instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

JoAnn's Blog

Fog Magic

 

Fog makes the bridge disappear,

disguises the bayou,

conceals the buildings beyond it.

 

Fog muffles traffic noise,

hushes gulls' calls,

shushes barking dogs.

 

Fog spangles spiderwebs,

plays tic-tac-toe on window screens,

softens the view through my glasses.

 

--JoAnn Early Macken

 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Reading to the Core. Enjoy!

 

JoAnn

5 Comments
Post a comment

They Say

 

I've fallen out of a habit that

I used to think defined me.

I hope to find more joyful moments

ahead, not only behind me.

I don't really want to write today,

but I want to want to again.

I miss the surprise of finding out

what secrets flow from my pen.

 

They say if you act like you're doing a thing,

then it might come back to you.

Could I jump into a new stanza?

Well, here's what I'm going to do:

Gather my pens and good luck charms.

Endeavor to put an end to

this slump. I might not write today,

but I can surely pretend to.

 

My sister Eileen gave me the idea for this one. ("I want to want to paint, but I don't really want to.") We'll get there together, I hope!

 

Sally Murphy has today's Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

19 Comments
Post a comment

Recycle Your Unused Ideas!

 

From notebooks and desk drawers,
from folders and files,
from pockets and teetering tabletop piles,
gather your scribbles,
your notes and your jots—
ideas that don't fit your poems or plots.

 

Shred if you must,
or just toss them in
the helpful, convenient
recycling bin.

 

In bins, in trucks, in recycling plants,
snippets combine, completely by chance.

They'll evaporate into the bountiful air,
ready for someone to notice and care.
Ready for someone awaiting a muse.
Ready for someone to snatch up and use.

 

Every idea deserves its own spot—
a real home in somebody's poem or plot.
So make room. Set yours free!
They'll be wondrously new
to someone who's paying attention

like you.

 

—JoAnn Early Macken

 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol's Corner. Enjoy!

 

JoAnn

10 Comments
Post a comment

Peering Ahead

 

Peering Ahead

There's a light at the end of this tunnel.
It's still faint, but it's starting to glow.
If I squint, I can just barely see it,
and it's so reassuring to know
that persistence is always the answer
and if I keep plugging away,
that light will grow brighter and brighter.
I'll burst through to sunlight one day.

 

I'm awfully excited about the middle grade nonfiction manuscript I'm writing, Turn This Earth Around: Everyday Ways to Help Our Planet. Although I have a long way to go (and I don't have a publisher yet), I'm beginning to find a rhythm in the work. Everything takes time.

 

As I research, I'm experimenting. I've been sewing reusable shopping bags for several years. Lately, I've tried making my own toothpaste, tortillas, and beeswax wraps. I'm learning.

 

I'm also accumulating tons of information. Some of it keeps changing. So I'm creating a companion web site where I'll post some of the most helpful tidbits. I hope to reveal it soon.

 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Enjoy!

 

JoAnn

 

17 Comments
Post a comment

Winter Poems & Poetry Friday!

 

melting snow + rusted gutter = icicle cascade

 

Imagine the view from inside that window!

 

Snowman – Cold = Puddle by Laura Purdie Salas is a clever combination of poetry, math, and science. Spring equation poems, poetic informative explanations, and lively collage illustrations by Micha Archer make this book a joy to discover and reread. I was inspired to write a few equation poems of my own, including the one above. I'm limited to one photo per post, so I can't show you the cover, but do look for the book—it's delightful.

 

I've been trying to walk the dog outside as much as possible between unbearable weather events. We both need it! Here's a haiku from yesterday's icy walk:

 

sunlit snowbanks sparkle

frozen camera balks

battery exhausted

 

This year for the first time, I'll be one of 64 authletes taking part in the Madness Poetry Tournament, in which a word is assigned to be included in each poem. To warm up, I've been writing short poems that include a random word that pops into my head. Here's one from this morning, based on ascertain:

 

Dog Walk Intermission

 

While the dog sniffs a snowbank,
I try to ascertain
where the cardinal is tweeting
its lonely refrain.

 

Polls open March 5th for Round 1. Please stop by, read the poems, and vote!

