Friday, February 14, 2020

Poetry Friday: Valentine for Ernest Mann

For Valentine's Day, I'm posting a favorite poem by one of my favorite poets.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I love your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in the way that lets us find them.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Linda has the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.

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.