instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

JoAnn's Blog

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

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