Poetry Friday: Choices by Tess Gallagher

Today’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Sylvia at Poetry for Children  

I love poems that remind me to slow down, be still, listen, and look.  When I taught sixth grade, it seemed especially important to remind the children in my class, who were glued to their devices every free moment, to do the same.  The poem below is one I’d share, discuss, and then ask my kids to do as Gallagher instructs and look up.  What did they see that was unseen before?  Their noticings became the seeds of their own poems, and “Choices” became one of those poems I tried to  share every year:

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Recently, I became mindful that the reverse of looking up for the unseen holds true, as well, for me.  Every snow fall, it seems, brings quiet gifts from the trees around the farm…if I take the time to look down.
Sometimes, the sky is such an arresting blue, or the clouds are rushing by with particular drama, or a circling hawk keeps my attention so focused that I miss these gifts entirely.  Gifts like these perfect birds’ nests, lying wedged between furrows of snow and grass, shaken free by the wind or snow:
One of the great joys of life on the farm is that there are quiet offerings everywhere, reminders to pause, be still, and look up and down to take full measure of  them.  I haven’t selected one word to guide me through the new year, as I usually have, but I suspect that it would be a word gesturing at the spirit of looking for the unseen, up or down.

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Choices by Tess Gallagher

  1. You’ve reminded me of the picture book “look up”, but there are those times to look down, like when I spotted a ladybug this week, waking (I guess) to enjoy the warmth of the sidewalk. The poem is a beauty, Tara. You often share poems new to me, so thank you!


  2. What a timely reminder for me this week (it’s been crazy with little time to look up or down). I wonder what i’ve missed and will try to remember to pause and look through this week.


  3. “Choices” is a great choice to think deeply about, Tara. I have been trying to be more observant of my surroundings. I hope your winter will be filled with silent noticings to inspire your thoughts.


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