Pools in woods floored with leaves #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 #13:…pools in woods floored with leaves…

Pool growing, Wind blowing

A peek at my process

On April 13, 1855, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The small croaking frogs are now generally heard in all those stagnant ponds or pools in woods floored with leaves, which are mainly dried up in the summer. At first, perhaps, you hear but one or two dry croaks,
but, if you sit patiently, you may hear quite a concert of them at last,…” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal VII: September 1, 1854 – October 30, 1855, Chapter VIII. April, 1855, p. 304)

Those “pools in woods floored with leaves” are the vernal pools that my students and I love to explore in the conservation land behind our school. In the spring, we are often accompanied by our amazing Kindergarten Biologist-in-Residence, Emilie, from Grassroots Wildlife Conservation. Under Emilie’s watchful eye, we headstart wood frog eggs in our classroom — this year my home! I honor Emilie in my poem as the “Biologist gallumping!” She actually does this with grace and style in her hip waders with attached boots!

Henry was fond of vernal pools, too. His journal entries for March, April, and even May, across the years, report activity in pools he encountered on his daily walks. His many names for them, and names that we still use in this part of New England, include woodland pools, spring-holes, pond-holes, hollows, mud pools, and ditches. Whatever name you use, vernal pools are teeming with life — at least until they begin to dry up as the rain decreases and the sun’s rays begin to dry them. I wrote today’s poem for my students as they begin to meet those who inhabit, at least for a short time, these secret pools in the woods. To learn more, check out Wonderopolis “Wonder of the Day” #2105: What Is a Vernal Pool?

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.

Our little poem travels down under today into the very capable kayak-paddle-holding hands of Kat Apel. Kat, again, offers a line choice for the next host, Margaret. You can find her new lines on her blog, Kat’s Whiskers. 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!

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Tiny Treasures #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! We travel down under, once again, this time to visit Kat Apel. Kat has hosting duties on her blog this week. You may journey to it here! Kat, who I was thrilled to chat (all too briefly) with at NCTE this fall, has an update on not only the fire situation in Australia, but the amazing fundraising efforts of the kidlit community there.

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Poetry swap postcards received as of January 22. I know others are on their way!

Tiny treasures, in the form of poetry postcards, have been drifting like twinkly snowflakes into my mailbox over the last few weeks. They are, as others have said, a welcome change from tax-related documents, bills, and junk mail. How little personal mail we receive throughout the year. So grateful for opportunities to communicate on another level with others. Many thanks to folks like Jone, Tabatha, and others, who organize such exchanges. So good for the soul! My offerings are on their way to you as we speak, dear friends.

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


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Pigeons on their perch #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Kathryn Apel is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup on her blog, Kat’s Whiskers. Kat has embarked on a poem-a-day challenge (WOW!) and you can catch her first week of installments on her blog. They are stunning Instagram posts. 

This week I am attending a week-long institute with several district colleagues at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Each morning I arrive early to get in a bit of writing and thinking time. I like to ease into my day whenever possible. 

rufvzbzgqkkcbeeunhpuawMy favorite perch has become a window seat on the 2nd floor of Starbucks with an almost bird’s eye view of busting Harvard Square. I’ve noticed, as sky becomes illuminated, the pigeons gather on a ledge above the entrance to the Harvard Coop, Harvard’s fabulous bookstore-and-so-much-more. Each day as I observed them and the world coming to life down below, I found myself wondering what they notice about our human world. After recording similar observations in my notebook daily, the following bubbled up to the surface. 



Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there. Cheers!