We’re hitting the books again today! This next book title we’ve chosen for inspiration is taken from the YA novel, The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt.
In the lazy days of summer in a California coastal town, Drew works at her mother’s struggling cheese shop and indulges her crush on an older co-worker, until she discovers Emmett and becomes involved in his very different world.
Drew and her mother have been a team for all the years since her father died, with pet rat Humboldt Fog as a companion. Thirteen-year-old Drew finally begins to separate and grow into her own person in this crucial summer.
We all had to learn lessons throughout our lives, and the ones that had come the hardest seem to be the ones that stay with us the longest. Whether learning to ride a bike or learning to drive, learning the hard lessons of love or of life (and death), we all grow in the knowledge we attain. Raising our children was an education in itself! Write a poem about some kind of lesson you may have learned that one summer (or any season really!) Maybe we’ll learn a little something in the process!
90 thoughts on “AN ENTERTAINING SUMMER – DAY #14: THE SUMMER I LEARNED TO FLY”
THE FIRST SUMMER CAMP
when melded with distress
dismissed with a dispassionate
This was posted at Poetic Asides too; first time I’ve done that.
A couple days early with a “camp” motif, William (wink, wink)! I love the assonance in thiss! Congrats on your first, make it a habit! (And don’t forget to credit us there as well!) 😀
Thanks for the reminder, Walt. I just did.
You said it all in 21 beautifully articulate syllables!
Short and to the point. Good work.
I love this one, William. Great ssssounds!
oh the ssstressss of sssummer camp
LIFE LESSON 1
Like a slap to the back of the head
the awakening begins. Illusions
become disillusionment, but
reality is truly a great professor.
The lesson is clear; that my
expression is mine and
competes with no one. My
feelings steep within with a fire that
only muse can stoke. The Great
Tender of the great pretender.
© Walter J. Wojtanik
eiy-ya-yie, you had me with the first line! and again, with the end:)
Tender of the great pretender.
Actually, you had me with every line! This is great
That’s all we are here. Great pretenders. But we strive to get good at it every once in a while! Thanks for the compliments, Janet/Bill!
I like this very much. The great Tender of all us pretenders. But we try, we try so hard.
We do. As Master Yoda would say, “Try not! Do, or do not! There is no try!”
And Master Yoda is THE …er, man!
I am so sad to hear this. As a photographer in DFW who has followed your work for some time and being sixteen weeks pregnant myself….this hits home. I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers and I so hope that everything turns out well for your family.
#2, #4, #8, #12 are CH-46s not CH-47s. One easy way to tell 46s from 47s is that 47s have 4 landing gear and 46s have 3. They are different aircraft. The Navy and Marine Corps use 46s and the Army uses 47s.
‘a fire only muse can stoke’ – one phrase of a well written poem.
a truly great lesson
AT THE MASTER’S KNEE
A skill set handed down from Walter to Walter to Walter. Serving at the wooden altar of a carpenter’s devotion. Wood became the medium of this young boy’s wishes; I would dismiss everything else. An “apprentice” at an early age, the stage was set to be adept with tools. And my father had rules. Goggle for safety, guards in place. Keep your face out of the line of the blade. Be sure every cut made was the first and only. By dictate, “measure twice, cut once”. And there were a bunch more. I began with an apron full of 8d nails, handing each up to the man I looked up to! I Learned to measure with precision, a decision that made Dad nervous at first. (He would sometimes curse if I misfired) But the desired effect came eventually. When I mastered his table saw, his raw sidekick knew carpentry.
In time my focus had shifted from woods to words. Expression in a new medium, had a large impact on me. I could build much like Dad had taught. I did not get caught unprepared. Words shared in poetic pursuit and me more astute to appreciate what he did and the lessons they offered. And each phrase proffered was measured and precise. It was nice to have all these “tools” and inspirations from which to choose in this new endeavor. Inherited from the Master Carpenter, a desire always mired in “trees”; from carpentry to poetry, I have found my comfort zone, my own place. His memory still soothes me. It puts a smile on my face.
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016
This poem put a smile on my face too…and tugged my heart-strings! Simply wonderful.
Poems of Dad and home always feel the same way on this end, Janet. We need to tug them to be sure they’re still connected! Thank you!
I could almost smell the wood and sawdust and the mild burn of the blade. Wonderful.
