icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

JoAnn's Blog

Shopping Bags, Weather, and Poetry Friday!


In between writing projects, I often get the urge to sew. And in between clothes-making projects, I make shopping bags to donate or give away. Since 2016, I've belonged to a group of volunteers who sew reusable shopping bags from donated fabric, part of the worldwide Boomerang Bags movement. Our goals are to reduce the use of "disposable" plastic bags and to keep usable fabric out of landfills. The pandemic put a stop to our monthly Sewing Bees, but we all still have stashes of fabric, and we keep plugging away when we can.


Plastic pollution is an enormous problem, and using a reusable shopping bag is a tiny solution. But I firmly believe that tiny solutions can add up to big change if enough of us implement them. In the meantime, remember to bring your reusable shopping bags when you shop!


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


Post a comment

Sunshine and Poetry Friday!


I'm so much more productive when the sun is shining, and this winter in southeast Wisconsin has been even grayer than usual. It's also notable for its lack of snow. Lucky for me, the temperature has been fine for walking. I can stroll to either Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River, where nature's delights abound in any weather. On one sunny day, I drafted a stack of haiku, and I've been revising and posting one a day. If you'd like to see more, read the posts below.


Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Chicken Spaghetti. Enjoy!


Post a comment

Walking in Sunshine Again


This one's from a walk to Lake Michigan, my favorite destination.

Be the first to comment

Spinning Away


I actually saw this happen, but I was too awestruck to try to take a picture.

Post a comment

Close-Up Clarifies


I had to walk closer to see.

Be the first to comment



On sunny days, I am compelled to write poems. I've got at least a few more to share. Join me? Feel free to add yours in the comments. Have fun!

Be the first to comment

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!


Post a comment

What Do You See?


When I started thinking about this post, Southeastern Wisconsin was expecting an enormous blizzard. I saw predictions of 14-18" of snow, then 4-8," and then 1-3." As of Thursday evening, winds are howling and the temperature is dangerously low, but all we see here is a dusting of snow. We'll keep looking out the window.


No doubt, climate change is making weather forecasting more difficult. I feel sorry for meteorologists!


Be sure to check out all the Poetry Friday goodness at Live Your Poem with Irene Latham. Enjoy!

Post a comment

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!

Post a comment

National Poetry Month, Day 30

Post a comment

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!


Post a comment

National Poetry Month, Day 28


Dutchman's breeches!

Post a comment

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


Post a comment

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

Be the first to comment

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!


Be the first to comment

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.


Be the first to comment

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.


Be the first to comment

National Poetry Month, Day 10

Post a comment

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!

Post a comment

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!

Post a comment

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!

Be the first to comment