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JoAnn's Blog

Tomatoes Take Over Autumn--and Poetry Friday!


I will remember this summer as The Year the Tomatoes Took Over. We have eaten them straight from the garden, passed them around the neighborhood, cooked them in every way possible, and almost filled up the freezer. This poem is the result of an assignment in the delightful Fall Poetry Writing Workshop with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich through The Poet's Studio


Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Enjoy!

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National Poetry Month, Day 30

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National Poetry Month, Day 29--Poem in Your Pocket Day!


Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Have you found yours?


I've posted a new poem every day this month so far--read on to see more of them.


And Happy Poetry Friday! Jone Rush McCulloch has today's Roundup. Enjoy!


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National Poetry Month, Day 28


Dutchman's breeches!

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National Poetry Month, Day 27

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National Poetry Month, Day 26

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The Progressive Poem is Here!

With only a few days remaining in National Poetry Month, the Progressive Poem has landed in this spot. Twenty-six contributors have now added a line apiece, most of them quotes from other literary sources. This is my first time participating, and my line is the last one here.


I spent last weekend in Indiana at the Celebration of Life for my dear friend April Pulley Sayre. I've been immersed in her wonderful work, and I chose a line from her book Warber Wave.


After you read the poem, you can read on to discover the names of the other contributors and their sources. Enjoy!


--- --- --- --- --- --- --- 


Where they were going, there were no maps.


   Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today.


Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!


   We have to go back. I forgot something.


But it's spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we'll whistle and dance and set off on our way.


Come with me, and you'll be in a land of pure imagination.


Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.


And then it was time for singing.


Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?


Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren't the only ones singing.


Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let's smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we'll watch it all spread out before us.


The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.


Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,


Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.


If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 

 and they stepped out into the middle of it.


Their minds' libraries and lightning bugs led them on.


The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.


The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.


Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark. 


There are no wrong roads to anywhere


lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove.


Standing at the fence of the cottage, 
    I hear the new note in the voices of the birds.


I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the message of my heart upward.


I make up a song that goes on singing all by itself


Surfing rivers of wind way up high . . . calling zeep, zeep, zeep in the sky.


--- --- --- --- --- --- ---




1 April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem (This post includes links to all the other contributors' sites.)
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken

27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen's Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing




1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin

2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
5. inspired by "[in Just-]" by E. E. Cummings
6. "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
9. inspired by Disney songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
18. Kate DiCamillo's The Beatryce Prophecy
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
21. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
22. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen
23. adapted from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

24. A quote from Terry Tempest Williams in Birdology by Sy Montgomery
25. adapted from "When I Was a Bird" by Katherine Mansfield

26. Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre


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National Poetry Month, Day 25


White-throated sparrows have returned! (Thanks to my sister Judy, who gave them the name in the last line!)


Read more about the birds

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National Poetry Month, Day 24

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National Poetry Month, Day 23

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National Poetry Month, Day 22


I'm thinking about bees today. I just learned that the flowers on pulmonaria (an early spring bloomer and one of my favorite plants) change color from pink to blue as they age, and bees know to visit the younger, more nectar-rich blossoms. Happy Earth Day! Plant some pulmonaria for the bees!


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National Poetry Month, Day 21


Today's poem was inspired by What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings by Joyce Sidman--one of my favorite poetry collections.


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National Poetry Month, Day 20

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National Poetry Month, Day 19

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National Poetry Month, Day 18

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National Poetry Month, Day 17

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National Poetry Month, Day 16

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National Poetry Month, Day 15

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National Poetry Month, Day 14


Today's haiku was inspired by My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness by Georgia Heard, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and something my dad used to say.


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National Poetry Month, Day 13

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National Poetry Month, Day 12

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National Poetry Month, Day 11

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National Poetry Month, Day 10

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National Poetry Month, Day 9


Because today is April 9, today's poem is a nonet, inspired by Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems written by Irene Latham. A nonet is a nine-line poem in which the first line contains nine syllables and the number of syllables decreases by one in each line that follows--or the reverse. The constraints of the form made it a challenge for me, and this poem took an interesting twist at the end. I'm glad I tried it!

