Poetry Friday: Nature’s Ninjas

While my daughter was growing up, I wrote her a poem for her birthday each year. I’ve gotten out of the habit the past few years, but brought it back for her 21st birthday (a few weeks late). She is a biochemistry major who hopes to pursue graduate school after next year’s graduation and who wants to go into pharmaceutical research. She’s already started with her undergraduate research on baceriophages. Her university is part of the SEA-PHAGES program through the University of Pittsburgh.

Who knew–a plush phage

I knew nothing about phages before she started this research, but I love how excited she is to share what she’s learning (even when some of it goes over my head). If you want to learn more about phage, check out the TED talk by Heather Hendrickson. Her TED talk inspired the title. My daughter recommends this video for an introduction to phage. Don’t freak out too much. She assures me that they won’t cause a zombie apocalypse.

I tried my first Fib poem (syllable counts for each line follow the Fibonacci sequence – 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and back down again in my poem). It received rave reviews from its first reader, who assured me I got the science right!

Nature’s Ninjas

Phage
lurks
unseen
but billions
teem in dirt and seas,
undiscovered. Nature’s ninjas
lie in wait for their very own
bacteria to
devour,
nothing
else
harmed.

Each Friday, I am excited to take part in Poetry Friday, where writers share their love of all things poetry. Carol hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Carol’s Corner. She shares a heartwarming poem from her experience raising a puppy for Canine Partners of the Rockies. She even has pictures of an adorable Rooney who will one day help someone with mobility issues. Hurry over and check out all the poetry morsels offered up today.

20 Comments on Poetry Friday: Nature’s Ninjas

  1. cheriee weichel
    July 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm (3 years ago)

    I read your post, and then went and watched Heather Hendrickson’s Ted Talk. When I came back to reread this, I was even more impressed by how much your poem tells us about phages. Thanks so much for this!

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 26, 2019 at 7:38 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Cheriee. I’ve learned a lot from my daughter.

      Reply
  2. Michelle Kogan
    July 21, 2019 at 1:09 am (3 years ago)

    Fascinating video about the Phage bacteria, and I love the poem you created. Great way to share and exchange with your daughter’s studies, Thanks Kay!

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 21, 2019 at 7:47 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Michelle. Phage are fascinating viruses.

      Reply
  3. Carol Varsalona
    July 20, 2019 at 10:50 pm (3 years ago)

    Kay, I love that you embraced the science-poetry connection, something I am trying to sell to teachers. What if science teachers provided the content and English teachers add in the literary perspective for an integrated approach to literacy? (like you did).I did not know anything about phage but I got a sneak peek from your poem. Love the title, Nature’s Ninjas!

    Reply
    • Carol Varsalona
      July 20, 2019 at 11:01 pm (3 years ago)

      My husband and I just watched the video your daughter suggested. It was fascinating. Best of luck to your daughter in her academic pursuits.

      Reply
      • Kay McGriff
        July 21, 2019 at 7:45 am (3 years ago)

        Aren’t they fascinating?

        Reply
    • Kay McGriff
      July 21, 2019 at 7:44 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Carol! I love the idea of incorporating science and poetry. I’ve read (but can’t remember) of scientist who use poetry to share their ideas. In particular, I remember I scientist who wrote a haiku a day.

      Reply
  4. Robyn Hood Black
    July 20, 2019 at 5:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! (& what a great mom you are!) And, I see the adventure gene didn’t fall far from the tree, even if the beckoning trails go in complementary, but not the same, directions! :0) PS – my anti-spam phrase is “swan bide.” Just thought that was intriguing!

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 20, 2019 at 7:02 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Robyn. It’s funny how much my daughter and I have in common even when we explore in different directions. She’s a pretty good writer, too.

      Reply
  5. Kathryn Apel
    July 20, 2019 at 7:18 am (3 years ago)

    Lovely idea. So glad the birthday girl gave your poem rave reviews. And thanks for teaching me something knew for today. 🙂

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 20, 2019 at 7:01 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Kathryn. I love it when I learn something new through PF–which is most weeks!

      Reply
  6. Carol
    July 20, 2019 at 1:22 am (3 years ago)

    I love that you write a poem each year for your daughter’s birthday! Even if you did skip a couple of years! What a special tradition! And like several other commenters, I know LOTS more about phages than I did before! I think the fib would be an interesting format for kids to try when they were trying to pick out essential ideas about a concept.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Carol. I’ve enjoyed writing a poem for her each year (well, most of them). Phages are fascinating!

      Reply
  7. Linda Baie
    July 19, 2019 at 10:45 pm (3 years ago)

    I read a little about them and it’s wonderful that your daughter is studying them. I love that you wrote her a poem for so many years and now this one will certainly be special to her as she continues her education. The Fibonacci nature sequence is perfect for the topic, Kay, words chosen beautifully.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Linda. She was thrilled with this one – especially that I have been paying attention to her research.

      Reply
  8. Linda Mitchell
    July 19, 2019 at 10:10 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh, this is wonderful! I truly enjoy poems that teach about science. I try to bring science poetry into middle school when I can. I need to go watch that TED talk. I’ve not written a fib poem. You make me want to give it a try. I like how much detail you include in just a few lines.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 20, 2019 at 6:59 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Linda. It was my first fib poem–as usual, much harder than it looks at first! I hope you enjoy the videos. They explain the science so anyone can understand it.

      Reply
  9. Kimberly M. Hutmacher
    July 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Kay, thank you for the lovely poetic introduction to phages. I hadn’t heard of them before. Very interesting!

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      July 19, 2019 at 7:58 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Kimberly. I knew nothing about them before my daughter started her research project. They are fascinating.

      Reply

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