Poem-ish Pieces #PoetryFriday #NatureNurtures2020 #PoemsOfPresence

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Carol Varsalona is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Beyond Literacy Link. Won’t you join us there? Carol has been very busy collecting wonderful #NatureNurtures2020 poems this spring from many contributors. You may find them here and it’s not too late to add your own!

If you are new to Poetry Friday (I’m looking at you, Teach Write friends!) 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.

In between ZOOM calls with students and colleagues, I’ve been trying to find time to step outside and experience what is turning into a most glorious spring here in New England. So much to hear and see, and what a relief from staring at the computer screen! I’ve had a chance to cobble together several #PoemsOfPresence this week, and hopefully there are more to come.  

cardinal-calls-

On Wednesday afternoon I managed to squeeze in (MORE SCREEN TIME!) a wonderful webinar, Nature as Inspiration and Transformation: An Intro to Nature Poetry with poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Oh, was that balm for the soul! If you missed it, here’s the recording. Curl up with your notebook, something to write with, and a glass of refreshing ice tea or lemonade. It will be an hour well spent. I promise. 

One of the writing invitations Aimee provided was to take an interesting animal fact and use it as the first line in a poem. The fact that hummingbirds fly backwards immediately jumped (or is that flew?) out at me and this is what I came up with.

hummingbirds reverse (haiku)

And lastly, our Teach Write “Time to Write” group has begun to play around with common prompts, sharing our work with one another, and providing feedback from the heart, mind, and writers within us. This week we are using “the blank page.” That’s it. Just “the blank page,” and we were asked to use a blank page. I knew I wanted to go in the nature notebooking direction because I’ve been enjoying Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s nature writing and keeping a notebooking videos and Paula Bourque’s nature notebooking video, too — as have so many of you! It ended up being poem-ish. 

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I’m longing for more time outdoors with my notebook. How about you? 

Many thanks to Carol for hosting the roundup this week. Be well, friends!

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Horace Mann #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 #25: Horace Mann

Upon the esker's edge

A peek at my process

On April 25, 1861, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Horace Mann brings me apparently a pigeon hawk. The two middle tail-feathers are not tipped with white and are pointed almost as a woodpecker’s.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XIV: August 1, 1860 – November 3, 1861, Chapter VI. 1861, p. 338)

You may have noticed that the inspiration for my poem today is Thoreau’s reference to Horace Mann, yet he does not appear in my poem. I am continuously amazed by who Thoreau either knew personally or corresponded with throughout his life. Horace Mann is one such acquaintance. His list of friends also included fellow Concordians and writers Louisa May Alcott and her father, Bronson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and, most famously, Ralph Waldo Emerson. They all lay in rest together at the top of what is now known as “Authors Ridge” in the bucolic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, which Thoreau was hired to survey.

Sleepy Hollow connects to several trails in Concord that we frequently walk. Every once in a while I stop to visit the authors, and it was one such visit several years ago that inspired today’s poem. It’s been living in my subconscious for quite some time and I keep meaning to put pen to paper. Seeing the reference to Mann nudged me in that direction today, and I stopped by the ridge this morning for some fresh photos. “Garden of the living” was borrowed from Emerson’s remarks at the opening of Sleepy Hollow in 1855. “The pond below” refers to manmade Cat’s Pond, which was again surveyed by Thoreau.

And now for…

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Our Poetry Friday family has 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, and yesterday it was my turn.

Here’s where things stand with our sweet poem’s adventure 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.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
Meet and lock. Time slows down.
I scatter the cakes, backing away
Safely exiting this strange ballet.

I continue the path that winds down to the lake.
Missing my breakfast for beauty’s sake.
But wait, what’s that delicious smell?
Something familiar, I know so well.

Today it’s Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s turn over at The Poem Farm. She has offered up two intriguing and delicious options for Dani to choose from tomorrow

Here’s the itinerary for the final days of the Progressive Poem. I don’t want it to end!