I can’t smell so the wood is just a physical affectation! But years of sweeping sawdust and the sound of his behemoth table saw (of which I am in possession) resonates all these years after! I ran the saw in the empty shell of our home after Dad passed. The emotion just that noise made in the loneliness of that moment will stay with me until the day I die. I think that is why the tie to my carpenter father is so strong. (I had an unconditionally strong bond with mom all along, but it was different with Dad. I had to earn that!) I’m a better man for it! Thank you, William!
Wonderful haibun and good senryu at the end. We learn so much from our family members. It is good those lessons still make you smile. That in your poetry, you craft with a sure hand.
I appreciate this kindness, Toni! I do feel confident with my words, although I hadn’t always.
You are an excellent wordsmither. Just primo. I am always awed by your talent and heart.
And so he blushes!
Excellent haibun, CH. The haiku is perfect.
This is so heartfelt I read it more than once
On Learning Life’s Greatest Simple Truth
To learn its utter worth, firsthand
We must tenderly miss
Someone we love to understand
How truly dear love is
I, if my mind is wide awake
Should always have enough
With a small loaf of bread to break
And somebody to love
Then, should the curse of complaint find
My mouth, oh Lord, reprove
Lest in my greed, wide-eyed and blind
I never learn to love
Love is life’s sweetest, sacred prize
Ah, pray we do not wait
While we trample Want’s paradise
And learn this truth too late
(The older I get I find I want much less of things,
but much more of love)
Another wonderfully poetic prayer here, Janet! Your encapsulated line at the end struck a chord with me. That is a life plan at any age! Someone once said, “All you need is love!” 😉 I’d tend to agree!
I love the sheer elegance here.
The last line sums up this elegant poem. I have learned this lesson myself after bitter lessons.
May it be a lesson we all learn early. Exquisite writing here, Janet.
I COULD FORGET IT FOR THAT ONCE
If I would put a white bird’s feather
in the palm of my hand, hold it to
the sunlight, or open my fingers
and set it free in the wind,
if it could suddenly grow wings,
show me how to likewise fly
in flitting or in graceful soaring,
I could forget it for that once.
Do you know what I am?
That already I have watched the feathers
these years flutter down in slow descent,
opened and closed these hands,
felt the wind fierce behind my back?
It is senseless to remember the feathers
but forget the bird; senseless to coax
a smile by trembling the mouth
or by tickling tenderly
where laughter once came so easily.
A beautiful treatise here, Salvatore! So thought provoking and heart rending! I love how your mind sees things!
I love this line and thought…it is senseless to remember the feathers but forget the bird….
My favorite line as well, Sal.
thanks for these thoughts to ponder
The Lessons of Summertime
More was learned between the grades
Then ever in classroom situations
Summer camp taught about life
Life without parental supervision
The family camp in the back woods
Where we gathered for risky experiments
Things we’d read about in paperbacks
Stolen from our parent’s private stash
The lessons of summertime changed us
Each differently, but changed nonetheless
© Earl Parsons
They certainly did, Earl! More truth in these lines than one could imagine! Risky indeed, but essential! A good memory!
Interesting memory. I never did the camp thing but still managed on those hot summer nights to play with fire. I’m lucky I didn’t burn myself down.
No camp for me, but many lessons learned by experimenting in summer.
oh the many lessons learned at camp!
Each one different from the last
How did we survive
We survived by learning from them, Earl! A good senryu on the subject!
It is indeed a question that makes me still wonder after all these years. Top knotch senryu.
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With photo, on my blog:
summer in my
teens, I learned that playing
with fire is the fastest way to
I understand this all too well! Sadly, those lessons come hard. Distance and time are supposed to heal, but not always. A powerful piece of poetics, Paula! (And an alliterative line right there!)
Yes. Very true. But sometimes, we need to get burned to learn. Hopefully, we learned and we heal.
The photo on your blog makes this poem even more powerful.
this has many meanings – so much in a few well chosen words
OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR
One summer day…
Machismo, Bravado and Braggadocio met for drinks.
Each one thinks he’s the bigger man.
Looks can deceive and they all believe
their charms will have the cuties in their arms.
The first one played to the ladies, but
was shot down in flames. It seems
they’ve heard all his lines before.
