Startled by Nature #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo #PoetryFriday

Greetings from NY’s Hudson Valley, where I’m on a mini road trip. It’s a drippy, dreary day, but I’m wishing you a happy Poetry Friday and tail end of National Poetry Month! Many thanks to Irene Latham for hosting our weekly get together today over at Live Your Poem. If you haven’t seen the amazing poems she’s been crafting daily this month (yes, daily!), related to Harlem Renaissance artists, you’ve been missing out on a treat! 

This month I am tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study and master class, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!

Today’s poetic technique chosen by Amy is to start with a startle. My subject is, and will be all month-long, vernal pools. The most startling fact about wood frogs, and indeed many frogs, is that they go into a state of torpor — a subdued metabolic rate — in the winter. Yes, they appear dead, but when the warm rains of spring arrive, they begin to thaw and come back to life. Is it magic? No. Their body generates an anti-freeze-like substance that keeps them alive in most, but not all, frigid temperatures. Once I established my startle, I knew it had to be a shape poem, too! Can you see the frog?

FrogcicleEctothermic treatNot on any seaside menu Your frozen state fools many Mother Nature's anti-freeze keeps you safefrom Old Man Winter's frigid grasp Buried safe On Forest's floor
Ectothermic treat
Not on any seaside menu
Your frozen state fools many
Mother Nature’s anti-freeze keeps you safe
From Old Man Winter’s frigid grasp
Buried safe
On Forest’s floor
Snug beneath your leaf litter comforter
You wait
Spring’s warming rains
Breathe new life into your lungs

I hope you’ve been following along the journey of the 2018 KidLitosphere Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. This poem has magically, and quite literally this year, been growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine, a seed, and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine, from a long line of poet’s jasmine, began is beginning to make her way in the world and find her poetic voice. The process has been fascinating to follow and I was excited to dive in for the first time with line eighteen. I hope you will follow Jasmine’s journey for the remainder of our Progressive Poem month by clicking on the blogs in the list below.  I can’t wait to hear what she says!


2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads


This post is part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 8.21.35 AM

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM




14 thoughts on “Startled by Nature #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo #PoetryFriday

  1. Frogs are amazing. Such a great truth of life is expressed in your last lines: “You wait / Patiently / Knowing / Spring’s warming rains / Breathe new life into your lungs” I think your students are learning lots of life lessons as they learn about the inhabitants of the vernal pool… lessons they don’t even know they are learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christie, you are providing me with background knowledge and a great visual with this poem. I am reminded of how each summer when my children were little ones on the swim team. We would travel to another club that had little frogs hopping around. In between the races, the under 10 swimmers would go frog hunting.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s