Friday, 1 December 2017

It’s the first day of December, Poetry Friday friends. This week’s host is Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and head over to her blog, where you’ll find some poetry to warm you up.

I went searching for a December poem and came upon this beauty by Nancy McCleery. Last winter, we installed a small Lucite bird feeder on our kitchen window. Visitors include a cardinal family, chickadees, titmice, wrens, and (most fascinating to our dog, Sam) a squirrel. The images in this poem are striking, yet capture the quietness we can experience during a cold winter.

December Notes

By Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up an away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.

Read the rest at My Minnesota Notes.

16 responses to “Poetry Friday: December Notes”

  1. Appreciations for sharing a poet new to me. I was not expecting the end to travel where it did in this poem & like it even more,
    for that.
    Wishing you & your Family many kitchen views of the avians this magical season, dear Laura.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Her work is new to me also, Jan. The birds are welcome visitors in the winter — a sign of life in the bare branches.

  2. Tara says:

    I love the quiet noticings and reflections in this poem, Laura – it is wintery, but in a delightful way.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    You’ve made me want to find one of those bird feeders, but it’s often a problem with the squirrels. I miss seeing cardinals that aren’t here in CO. And I spoke of too-warm days on my post, today. I am wishing for the scene your poem showed, lovely, and that ending, very nice. Having news by hand means hot drinks and a good visit to me. Thanks, Laura.

  4. Brenda says:

    Hi Laura, Happy December! I was also surprised by the ending. I like the idea of news arriving by hand, or feather even. A little birdie told me…

    Tabatha tells me you did NaNoWriMo, too. Congrats to you! I wrote a MG novel (prose, in this crowd we need to specify, right?). I’m thinking about working with a professional editor, and I saw that Laura Salas isn’t offering that service anymore. I wonder if you could recommend someone. I imagine you are already busy with a mentee from Pitch Wars yourself. My book is set in magical 1910 England, a sort of daffy Downton Abbey meets the Apprentice Witch. Any thoughts for me?


    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Brenda! As I mentioned, I’m going to be offering editorial services beginning in 2018. Look for an announcement soon. Your book sounds amazing!

  5. Tabatha says:

    Lovely poem, Laura. Happy sigh at the ending.

  6. jone says:

    Happy December. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. I wish we had cardinals in the PNW.

  7. Kay McGriff says:

    This poem makes me want to curl up with that mug of hot cocoa and sit and stare out the window–if we would just get a good snow. I love how snow reveals things we don’t otherwise see–like the tracks of the birds we normally hear.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      You put this so beautifully, Kay. I often think of the snow erasing the landscape, but you’re right — it also reveals quiet visitors.

  8. Oh, you did find a beauty, glistening in the snow for us! Thanks for sharing, Laura. Glad to discover this poet/poem as well.

  9. I love the idea of reading in the bird tracks…..listening to their song. It’s a kind of literacy McCleery has given us here. Delightful and crisp….especially the good news being delivered by hand.

  10. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem with us Laura! I love how it slows you down,
    “The postal van is stalled
    In the road again, the mail

    Will be late and any good news
    Will reach us by hand.”

    and this line is so delicate and light,
    “Filigree threads of chickadee.”

    Enjoy taking in the outside by your feeder!

  11. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Love that ending — so unexpected, but perfect.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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