Friday, February 24, 2012


The power of music can shock the system. Only a brief clip of an oldie can instantly recreate a decades-old mental milieu of perception. Blogging about it turned somehow to verse.


Switching stations at 75 mph
I catch just a bit,
a short musical phrase.

Just the last few measures
of the Supremes
put my bare feet
on wet poolside pavement.
I smell the chlorine.
I enjoy a morsel of moon pie
& swig from
an ice-flecked bottle of RC.

And turning with her
from the concession stand
-- ah yes --
soak in the reflected warmth
of that yellow bikini
one more time --

I know its occupant
and I
are much changed
50 years later.

But I dance,
with the daffodil.

by Terrell Shaw

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Musical Saddam

True story. Yesterday in social studies class.

The Framers were only a few years past the Treaty of Paris and a long war against the tyranny of King George III. I wanted my fourth-graders to understand how important the separation of powers was to these men. They did not want power concentrated in one man. They didn't want a king or a dictator.

Trying to think of a tyrant with whom kids in 2012 are familiar I suggested Saddam Hussein. I called "Joe" forward to act the part of the Iraqi dictator. We imagined a few scenarios as Joe/Saddam acted as legislature, court, and executive rolled into one. The simulation seemed to be working.

We finished up and Joe started toward his seat but stopped as if reminded of something, turned and asked, "But what did he sing?"

"What's that?" I asked.

"What did he sing?"

"I don't understand. What did WHO sing?"

"Saddam," he exclaimed, in earnest frustration, "you said he was Saddam who sang!"