The next was a pushy lout,
an over-aggressive boy scout, always prepared.
he never spared them from his conquests
and adventures, but had them scared at hello.
The loud mouth was harmless, all talk
but no game. It was an utter shame.
Lesson learned in three spurned:
Smoke and mirrors are great devices,
but just being you, truly suffices.
You should always live within your means.
Things are always smaller than they seem.
© Walter J. Wojtanik
Excellent lesson in that last couplet. And how wonderful it is when we learn we don’t have to pretend – that we are good enough just being ourselves.
A lesson that was a long time coming for me, but I’d like to think my poetic ramblings helped me along the way!
I think they did, mos def!
Killer ending on this one!
I think I met those three guys one summer 😉
The Summer of Hearts
Nothing happened to me. I spent the summer in eastern Kentucky
rather than home in Tennessee. The world was in turmoil, I was
nineteen and a tabula rasa, half finished with college, invited
to seminar six summer weeks with people who weren’t like me.
Emerson, Melville, Hawthorne; Maria dried her incredible hair,
fanned on the grass like a black tablecloth; Stella talked and worlds
appeared like birds, each one feathered and loud, shy and hungry.
We listened to Bill Cosby and The Doors. We played Hearts for hours.
That was a summer of Vietnam. And Monterrey Pop–with Joplin,
Jimi Hendrix, The Who. There was Rock in our food and drink. Maria
ate daisies. The Beatles’ “Michelle” was song of the year. The U.S. tested
nuclear bombs in Nevada. A little brown bat invaded the dorm.
It was the year Ali refused the army. Smart boys and boys with money
evaded the draft by staying in school.. I had never talked to a black
person; they were bipeds from an alien star. That summer one played
Hearts with ferocity, told a hundred stories, saved the world from bats.
Our separate worlds taught us all the lessons they were able to, but probably not all the ones we needed. Still, they were our realities. There was much ado at that time, the best lesson was just keeping your eyes open and paying it heed. A personal history as world history. Exceptional work, Barbara!
Excellent personal history. Indeed, that was the reality of many back then and similar to mine at the same time. Wonderful work.
I like to think we made some positive steps in that period of time. Now, you would never know it. Wonderful poem, Barbara.
We certainly had our eyes opened in those years – great memory
It’s those bats. They’re to blame. Without a belfry they just run amuck and turn the world upside-down. But in all seriousness, we once spent a month holiday in a house up in the Highlands. The house had bats in the loft. All that lovely scenery, stunning fjords and mountains and glens, and it’s those bats flapping around at night in the rafters that we all remember most.
In the hall, just once–maybe twice. And it was a tiny thing. But in the evening, outdoors…There was a little lake with a lighted walking trail. Bats and swifts after mosquitos and moths make a fancy display.
We were tied together by summers. We met at a kendo and weapons demonstration. You in your black silk hakama – black on black dragons and your hair in a warrior’s knot and tucked into your obi, I saw you were carrying daisho – big/little – the katana and the wakizashi. My breath stopped in my chest. I was carrying in a duffle, the weapons of the man I was dating – well, third date at this time and to be honest, I had determined this would be the last date. Arrogant and loving to be cruel he wore his long blonde hair in a braid thinking somehow, it made him look like a Nordic badass. You gave a demonstration of the two swords and then began to spar with various partners. But at the end of the day, he rescued me from the badass and won the arms competition. We walked out together and the fairy tale began. Long hot summers together – a garden in the backyard of gravel, boulder, and koi pond and my half filled with veggies and old fashioned flowers. Summers of trips to Japan and sometimes in Europe. Long hot nights of love and hot days of your work in forensics and me licensing engineers. I don’t remember Christmases or Easters or Thanksgiving. I know we had them but it is only the summers I remember.
