I kicked off my journey at Gracefield Public School with two presentations in the school gym. Handfuls of beautiful, curious, impatient, giggling, worried-looking, children sat on the floor: they made me think of leaves raked together after a storm, ready for another gust to take them away, flying. I read poems of my own and a few by Naomi Shihab Nye. I wore a silver mask and sang a melancholy version of the alphabet song to win them over. I took questions: What is your favourite colour? How long does it take to write a poem? Do you like your kids? When is your birthday?
I also started work with a grade 5 group, some of whom have already begun to question me about the reason for poetry. One little boy told me he hated group work and wondered if the poetry notebooks might be a waste of paper. I assured him that a person who mostly favoured solitary work would enjoy making poems; he then informed me that he had a stack of poems at home from last year. He said he kept the poems because he had done such a good job writing them. He explained that when you work hard you keep your work, you don't throw it away. This little boy did not smile. He was a bit too much like a stone. A glittering little stone in the sand.