“The frogs at a distance” #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

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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 #26: “The frogs at a distance…”

Tiny frogs

A peek at my process

On April 26, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The frogs at a distance are now so numerous that, instead of the distinct shrill peeps, it is one dreamy sound. It is not easy to tell where or how far off they are. When you have reached their pool, they seem to recede as you advance. As you squat by the side of the pool, you still see no motion in the water, though your ears ring with the sound, seemingly and probably within three feet. I sat for ten minutes on the watch, waving my hand over the water that they might betray themselves, a tortoise, with his head out, a few feet off, watching me all the while, till at last I caught sight of a frog under a leaf, and caught and pocketed him ; but when I looked afterward, he had escaped. The moment the dog stepped into the water they stopped. They are very shy. Hundreds filled the air with their shrill peep. Yet two or three could be distinguished by some peculiarity or variation in their note. Are these different?” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1951-April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. 1852, p. 469-470)

There are numerous references to frogs in Thoreau’s journal entries. He spent a great deal of time observing them in various stages of their metamorphosis and in any number of habitats. His observations, and subsequent recordings, of the variation in the sounds they made, and the details of their appearance is remarkable. He had a great deal of patience it would seem! When we headstart wood frogs in my classroom, I always have several Kindergarteners who would stare into the tank at them for hours if I let them. I am truly grateful for the teachable moments and opportunities their presence provides.

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.

It’s a campfire. I follow my nose. I see

Today Dani Burtsfield and Margaret Simon are collaborating on new line offerings. You may find them on Dani’s blog, Doing the Work That Matters.

Here’s the itinerary for the final days of the Progressive Poem. I really 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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Robin Nest Pi-Ku #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and my fellow Kindergarten teacher and poet, Dani Burtsfield, is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup. Perhaps you’ll join us?

Last week Margaret Simon shared some wonderful nature Pi-Ku she and her students created. (You may read their work here.) Never having written a Pi-Ku (syllable counts matching 3.14159265359), and loving a challenge, I thought I’d give it a try. My inspiration is the ever-changing robin nest in my holly bush which I wrote about here. Two weeks ago I discovered lovely eggs, laid one a day, and this week they are beginning to hatch, one a day. Yesterday I snuck up to snap this picture when I saw mom leave on a food run. Today she was watching like a hawk from, so I’m keeping my distance!

nestling knows
— Christie Wyman, 2019 (draft)

My Pi-Ku made it to 3/1/4/1/5/9/2. How far might you go with a Pi-Ku?

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

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