Tea Ceremony

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This poem is from A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong.  The poem comes from the section, “Chinese poems”.

 

Tea Ceremony

“This tea costs sixty dollars a pound,”

Grandfather announces, and grunts

as I begin to pour.

this is a signal

for Mother

to look at my free hand,

a glance that lasts

long enough to scold:

Two hands!

 

Like a puppet

I lift my left hand,

answering her silent command

to hold the lid down,

while my right hand

tips the teapot

toward Grandfather

in a slow, deep bow.

 

Two hands!

I feel all eyes watching

as I cradle

the old heat-cracked cup

in soft hands of respect,

holding it out to Grandfather

like an offering

to the gods.

 

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What does it mean to show respect to your elders in your family?

Which?

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This poem is from A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong.  The poem comes from the section, “American poems”.

 

Which?

Two dresses hang

side by side

on the sale rack,

the tag of one so worn

it seems the price

was not believed,

but looked at, at least twice,

by many who might buy.

 

It is real: this

black velvet gown

overgrown with

lush, bright flowers

is cheap, dirt cheap,

even cheaper than

the simple chambray dress

some careless hand

has pressed up against its back,

the white plastic hanger

crushing one velvet flower.

 

White one is you?

Wear this plain blue frock

twice a week and feel safe,

no one will talk;

but wear the other,

with its strange power

that makes you think

the boys will swoon,

 

and a second time

a season

is too soon.

 

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What garment do you wear that gives you power?  Why do you think it does?

Albert J. Bell

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This poem is from A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong.  The poem comes from the section, “Chinese poems”.

 Albert J. Bell

Forty years of friendship

with my grandfather,

and still Uncle All cannot eat

with chopsticks.

 

Forty years of friendship

with Uncle Al,

and still my grandfather forgets

to offer him a fork.

 

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How well do you know your friends – what they like and do not like.  How do you honor those preferences?

Face It

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This poem is from A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong.  The poem comes from the section, “American poems”.

Face It

My nose belongs

To Guangdong, China—

short and round, a Jang family nose.

 

My eyes belong

To Alsace, France—

wide like Grandmother Hemmerling’s.

 

But my mouth, my big-talking mouth, belongs

to me, alone.

 

 

What is your family background?  How does it show in your face?

Ask a Friend

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Ask a Friend

By Janet Wong

From: Behind the Wheel: Poems About Driving

 

You don’t always need

to go it alone.

Ask a friend

to give you a ride,

to help you  out,

to get you home.

 

When you’ve found some better times,

you won’t forget, you’ll pay him back.

Let your friends be good to you.

Go along for the ride,

face in the wind.

***************************************************

How do you help your friends and how do they help you?

Quitter

 

Read the poem and consider the invitation to comment below.

This poem is from A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong.  The poem comes from the section, “American poems”.

Quitter

Coach calls me a quitter.

He mutters it under his breath

loud enough for me to hear,

but quiet enough

so no one knows

when I prove him wrong.

***************************************************

How have you ever wanted to quit?  What happened?

Flying

In their dreams

my friends can fly.

They flap their arms

and soar like hawks.

I’ve never flown

except in planes

I think I would be terrified

to find the ground lost

under me.

I like to go to sleep at nine,

curled up round

in my safe bed,

dreaming soft and fuzzy

things–

goose down dreams

cradling

my head.

“Flying” from  Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams by Janet Wong 2000

Do you ever fly in your dreams?  Have you ever flown?  Share your thinking about “Flying”!  Write a poem or response in the comment section.

Roses

              

                Roses

              

                Are

              

                Red

 

                Violets

 

                Are

 

 

                Blue

 

 

                I

 

 

                See

 

                You

 

                You

 

                See

 

 

                Blue

               

           From Angelica

The Test by Frank

The Test                                        

 

You will write your name

 you will get sweaty

as a pig.

If you’re doing it more than 2 hours

 you’ll have a migraine.

Then you just want to throw a desk

The teacher says, “Go to the office!”

 

                           “Awe, man.”