Thursday, February 16, 2017

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday

Some days, searching my poetry roots leads to dozens of cousins....join us for Poetry Friday, hosted this week at Check it Out Thank you, Jone!

This week, I've been fascinated by the work and words and photos of Mary McLeod Bethune. Her words below pair well with the art of Larry Zox in his, Diamond Cut.
Quote enhanced by Diamond Cut." Art Object Page. US National Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Bethune was known for many activities and interests: Christian Living, Education, Racial Dignity, and Leadership for starters. She also endured criticism for her commitment to vocational training for young people, especially women, of color over classic academics. 

Her hope, faith and extraordinarily loving will is nothing less than poetic. I am drawn to learning more.

I like to focus my lens.

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune


A woman born to

Slavery's sure survivors 

grew to lead...persist 

God on Mary's side
Mary leaned in constant prayer
between them souls thrived


Barriers to Black
barriers to skirt were not
Mary's barriers 

In 1904
one dollar and fifty cents--
her school, their future

Then, look for words that paint a story. This paragraph accompanied the commemorative US postage stamp issued in 1985.

Search for poetry in prose. Even though Bethune isn't known as a poet.....these words of her last will and testament read as a prayer poem. Click on the caption to see the entire document. It is beautiful.

Now that I've gotten to know Mary Jane McLeod Bethune a little bit.....I'm off to write some poems about her legacy. I'm going hunting for forms that will help me do that. Join me? What do you suggest?


  1. Mary McLeod Bethune is new to me, and I enjoyed reading about her, and that picture is wonderful to see. There are so many stories we don't know. Recent picture books are telling us more and more, a good thing!

  2. Linda, thank you for informing me about this heroic woman. I love to search for poetry in prose. How exciting to get to experiment with lots of different forms surrounding her legacy.

  3. Her use of the word hope, my OLW this year. What a great woman to student. Thank you for sharing her with us today.

  4. When I look at her with that long line of girls, I think that a list poem might be just right! I am thinking of writing a biography in verse for Poetry Month. I have my person, and I plan to spend March doing research and planning out a story line. Sounds like you might have something similar going on!

  5. Thanks for this passionate introduction to Mary McLeod Bethune. I think I need to add her to my Black History Month unit. I love that you are adventuring into poetic forms this way.

  6. Much gratitude for this post, Linda - I grew up in Central Florida and her name and some of her legacy are familiar to me, but much more to learn. I love the found poem goodness you've shared and bet you could conjure up more of those, too! And Mary Lee's list poem idea would be great to do, with students as well. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Wow -- that fourth poem tells a big story in so few words.

  8. I love the quote you open with. It should hang above every teacher's desk, as an important reminder of the gems we touch each day.

  9. Great post Linda. I don't know about Mary or her legacy, so the way you've introduced her here inspires me to find out more.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!