Catkin #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #PoetryFriday #HaikuPoetryDay

Thanks to Molly Hogan, my New England neighbor to the north, for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup on her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone. This is the third roundup of National Poetry Month, and Molly is offering up some freshly baked bread and homemade jam today. Who wants a slice? Who knew bread baking was existential? My sourdough starter from Laura Shovan arrived yesterday, and I can’t wait to get started once I locate some bread flour!

And 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 #17: Catkin

in your warm nap spot (1)

A peek at my process

On April 17, 1855, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The second sallow catkin (or any willow) I have seen in blossom — there are three or four catkins on the twig partly open — I am about to clutch, but find already a bee curved close cue each half-opened catkin, intoxicated with its early sweet, — one perhaps a honey-bee, — so intent on its sweets or pollen that they do not dream of flying. ” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal VII: September 1, 1854 – October 30, 1855, Chapter XIII. April, 1855, p. 318)

Thoreau frequently records various catkin observations in his journals. Reading his work prompted me to look for spring catkins, too. I didn’t have to look too hard, as there’s a gorgeous weeping willow on the grounds of the Pierce House in nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts, where my husband and I walk most afternoons. The willow is brimming with catkins, so I stopped one afternoon this week to get a closer look. These dangling, cylindrical flower clusters were basking in the afternoon sun, and suddenly an image of a kitten — their feline name comes from the Middle Dutch word for kitten — curled up in the sun came to me. This image inspired today’s haiku for National Haiku Day.


And now for…

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Our 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.  Here’s our sweet poem thus far.

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold
hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
Gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

Heidi Mordhorst takes the wheel today. I adore her spotted fawns taking their debut! You can find the two lines she is proposing to the next host, Mary Lee Hahn, on her blog, My Juicy Little Universe. I’m excited to provide the 24th line next 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, 
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at
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,
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 Jessica Big at TBD
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
Michelle Kogan

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 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!

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18 thoughts on “Catkin #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #PoetryFriday #HaikuPoetryDay

  1. Our park used to have a huge willow tree when I was little. We would love to play under it as much, if not more, than playing on the equipment. I have never heard of a catkin, though! Oh, how I wish I could soak up sunlight. The weather here has not been real cheerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will look for those wonders called ‘catkins’ (love your sharing about the word). We seem to be late with everything this year except daffodils have come & gone. We’ve had snow, now bright & sunny so I am hopeful. I envy your beautiful places for your walks, Christie, & enjoy all the Thoreau you share. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your haiku focuses on a beautiful spring moment, and I enjoyed reading your process behind it. Enjoy your sourdough. I’m having lots of fun with mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Inspiration by Thoreau is a great idea! There are so many of his quotes that I love. Your kitten image is just right.


  5. Who knew that Friday was National Haiku Day? I love your project for this month and your haiku. …in your warm nap spot speaks to me this Sunday afternoon when I love to grab a nap. I love the brilliant greens and yellow greens in your photo. Congrats on writing for Teach Write. I’m off to check out your post. And I simply love this year’s poster for National Poetry Month. Just sad that I’m not sharing it IRL with students. I should post it our poetry album on Schoology. Happy poeming! I’m in awe of so many who are writing daily this year.


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