It’s amazing what we see when we “look closely at the world.” I love your poem, Fran, and your observation that “we don’t always have to ‘announce’ our purpose in the first sentence. Writing is full of surprises!

    1. Thanks, Catherine,. There’s so much JOY in the playfulness of poetry. The more we embrace it, the more we can share that with our students!

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