Friday, January 24, 2020

POT ROAST by Mark Strand

Winter is a time for hearty meals like thick soups and beef stew. This got me to thinking about one of my favorite poems: Pot Roast by Mark Strand. In his poem, a plate of pot roast brings back memories of the first time Strand tasted the meal...of his mother serving him a second helping. While everything around him seems bleak, the "power of food"...the "meat of memory" provides him with sustenance.

by Mark Strand

So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork
and I eat. 

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Reading to the Core this week.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Three Thanksgiving Poems

Harriet Maxwell Converse (1836-1903)
Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Author Unknown

The year has turned its circle.
Seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
Fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway--
Thanksgiving comes again.

Author Unknown

When all the leaves are off the boughs,
And nuts and apples gathered in,
And cornstalks waiting for the cows,
And pumpkins safe in barn and bin,
Then Mother says, "My children dear,
The fields are brown and autumn flies;
Thanksgiving day is very near,
And we must make thanksgiving pies!"


Rebecca has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Sloth Reads.


Friday, October 25, 2019

PICK A PUMPKIN: A Halloween Read Aloud in Verse

Looking for an excellent Halloween book in verse to read aloud to young children? I've got a recommendation for you: PICK A PUMPKIN, which was written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis. The book was published in July. I was eager to get a copy of  PICK A PUMPKIN to read to my granddaughters because we all loved Toht's PICK A PINE TREE, which was also illustrated by Jarvis.
In PICK A PUMPKIN, a family goes to a farm to select just the right pumpkin to carve for Halloween. While at the farm, they also
Stop for mugs
of spicy punch,
toffee apples,
sweet to crunch.

The family takes the pumpkin home, rubs it clean, and gathers the things they'll need for carving their jack-o-lantern. Then...they invite a "pumpkin carving crew" over to help.
The crew begins their work:
Now all together...
carve the eyes.
Giant circles of surprise.
Small slits sleeping
or one eye peeping.
Cross-eyes crazy.
Angry. Lazy.

Before the crew lights its "new creation," they decorate the house for Halloween with...

Cobwebs strung from post to post.
Rings of gauzy dancing ghosts.
Spiders. Tombstones.
Dangling bats.
Skeletons and witches' hats.

Next, the children don their costumes, take the jack-o-lantern outside, and an adult strikes a match so it will glow.

It's red-hot eyes
will gaze
and flicker.
Its fiery grin
will blaze and snicker.

It will also guard the house while the children are off trick-or-treating.

Jarvis's illustrations are a perfect match for Toht's rhythmic, rhyming text. The final double-page spread shows children trick-or-treating in a dark neighborhood that glows with lit jack-o-lanterns and streetlights. The book truly captures the "spooky" excitement children feel on Halloween.


Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog.


Friday, October 11, 2019


Early autumn is my favorite time of year. I enjoy the cooler days and colored foliage. I like the way my daughter decorates her house for Halloween. I love reading spooky Halloween books and poems to my granddaughters.
I wrote the following poem more than a decade ago:


In October, colored leaves
Fall from oak and maple tree--
Bright confetti shaken down
From their boughs. All over town
Trees are celebrating fall,
Decorating every wall,
Sidewalk, yard, and flowerbed
With pumpkin-orange, gold, and red.
We stand out in the falling leaves
And catch confetti on our sleeves,
In our hands and in our hair. 
We party till the trees are bare.

Catherine has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Reading to the Core.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Remembering Lee Bennett Hopkins with Poetry

I have been thinking a lot lately about my dear friend Lee Bennett Hopkins who passed away earlier this month. I've also been thinking about all of Lee's poetry books that I have collected over the years. I have dozens and dozens of them! I used his books often when I was teaching elementary school. I treasure those books even more now that he is gone.
One of my favorite anthologies compiled by Lee came to mind a few days ago. It's titled ON THE FARM. It's a thin volume of sixteen poems that is beautifully illustrated by Laurel Molk. It was published by Little, Brown in 1991. The book contains poems by some of America's finest children's poets--including David McCord, Aileen Fisher, Lilian Moore, Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth--and Lee Bennett Hopkins.
Here's a sampling of the poems you'll find in this lovely anthology:

by Mary Britton Miller

Come trotting up
Beside your mother,
Little skinny.

Lay your neck across
Her back, and whinny,
Little foal.

You think you're a horse
Because you can trot--
But you're not...

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Valerie Worth

The lawnmower
Grinds its teeth
Over the grass,
Spitting out a thick
Green spray;

Its head is too full
Of iron and oil
To know
What it throws

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Myra Cohn Livingston

Thank you for the sun,
          the sky,
     for all the things that like to fly,
          the shining rain that turns grass green,
          the earth we know --
          the world unseen...
Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Robert Lewis Stevenson

The friendly cow all red and white, 
I love with all my heart: 
She gives me cream with all her might, 
To eat with apple-tart. 

She wanders lowing here and there, 
And yet she cannot stray, 
All in the pleasant open air, 
The pleasant light of day... 

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By James S. Tippett

The horses, the pigs,
And the chickens,
The turkeys, the ducks
And the sheep!
I can see all my friends
From my window
As soon as I waken from sleep.
The cat on the fence
Is out walking.
The geese have gone down
For a swim.
The pony comes trotting
Right up to the gate;
He knows I have candy
For him...

Click here to read the rest of the poem. (NOTE: You will have to scroll down a page as the link takes you directly to a poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth.)

By David McCord

The pickety fence
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A clickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A lickety fence...

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Lee opened ON THE FARM with his own poem titled HELLO, FARM.

By Lee Bennett Hopkins

Hello, ducks,

Hello, hen house,

Hello, woodpiles,


I used Lee's poem as a model for the following poem that I wrote in his memory.

By Elaine Magliaro

Hello, children,

in cozy nooks.

Hello, meter,

all the time!


Kathryn Apel has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.