poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.
~from Valentine for Ernest Mann by Naomi Shihab Nye
Pretty much the only time I write poetry is when the lessons in my sixth grade writing workshop are focused on it; then I work on composing poems alongside my students. My sensibility changes during those poetry writing times. On my morning dog walks, I pick up sensory details like pennies in a parking lot; another time they wouldn't be worth reaching for. I like how it feels to think this way, to sense a potential poem in a twisted locust pod, or the five fingers of a sweet gum leaf, or that solitary hook-armed monkey somehow separated from its barrel mates, but I can't sustain it. When we turn our attention to another genre in class, my poetry sense gradually stops tingling, and the pennies stay on the pavement.
I want to change that.