instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

JoAnn's Blog

Politics & Poetry Friday

Protesters packed the hallways and three overflow rooms outside the Joint Committee on Finance's "public hearing" on Monday. They closed the doors. 

 

I rarely write for adults, but recent political events have provoked me to pick up my pen. In November, Wisconsin voters elected a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer. Then, in an all-night lame duck session, the Republican-controlled legislature passed an unprecedented power grab, as detailed in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. You can also read about it in the New York Times (scroll down to see my husband and me—with my sister and brother-in-law behind us—in the photo of the gallery just before they cleared it). Yes, Wisconsin is getting national attention, none of it good. And we are not alone. Similar power grabs are in process in Michigan and North Carolina.

 

Despite winning all four statewide elections, Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly remain outnumbered—thanks to gerrymandered districts that maintain the current party's hold on power. We await the Supreme Court's decision. Here's my take on the sorry situation:

 

          The Power of the Map

          by JoAnn Early Macken

 

          If you're a savvy politician

          with a race to win,

          sophisticated software is

          the best way to begin.

 

          Divvy up your districts so

          your rivals always lose,

          and then it really doesn't matter

          whom the voters choose.

 

          If you don't like the odds, just rig them

          by redistricting.

          No wave or wall can overcome

          gerrymandering.

 

After working to register voters and get out the vote, we spent two days in the Capitol in Madison watching the shameful events unfold. Now, unless the outgoing Republican governor vetoes the legislation, we will see our taxes go to law firms while the whole mess is tied up in legal battles instead of funding education, infrastructure, environmental issues, and a raft of other problems that desperately need attention. It's heartbreaking. But we've done what we can—for now.

 

I'm returning to my Work In Progress, a collection of humorous middle grade poems, and my sewing project with Bring Your Bag Shorewood, making Boomerang Bags reusable shopping bags for people to borrow when they forget to bring their own. Wish me luck!

 

Elizabeth Steinglass has today's Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

9 Comments
Post a comment

Small Seed Scrounger & Poetry Friday!

 

Scrounging Around

 

I'm a brown field mouse,
and I live outside your house.
From my burrow underground,
I can scurry all around,
finding everything I need.
I flourish on the seed
that falls from your feeders.

 

Birds are very messy eaters.

 

 

We try to remember our feathery and furry friends with extra treats when the temperature drops like it has around here lately. It's a pleasure to watch the birds on the feeders and the creatures that clean up around them. I hope you find a moment to stop and look, too.

 

Happy Poetry Friday! Irene has today's Roundup at Live Your Poem! Enjoy!

 

 

14 Comments
Post a comment

A Pep Talk for Poets & Poetry Friday!

 

The Poem I Threw Away

 

Chickens are chuckling. Cows guffaw.
Donkeys hee-haw and bray.
What are the animals laughing about?
A poem I threw away.

 

A goat pulled it from the recycling.
Now horses rear up and neigh
as a rooster reads aloud to the crowd
the poem I threw away.

 

So don't you give up too quickly.
Ruminate for another day.
Someone might find hilarious
the poem you throw away.

 

I've been working on a collection of silly middle grade poems, many of which got their start on this blog last April for National Poetry Month. As I dig way down into old computer files and notebooks, I sometimes unearth a draft I still like. This is one from summer (ohh...summer!) that doesn't fit the theme of the collection. I'm posting it because I need pep talks from time to time. Maybe you do, too.

 

Linda has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance. Enjoy!

13 Comments
Post a comment

Walking Poem & Poetry Friday!

 

Walking

 

Fresh paper,
new pen,
same old thoughts
again.
Though I'd like
to hide,
I'm heading
outside.
I listen
for birds.
New thoughts form
new words.
Cold snow in
my face.
Those words start
to race.
Keep walking.
Get clear.
The rhythm
I hear
and feel in
my feet—
that regular
beat—
turns into
a poem
before I'm
back hoem.
Fresh paper,
new pen—
inspired
again.

