On the Fourth of July #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! The creative and talented Linda Mitchell is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, A Word Edgewise. Won’t you join us there? This week Linda is celebrating Tabatha’s Summer Poetry Swap, In One Word poems, and the Fourth of July, of course!

If you are new to Poetry Friday and are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of the roundup, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

I, too, am celebrating the poetry swap. This week I received this stunner of a journal/poetry collection made by Linda herself. 

It’s a very cool junk journal made from an old book that she’s painted, decoupaged, added little pockets for poetry, and bits of inspiration here and there. I absolutely love this and can’t wait to let it inspire me!

And onto the Fourth of July. This Fourth has a different feel to it, doesn’t it? A little more mellow, sedate even. No fireworks, no parade, no large gatherings. Today I’m quietly celebrating through poetry. Marilyn Singer graciously granted me permission to share her festive poem, On the Fourth of July, which was featured in The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems. I adore this collection selected by the late Paul B. Janeczko and published by Candlewick Press in 2019. Marilyn’s poem has me longing for Fourths gone by. 

On the Fourth of July

Let’s hope one year from now we’ll be able to safely gather to “Oooh!” and perhaps “Ahhhh!” together. 

Many thanks to Linda for hosting this week’s roundup. Be well and have a happy and safe Fourth, friends!








The muse visits me #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

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 #12: “…the muse visits me…”

In repose the muse visits

A peek at my process

On April 12, 1854, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Waited at Lincoln depot an hour and a half…I observe that it is when I have been intently, and it may be laboriously, at work, and am somewhat listless or abandoned after it, reposing, that the muse visits me, and I see or hear beauty. It is from out the shadow of my toil that I look into the light. The music of the spheres is but another name for the Vulcanic force. May not such a record as this be kept on one page of the Book of Life: ‘A man was melted to-day.’ ” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal VI: December, 1853 – August, 1854, Chapter V. April, 1854, p. 193-194)

Today’s found poem was lost within Thoreau’s entry. The muse visits me often during my walks. One might even say nature is my muse. My senses serve as the lens through which “the light,” or my ideas, pass. If you don’t mind stopping often while I take a closer look or snap a photo of something that catches my eye or stopping to listen to birdsong or frog chorusing, then you are welcome to join me. Where and when does the muse visit you?

And now for…

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 3.57.16 PM

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

Linda Mitchell takes the wheel today, again offering a line choice for the next host. You can find Linda’s new lines on her blog, A Word Edgewise. 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, 
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!

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 10.30.26 AM


Kicking a clunker down the road #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Linda Mitchell is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on her blog, A Word Edgewise. Perhaps you’ll join us?

Linda’s giving away clunkers — lines, thoughts and bits of poems — discarded or abandoned from her writing journals. Do any interest you? One drew me in — “As she walks the road…” It’s my first day of summer vacation, so I thought I’ll let it simmer for a bit and see what, if anything, would happen

His call as she walks the road .png

I adore northern cardinals, and it seems I’m a bit of a cardinal magnet lately. One has been visiting me outside my classroom every afternoon this week, his familiar chip chip chip flowing in and out of my open window. And then, as I returned home today, I was visited by yet another cardinal. Has he followed me home?

And now for my clunker. I’m giving away “Do you think they talk?” I’m working on something with that as the opening line, but it’s not ready…yet. I’d love to see what someone else does with it, too!

Thanks for hosting this week, Linda. Bring on the poetry!










Day 18: Free Verse, Meta Poetry, and Poetry Memories #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM #PoemInYourPocketDay #PocketPoem


My #NaPoWriMo Poem-A-Day project is Playing With Poetry. I am tagging along with Margaret Simon, Jone MacCulloch, Molly Hogan, and Mary Lee Hahn. We will be playing with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry, Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry (I raided Home Depot).  I’m even throwing in nail polish color names as inspiration, just for fun! Play along, if you’d like! We are using the Twitter hashtag #playwithpoetryNPM to see what poetic mischief everyone is getting into.

