Fairies For #PoetryFriday

Do you believe in fairies? I do, and they’ve flitted in and out of my thoughts often lately. On a recent walk, we came upon these fungi, and they are always a sign to me that fairies are present.

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 7.24.07 AM

Ever since I learned of the Cottingley Fairies and the mysterious photos taken of them (perhaps!) years ago, I’ve been obsessed! The 1997 movie Fairy Tale: A True Story provided me with the back story. If you have not see in, do! During a recent visit to MOMA in NY, there they were again in an exhibit of faked photos. Now I am reading Hazel Gaynor’s truly magical The Cottingley Secret: A Novel, which embeds the fantastical tale within a fresh, modern story. All of this has me revisiting these winged friends.

In her book, Gaynor refers to a poem, “A Spell for a Fairy”, by Alfred Noyes. I managed to track it down, after a bit of surfing.

A Spell

by Alfred Noyes
(An Excellent Way to get a Fairy)

Gather, first, in your left hand
(This must be at fall of day)
Forty grains of wild sea-sand
Where you think a mermaid lay.
I have heard that it is best
If you gather it, warm and sweet,
Out of the dint of her left breast
Where you see her heart has beat. (for more, click here…)

To learn more about Alfred Noyes, and to explore his poetry, click here.

I tried a sequence of haiku inspired by my ethereal friends.

Come hither fairies


Our dear friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who is celebrating the launch of her latest poetry collection this week, Read! Read! Read!, is our hostess-with-the-mostess this week. Join the celebration down on her magical farm, The Poem Farm, that is.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM


In Poetry Love with #Read!Read!Read! on #PoetryFriday


Have you ever been head-over-heels in love with a poem? There’s just something about it that you connect to? I am completely enamored with Reading from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! As a Kindergarten teacher, I have 20 young beginning readers and writers who are trying to make sense of the magical secret alphabetic code. Amy’s delightful poem (the whole book, to be perfectly honest!) honors this most joyful of times in a young reader and writer’s life.

Here’s the text of Amy’s poem:



make letters.


make words.


make stories

that fly like birds

from pages

in your book

to branches

in your brain

where they sing

into your soul

like soothing

summer rain.

— Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Read Read Read

And don’t miss Irene Latham’s lovely post today on Live Your Poem, because she has more about Read! Read! Read! and an interview with Amy.


Michelle from Today’s Little Ditty is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM


New Kindergarten Poets #PoetryFriday

Last Friday I shared the poem I would be using to kick off a new year of poetry love in my Kindergarten class — Back to School. (Click here to read that post.) My young poets have been with me now for just three days and they have fully embraced our Poem of the Week routine, as well as their Poetry Folders. When asked what a poem was, one young lady shared that it was “like a very small story” and a young gentleman shared that “they rhyme a lot!” A very small story, indeed, and while we will be reading lots of rhyming poetry, we will certainly be reading and writing lots of non-rhyming poetry as well.


When we study a poem written by someone else, we spend time talking about how it makes us feel, and what we see in our heads when we listen to the words. Here is just a sampling of what we envision for Back to School.

P.S. Remember the young lady who said a poem was like a very small story? At the end of the day today when asked in front of the class what her favorite thing we did all week was, she said learning a poem and having a special place to put it. When I announced there would be a new poem to study on Monday her face lit up. I think we are going to get along pretty well!


Matt, our poetry pal from Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love! He certainly has lots of exciting news to share with all of us. Congratulations, Matt, on your successful book launch!Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM

Back to School #PoetryFriday

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 9.55.35 AM

Happy September! I am putting the finishing touches on my Kindergarten classroom today, in anticipation of the arrival of my new students on Tuesday.  Our first poem of the year, I believe, sums up the enthusiasm for which we embrace a new year of wondering and learning together here in Room 1.

Summer is over, fall is here.

Back to school for a brand new year!

Pack your things, on the bus you go.

Make new friends and say hello!

Reading, writing, learning more, 

Than you ever did before!

Adding numbers…1,2,3.

So much to do and learn and see!

I’m so glad to meet everyone.

Get ready for a year of fun!

— Candace Quester


Our poetry pal from down under, Kat at Kat’s Whiskers, is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM



It Made Me Sad #SOL

It made me sad.

There he was.

In the cross walk with his family.

I stopped to let them cross — Abbey Road style — safely.

Sunhatted mother charging ahead, map in hand, father, older brother.

He,  mid to late teens.

A glorious mid-August afternoon.

Concord Center bustling with summertime busyness.

Revolutionary tourists, shoppers, kids on their way home from camp.

Suddenly he turned, making eye contact with me.

Such a serious face, scowl-like. Head hung. Troubled.

It made me sad.

Not the face of a joyful teenager on vacation.

It made me sad.

And then I noticed the t-shirt: “Trump for President!”

It made me sad.

Charlottesville just 3 days past.

It made me sad.


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving me the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life each Tuesday. And for giving me a break from setting up my classroom. Won’t you join us?



August #PoetryFriday

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 4.17.44 PM

For the last few weeks, my husband and I have been having fun reading each night’s entry in A Poem For Every Night of the Year (edited by Allie Asiri). As some of you know, getting a copy of this book involved a bit of a journey, which you may read about here. Well it paid off, because we are loving this book. And I do mean WE. My husband insists on reading the poem to me every night. I don’t stand a chance, and that’s OK. He’s a writer and reader of history, so I love that I’ve broadened his horizons with a bit of poetry, too.

One particular favorite thus far has been John Updike’s “August.” Up until now, I had not read any Updike poetry. What a playful nature his children’s poetry has, and he really nails the month of August, don’t you think?


The sprinkler twirls.
The summer wanes.
The pavement wears
Popsicle stains.

The playground grass
Is worn to dust.
The weary swings
Creak, creak with rust.

The trees are bored
With being green.
Some people leave
The local scene

And go to seaside
And take off nearly
All their clothes.

Our host for Poetry Friday this week, Jone, threw out an acrostic challenge. I wrote my first one just a couple of weeks ago about July shifting to August (you can read my post here), so there’s a nice connection with Updike’s “August.” Here’s what I had come up with:

And so went July Unending (seemingly) days of peaceful bliss Glorious from dawn to dusk Unbound by time School looms on the horizon Time begins to move again Christie Wyman, 2017


Jone over at Check It Out is graciously hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM

My First Poetry Book #PoetryFriday #Poetry Love


When setting up my classroom this week, which you can read more about here, I took a little stroll down memory lane. On top of the bookshelf that houses my personal collection of children’s books, I always set up a few picture book stuffed characters (Paddington, Pooh, Piglet, Madeline) and a small set of beginner reader books. These books were given to me by my parents all those years ago — the 60s was a long time ago! One of them was a collection of poetry.


I fondly remember my mother reading these poems to me, and one in particular was her favorite: “Who Has Seen the Wind,” by Christina Rossetti. It has remained a favorite of mine as well, and I now teach it to my Kindergarten poets.

I haven’t thumbed through this small collection of classics in a while, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

“Star light, star bright” by Anonymous

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

Star light, star bright

“The Rain” by Robert Louis Stevenson

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

“The Sea” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

“Clouds” by Christina Rossetti

White sheep, white sheep,
On a blue hill,
When the wind stops,
You all stand still.
When the wind blows,
You walk away slow.
White sheep, white sheep,
Where do you go?

“The River” (or “Where Go the Boats?”) by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dark brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

“Who has seen the wind?” by Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

“The Clouds” by Christina Rossetti

Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier far than these.
There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.

“The Seasons” (or “Autumn Fires”) by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Note: This is the only stanza printed in the book. To read the full text, click here.)

“The Nut Tree” by Anonymous

I had a little nut tree,
Nothing would it bear,
But a silver nutmeg
And a golden pear.

Note: To read the full text, not included in the book, read here.


Kay over at A Journey Through the Pages is graciously hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love and peace!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM