April 12, 2016

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Poetry Friday: Poetry Postcard 4

I began sending out postcards for my project yesterday -- the first day post offices were open in 2013.

I had sent card #1 out a few weeks early -- to Poetry Friday blogger Linda Baie -- who was my PF Holiday Exchange partner. So, I officially started the mailings yesterday with card #2.

I'll be blogging poems from the project throughout January and February. Look for them on Poetry Fridays.

Here is some incredible serendipity for your enjoyment:

  • I turn 44 on 2/22. It's a magic birthday because 2x22=44!
  • There are 44 cards in the project.
  • Subtract one card for Linda and I have 43 cards left to send.
  • From January 1st to February 22nd, there are exactly 43 mailing days!

Card #4 will be going out to a special history buff, but I'd also like to dedicate this poem to a young man who has been working super hard on a National History Day project. His topic: the Civil War battle between two ironclad vessels, the Merrimack and the Monitor. You can read more about the ships and their battle at The site has some great kid-friendly resources for your young historians.

Here is the postcard:

"Battle of Monitor and Merrimack"
By J. O. Davidson
Fort Monroe Casemate Museum
Available at Sheila Dee's Postcards
And the poem:

Thick Skinned

The ironclad’s magic
trick is in its plates,
which do not
spin on sticks,
but deflect.
It may be given
wooden boats to eat,
but such a ship’s
intention is defense.
Ramming one
is pointless,
cannon fire merely dents.
Battling an ironclad
makes little sense.

by Laura Shovan

My son was a fan of Avi's middle grade historical novel on the battle between these two innovative ships, Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merrimack.
There are several books available on the topic.

Ironclad: The epic battle, calamitous loss and historic recovery of the USS Monitor
Read the author's blog post about the battle.
Mr. Lincoln's High-tech War
Lincoln is a popular research topic and this book
is an interesting take on the president as an innovator.
For my poem, I was interested in these armored ships battling as a metaphor for being thick skinned as a person. 

You'll find more Poetry Friday links at Matt Forrest Ensenwine's Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme.


Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Such short, witty lines for such a heavy, ironclad subject! I like the way you pulled it off.

Irene Latham said...

Magic trick, indeed! Love the poem AND the serendipitous numbers! Also, our birthdays are just days apart (mine is Feb. 26). Swim, little fishy...

Linda B said...

You are right in the metaphor, Laura. I thought of it in light of young people researching history, finding inspiration in what has happened in the past. I like the early lines about spinning plates not the 'plates' meant. And the final rhyme, 'dents' & 'sense'. Your postcard/birthday celebration is going to be wonderful.

Margaret Simon said...

A project, a history lesson, book ideas, and a poem to share! All in one Poetry Friday post. This is such an adventurous goal. Good luck with it. I like that you say the ironclad is only meant for defense. There are people like that, poised for defense.

Tabatha said...

Very nice, Laura! I especially like the ending. Did we realize last year that Irene has a birthday near us, too? I feel like Myra does as well (and obviously Heidi). Hope the National History Day project goes well!

Robyn Hood Black said...

You are off and running, Laura! What a terrific poem.

"It may be given wooden boats to eat" - delicious.

Happy Early Birthday, and I'm glad we'll be celebrating it these next two months with history, poetry, and images!

Liz Steinglass said...

I love the last two lines. And I know someone who might like those books.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Everyone. One of my hopes for this project is that the speed and number of poems will quiet my internal critic. These are for fun above all else. Liz -- I'm glad the book titles were helpful for you. Tabatha & Irene -- I see a Piscean Poetry Friday celebration in the near future. We are quite a school of fish.

Ruth said...

I love your project and I am thinking about my own February birthday and wondering what I can do...

I'm Jet . . . said...

Wow. Fabulous post. So multi-layered and so enjoyable!


Author Amok said...

Ruth, we need a February/Pisces roll call for sure.

Thanks, Jet! "Multi-layered" -- pun intended?

Mary Lee said...

Fun project, fun poem!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What a wonderful project...and poem. We get to the Civil War in another month....our favorite unit.