 

Today's walk in the first snow of the winter was a surprise even though we had seen it in the forecast. Rosy had to fetch her flying disk instead of the whistling ball she chased all summer. She made the switch like a champ. 

 

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Today's Little Ditty. Enjoy!

13 Comments
Post a comment

Happy Birthday, a Poem for Travelers, & Poetry Friday!

 

Thanks to our thoughtful husbands, my twin sister Judy and I got to celebrate our birthday together last month. We all ate dinner at a fabulous vegan restaurant in Boston, walked along the coast in Maine, and went leaf peeping in New Hampshire. We had a wonderful time, and then we were glad to be home again.

 

Here's a poem I wrote for travelers and for those who wait for travelers to return.

 

 

Travel Prayer

 

Let those who travel have an easy flight
and chat with pleasant strangers on the way.
Let those who stay behind not feel bereft
but find some helpful task to fill each day,
to occupy their hands, their thoughts, their hearts,
not miss too terribly the ones who left.

 

While those who were together are apart,
let those who travel, travel without fear
and find their journeys worth the efforts made.

 

Let those who stay at home wait unafraid
and carry on with grace and hopeful cheer
until at last all loved ones reunite.

 

JoAnn Early Macken

 

 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Enjoy! And if you haven't voted yet, please vote. If you've already voted, please help someone else vote. Our democracy depends  on it!

11 Comments
Post a comment

Recycled (Poem for Two Voices, Part 2) & Poetry Friday!

 

Last week's poem for two voices seemed unfinished--I hated to leave poor Blackboard and Chalk awaiting what might be a terrible fate! (Scroll down to read it if you haven't yet!) So here's some more of their story.

 

The voice of the blackboard is in the left column; the voice of the chalk is in the right column. Read from top to bottom, alternating voices as needed. When both columns contain text, read them together.

 

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is at A Journey Through the Pages. Enjoy!

7 Comments
Post a comment

Replaced (Poem for Two Voices) & Poetry Friday!

 

Author/illustrator Calef Brown posed a challenge on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's Today's Little Ditty blog: Write a poem or a story about two anthropomorphized objects. Here's mine!

 

The voice of the blackboard is in the left column; the voice of the chalk is in the right column. Read from top to bottom, alternating voices as needed. When both columns contain text, read them together.

 

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is at Friendly Fairy Tales. Enjoy!

16 Comments
Post a comment

Windy Garden & Poetry Friday!

 

I planted potatoes and parsley and peppers,
pumpkins and parsnips and peas.
I said to the soil, "Take good care of these seeds."
I asked the clouds to please
let down a soft rain from time to time
and the wind to slow down to a breeze.


Then all of a sudden, the wind picked up,
and it blew all my seeds away.
Somebody else's seeds blew in,
so my garden still turned out okay.
Now I eat cucumbers, corn, cauliflower,
carrots, and cabbage all day.

 

Tabatha Yeatts has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Enjoy! 

8 Comments
Post a comment

Morning Haiku for Poetry Friday

I don't know what this plant is. Do you? It inspired the first haiku.

 

frilly halos rim

delicate cone-shaped blossoms

fringe of tiny bees

 

mosquito seeking heat

lands to check out coffee mug

neighbor's AC hums

 

wren's morning circuit

clothes line, fence post, lilac branch

warble at each stop

 

can't ignore the crow

even when it's out of sight

ruckus in the tree

 

monarch leaves an egg

on one life-sustaining leaf

of each milkweed plant

 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Enjoy!

11 Comments
Post a comment

Upgrading the Garden & Poetry Friday!

 

Upgrading the Garden

 

I just dug up a clump of
overcrowded pulmonaria.
Too many plants were growing in
a tiny little area.
I'll split them up and trade some
with my neighbors. I have nary a
foxglove, hollyhock, ajuga,
phlox, or cineraria.
I can throw in milkweed
or monarda. Time to vary a
bit what grows here every year.

Got any Alstroemeria?

 

Karen Edmisten has today's Poetry Friday Roundup . Enjoy!

10 Comments
Post a comment