Monday, September 9, 2013

Poetry Jam - Tales of the Hunt

Tales of the Hunt

Scrape the stone and make the dust
Gather up the deep red rust
Mix it with the bison blood
Make a paste that feels like mud

Gather round a blazing fire
Smoky meat drips on its pyre
Feast and then turn to the wall
Draw the hunt, tell to all

The rust of ages on those rocks
Will stay until a boy unlocks
A crumbling stone, an echo deep
A world released from a long sleep

Back when I was still teaching reading and social studies and 'all that stuff ' to youngsters, I found a book called First Painter by Kathryn Lasky.  The class was doing a bit of work on oral history and how it might have progressed from telling tales to written stories so I used the book to help the kids understand how the transition might have begun. 

I found some old pieces of brick and took them, some burnt wood coals, and my stone mortar and pestles to school and read the story with the children. I gave the mortar and pestles to the children when it was circle time and every time I paused in reading the story, the children carefully passed the mortar and pestles on to the next child so that everyone got a chance to grind the brick to ochre dust and the wood coals to black ash. Then, we mixed the black and red dusts with egg whites and let things dry up a bit to make paint paste.  A friend donated old slate roof tiles and each kid got a chance to make their own stone painting ... the kids were filled with awe at what they could create with the basics from the Earth. 

The minute I opened this week's Poetry Jam challenge, I knew I would write in some fashion about that magical day in the classroom. 


  1. What a wonderful experience for those kids. I can tell you were a great teacher... what grade?

    Anyway, I'm so glad you liked the prompt this week, Susan. I really enjoyed your poem.

    1. Over the years, I taught fourth through sixth grades and subbed across the elementary spectrum.

  2. What fun this was to read! Enjoyed your personal story as well Susan. That book looks like a great one too--I bet my kids would enjoy it. Thanks Susan!

  3. nice...teaching is a blessing...very cool as well on those early story tellers and artists that left their lives for us on cave walls and rocks....that does sound like a pretty cool book...

  4. Susan, I just love your poem! Love the rhythm and the words, especially the very poignant final stanza. I enjoyed reading about your teaching experience does sound like a learning experience that will be long remembered by the children.