Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heidi Mordhorst - Smaller Than I Thought

Smaller Than I Thought
       for Mrs. Alexander’s Class
Heidi Mordhorst

Here at the Earth Day Party in the park
they’re cutting the Earth Day Cake:
rich chocolate to stand for the soil,
swirls of green and blue frosting
to represent land and water.
The white icing at the Poles
is melting under the
unseasonably hot April sun.

It’s smaller than I thought.
The pieces are small, too.

There’s no point in asking for seconds;
in fact, there isn’t enough to go around.
Some of us will have to share
one slice of Earth Day Cake between us.
I don’t know the kid who comes
to sit beside me on the lawn.
“Let’s take tiny nibbles to make it
last longer,” he suggests. I nod,

and we gingerly dig our two forks
into one small slice of the blue Pacific.

© Heidi Mordhorst. all rights reserved

Heidi Mordhorst is a poet and teacher and a teacher of poetry. And who wouldn't to read the work of or be taught by someone who tweaks, tests, and twists a poem around until the words in it "sound good to your ears and feel good in your mouth"? Head over to the Poetry Makers profile of Heidi over at the Miss Rumphius Effect to see that quote in fuller context and to learn much more about Heidi and her poetry and process.

I'm a big fan of Pumpkin Butterfly (illustrated by Jenny Reynish), in part because I love the way she picks up on small details and uses imagery that often made me view an item or topic in a new way. I love her take on Earth Day here for those same reasons: I get a fresh view of the world. And really, what better day than Earth Day for a breath of fresh air? Whether she's writing about nature or anything else, I look forward to more poems soon. And for now, I'm just thrilled to have Heidi Mordhorst here as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer gave us Cousins of Clouds. Tomorrow... I Speak by Charles R. Smith, Jr.! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.

6 comments: said...

I'd love to have a discussion with the children listening to this poem...profound, yet not heavy-handed, it opens so many important topics.

laurasalas said...

Love the matter-of-fact tone that keeps this from being too preachy:

There’s no point in asking for seconds;
in fact, there isn’t enough to go around.

Beautifully done, Heidi!

Thanks, Greg! Yours is the only blog feature for National Poetry Month that I'm actually keeping up with on the road all month. I'm going to have to catch up on the other, longer, more involved features once I'm back home and resettled. I'm so happy for this quick infusion of a poem each day before I head out to schools or wherever.

Carmela Martino said...

What a powerful poem. Thanks so much!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Wow. Elegant without being preachy. Awesome. What a lovely way to celebrate Earth Day. I'm gonna read this to my kid!
Thanks Heidi and Greg,

tanita✿davis said...

This has got to be the BEST way to talk to kids OR adults about a diminishing earth that I've ever read. We all like cake - so we all relate to having to share a piece, and make it last. Brava, Heidi Mordhorst.

Jane Heitman Healy said...

Oooweee! I wish I were still a classroom teacher so I could use this poem--with real cake. What a way to make big topics understandable to small ones!