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 Jessica Bigi at TBD
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

And lastly, 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 May’s post, about inviting poetry into your classroom, will be up soon. 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 in honor of National Poetry Month. I hope you will take a peek at all of the posts by the Teach Write team!

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Bird mnemonics #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #PoetryFriday

Welcome to Poetry Friday, everyone! I am excited and honored to host the roundup this week and to be offering up the next line for the Progressive Poem. As usual, I’m sweating it out and crossing my fingers, eyes, and toes that everything goes according to plan. For those of you new to Poetry Friday, welcome, and here’s a link to our weekly hosting schedule.

First…

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 #24: Bird mnemonics

I hear you (3)

A peek at my process

On April 24, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Heard again (in the village) that vetter-vetter-vetter-vetter-vet’, or tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi’ very rapidly repeated, which I heard April 23d,’ and perhaps the same that I saw April 17th (described April 18th)? I am pretty sure it is the pine warbler, yellow beneath, with faint olivaceous marks on the sides, olivaceous above, tail forked, about the size of a yellow-bird. I have not seen the fox-colored sparrow for some weeks. Thought I saw a loon on Walden yesterday.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. 1852, p. 464)

As a certified Bird Nerd, I am fascinated by bird mnemonics, as Thoreau appears to have been as well. There are many entries in his journal that include his attempts at recording the birdsong that became familiar to him. I am learning to recognize birds both by sight and sound — birding by ear. I wish Henry were around to teach me a thing or two! Some of the phonetic interpretations I have been studying worked their way into an almost-list-like poem. To learn more, check out Wonderopolis.org’s “What Are Bird Song Mnemonics?

And now for…

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Our Poetry Friday family has 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, and now it is my turn! Dun-dun-duuuuuun!

Here’s where things stand with our sweet poem’s adventure 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.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
Meet and lock. Time slows down.
I scatter the cakes, backing away
Safely exiting this strange ballet.

I continue the path that winds down to the lake.
Missing my breakfast for beauty’s sake

On Thursday, Ruth rather astutely noticed a lack of smell in the sense category. I’m going with…

But wait, what’s that delicious smell? (I chose this option because it leaves it open-ended which direction the smell is coming from. Ruth’s other option — But what’s that smell up there ahead? — was equally wonderful, but I believe lead to the shore of the lake. I wanted the mystery to linger longer!)

So I’m offering up to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, the poem’s next host…

  1. Something familiar, I know so well. (Could be food or a spring flower. Our explorer is getting quite hungry at this point, but the “whispering breeze” and “promise of spring” make me think more floral. What say you, Amy? Fresh biscuits, pancakes, muffins, or an early spring flower?)
  2. Lily of the valley pealing her bells. (Going with personification and a near rhyme. The spring flower route is in honor of May Day, the day after our poem ends. It also plays around with scent vs. sound. We wouldn’t have the gorgeous scent if the “whispering breeze” didn’t make the bells “peal.”)

Now I turn things over to Amy at The Poem Farm. I can’t wait to see what she does while writing in Betsy the Camper. That’s where the magic happens! Scroll on down to the bottom, so you can see where the poem heads next week.

Thanks for joining me for this week’s roundup. Click the link and bring on the poetry, friends!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

And here’s the itinerary for the final days of the Progressive 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 Jessica Bigi at TBD
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

And lastly, 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 May’s post, about inviting poetry into your classroom, will be up soon. 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 in honor of National Poetry Month. I hope you will take a peek at all of the posts by the Teach Write team!

