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Shovel in the DirtIf your town is like mine, then you have seen something called the Private Eye Workshop popping up in parks and local colleges.

No, they’re not trying to teach you how to get in touch with your inner Magnum. But they do look kind of strange running around with all of those jeweler’s loupes and shoving their faces into weird things.

And before your imagination gets the better of you, here’s a link to the book and the facebook page.

See! It’s really all in the name of education, and for the grade school teacher it’s a must-do.

I’m recommending it to the poets out there as well.  At least the part about closely observing nature. You don’t need any special gear, and the regular practice of this skill is what takes a good poet to great.

Just look at the work of the sharply honed Theodore Roethke and Mary Oliver.

Countless hours spent amongst his father’s flowers gave us Roethke’s famous Orchids poem, and Oliver got Mushrooms to us after a lifetime of walks in the woods.

So here’s your challenge for the day: Taking these two poems as your models, try to craft one of your own in a similar vein. Remember to focus tightly on just one specimen and lavishly describe!

Try not to get too hung up on honeybees and spiders. And if anyone knows of some good insect poems out there that don’t sound like they are channeling Shel Silverstein, please post.