Here in my pocket .png

A peek into my poem and process:

  • Again, I’m breaking with my NPM plan. The muse sitting on my shoulder (thank, Elizabeth Gilbert) is telling me to.
  • I returned to free verse for today’s poem. This is my favorite form to write in.
  • My poem is a meta poem — a poem about poetry!
  • Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day! This day always leads me to think of the poetry I’ve committed to memory over my lifetime. The first I recall learning was Christina Rossetti’s Who Has Seen the Wind. (You can read the text here.) This was a favorite of my mother’s. The second was Longfellow’s The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, which I now see is actually The Landlord’s Tale. (You can read the text here.) The entire 4th Grade memorized this classic poem and recited it at a closing celebration of our study of the American Revolution. Many school children here in Massachusetts are familiar with this poem, I suspect.
  • Poetry impacts us all in different ways, with no two poems having the same effect on us. This can change from day to day depending on where we are in life. I’ve tried to capture those feelings and emotions.


And now for….

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

On April 1, the Poetry Friday family launched the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. (Click here to learn more.) Many of us have signed up to provide a line for the 2019 poem. Author/poet Matt Forrest Esenwine kicked things off with some familiar “found” phrases merged to get us going. Today’s line comes from one of my poetry pals, Linda Mitchell. (Counting the days until NCTE, Linda, so we can finally meet!) You may find her line here. Our little poem is now waltzing in the waves. Participants are having fun song lyrics. I was excited to provide the 14th line on April 14th. You can read it here. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens next! Here’s the itinerary for the rest of the poem.


1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

2 Kat @Kathryn Apel

3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

4 Jone @DeoWriter

5 Linda @TeacherDance

6 Tara @Going to Walden

7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown

8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading

9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog

10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem

11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters

12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine @Dori Reads

14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering

15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink

17 Amy @The Poem Farm

18 Linda @A Word Edgewise

19 Heidi @my juicy little universe

20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog

21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan

22 Catherine @Reading to the Core

23 Penny @a penny and her jots

24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @Write Time

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Swap treasures in the mail! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! I’m back after a bit of a hiatus while the school year finished up. Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is our hostess this week, and she’s showcasing some sweet summer souvenirs!


On the very first morning of my summer vacation from school, our mail carrier delivered a delightful package from poetry swap-mate Brenda Harsham, who blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. It was bursting with color, ladybugs, and a friendship theme. What a way to begin the season!

the best friends appear when you need them like ladybugs — Brenda Harsham

I adore ladybugs (how did she know?), so I will treasure her creative offering. I also chuckled when I saw Brenda’s return address on the envelope and realized we live SO CLOSE to one another and I know exactly where she lives! Let’s meet some day, Brenda!

And then, a few days later, this arrived.

The True Definition of Vernal Pool
Vernal pools, could just as easily be called poke puddles, observation opportunities or wonders water. These pools typically fill when kindergarteners are indoors missing the outdoors due to seasonal weather. If you’re fortunate, Mrs. Wyman will bridge the gap between vernal pools and lessons with jackets, boots, journals, pencils and a wander plan. Hands will get muddy, wonders will arise, research will begin. Poems about frogs, leaves crustaceans and life cycles will be written. These pools will continue to lure insiders out-of-doors whenever there are learners near a Massachusetts woods and Mrs. Wyman to lead them. — Linda Mitchell

Wow. I’m not going to lie. This left me in a puddle of the-school-year-just-ended-and-I’m-a-bit-of-an-emotional-wreck tears. Some of you know of my fondness for vernal pools. Ok. Let’s be honest. It’s an obsession! I write about them often, in both poetry and prose. Linda Mitchell (we ARE going to meet IRL one day, Linda!), who blogs at A Word Edgewise, followed along faithfully during the month of April, as I wrote a poem a day about vernal pools as part of poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s 1 Subject 30 Ways challenge. My journey began here.  Linda had never heard of vernal pools and…well… “poems are teachers,” as Amy’s book is so aptly titled. Now Linda knows all about them! And her card will be treasured along with Brenda’s.

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts, who brilliantly coordinated this summer poetry swap!


I hope you’ll join Tricia and the rest of us for some summer Poetry Friday fun here!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM