Sparrows #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth

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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 #8: Sparrows

Identification (1)A peek at my process

On April 8, 1859, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “These windy days the sparrows resort to the pines and peach trees on the east side of our house for shelter, and there they sing all together, – tree sparrows, fox-colored sparrows, and song sparrows. (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XII: March 2, 1859 – November 30, 1859, Chapter II. April, 1859, p. 120)

I confess to being a full-fledged bird nerd. At the moment I am trying to teach myself how to identify my backyard birds by both sight and, in some cases, by song. While I have mastered a decent number, I have many to go. One family that continues to challenge are the sparrows. There are 43 species, and while not all live in my neck of the woods, there are enough to keep me, my binoculars, and my Sibley’s Guide to Birds busy!

To challenge myself a bit for today’s poem, I went to my go-to resource, Poems are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Amy is a wonderful guide by the side, and her section on personification spoke to me today.

And now for…

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A week ago, members of the 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. Tara Smith is up today, again offering a line choice for the next host, Carol Varsalona.  You can find Tara’s line choices on her blog, Going to Walden. (I think we might have some inspiration in common?)  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
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
Michelle Kogan

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Tiny Treasures #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Tara Smith is hosting this week on her blog, Going to Walden. She’s feeling blue about the current state of the world, as are many of us. Some lovely treasures, carefully crafted by poetry pals, provided a bit of respit for me from the chaos that surrounds us. 

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I had the pleasure of participating in Jone MacCulloch’s New Year Poetry Postcard Exchange again this year. It’s always so much fun to receive these not-so-tiny treasures in the mail from friends old and new. 


This porcine beauty brought New Year’s greetings from writing buddy Linda Mitchell in Virginia. 


Next to arrive was Diane Mayr’s offering of a pair of poems interestingly enough referencing a pigskin purse. A neat connection to the year of the pig. 


Jone herself sent a lovely rainbow image — the perfect symbol for a new year — accompanying her haiku.

Next, these sweet creatures glided through my mailbox from dear Irene Latham, who even noted my OLW “move” in her message. 


My New England neighbor further north, Molly Hogan, sent me one of her stunning photos of a spectacular sunrise. Molly, a gifted poet and photographer, knows I love to wonder, as does she. 


And lastly, Robyn Hood Black‘s greeting made its way through the fog of South Carolina to my home in Massachusetts. (Hey Robyn! I have family in Beaufort. Small world!)

Such tiny treasures, one and all. Thank you everyone!


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.