Look Forth Through the Mizzle #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth

ThoreaulyInspired Logo (1)

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #4: Mizzle

Look forth through the mizzle

A peek at my process

On April 3, 1859, Thoreau wrote, “I have for some weeks been insisting on the beauty and richness of the most and saturated crust of the earth. It has seemed to me more attractive and living than ever…teeming with life, especially in the rainy days.” And further on, “It does not rain hard to-day, but mizzles…” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XII: March 2, 1859 – November 30, 1859, Chapter II. April, 1859, p. 109-110)

What a magnificent word — mizzles. Perfect, I think, for not only capturing the light drizzly rain but perhaps the miserable feeling one has when it continues for days. Days void of sun, as we have experienced here in New England for the last 3-4 days. My free-verse found poem today borrows or “lifts” lines from Thoreau’s entries which mirror my own observations 161 years on. How lucky we are to have this exquisite phenological reference. Credit is also due to Margaret Simon and her former students for “spring-sprinkled.” I’ve adored this term since they used it in a collaborative poem last year. You may read their original poem here.

In other news

I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And yesterday my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offered up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Teach Write Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!

And now for…

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On Wednesday, members of the Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Liz Steinglass takes over today, again offering a line choice for the next host. You can find Liz’s lines on her blog. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

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Mouse-galleries #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryFriday

Thanks to Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup, the first roundup of National Poetry Month! Here’s what’s happening in my neck of the poetry woods today.

ThoreaulyInspired Logo (1)

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #3: Mouse-galleries

Gallery Mice (1)

A peek at my process

On April 2, 1860, Thoreau wrote, “The leaves being thus cleanly burned, you see amid their cinders countless mouse-galleries, where they have run all over the wood, especially in shrub oak land, these lines crossing each other ever foot and at every angle. ” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XIII: December 1, 1859 – July 31, 1860, Chapter V. April, 1860, p. 239)

Mouse-galleries? Now that’s a term new to me. It refers to a mouse’s fair-weather nest that is but a slight depression made in the ground. There was the obvious choice of playing off Thoreau’s image of the shallow shelter. But when conducting an image search, I couldn’t resist going in a more playful direction when I stumbled upon this delightful image from mohair-mouse-artist Charlotte Huttner’s magical website, Mouse Land. You must visit Charlotte’s site and Instagram feed, Charlotte’s Mice.  As Charlotte says, “Just spreading a little happiness.” Charlotte graciously granted me permission to use her image to accompany my words today.

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And today my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offers up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us  for her first Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!

And now for…

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 3.57.16 PM

On Wednesday, members of the Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Jone MacCulloch takes over today, again offering a line choice for the next host. You can find Jone’s line on her blog, Deo Writer. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

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Worm-piles #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth

ThoreaulyInspired Logo (1)

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #2: Worm-piles

worm-piles on pavement (haiku) (1)

A peek at my process

On April 1, 1860, Thoreau wrote, “Worm-piles abundant this morning.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XIII: December 1, 1859 – July 31, 1860, Chapter V. April, 1860, p. 237)

I couldn’t resist “worm-piles” for my playful haiku today! During an early morning walk on Sunday, after it had rained all night long and into the wee hours of the morning, my husband and I saw many worms crawling across the puddly track up at our local high school. It got me wondering why do worms leave the adjacent grass, dirt, and on this morning, mud, for a different surface? What could this seemingly barren surface have to offer them? Survival, it turns out! I did a little investigating and discovered that worm burrows fill with water when it rains and the worms can’t get enough oxygen when the soil is flooded. They move to drier “ground” so they can breathe. Interesting!

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. I hope you will take a peek!

And now for…

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 3.57.16 PM

Yesterday members of the Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Irene is back at it with line two today, offering the next host a choice of two lines. This years’ poem is quickly becoming a “choose your own adventure” project! You can find Irene’s offerings on her blog, Live Your Poem. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

I Heard The First Real Robin’s Song #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth

ThoreaulyInspired Logo (1)

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #1: I heard the first real robin’s song

I heard the first real robin's song

A peek at my process

On March 31, 1860, Thoreau wrote, “I hear the first real robin’s song…”

I have been waking to the dawn chorus that is performed daily outside of my window for weeks now, and a robin is always one of the first participants. I knew instantly this was the line I would lift for today’s poem draft. The only change I made to his text was to use “heard” instead of “hear.” Writing rhymed couplets are new-ish for me, so I am flexing some new writing muscles today.

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. I hope you will take a peek!

