Excerpt from Heirloom, book three in Seed Savers Series
Clare didn’t know how she could stay indoors on a day like today—sixty-five degrees, sunny and warm. And yet she couldn’t think of anything more to do outside. After she got home from school, she let the chickens wander while she pulled weeds from Marissa’s garden and checked the place they had planted a few of the first seeds the last time the weather had allowed. The lawn grass was long and green, and last season’s chard and kale had survived the winter, looking lush and appetizing. The overwintering herbs were ragged and scrawling, undoubtedly needing a trim, but Marissa was busy inside and wouldn’t be bothered. Dante played Monitor games. Clare thought about home. Even then, living in a city apartment, she had spent a fair amount of time outdoors. And it was even nicer here—less humid and buggy, and of course the farm was quiet and peaceful. It felt healthy to be outside.
As she stood, thinking, it occurred to her that maybe she could get started on her school work out here. There was a big swing on the front porch, and here in the back, the patio table—a bit green now, but easily cleaned—lingered in the sunshine. She would work on her English assignment; they were doing a poetry unit. She had never been asked to write a poem before—or at least not a whole portfolio of poems! Her assignment was to produce a variety of poems and ultimately assemble them into a book, poster, or Monitor montage presentation. She hadn’t yet decided on her project’s final form, but she could definitely carry a notepad outside and get started.
She hurried inside and rummaged through her folders until she found the instruction packet for the project. In the sunny yard, she curled up on one of the white patio chairs she had dragged onto the grass. Let’s see, where are those examples, she thought, flipping through the packet. She perused the list of poems they were to construct: acrostic, diamond, haiku, free verse …
“Hmm. Free verse sounds easy,” she said aloud. The chickens, cooped up nearby, mistakenly thought she was speaking to them and called to be released. Clare sighed, stood, and dropped her notebook onto the chair. “You girls were just out,” she said, but she didn’t really mind. She laughed as they ran and flapped, clucking as if they had been cooped up for months instead of just minutes. Back in the chair, Clare wrote:
The chickens run and cluck
Fluffy bottoms swing from side to side
She couldn’t think of anything else to write and was tempted to scratch out what she had written. She tried again.
scratching in the dirt
as I scratch in my notebook
Just then a squirrel scuttled by, close, from the walnut tree, up a post, and into an apple tree. Clare had been so still it had not noticed her. She looked down at her paper and made changes.
scratch in the dirt
as I scratch in my notebook
A squirrel scampers past
unaware of our scratching—
neither the chickens’
She wasn’t sure she liked it. Maybe I’ll come back to it later, she thought. Maybe I should try another kind. She took a stab at a sensory poem.
Five Senses Poem
Gnats hover just above the grass
Bumping my skin as they levetate (look up spelling)
their tiny bodies an unwelcome irritant
A crow calls in the distance
answered only by a fussing squirrel
The scent of freshly cut grass
and newly turned soil teases
me into thinking I can taste
But I don’t know what spring tastes like
In my life, seasons had no flavor.
End of Excerpt
Next week I will be celebrating Children’s Book Week (May 13-19) by participating in a blog hop and book giveaway sponsored by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews. Stay tuned!!!!
S.Smith is the author of the awesome middle grade series, Seed Savers. Visit her Pinterest and Facebook pages. Sign up for the newsletter!