You taught me the use of the katana and your language. I taught you to fry chicken and make biscuits. East met South. But then you began to feel the call of your home. We talked and argued and argued and talked and the reality was – you had face to lose if you went home. I was not a trophy. I was short and wore glasses and my hair was long, black, and wavy. I was not tall and blonde. We knew you would be reduced to working in small 24 hour clinics. I was a liability. I loved you and I let you go. After you left, I only remember hot summers of being alone – practicing with my sword and meditating. And somehow, slowly healing. And one hot summer, I met a sweet blue eyed Southern man with kind hands and heart. He taught me again to open my heart and love. I still loved you and always will, but I learned to stand on my own again and to believe in myself. And the most important lesson of all, I learned that summer to love again, to open my heart and trust. I do not know the lessons you learned. But I know you never married. I know you dedicate your life to identifying the sad victims of the “Suicide Forest” and that in the Tsunami, you identified victims and returned them home.
summers pass In blurs –
love leaves but love returns and
hearts heal at long last
An incredible self-exploration and admission. We only grow from such situations, even though it may take a long passage of time. I got to know you a bit better through this, and we’ve never met! I’m awed by this, Toni! Thanks for sharing it!
Thank you Walter. In my various poems, this man will be mentioned or written about but I dearly love my blue-eyed sweetheart.
Amazing truths in this, Toni. I admire you for writing about those special, but heartbreaking moments. Summer of love extinguish every other season.
a beautiful memory – thanks for sharing with all of us
Life’s Lesson Plan
There’s no foolproof plan
Learn as best you can
Learning to be me
What took me the longest time to learn
was to simply love and accept me.
It took nearly forty years,
but I finally learned
the power others
have over me,
Great form on this. Excellent lesson to learn.
Surely a lesson we must all learn at some time. We need to give ourselves permission to love ourselves, Rob!
This is my history as well, but it took me until age sixty to believe it.
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Preparing to move that summer,
we had a yard sale.
We kept the house open
to sell larger items.
While selling a sofa to a neighbor
a young man walked in and asked
about the guitar behind the door.
“It’s not for sale,” I said.
“My husband wouldn’t part with it.”
I was called outside then.
I gave it no thought until after we moved
and my husband couldn’t find
his pride and joy,
his Fender fretless bass guitar.
The last we remembered seeing it,
was behind the door.
I learned something that summer.
Yes indeed. How awful that he just stole it. Sometimes I wish I could smack people.
How ignorant! A sad retelling of an encounter with a horrible person! None of the words are what I actually want to say, but I’m in mixed company!
That is a hard lesson to learn, and harder to swallow.
a hard lesson –
Five years old
running, chasing bees until
one stung me–it hurt.
ouch! Buzzz 🙂
The Summer I Learned About Cruelty
She was my best friend
my first friend
she was kind and funny
and smart – and happy
until that summer when
the other kids at the pool
called her fat
Kids can be very cruel.
The Chores of Childhood
It was a small town, a village really,
and everybody had their special roles.
There were six churches and with them,
six types of leaders, one called priest,
another two were pastors, three more
by name and function, ministers.
Not large enough for multiple choice,
but populated aplenty to require each service,
we had one drug counter, one hardware store,
a small post office, an eight-lane bowling alley,
Sal the barber, and the IGA grocery,
owned and run by my family.
There were also tradesmen scattered about,
working from their homes and trucks,
plumbers and electricians and such.
Also scattered throughout the streets,
most of which ended at the lake shore,
were thirty or more taverns, but
that’s a story unto itself.
I worked in that grocery, performing
most tasks, like checking and bagging,
stocking and delivery, sweeping and dusting,
marking prices on cans with black grease pencils.
I steered clear of the meat counter, though,
never trusting those knife-wielding butchers,
unable to stomach the blood, the smells.
When the summer folks arrived, mostly
rich people who did not cook,
I learned to make potato salads and cole slaw
and baked beans, a vegetarian in the making.
The wealthy did not shop, calling in their orders,
and it was for me to take them their bags of goods.
Sometimes, I broke an egg or twelve along the way,
but they never tipped, so it did not bother me much.
It always amazed me that these people
with so much gave so little.
My work did not end at that store.
A sickly mother, an often absent father,
a large yard, and the usual requirements of living
all gave me chores in slew-size.
I can’t recall if I complained back then,
but I’m grateful for it now, that work experience.
It taught how to cook, to clean, to care.
It taught me the silliness of “someone oughta”.
It gave me strength when my mother’s
sickness turned to death.
It gave me order when my father stayed absent.
It provided the way to responsibility.
It provided me with broad shoulders.
It gave meaning to that lesson about
Saint Francis of Assisi, where he was asked
while raking the garden what he would do
if he knew he would die that afternoon, and
he said he would finish raking the garden.
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