For the Love of Trees #PoetryFriday

Prince’s Gardens, London, July 2019

Welcome to Poetry Friday, everyone! I am excited and honored to host the roundup today for only the second time. Once again, I’m sweating it out and crossing my fingers, eyes, and toes that the link up works!

Before we get started, here’s an important announcement about next week’s roundup from its host, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. “Please note that on Poetry Friday August 23 we will celebrate the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins here at The Poem Farm. At Jone MacCulloch’s great suggestion, I invite everyone who wishes to write and share a poem inspired by or including a line from a LBH poem. Tag with #DearOneLBH. Thank you. xo, Amy.” I, like many of you I’m sure, have been thumbing through the many anthologies Lee graced us with, trying to decide which poem and which line. How to choose?

And now for this week’s roundup. I tossed out a tree theme for this week, and I can’t wait to see what some folks might share. Since I was a child, I’ve always loved trees — sitting under them, swinging from rope swings tied to them, marveling in their varied bark, leaves, and blossoms, and of course climbing them. My very first beloved poet, David McCord, unknowingly gave me permission!

Every Time I Climb a Tree by David McCord

I featured Mr. McCord’s work in a previous post, and had completely forgotten that I referenced a video of Renee LaTulippe interviewing Lee about McCord! That has a very “six degrees of separation” feel to it at the moment!

Mary Oliver adored and was inspired by trees, too. What do trees call out to you?

When I Am Among the Trees

As a writer, poet, and sometimes artist, trees continue to inspire me.

A Poet's Trees

Early Spring Trees

tall shirakaba

Tree Cookies

Even tree cookies (my Kindergarteners love this term!) speak to me — literally and figuratively!



During our trip to the UK in July, my husband and I fell completely and utterly head over heels in love with a stunning and very old linden tree on the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, where we were staying. We had no idea where the intoxicating perfume was coming from as we walked the sacred grounds. We followed our noses and eventually spent many happy hours on the bench below it’s delicate branches throughout our stay in the cathedral close that week. The cathedral was built between 1220 and 1258, and lindens are rumored to be able to live up to 1,000 years, so who knows how old our lovely linden is!

Lovely Linden

Thanks for joining me in this arboraceous roundup. Click the link and bring on the poetry!

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Afternoon at Fairyland #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and the uber-talented Molly Hogan is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone. Perhaps you’ll join us? Molly’s sharing a sweet poem she wrote using a found title. Don’t miss it. It’s out of this world! (Pun very much intended!) Lastly, the literary world lost two giants this week — Toni Morrison and now Lee Bennett Hopkins. The lights in the Milky Way will dim for now, but perhaps shine brighter? That’s my hope, at least.

Next week it’s my turn to host. I’ve thrown out a tree-related theme if you’d care to tag along.


My offering this week is a draft of a small poetic moment from my afternoon at Fairyland Pond, a spot I retreat to often in nearby Concord, Massachusetts. It was a favorite of Thoreau’s and is for me, too. When I first arrived, all was quiet, but then things began to change. A note on the form the poem takes. I, like many of you, enjoy a daily dose of poetry on Tracy K. Smith’s podcast The Slowdown. I’ve noticed that many of the poems she features are narrative in form, almost storylike. I thought I’d take the form for a test drive. Join me!

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C0BBCFD8-078C-41C7-A8EE-B41A1A323F3BThanks for hosting this week, Molly. Bring on the poetry!










Kicking a clunker down the road #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Linda Mitchell is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on her blog, A Word Edgewise. Perhaps you’ll join us?

Linda’s giving away clunkers — lines, thoughts and bits of poems — discarded or abandoned from her writing journals. Do any interest you? One drew me in — “As she walks the road…” It’s my first day of summer vacation, so I thought I’ll let it simmer for a bit and see what, if anything, would happen

His call as she walks the road .png

I adore northern cardinals, and it seems I’m a bit of a cardinal magnet lately. One has been visiting me outside my classroom every afternoon this week, his familiar chip chip chip flowing in and out of my open window. And then, as I returned home today, I was visited by yet another cardinal. Has he followed me home?

And now for my clunker. I’m giving away “Do you think they talk?” I’m working on something with that as the opening line, but it’s not ready…yet. I’d love to see what someone else does with it, too!

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










I Know It’s Almost Summer #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Michelle Kogan is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on her blog. Perhaps you’ll join us? She’s featuring our Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, this week. I’m hooked on her podcast The Slowdown. Are you?

At the end of March, during the Slice of Life Challenge, Lynne Dorfman shared a poem inspired by Eileen Spinelli’s I Know It’s Autumn. You may read her poem, A Summer Counting Poem here. I tucked Lynne’s post away for a rainy writing day, and it has now inspired me to write my own I Know It’s Almost Summer poem, now that I have 10 more days of school left.

I Know It's Almost Summer (1).png
I know it’s almost summer
because robins greet us each morning at dawn
and light lingers longer each day
I know it’s almost summer
because I am restless
mountains and oceans beckon me
I know it’s almost summer
because books wait patiently to be read
and my writing notebook lays open ready to capture my thoughts
I know it’s almost summer
because porch rockers wait patiently for our return
at the end of the day

My poem is most definitely a draft and I look forward to playing around with it, now that it’s almost summer.

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










Borrowing a Line from NSN #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Mary Lee Hahn is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on A Year of Reading. Perhaps you’ll join us? She’s offered up the work of brilliant poet Naomi Shihab Nye as a possible theme for anyone interested. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Poetry Foundation named Ms. Nye their Young People’s Poet Laureate, the first Arab-American to receive this great honor. Huzzah!

After reading this article about Ms. Nye’s appointment in Texas Monthly, one line jumped out at me to be borrowed for a line in a poem — “there’s no place that poetry doesn’t live.” Now that I’m writing regularly in my writing notebook (thank you, Teach Write!), I find myself scribbling down so much that I see, hear, feel, notice, and wonder about. These bits and pieces of seemingly nothing odds and ends continue to amaze me at how they often become something.

There's no place that poetry doesn't live

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










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!










Instructions to a Kindergarten Writer’s Notebook #PoetryFriday #notebookday #nationalnotebookday

It’s Poetry Friday and my poetry playmate Margaret Simon is our gracious hostess this week for the poetry roundup. Perhaps you’ll join us? Margaret is has some lovely (and fun!) Pi-Ku for us to enjoy. I confess I had never heard of Pi-Ku (syllable count 3.14…….) before. Can’t wait to try!

Two weeks ago, at the end of an interview with Elizabeth Steinglass, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes threw out a challenge to poets one and all — write a poem giving instructions to an inanimate object about how to do its job. Elizabeth has a terrific poem in her new book, Soccerverse, that does just that — Instructions for the Field. You can read the interview here.

Seeing as yesterday was National Notebook Day, I thought I’d dive into my notebook and tackle this month’s challenge with a poem giving instructions to my Kindergarten writers’ notebooks. Here are two sneak peeks inside notebooks in my classroom.

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Here’s what I came up with.

Notebook  (1).png

Have you taken on this month’s challenge? If so, why not add it to the Padlet created to collect these wonderful instruction poems.

And just for fun, here are two other notebook and writing-related poems to share.

Some may wonder why (Golden Shovel)
A Golden Shovel using “Why am I keeping this notebook” as an anchor line.
Brave writer
A wee bit of free verse written with my Kindergarten writers in mind.

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