 

Monday is my favorite date of the year, March 4th. For me, it's the beginning of spring—a chance to take stock, clear out clutter, and start fresh. I'll be celebrating all day. In fact, I've already started. Join me, won't you? March forth!

 

Linda has today's Poetry Friday Roundup and an ingenious spring anagram poem at TeacherDance. Enjoy!

 

7 Comments
Post a comment

Snowshoe Surprise & Poetry Friday!

 

My doctor says I need more exercise.
Cholesterol, you know... heredity....
Begrudgingly, I strap my snowshoes on
to trudge beside a frozen riverbank
with traffic roaring on my other side
and robins cheering me from overhead.

 

I stop to catch my breath above the spot
where freeway runoff keeps a channel clear
and beavers built their lodge across the way.
Beside the aging concrete ledge, I see
a wide, flat tail extended on the ice.
I hold my breath and watch the beaver chew.
Thin saplings rustle when it rounds the bend.

 

My doctor says I need more exercise.
So this is my prescription?


Lucky me!

 

 

Laura Purdie Salas has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Writing the World for Kids. Enjoy!

 

17 Comments
Post a comment

Ungrumping Yourself & Poetry Friday!

 

How to Ungrump Yourself

 

Are you overwhelmed by news?

Is it giving you the blues?

Here's a tip that you might use:

Read some poetry.

 

If you wake up feeling grumpy

'cause the road ahead looks bumpy,

don't you fidget. Don't get jumpy.

Read some poetry.

 

If you feel like you could cry

(even if you don't know why),

I say give it one good try.

Read some poetry.

 

Though there is no guarantee,

poetry could be the key.

It worked well today for me.

Read some poetry!

 

Oh, what a week! Between the Polar Vortex, family health questions, and people doing heartless things, it's a wonder anyone stays positive these days. I reached my limit this morning, and something made me stop, take a break, and go back to look at last week's Poetry Friday posts, which I had missed.

 

Gorgeous language! Perfect metaphors! Helpful explanations! My whole day—my whole outlook—turned around. Next time I feel myself slipping into Grump Mode, I will try to remember to do that again. What a gift this Poetry Friday community is! Thank you to everyone involved!

 

Tabatha Yeatts has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. If you haven't checked it out yet, here's your chance!

 

8 Comments
Post a comment

List Poems & Poetry Friday!

 

A helpful commenter on last week's post (scroll down to read it) suggested writing list poems as a way to get back into writing after drifting away for a while. So I tried a few. Here are three new ones from this week.

 

       

 

Oh, notebook, my confidante,
I've missed the comforting opaqueness of your cover,
the predictable curve of your spiral,
your straightforward guiding lines,
the way you keep my secrets,
and how they whisper to me as your pages turn.

 

        

 

On Mom's Windowsill

 

orchids whose flower stalks stretch toward glass
Christmas cactus, hopefully budded
plump aloe with companion stained glass dragonfly
chick in Easter basket, dancing to sunshine
reminder to staff: Always use gait belt for transfers!
chair alarm, flashing to show that the battery works,
      labeled "wireless fall management"
      as if it could maintain her balance
      or temper her urge to get up and go somewhere—
                like home,
                if she could just remember how to get there

 

       

 

What She Remembers

 

She remembers the lyrics to songs she sang decades ago.
She remembers the punchlines to jokes she repeats with a smirk.
She remembers to put on her long, double-strand

     pearly necklace.
She remembers how to apply her red lipstick

     without a glance in a mirror.
She remembers a day with our dad in a field by the water.
She remembers my face, though she's not always sure who I am,
and I don't have the heart to remind her because
I am struggling with memories of my own.

       

 

Kathryn Apel has today's Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

 

11 Comments
Post a comment

Morning Observations & Poetry Friday!

 

daylight lengthening
minute reasons to rejoice
winter's turning point

 

next door cat follows
squirrel between our houses
window to window

 

singing overhead
sunlit branches block my view
hope for a robin

 

I never intend to stop writing every day, but when I fall out of the habit, I sometimes find it easier to slide back into haiku--not because they are short but because using the traditional 5-7-5 form gives me a structure to hang my words on. What works for you?

 

Sylvia Vardell has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Poetry for Children. Enjoy!

12 Comments
Post a comment

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