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Tag Archives: poetry

Go Play Project: Day 20 | The Language of Flowers

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, language of flowers, shel silverstein, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 20

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?

— Shel Silverstein


I can’t think of Shel Silverstein without thinking of Fairglade, the wonderful, magical place where Max went to elementary school. But it was so much more than a school. If ever there was a place of beloved community, it was Fairglade. When people ask me about it, I call it the “hippie school,” and tell them there were no grades, no shoes, and the most amazing group of kids, parents and teachers ever assembled in one place. This poem is from Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I remember well-worn copies in many of the classrooms. I taught creative writing, and I especially loved teaching poetry—the haiku, cinquain, diamante—all those fabulous restricted forms that work so well with kids.

So today’s collage is inspired by Fairglade and all those terrific Jets, Explorers and Pioneers, now grown up into amazing young adults.

Go Play Project: Day 11 | Blue Moon

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, Billy Collins, super moon, forgetfulness, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 11

Last night was the super moon, and it really was spectacular, all low slung, bright and big. I adore Billy Collins, and as luck would have it, the moon shows up in several of his poems.

While the moon doesn’t have a “starring” role (see what I did there?) in this poem, the last two lines are quite lovely.



The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot,

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,


as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,

to a little fishing village where there are no phones.


Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye

and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,

and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,


something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.


Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,

it is not poised on the tip of your tongue

or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.


It has floated away down a dark mythological river

whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall


well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those

who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.


No wonder you rise in the middle of the night

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

— Billy Collins