Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is Having Kids Worth It?

That question is like a land-lover asking a swimmer, “Is jumping into this pool worth it?” 

The swimmer would reply, “What do you mean, is it worth it? You mean is the frightening part of getting wet and not knowing what you’re doing, worth leaving the safety of the shore? How else are you going to learn to swim? Do you want to be a swimmer or not?”

If the non-swimmer replies, “Yes, I want to be a swimmer, but I really like building sand castles and shopping for fancy clothes, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to do that when I’m in the water. Plus, swimsuit are so unflattering on my body and getting wet is a royal pain.”

Then I would reply, “Go back to your late night movies and artsy projects and social circles and glamorous styles. You don’t want to be a parent. Stick to the dry land.”

And yet if I could lure you off the diving board with images of olympic swimmers, if I could get you to forget your fear of water by showing you the joys of sailing or surfing or body boarding or snorkeling or deep sea diving, I would.

If I could push you off the edge of the pool and make you get in the water, I would, even though I can’t promise that you’ll learn to swim or even that you’ll like it.

You might clamor for the edge the instant you feel the water’s temperature. You might look back at the seashore and find the quickest route back to land. And sadly, some of you might continue trying to build your sand castles in the water.

But if you start paddling, kicking your arms and legs frantically and then with purpose, and if you start listening to that swimmer's instructions, then you will learn how to swim in addition to being a creature of the land.

Then I'll come back to you and ask you, "Was it worth it?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Plant Poetry

by Abigail Stevens

The backyard buzzes from the bees.
At such a sound I’m wary,
though they’re at work overhead
each year in February.

A musty smell floats in the air
from fuerte avocados.
Its blooms are small but numerous
drawing the bee to come close.

Beneath the haze of blooming flowers,
old leaves crinkle and brown.
When new leaves appear around the blooms,
old ones fall to the ground. 

By Abigail Stevens

Abuelita serves Nopales.
They’re goey and slimy and green. 
My friends think it madness
that I would eat cactus.
But they don’t know they were cleaned.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Children's Poetry About Poo

Down the Drain (Sung to the tune "Oh Me, Oh My!" by Raffi)
by Abigail Stevens

Dear me! Oh no! What will I do?
I just flushed my favorite sock down the toilet. 
But I found out, and so will you,
A clogged toilet bowl will make the parents upset.

Maybe, perchance the sock gets through,
I’ll tell you ‘bout its journey to the treatment plant.
Now don’t worry, I’ll sidestep poo.
From here until the end, we’ll call it influent.

Down, down through pipes the sewage goes
Pulled along by gravity and water’s flow.
There’s lots of muck to decompose
At the treatment plant where bacteria grow.

Into the plant goes the influent
Where rakes and screens remove all large objects.
This begins the first treatment
En route to cleansing influent in all respects.

Onward from there to the settling tank.
Solids sink while oils float up to the top.
You can bet the smell is rank.
So some tanks are closed with a cover atop.

Second treatment is rather crude.
It involves small creatures called bacteria,
That eat the waste like its food.
Bubbling tanks become a cafeteria.

Before the third treatment comes,
The gorged bacteria sink down to the bottom.
This occurs in giant drums
Skimmed atop and swept below of all the scum.

One treatment’s left until we’re through.
Here the water filters down through rocks and sand.
Once it’s through, it looks brand new.
The effluent (once influent) waters the land.