Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 2

This week's Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week's poetry links.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week’s poetry links.

Welcome back to Northfied Elementary, Poetry Friday readers.

This is my thirteenth year working with third graders at this local school. It’s a special occasion that I look forward to all year. The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The mentor text I use is “Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

When we’re working on list poems, the students are focusing on two important skills: choosing a topic for the poem that influences every single line; and paying attention to word choice — this poem calls for juicy, interesting words that stand out!

While you’re enjoying these list poems, I will be on my way to my native New Jersey for NerdCamp! This annual literacy conference is held each year at Chatham HS. I’m looking forward to leading a session on introversion in the classroom with educator Heather Rocco. For a full list of authors and session, visit the NerdCampNJ home page.

Here is the next batch of third grade poems, with thanks to the students’ families for permission to share.

Words on the Beach
By Max A.

I know words are hiding here.
Words that are good–


No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the tummy hiding inside me.
No one can see it
but I know what I see–

Water and

Things that are fun are in there
Beach balls are in there.

The words are playing together
when I want to meet them.

is in the beach.

My friends the words
go to the beach before I do.
But they never
leave me.


Words in the Ocean
By Jesse Z.

I see words floating on the ocean.
Words that are soaked–

Sunken ship

Some people can see them
but I find them swimming
like a shark swimming at me.
Some people can see it
but I really know it’s there.


Animals are in there.
Fish are in there.

The words are floating together
when I am saying or thinking them.

and sometimes getting seasick.

My friends the words
go float and play before I do.
But they never
go away.


Words in a Basketball Court
By Chaitanya M.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that are loud.


No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the TUMMY hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

3 pointer
Half court
Full court

Teams are in there.
Players are in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in my basketball court.

My friends, the words
never go away.


Words in My Gymnastics Bag
By Milan M.

I hide words inside my gymnastics bag.
Words that feel good and bad–


No one can see them
but I find them inside my brain.
Like the pain hiding inside my ankle.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–


Entertaining is in there.
Sweaty is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in my gymnastics bag.

My friends the words
go to gymnastics class before I do.
But they never, never, ever
do flips and splits!!!!


Words in My Basketball
By Trevor L.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that inspire me.


No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the greatness hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Back board

Smarts are in me.

Me and the ball are playing together
when I am saying or thinking of it.

is in my ball.

My ball, my friend
goes to the court.
But it doesn’t
go away.


Words in My Dog
By Emma B.

I hide words inside my dog.
Words that are good–

Dog toys

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
I know what’s in there.


Fleas are in there.
Ticks are in there.

Dog food
is in my dog.

My dog
goes to bed before I do.
But the words inside her
go away.


All poems shared with permission.

Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 1

Elizabeth Steinglass, our host for Poetry Friday, is celebrating her new book! Stop by Liz’s blog to find this week’s poetry links and to hear all about SOCCERVERSE.

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends.

This month, I am back at Northfield Elementary for my annual poetry residency. Each year, I spend about a month working with the entire third grade.

The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The model poem I use is by our new Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shihab Nye. The students were so excited when I told them the big news of her appointment. Yes! The poem we worked with is by *the* top children’s poet in the country.

“Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye comes from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

This is what the cross-out method of poem writing looks like.

Because this is our first workshop, we do this poem as a cross-out. The children write their original poems over the top of Nye’s words. This provides structure and coaches these young poets in rhythm and word choice.

Here is the first batch of this year’s third grade poems. I’m so happy to be able to send some of the students’ first drafts.




Words in My Dreams
By Aiden M.

I have words inside my dreams,
words from my head–


No one can see them
but I find them hunting for me.
Like the money hiding inside my piggy.
No one can see it
but I know it’s in there–


Flowers are in there
Clouds are in there.

The words are playing together
when I am thinking and thinking about them.

is in my dreams.

My friends the words
go to my mind before I notice.
But they never go away.


Words in My Desk
By Zoey C.

I hide words inside my desk.
Words that make me happy.


No one can find them
but I find them making me proud.
Like the school box hiding inside my desk.
No one can find them
but I know what’s in there.


Notebooks are in there.
Folders are in there.

The words are talking together
when I am grabbing or thinking them.

I find in my desk.

My helpers the words
go to school before I do.
But they never
go away.


Words in My Stinky Shoes
By Novali V.

I hide words inside my shoes.
Words that taste bad.


No one can see them.
They still use them,
like the brain hiding inside my head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

A foot
A sock (smelly)
Rocks, stones
Toena — oof! *Slips*

Kicks are in there.
Accidental sliding is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Excited for a game
is in my shoe.

My friends, the words
go to rest before I do.
But they never
come out of my shoes.


Words in My Ocean
By Elyse G.

I discover words inside my ocean.
Words that feel good–

Cool water
Moist sand
Slimy seaweed squelching
between my toes

People think they can see them
but I know that what they see is just
half the picture,
like the beach.
People can see the sand
but they can’t see the miles
of the ocean’s words.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Fishes of the oceans
Sea cucumbers

Jellies are in there.
Underwater is in there.

The words are swimming together
when I am saying or thinking them.


My friends the words
wiggle away before people can find them.
But I always know where to find them.


Words in the Solar System
By Matthew B.

I hide words inside the solar system.
Words that are breathtaking.


Everyone can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Everyone can see it
but I know what’s in there–


Planets are in there.
The moon is in there.

The words are orbiting together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in the solar system.

My friends the words never
go to bed.
But they never float away.


Words in My Pocket
By Jackson S.

I hide words inside my pocket.
Words that are fun–


No one can see them
But I find them waiting for me.
Like my room waiting for me after school.
No one can feel it
but I know what’s in there.

Bouncy ball
Playing cards
Band-aid colors

Darkness is in there
My stuff is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in my pocket.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
run away.


Words in My Cat Fela
By River M.

She has words inside her body.
Words that are cuddly–


No one can see them
but I find them in her fur.
Like the tiredness and calmness in her head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

“Leave me alone”

Memories are in there too.
Kitten is in there.

The words are sleeping together
when she is meowing or thinking them.

is in my cat Fela.

My cat Fela and the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
go away from my cat Fela’s mind.


Words in My Pool
By Olivia L.

I hide words inside my pool.
Words that splash you–


No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the bubbles hiding beside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

Toy ships that float
Feet slicing through the water
Money people have lost
Birds swimming
Floats floating

The word “Overwhelming” hides in the pool as well.
People feeling refreshed by the cool water.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

is in my pool.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
swim away.

All poems shared with permission.

National Poetry Month 2019

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater this week! Stop by the Poem Farm for some farm-fresh poems.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

From “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot
(Read the poem at the Poetry Foundation)

Ever wondered why we celebrate National Poetry Month in April? It is the cruellest month, according to T. S. Eliot.  Despite the dead land and dull roots, there is hope in the lilacs and the spring rain.

I’ve been away from blogging while Saadia Faruqi and I revise our upcoming middle grade novel, A Place at the Table. But I can’t let National Poetry Month pass without joining in on the fun.

More importantly, it is my mission to encourage educators to share poetry with students. That’s why I took a break from the revision tunnel to talk poetry with:

Jed Doherty at Reading with Your Kids

Are you a fan of podcasts? At his podcast, “Reading with Your Kids,” children’s author Jedlie and I talked about the power of sharing poetry with children. You can listen to the episode here.

Resources I mentioned during the podcast include:

Billy Collins’ poem “Introduction to Poetry” at the Poetry Foundation

Poetry 180 — a poem for every day of the high school year.