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Great Meadows #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #PoetryFriday

Thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup, the second roundup of National Poetry Month! I can’t wait to see what Amy (and her little mouse friend) do with the words life, across, and curse. 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 #10: Great Meadows

Great Meadows

A peek at my process

On April 10, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Down river to half a mile below
Carlisle Bridge, the river being high, yet not high for the spring. Saw and heard the white-bellied swallows this morning for the first time. Took boat at Stedman Buttrick’s, a gunner’s boat, smelling of muskrats and provided with slats for bushing the boat. Having got into the Great Meadows, after grounding once or twice on low spits of grass ground, we begin to see ducks which we have scared, flying low over the water, always with
a striking parallelism in the direction of their flight.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. April, 1852, p. 394)

Today’s concrete poem, which mirrors the image of the trees and their reflection in the water, is about a place that is very special to me and my husband, and apparently HDT — Great Meadows. Henry visited what is now the Concord Unit of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge often both on foot and via canoe. You can find us there on sunny Sunday afternoons walking the woodland and riverside trails (Henry’s canoe view), and the manmade dike trail that spans the wetlands, separating it into two pools. At times the birdsong — mostly red-wing blackbirds — is cacophonous but lovely. And it is always a bonus when a great blue heron or two are nestled among the cattails fishing for a snack.

And now for…

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Last week, 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. Matt Forrest Esenwine takes over today, again offering a line choice for the next host. You can find Matt’s line options on his blog, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. 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

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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Sparrows #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 #8: Sparrows

Identification (1)A peek at my process

On April 8, 1859, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “These windy days the sparrows resort to the pines and peach trees on the east side of our house for shelter, and there they sing all together, – tree sparrows, fox-colored sparrows, and song sparrows. (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XII: March 2, 1859 – November 30, 1859, Chapter II. April, 1859, p. 120)

I confess to being a full-fledged bird nerd. At the moment I am trying to teach myself how to identify my backyard birds by both sight and, in some cases, by song. While I have mastered a decent number, I have many to go. One family that continues to challenge are the sparrows. There are 43 species, and while not all live in my neck of the woods, there are enough to keep me, my binoculars, and my Sibley’s Guide to Birds busy!

To challenge myself a bit for today’s poem, I went to my go-to resource, Poems are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Amy is a wonderful guide by the side, and her section on personification spoke to me today.

And now for…

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A week ago, 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. Tara Smith is up today, again offering a line choice for the next host, Carol Varsalona.  You can find Tara’s line choices on her blog, Going to Walden. (I think we might have some inspiration in common?)  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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#KindergartenBioBlitz #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday! Karen Edmisten is our hostess this week. You’ll find our weekly celebration on her blog. Karen has a poetic tribute to Leap Years’ extra day to share with us.

All week long, my Kindergarten students and I have been participating in an international #KindergartenBioBlitz. (If you use the hashtag on Twitter, you’ll find lots of fun posts from teachers across North America.) Each day features a different prompt for processing what we observe in nature during our daily walk. On Monday we made predictions, on Tuesday we shared noticings, on Wednesday we shared wonderings, on Thursday we shared “This reminds me of…,” and today, the final day, we tell the story of our experience. My mentor, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, saw a list of our predictions and observations and remarked that they looked like the beginnings of poems. With that inspiration, I used a little poetry midwifery magic to create our BioBlitz story. I’m about to share it with my students and I hope they like it!

BioBlitz

Many thanks for hosting this week, Karen. Now let’s bring on the poetry!

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Dear momma bird #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Elizabeth Steinglass is our gracious hostess this week for the poetry roundup. Perhaps you’ll join us? Elizabeth is celebrating her new book, Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer. How fun, and congratulations, Elizabeth!

It’s spring, so bring on the robins!

We have a secret, just we three.png

This week I discovered a robin’s nest in my backyard. On Tuesday there were two eggs and on Wednesday there were three! Robins lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs, just one each day, so yesterday should have been egg number 4 or the start of momma keeping them toasty warm until their debut in about two weeks. I wasn’t able to check yesterday, but this afternoon I found four and no momma. I’m going to keep my distance for a bit and let her get settled to do her important work.

In their honor, and for Mother’s Day, I wrote a poem in letter form to mark the occasions.

Dear momma bird

If you’d like to learn more about writing letter poems, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has wonderful advice for you and your students at The Poem Farm. And, if you adore robins, there are many delightful poems about them. You may find a list here.

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

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