And introducing…

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 3.57.16 PM

Starting today members of the Poetry Friday family have launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Poet Donna Smith kicked things off this morning with a first line (a choice of two, actually) to get us going. You can find her line here on her blog, Mainly Write. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do…” #SOLC20 #SOL20

The final two lines of Mary Oliver’s ubiquitous poem, “The Summer Day” have been haunting me the last week or so. (You may read the poem in its entirety here.) 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?” 

Uncertainty and fear surround us daily, yet I can’t help but think that this moment provides an opportunity for each of us to accomplish something during this unprecedented “wild and precious” time. Maybe something big, or perhaps something small that relates directly to our current situation like…

  • volunteering
  • sewing masks
  • safely checking in on neighbors
  • staying in touch with family
  • rekindling friendships

Or even things like reading that book you’ve always wanted to read, or practicing your water coloring or poetry writing skills, getting the yard spring ready, visiting that trail you’ve always wanted to walk on.

When the light at the end of the tunnel appears, and it will, what will I have done? I don’t want to reach the other side and think I really wish I had…

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today and every day this month. Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every day during March and each Tuesday throughout the year! Some of you I will see tomorrow for the launch of #NationalPoetryMonth and my #ThoreaulyInspired daily poem project, and for the rest of you, I hope to see you back here in a week. Be safe. Be well.

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Oh no! It’s almost April 1! #SOLC20 #SOL20

I’ve been so caught up in slicing, Schooling from Home-ing, and just putting one foot in front of the other each morning, that I completely forgot Wednesday is April 1st! As the 2020 SOLC comes to an end, National Poetry Month begins and that means another daily writing and sharing challenge. This time it will be a poem a day!

But what will my theme be this year? Two years ago, my first year participating, it was all things vernal pool-related. I had a blast with that theme, and I’m even retooling some of the poems I created that month so they might be published as a collection. Last year I teamed up with several Poetry Friday pals and we used “Playing with Poetry” as our theme, using tools such as Haiku and Metaphor Dice, magnetic poetry, paint chips, and nail polish colors for inspiration. This was hard, really hard. Much harder than we thought.

It finally came to me last evening in an a-ha moment, if you will. Thoreauly Inspired.  Each day during the month of April, I will write a poem inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I’ll leave my challenge open in that the poems may take any form (haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout) and who knows which direction they will go in.  I learned from the first year that wide open is better. I paid the price for not following that guidance last year.

Where did the idea come from? Two places. First, walking. Since our Covid Quarantine began, my husband and I have been taking walks daily, many of which are in Thoreau territory — the towns of Lincoln, Concord, and Sudbury, and along the Assabet, Concord, and Sudbury rivers. (Notice the absence of Walden Pond? It’s mobbed, so we are keeping our distance for now.) And second, volunteering for the nearby Walden Woods Project‘s Thoreau Animal Index Blitz last month. Working with other volunteers, both in person at the Project’s headquarters in Lincoln, Massachusetts and remotely, we combed through the pages of Thoreau’s magnificent journals looking for animal references. This new resource, when tidied up a bit, will be a goldmine of information for Thoreau scholars worldwide.

So there it is. Beginning April 1, #ThoreaulyInspired. We shall see what happens!

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. One more day!

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Where are we walking today, Julie McCoy? #SOLC20 #SOL20

“Where are we walking today, Julie McCoy?” my husband asked yesterday morning.

For those of you too young to get the reference, Julie McCoy was the Cruise Director on The Love Boat, a favorite sitcom from the late 70s and 80s. My husband has always referred to me as “Julie McCoy” because I’m the planner-of-fun in our relationship. I choose movies, museums, restaurants, and outings. You name it. Fun planning is in my wheelhouse.

Since we are cooped up a lot these days, as everyone is, and our gym is closed until further notice, daily walks are de rigueur. To maintain our mental as well as physical well-being, we need to keep moving and be outdoors as much as humanly possible. And as Cruise Director, it falls upon me (happily, I might add) to choose our destination of the day.

My husband and I are very lucky to live in an area of Massachusetts that has abundant conservation land and trails. At the moment we are working our way through a neighboring town’s Guide to Conservation Land book, which I purchased about a year ago along with a trail map. Thank goodness! I must have done a good just choosing our trails yesterday, because when we got back to the car he proclaimed, “Today you nailed it. That was the best walk thus far.”

I thought it was, too. Come on. I’ll show you!

***********************************************

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March. How are there only 3 days left?

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