The Poetry Foundation

Poetry Friday blogging community overview from Renee LaTulippe: https://www.nowaterriver.com/what-is-poetry-friday/

Sarah Tregay’s list of verse novels 

Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition

United States’ Young People’s Poet Laureate

Educators at Nerdy Book Club

This was my second time doing a special Facebook Live/National Poetry Month video for Nerdy Book Club, a grass roots organization founded by educators to support teachers and promote reading and literacy. This 40 minute video focuses on poetic forms and why it’s important to include them in your students’ poetry toolbox. I model a lesson on Fibonacci poems and share a writing technique called “cross-out” poetry. Watch here.

Resources mentioned in this video include:

*Traditional poetic forms:

Haiku Hike. Scholastic, Inc. 2005.

Hirsch, Robin. FEG: Ridiculous Poems for Intelligent Children. Illustrated by Ha. Little, Brown and Company, 2002.

Janeczko, Paul B. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Candlewick Press, 2005.

Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005. (Form – a crown of sonnets. Viewer Nicole Mancini suggests pairing this book with Jewell Parker Rhodes Ghost Boys.)

Padgett, Ron, editor. The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms. Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1987.

Reibstein, Mark. Wabi Sabi. Illustrated by Ed Young. Little, Brown and Company, 2008. (Form – haiku.)

Soto, Gary. Neighborhood Odes. Illustrated by David Diaz. Harcourt, Inc. 1992. (Form – odes.)

*Recently invented forms:

Golden Shovel poems, invented by Terrance Hayes – in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool.”

Gwendolyn Brooks reading “We Real Cool”

Article on Golden Shovels

Mentor text: Grimes, Nikki. One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomsbury, 2017.

Reverso poems, invented by Marilyn Singer. 

Article on Reverso poems

Mentor text: Singer, Marilyn. Mirror, Mirror. Illustrated by Josée Masse. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010.

*Fibonacci sequence:

Campbell, Sarah C. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. Boyds Mill Press, 2010.

Lichtman, Wendy. “Nature’s Spirals.” National Geographic Explorer, March, 2009.

Also check out poet Joyce Sidman’s book Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. (Suggested by viewer Jessica Bigi.)

*Fibonacci poems:

You will find my classroom handouts and Fibonacci poem writing frame at the bottom of this post.

Lesson description and student responses: http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-got-beat-fibonacci-poems-part-1.html


*Cross-out poems:

Shihab Nye, Naomi. “Words in My Pillow.” Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems. Ed. Georgia Heard. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2009. 26.

Medina, Tony. “Harlem Is the Capital of My World.” Love to Langston. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low Books Inc. 2010.

Lesson description and student responses: https://laurashovan.com/2018/05/poetry-friday-list-poem-lesson/


Fibonacci poem writing frame

Fibonacci poem hand-out

Model Fibonacci poems (thanks to Karren Alenier for sharing)

Poetry Friday: The Man in the Green Suit

Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday at My Juicy Little Universe. The optional theme this week is climate change.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I think everyone knows by now, one of my favorite poetic forms is the portrait poem. Maybe it’s because I studied dramatic writing as an undergrad, but I think there’s something magical about bringing a character to life  in the space of a small poem.

My poem for this week was inspired by my recent trip to Israel with PJ Library and the Harold J. Grinspoon Foundation.

We spent the first few days traveling in the desert, including a strenuous hike, a visit to a Bedouin encampment, stargazing from the bottom of a crater, a visit to solemn Masada, and kayaking on the still blue water of the Dead Sea — over 1,300 feet below sea level.

Under the Old City — we walked on an ancient paved road that once led to the Jewish Temple.

From that vast landscape and all of its profound experiences, we moved on to Jerusalem.

Although I had visited Israel once before, I didn’t spend much time in Jerusalem on my last trip. I fell in love with this city. Modern, yes, but also ancient and undeniably spiritual.

One of the sites we visited was a dig below the city where an ancient road, dating to at least 2,000 year ago, is being excavated.

I think that’s why — when we finally arrived for our final two days of the trip in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv — the man in the green suit made such an impression on me and my traveling companions (all fellow children’s authors).

Photo by Mark Shulman. Beachside promenade, Tel Aviv.

There was nothing of the desert and its silence or ability to make one feel small about this guy. None of Jerusalem’s inward focus. His polished look was the opposite of effortless. I think that’s what made him so noticeable — at least to us.

I jotted down a poetic sketch later that same night. Luckily, my friend Mark Shulman snapped a photo, which I’m posting here with Mark’s permission.

The Man in the Green Suit
By Laura Shovan

Smooth as sunset,
out for an easy
stroll. Who can take
their eyes off that
fresh haircut, sleek
Gucci bag, Blue
Tooth in his ear?
He’s the master
of the “I look
good” saunter. Sharp
shoes. Thin gold tie.
The sun hits his shades
and he turns
to see who’s watching.
Duh. Everyone.

Poetry Friday: Van Gogh Dreams

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Catherine at Reading to the Core. Stop by for a round-up of this week’s poetic posts.

Hello, Poetry Friday friends. I haven’t seen you in a few weeks. Before I get to this week’s poem — a quick update!

I took a blogging break while I was traveling with 17 other children’s authors on PJ Library’s Author Israel Adventure. It was a life-changing trip, full of new friends, amazing experiences, and lots of learning. I’ll tell you more about it in future posts. If you can’t wait, there is a great photo essay about our trip in Publisher’s Weekly — written and photographed by children’s author Mark Shulman.

Enjoying felafel sandwiches in Jerusalem with children’s authors Emma Carlson Berne (L) and Madelyn Rosenberg (R).

Because of the trip, I moved this year’s February Poetry Project to March. We are a small group this year, with some regulars and some new poets responding to a common poetry prompt every day. If you’d like to join, let me know. This year’s theme — definitely inspired by the incredible Mediterranean cuisine  — is FOOD. If you’d like to learn more about my annual poetry project, please read this 2016 post.

The only other time I have traveled abroad with a group of authors was four years ago. In 2015, about 60 poets/community activists gathered in Salerno, Italy for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference. That’s where I met Lisa Vihos, the poet I’m going to introduce you to today.

Lisa Vihos reading at 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference in Salerno, Italy, 2015.

Lisa Vihos is a Wisconsin poet and editor. Some of her books are the chapbooks This Particular Heaven (Kelsay Press, Kelsay Books, 2017) and Fan Mail from Some Flounder (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018). Two of the anthologies Lisa compiled and edited are From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology (Water’s Edge Press, 2019, co-edited with Dawn Hogue), and the book I’m featuring today: Van Gogh Dreams (HenschelHAUS Publishing, 2018).

Van Gogh Dreams is an apt title for this collection. The book weaves together ekphrastic responses to specific Van Gogh paintings (The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Starry Night, for example), poems in Van Gogh’s voice, and modern reflections on the artist and what 21st century creatives can learn from him.

If you’re in the Maryland/DC area, Lisa is coming to visit! She will be the featured author, along with Andria Nacina Cole, at Wilde Readings (the local literary reading series that I co-host). The event is March 12 at the Columbia Art Center, Columbia, MD. We start the open mic at 7 pm. (More info is here.)

I’m so excited to see Lisa again. Literary friendships run deep.

Here is Lisa Vihos’s poem from Van Gogh Dreams.

Love Letter for Vincent
By Lisa Vihos

I would have sat quietly
while you painted the stars
and I would not have tossed
the sunflowers
before you were done with them

I would have tended
the irises, dusted your chair,
and made your bed, in love
with the vibration inside all things —
just like you. I would not have judged

the cut ear or the old sermons.
I would have cooked your potatoes,
wiped clean your shoes,
and bought you another absinthe
at midnight in the pool hall.

I would have brought a picnic lunch
and a cool drink to the wheat field.
I would have marveled with you at the sun
and the patterns the blackbirds made
as they flew low along the horizon.

Posted with permission of the author.

Van Gogh Dreams is available here and on Amazon.

I love that the cover of Van Gogh Dreams is a work of  art in itself. As Lisa explains in the book’s introduction, it is taken from a collage created by her father, artist Georg Vihos.

While she’s here, Lisa will be recording an episode of the long-running Library of Congress podcast “The Poet and the Poem.” The host is Grace Cavalieri, our new state poet laureate of Maryland! I’ll share a link when the podcast is available.

Do you love Van Gogh’s paintings? You might want to check out Vans new Van Gogh fashion line. Yes, Vans the sneaker company. What would Vincent think, I wonder?

Poetry Friday: Tidying Up

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Tricia Stohr-Hunt at the Miss Rumphius Effect. You’ll find links to the week’s poems, poetry reviews, and musings at her blog.

An admission: I tried listening to Marie Kondo’s book on audio. I didn’t make it past the first few chapters.

My favorite idea from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was de-cluttering not by area, but by theme or object. I can picture myself gathering all of the candlestick sets we received for our wedding 28 years ago, choosing one or two favorite pairs, and donating or giving away the rest.

(Crystal candlesticks must have been a hot item in 1991. We have at least five pairs, plus a few more in ceramic.)

That’s as far as I got. It’s not that I don’t need Kondo’s guidance – or *some* guidance. I do. We have lived in our house for almost 20 years. The children we raised here are now out of the house. We’re due for a massive declutter. Maybe I’ll give her television show a chance. I love home renovation shows, and decluttering is a renovation of interior spaces.

Friends who are Asian-American have pointed out that much of Kondo’s advice and celebration of minimalism is rooted in Japanese culture. Some of her critics have misunderstood that piece, especially when it comes to book collections. There’s an article on that topic here.

Meanwhile, I came across a poem from Judith Viorst’s new collection. In this meditation on “stuff,” Viorst touches on the push and pull of down-sizing a home that’s been filled with music and books.

My Stuff
By Judith Viorst

The trouble is I really love my stuff,
Especially the stuff that’s stashed in my basement,
Like that trunkful of 78s that I haven’t listened to in over seventy years,
When the Andrew Sisters rang “Rum and Coca Cola,”
And Sinatra sang “Full Moon and Empty Arms,”
And I forget who sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo,”
All of them played on what we called a Victrola
In the sun parlor — always my childhood’s favorite room,
Where built-in shelves held my Oz books, The Secret Garden,
The Count of Monte Cristo, the Nancy Drews  …

Read the rest of the poem in Grace Cavalieri’s (Maryland’s new state poet laureate!) review of Nearing 90 and Other Comedies of Late Life, by Judith Viorst. Scroll down to find the review.

Bonus: If you’ve never seen George Carlin’s routine on stuff, have fun watching this today. It’s one of his best.


A Holiday Ghost Story

Ah, the holidays. Family time, favorite foods, haunted hotels.

Wait. What?

This was my favorite story of the 2017 holiday season, originally posted here on Twitter.  It begins with an arduous journey…

I have a fun holiday story for you! Drove the family 6+ hours to the Catskills Mountains today — through snow.

We were trekking to my parents’ cabin/summer home. They invited my brothers’ and my family for a holiday celebration. A rare event! All 6 cousins under 1 roof.

One problem. Everyone can’t fit under that roof. 3 families of four + 2 grandparents. (The grandpa emoji totally looks like my dad.)

We got booted, ’cause my kids are much older than my brothers’ kids. (I promise you there’s an unexpected twist coming up.)

Hotel? Fine. Whatever. My dad starts making phone calls … and there’s no room at the inn. ( Holiday weekend, ski season.)

He decides to call in a favor and reserve 2 rooms for us at his golf club’s historic inn — WHICH IS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.

“It’ll be fine!” he says. “You’ll have the whole place to yourselves.

Literally, the whole place. The staff will be off for Christmas. The rooms will be set for us, but no  maid service. Ooh-kay, Dad.

We drive up in the dark tonight. Hubs is *not thrilled*. My kids opted to sleep on the couches at the cabin tonight. Smart kids!

I’d make a Shining joke, but by the time we get to the place (10 minute drive in Dad speak = 20+ minutes), hubs is ticked off!

The heat is on, but no one’s here. Empty as advertised…






It’s kind of quaint, but … I have to tell my brain, “Do not say ‘Redrum.’ That joke is not funny.” And hubs is beyond seeing the humor in this.





But, COME ON!!!






And then I see it…














Hello, Jack.

This is when I bust out laughing. Hubs does not see the humor in this situation. From now on, we’ll take care of our own hotel reservations. Thanks a lot, Dad.

Enjoy your holidays, believers. I hope you are safe, warm, and surrounded by people you love. I’ll be here. All night.


Post script:

First, a correction. The drive from my parents’ place to the hotel was (sorry, Dad) ten minutes as advertised. I blame the dark, frigid night for making it feel longer.

Second, a few days after our visit, my father called. It turns out, there have been reports of voices and other ghostly happenings at the hotel. But our stay was blessedly uneventful.


A Book and a Beagle — Special Offer

I am a dog mom.

Sam the Schnauzer is my best furry friend. But three years ago, our family decided (with much convincing) that 8-year-old Sam needed a brother. Not a puppy. An older dog. A calm dog to show our very barky, anxious guy the joys of being chilled out.

I went to the animal shelter. Crashed out on the office floor was an overweight older beagle, snoring away like he owned the place That afternoon, we brought Rudy home.

If you’d like to hear more of Rudy’s story — and meet Rudy himself, the Oscar to Sam’s Felix — check out this video.

When I was working on my middle grade novel, Takedown, I couldn’t help myself. Rudy is such a funny, weird, lovable dog, I had to put him in the book. That’s how one of my main characters, eleven-year-old wrestler Lev Sofer, ended up with a lazy, chubby old beagle named Grover.

We first meet Grover in Chapter 4. Lev describes him like this: Grover waddles into the hall, snuffling my backpack. He sounds more like a pig than a dog. I pat his soft ears.

Beagle plushies and the actual champion of doggie chill, Rudy.

When I found these adorable beagle baby plushies, I had to pick up a basket full. And now I have a special offer!

I am selling “A Book and a Beagle” for just $20 plus shipping. You’ll get a signed copy of Takedown (read a review) and a Grover beagle plushie to love. Leave a comment if you’re interested.

Since it’s Poetry Friday, I went hunting for a beagle poem to go with the book and toy. Kenn Nesbitt didn’t let me down.

I love the closing stanza of “Gabby’s Baby Beagle” because it’s so true. Beagles are totally pig-like. They are obsessed with food. And the snuffly sounds they make when they’re sniffing around, hoping to find a dropped morsel — not to mention their big tummies — earn the title of pig-dog.

Gabby’s Baby Beagle

A Tongue Twister
From the book The Tighty-Whitey Spider

Gabby bought a baby beagle
at the beagle baby store.
Gabby gave her beagle kibble,
but he begged for bagels more.

Gabby loved her baby beagle;
gladly Gabby gave him one,
but her beagle grabbed the bag and
gulped them down till there were none.

So she took her baby beagle
to the bagel baker’s store,
where the beagle gobbled bagels,
bags of bagels by the score.

Gabby’s beagle gorged on bagels,
bigger bagels than before,
till he’d gobbled every bagel
in the baker’s bagel store.

Gulping bagels bulges baby
beagles’ bellies really big.
Say goodbye to baby beagle;
Gabby’s beagle’s now a pig.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Copyright © 2010. All Rights Reserved.

You’ll find the poem here at Kenn’s website. It’s worth visiting. There’s an audio file where you can listen to the poem being read!

Thanks to Donna Smith at Mainely Write for hosting Poetry Friday this week. You’ll find the link up at her blog.

Donna Smith is hosting Poetry Friday at Mainely Write this week.

A Long Winter’s Nap

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday at Buffy’s Blog today.

Around this time every year, my acupuncturist reminds me that winter is a time for hibernation. It’s okay to huddle by the fire with the family, to be more “in” and less “out” (whether that’s your physical or your energetic being).

When snow blankets Maryland, everyone stays in and hunkers down. At my house, we curl up on the couch and watch movies or play board games. The first time we had a blizzard while my eldest was away at college, it felt strange to sit out the quiet storm without him.

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Click on the image to read the Rosemary Chocolate Truffles recipe from Soul Roots Planner.

Curling up, staying warm, clinging to family — all crossed my mind when I received my Winter Poetry Swap package from the swap-mistress herself, Tabatha Yeatts of the blog The Opposite of Indifference.  There were treats to warm my spirit: homemade lip balm (one of Tabatha’s many talents), a box of delicious raspberry tea, and a planner filled with herbalist wisdom and recipes, including this one for Rosemary Chocolate Truffles.

Before I get too cozy, picturing myself staying in bed with my naturally delicious chocolate bon-bons, let’s read the ekphrastic poem Tabatha included with these gifts.

UPDATE: Typos that were entirely my fault have been corrected. Apologies to Tabatha!

Das Bett by Sofie Korner

The Bed
by Tabatha Yeatts

for Laura

She feels as though the bed is poised to roll her
out of it while she is sleeping, that no matter
how much she craves rest, the bed will
cast her away. perhaps the hands that
sawed and hammered the frame, tilted
the bed just so, sought to make it
inevitable that she would seek a
husband to keep her aboard.
she covers the bed with a
blanket of her own
making, colors
that cheer
her heart,
tucks the sheets in tight.


I’m intrigued by the tension that Tabatha creates in this poem. As a knitter, the finale speaks to me — that the woman solves her unease by making something beautiful. I get a sense that this grounds her and counterbalances the tilted bed.

Time to make some truffles! Enjoy your holiday treats and have a great weekend, poets.

Poetry Friday is here!

Look no further. Poetry Friday is here this week. Mr. Linky will gladly take your coat … I mean link.

Welcome, winter wordsmiths!

Early birds, thanks for letting me know that Mr. Linky was misbehaving. He’s all fixed and ready for your links.

I was at the National Press Club Author Night and Book Fair in Washington, DC last month and had the great good luck to bump into an old friend, Jona Colson.

Jona and I met several years ago at the (now defunct) Gettysburg Review Conference for Writers. We were in a week-long workshop, studying with Sydney Wade. Magical.

Jona’s first collection of poetry is out. Said Through Glass won the 2018 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize and is available through Washington Writers Publishing House.

I selected one of the poems, “The Orange Speaks,” for Little Patuxent Review back in my editor days. But I’m sharing a seasonal poem today, filled with winter imagery to savor.

By Jona Colson

There is a promise in its lattice light,

its sway and spiral in white fury, falling

granular glint and glimmer, the way I’m brought

to the window following flakes in mid-flight.

There is a need to draw my name in its wet slate,

the terrible urge to disappear

into its folds, the slide and sunder of ice

and sphere, the hasty crush under heavy foot

as I raise it to my mouth—savor of sky,

of wood-fire, edged with anise and brume.


Published with permission of the author.

Jona says of this poem, “It’s not surprising that this poem started during a snowstorm. I remember walking to my window in DC and following the huge flakes down to the street.  Writing the poem took me back to my childhood days in Maryland when snow was mystical and anticipated. The poem sat for years in my computer before I started to send it out; it took a long time for it to find its form.”

What are your favorite winter poems, or poems about snow? Let us know in the comments. Please use Mr. Linky and let us know where to find your Poetry Friday post.