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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Day 17: Haiku #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM #HaikuDay #WaldenWednesday


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.


A peek into my poem and process. Let’s get meta!

  • So I’m not very good at following my own directions. None of my #playwithpoetry tools inspired today’s haiku! An earlier version of this poem popped up in my Facebook feed this morning, as I had shared it for Haiku Day last year. I’m on my way to Walden Pond this afternoon, so I couldn’t resist revisiting the poem!
  • I originally wrote this as a haiku in 2017 and later added two additional responsive, reflective lines to create a tanka. You can read that original post here.
  • Inspired by one of my poetry writing mentors, Margaret Simon, I have begun to add the word “draft” after all of my work. Another writing mentor, fellow Kindergarten teacher Kelsey Corter, noticed this change and commented to me (something to the effect of) that it made my poems feel alive, because they could grow and change. Time for this little haiku to evolve!
  • Changes, all in the first line, include:
    • specifically mentioning which body of water — Walden (Pond)
    • more accurately referring to the “sunlight stars shimmering” ON the water rather than AT the water.
    • referencing the possible source of the water in Walden Pond , which is actually a lake!


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 my poetry mentor and friend, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. 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