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JoAnn's Blog

Jump-Starting Spring


Happy Poetry Friday! I'm joining the #PoetryPals this month with a poem that includes a box. Mine holds seeds I collected over late summer and fall. Today was that one bright winter day mentioned in the poem, so I planted some little greenhouses, hoping to give the seeds a head start. The containers you see in the photo include everything listed in the poem and more. Now I'm crossing my fingers that we'll see lots of healthy sprouts in spring.


In case the poem above is hard to read, here it is again:


Jump-Starting Spring

I squirrel away autumn's treasures

in junk mail return envelopes

in a plastic spinach box in the cold garage:

turtleheads, touch-me-nots, penstemon,

columbine, cup plants, coneflowers (purple and prairie),

milkweed (common, swamp, and whorled).

One bright winter day,

at our picnic table-turned-lab bench,

I slice empty milk jugs to hinge open like hope chests,

pour in soil, plant seeds, sprinkle water,

add labels on stakes,

close and fasten,
and mark the outsides for good measure.

With groundless optimism,

I line up the jugs in the snow,

counting on nature and miracles.

© 2022 JoAnn Early Macken



Patricia Franz is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup on her Reverie blog. Enjoy!


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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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