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National Poetry Month, Day 8


Happy Poetry Friday! For National Poetry Month, I'm writing poems as fast as I can and posting them here and on social media as often as possible. Read on to see my previous poems.


Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Salt City Verse. Enjoy!

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National Poetry Month, Day 7


Today's riddle-ku is inspired by Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas. Do check it out, especially if you'd like to write your own. It includes helpful instructions!

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National Poetry Month, Day 6

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National Poetry Month, Day 5

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National Poetry Month, Day 4

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National Poetry Month, Day 3

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National Poetry Month, Day 2

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National Poetry Month, Day 1!

Happy National Poetry Month! Happy Poetry Friday! Heidi Mordhost hosts today's comprehensive and luscious Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe. Enjoy!



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What Burger? A THINGS WE EAT Poem


Today's poem is from THINGS WE EAT - A BOOK OF ALPHABET POEMS FEATURING FOOD, a Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" Selection by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. It's a collection of ekphrastic poems written to photo prompts of diverse children eating, cooking, picking, growing, or (in one case) warning about foods. All profits from the book go to the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Children in Crisis fund. It's available now on amazon.




What burger? Hamburger,
nutburger, yamburger,
biggest-you've-seen burger.
Burger with pickles
and onions and cheese,
ketchup and mustard
and lettuce? Yes, please!


© 2022 by JoAnn Early Macken


A hamburger is an odd topic choice for me. I quit eating meat when I was 16, and I've been a vegan for more than five years. But when I started thinking about all the different kinds of burgers available, I gave myself a challenge to include a variety of plant-based options. I found the rhythm as I walked the dog, and then the challenge became fun!


My favorite burger is adapted from this recipe for "BEEFY" VEGAN BLACK BEAN WALNUT BURGERS. I try to keep a stockpile in the freezer.


I'm grateful for the opportunity to submit a poem after I took Janet and Sylvia's Anthology 101 and Anthology 201 classes. You can find out more about this anthology in today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Sylvia's Poetry for Children blog. And you can find out more about Janet and Sylvia's poetry anthology classes, too. I found them comprehensive, well organized, and inspiring!



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Wordplay Poems for Poetry Friday


Happy Poetry Friday! I'm participating in the wordplay challenge presented by the Poetry Sisters. Today's poem is based on the exercise suggested by poet Nikki Grimes in this interview with Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. 


RAIN (a wordplay poem)

RAIN is a vertical word.

Its letters are streaks down a window—

except for proud R with its chest puffed out.

RAIN hangs out with CLOUDY and GRAY,



RAIN is a glittery word.

It glimmers. It glistens.

It gussies up TREES and UMBRELLAS.


(c) 2021 JoAnn Early Macken


These wordplay poems remind me of the brilliant animal poem collection Words with Wrinkled Knees by Barbara Juster Esbensen. Twenty years ago, I received the Barbara Juster Esbensen Poetry Teaching Award for my work with a third grade class using Esbensen's book A Celebration of Bees: Helping Children to Write Poetry. With the prize money, I was able to buy a copy of Words with Wrinkled Knees for each student in the class. I have such fond memories of the experience that it's hard for me to pick a favorite poem, but here's one:


What a moonstruck

word.    O W L !

Such round yellow lamps

for eyes  and the hoot

built into the name


Beaked and taloned

it leaves the page

at dusk     When blue light

turns to shadow

and wind moves

the empty paper    this word


opens soundless wings

s a i l s     o u t

to where the smallest letters

cower in the dark


--Barbara Juster Esbensen, Words with Wrinkled Knees


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




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Chimney Swifts Drop In!

Chimney swifts roost together in fall before beginning their long migration.



Dusk. Look up. Listen:
whirling, chippering bird cloud.
Chimney swifts drop in.


Watch the video! 


You can find out more about chimney swifts from All About Birds or Audubon.


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


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