Snowflakes Fall #PoetryFriday #tricube

It’s getting chilly here in eastern New England, but we have yet to see our first snowfall. My Kindergarteners and I are anxiously awaiting their arrival. But, in the meantime, we’ve been thinking about seasonal changes and what we are looking forward to.

These sweet conversations, and Margaret Simon’s call for tricubes last week, prompted me to give this new-to-me poetic form a go.

Thank you for joining me on this first December Poetry Friday. Michelle Kogan is hosting this week’s roundup, which you can find here on her blog. She has an exciting announcement (Congrats!), some of her fabulous artwork, and lovely holidazed words. Light the lights!


Poetic Debut #PoetryFriday

I am excited to share the debut poem collaboratively written by my Kindergarten poets. I emphasize collaboratively, because it, along with compassion, was one of our school-wide endeavors for the month of November. While we’ve been reading, responding to, and reciting loads of poetry since the school year began, this was our first attempt at creating together. Each member of our classroom community, teachers included, contributed their own idea.


We are thankful for friends
Our dogs
Being healthy

We are thankful for birds
Our families
Dad’s new job

We are thankful for our fish
Teaching at Country School
Rescuing a cat

We are thankful for our school
Our moms and dads
The COVID vaccine

We are thankful for our Grandmas
Our cousins

We are thankful for our teachers
Brothers and sisters
Our homes

We are thankful for our class
Plenty of food to eat

We are thankful for everything

— Wyman’s Wonders 2021-2022

Thank you for joining us this post-holiday (for those of us stateside) Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! Ruth is our gracious hostess this week. Her heart-wrenching Ode to Autumn in Haiti will undoubtedly shift most of our perspectives of what we are thankful for. You are always in my thoughts, Ruth.

tankas with friends #PoetryFriday

Last evening, Teach Write writing buddies gathered on ZOOM for our monthly writing challenge get-together. This month, under the leadership of Leigh Anne Eck, we are writing tanka expressing thanks — directly or, as in my case, indirectly. We like to refer to them as Tanka Yous. After writing for about 30 minutes, we regrouped to share our progress. A lovely evening of writing fellowship, which I am indeed thankful for.

The inspiration for my tanka draft came from a walk my husband and I took Thursday afternoon through a gorgeous land conservation trust property in Lincoln, MA that combines the town’s historic cemetery and an abutting farm. The same family have been farming here since the mid-17th century, and they have graciously created walking paths around and across their fields. (Click here to catch a glimpse!) I love it there anytime of the year, but especially in the fall when the trees that circle the property come to life. As we walked yesterday, a gentle breeze was blowing, bringing down many of the remaining leaves on nearby oak and maple. They fell upon the grass, stonewall, gravestones, and the gravel drive.

autumnal tints scatter
drifting down in the wind
dotting pasture and pavement
memories of warm days past
harbingers of cold to come

— Christie Wyman, 2021 (draft)

Credit for “autumnal tints” goes, of course, to our neighborhood native son, Henry David Thoreau, who accompanies me in spirit on all of my saunters. He, too, walked these parts.

Thank you for joining us this lovely Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! Matt Forrest Esenwine is our gracious host this week.

Community Poem Part 2 #PoetryFriday

Welcome to Poetry Friday! I am delighted to play hostess for this week’s roundup, which comes to you live from Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine. We’ve been having the most exquisite sunsets, thanks in part to some beastly hot weather. Tonight’s, our last, is the grand finale! Wow, just wow!

All are welcome here at Poetry Friday — to read, to share, to comment.

In last week’s post, I shared the lovely Poetry Is community poem participants in my “Playing with Poetry” workshop in July contributed to. And guess what? I shared an invitation to add to our work and our poem has grown exponentially with poetry wisdom from some of you. Now it is a lovely patchwork of thoughts, ideas, and feelings about what poetry is to all of us. Thank you to those who joined us!

Poetry Is

Is it possible for poetry to be memory and discovery?
Come reader, I’ll take you to the sunspots that my mind is afraid of.
We’ll arrive at surprise itself and the journey will be worth it.

Poetry is the music of a whisper,
the shimmer of sun on a stream.

Poetry is our very best words
squeezed into tight spaces.
This is what causes the essential sparks.

Poetry is a particular pleasure,
a welcome word,
a heart sigh.

Poetry is indifferent to time or season,
and mostly requires the quiet.

Poetry is a doorway
a path, a conduit
to reading and writing.

Poetry is the releasing
of emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams
into the world.

Poetry is a sun note
opening day across a painted skyway,
a brushstroke of words illuminating a thought.

Poetry is playing with words,
our best friends,
in the sandbox.

Poetry is reaching into the depths–
an excavator of emotions
with gentle hands,
freeing anguish one time,
joy another.

Poetry is goose-bumpy wonder,
heart-piercing pain,
and shelter for seeker’s of solace.

Poetry is soul-feeding moments
of clarity, observation, memory,
reminders, connections, joy and more.

Poetry is music without a tune,
though when you know poems by heart
you can feel the symphony in your own body
when you recite, even silently to yourself.

Poetry is medicine
that heals and comforts,
cures loneliness, and brings friends.

Poetry is an unexpected delight,
like the first chocolatey bite
of an icy fudgsicle.

Even if you never meet the poet in person,
you feel a connection that makes you kin.

Their words linger longer.

Without poetry, what would we do?
It is as much a part of us as our fingers
and toes
and every cell of our being.

It is the air we need to live.

Poetry is a link to the past, a promise for the future,
a moment shared or stolen,
for those who pause to listen, to hear.

What exquisite thoughts from everyone! Many thanks to Michelle, Janet, Jone, Denise, Janice, Linda, Carol, and Alan for joining teacher poets Cherylann, Heather, Jonathan, Juliette, Kathy, and Marilyn. (Do let me know if I missed anyone!)

Thank you for joining us this lovely Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! And don’t miss Matt Forrest Esenwine’s post here. InLinkz is misbehaving for him!

#PoetryFriday #PoemsforMaryLee #MarvelousMaryLee

Gosh! I’ve never had to keep a surprise this long! Now it’s finally time.

(A little early for our friends across the globe to join in the fun!)


Are you ready? Because we are definitely going to be doing some celebrating this Poetry Friday. I’m beyond thrilled to be playing host to this special gathering, with hugs and support from Irene Latham. And it’s my birthday today, so let’s have some cake!

True confession! I’ve been a Mary Lee fangirl for a while. Yup! I have! And we can thank Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for bringing us “together” through their Poetry Friday Anthologies. We’ve never met in person — missed my chance at my one and only NCTE in Baltimore 2019 — but as an educator who believes poetry can and should be incorporated into every school day of the year and across the curriculum, Mary Lee is someone I have looked up to for quite some time. Her poems reveal so much to me about her, her interests, teaching style, and much more. Here are two of my teaching favorites.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology For Celebrations, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2015.

My Kindergarten poets have enjoyed using Earth, You Are as a mentor text to inspire their own poems, swapping in and out what they love about mighty Mother Earth.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science: Poems for the School Year Integrating Science, Reading, and Language Arts, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2014.

Pumpkin Experiment is fun AND informative and so me! You had me at “land lab,” Mary Lee. Be still my science geeky heart! And that repeating line, “in the land lab–,” again is a perfect mentor text. SWOON! Over decomposing pumpkins! Every October, after celebrating pumpkin math and science, my Kindergarteners and I process out to our equivalent land lab to deposit our pumpkins and Mary Lee’s poem comes along for the ride.

I could go on and on all day with more adoration for Mary Lee and her craft, but I can’t wait to hear what everyone else has for Mary Lee Show and Tell!


Heartfelt congratulations on 37 amazing years in education, Mary Lee. What lucky, lucky students you have nurtured, and how lucky we are to know you — in person or on the page. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Just click HERE to add your link and we’ll get this party started!

And lastly, some fun news…I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives throughout the year (or if you are!), I’d love to have them (or you) join me! To learn more, click here.

More Poem-ish Pieces #PoetryFriday #NatureNurtures2020 #PoemsOfPresence

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Mary Lee Hahn is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, A Year of Reading. Won’t you join us there? Mary Lee has a wonderful intro to the work of poet Marilyn Chin. Mary Lee is prepping for a conversation she’ll be facilitating with her soon. I’m signing up. How about you? 

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.

Here is my own personal round-up of #poemsofpresence for the week. What a fun challenge this was! Many thanks to Michelle for hosting at Today’s Little Ditty and Margaret for masterminding this challenge! All four of my poems were inspired by moments in or around my garden and farmer’s porch (a.k.a. our summer living room).

farmer's porch perfume counter

Why is it

the scribbled note

hostile takeover

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



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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.  


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. 



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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Clouds Billow #PoetryFriday #PoemsOfPresence

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Jama Rattigan is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Won’t you join us there? Today is National Chocolate Chip Day and you know how much Jama loves to bake. You might need a big glass of milk to drink while reading Jama’s deliciously delightful post. 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.

As we inch closer to summer and warmer weather, I find myself dreaming of the ocean. My parents are both from Maine, so growing up I spent a part of most summers at one aunt’s home on Peaks Island or another aunt’s on Chebeague Island. My family also, for many years, rented a cottage in Boothbay Harbor. In all three locations, I loved — and still do! — to walk along the shore collecting time- and tide-smoothed stones, sea glass, and picking wild blueberries. It was also fun to just sit and watch all the action on the water. Boats, bobbing birds, and the odd harbor seal provide hours of entertainment and a sense of peace.

Many members of my Tuesday night #TeachWrite writing accountability group have purchased the Write the Poem journal and are writing from “the ocean” prompt. Word associations provided include billows, deep, brine, offing, wave, flux, tide, and current. As I began to write my poem, I had one particular afternoon on Peaks last August in mind. Today’s poem, Clouds Billow, is my second offering to the #PoemsOfPresence collection.

Clouds billow

To learn more about Margaret Simon’s wonderful #PoemsOfPresence challenge, click here. Many thanks to Jama for hosting the roundup this week. Be well, friends!



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Sunset Streams #PoetryFriday #poemsofpresence

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Michelle Heidenrich Barnes is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Today’s Little Ditty.  Won’t you join us there? If you are new to Poetry Friday and are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

Michelle welcomed the one and only Nikki Grimes for a visit and celebration of her new stunner of a book, Southwest Sunrise. Nikki’s lovely verse, accompanied by gorgeous artwork from Wendell Minor, celebrates the beauty of a part of our vast country I have yet to explore.

Nikki threw out a challenge for us to create a poem inspired by either an image from the book or another. I chose Michelle’s image of a fence covered with “an abundance of blooms,” which spoke to me, and I’ve borrow her words for my first line. I went for Nikki’s bonus points by creating a haiku (or tanka), my go-to form. It’s just a quick draft, but…

abundance of blooms

And speaking of fine weather, we have finally had the most gorgeous week of weather here in New England. Each day was filled with the most glorious sunshine after what has been a dreary and chilly early spring. We aren’t out of the woods yet, since a touch of snow is predicted for overnight tonight, but this week has me feeling much more hopeful about what is to come, both literally and metaphorically speaking.

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One stunner of an early evening, while scribbling in my notebook on the porch, the following poem of presence came to me.

Sunset streams (1)

Many thanks to Michelle for hosting our festive event this week, and for Nikki’s generous time, too. Be well, friends!



NPM #ThoreaulyInspired Wrap Up and Kindergarten Cardinal Haiku #PoetryFriday

Happy May Day, everyone! Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog.  Won’t you join us there? If you are new to Poetry Friday and are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

I absolutely loved National Poetry Month and my #ThoreaulyInspired project, but I’m pooped! Writing a poem draft a day is a labor of love, indeed. Here’s a Padlet of the poems that I either created from scratch or revisited and revised from the past. I do feel more connected to not only Thoreau but the changing world around me.

Made with Padlet

I also wanted to share some sweet haiku that several of my Kindergarteners chose to write on National Haiku Day last month. I shared a line with them during a ZOOM session and here’s what they added. Not bad for their first haiku!

cardinal haiku

So now it’s May, National Notebooking Month, and I’m looking forward to lots of scribbling about whatever comes my way.


Thanks to Elizabeth for hosting this week’s celebration! Happy Friday, all, and be safe and well.