Friday, September 30, 2016


I often find it difficult to capture an image/idea that I have in my mind in words. Autumn is the time of year when I hear the honking of geese that are heading south for winter. I have tried over the years to write a poem about migrating geese—but I have never been really satisfied with the results. Here are two versions of a “wild geese” poem that I wrote. The first was written several years ago; the second was written earlier this year.
One Poem Two Ways
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned: “It’s time!”
We’re heading south before the snow…
And winter winds begin to blow.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk!
That’s the sound of fall.
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned, “It’s time!”
Days grow shorter. Trees grow bare.
Pumpkins fatten. Frost nips the air.
We know the signs. It’s time to go
Before the sky fills up with snow.
But we’ll return again next year
When we can sense that spring is near.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk! That’s the sound of fall.
Here is one of my favorite fall poems:
Something Told the Wild Geese
by Rachel Field, 1894-1942
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, "snow."

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, "frost."
Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Cari Best wrote a touching picture book about a wounded goose that landed in her backyard. It is based on her own experience. A photograph of the one-footed goose is included on the title page. The book was beautifully illustrated by the late Holly Meade.
From the title page:
“Goose’s story is true. She came on a Sunday. We could only guess about how she’d hurt her foot…Whatever it was, the goose with one foot became our spring and then our summer that year. Who would have thought she’d become our inspiration for all times, too.”
Booklist gave Goose’s Story a starred review. Here is an excerpt from that review:
“Best's simple prose is rhythmic and beautiful, more poetic than much of the so-called free verse in many children's books; and Meade's clear, cut-paper collages show the drama through the child's eyes--the clamor of the flock against the New England landscape through the seasons; the honking and jumping for the sky; and one goose left behind, wild and beautiful, hurt, and strong.”
Unfortunately, the book is now out of print—but you may be able to find it in your public or school library…or a used copy from an online bookseller
A Family Movie about Migrating Geese
My five-year-old granddaughter Julia likes Fly Away Home, a 1996 movie starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin. Julia and I have watched the movie together a few times.
NOTE: (Fly Away Home won the 1997 Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award as the Best Family Film, the 1997 Christopher Award (for family films), 1997 Young Artist Award in the category of Best Family Feature – Drama, and the 1997 Genesis Award for Feature Films.)
Fly Away Home movie trailer:
 Mary Chapin Carpenter—10,000 Miles
Something Told the Wild Geese (Ann Arbor Youth Chorale)
Mary Oliver reading her poem Wild Geese
Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Friday, September 16, 2016

POETRY FRIDAY: A Little Autumn Poetry

The weather can change fast in September in New England where I live. One day it may be hot and humid with the temperature rising into the mid to high eighties. The next day, the temperature can dip into the low sixties...or fifties.

I love this time of year in New England—especially as summer gives way to autumn and the leaves begin to change color…and the days are drier and cooler.

Yesterday, I was reading through some of my old poetry files that I hadn’t looked at in a long time. That’s when I found the following “tidbit” of a poem titled September. I have no memory of ever having written it. I thought I’d post it today.


Summer sighs
as it grows old.
The brassy sun
is not so bold.
Nights start to entertain
the cold.

Here is an autumn list poem that I wrote years ago:


Crickets sighing
Birds goodbying
Pumpkins growing plump and round

Apple picking
Football kicking
Chestnuts thudding on the ground

Bright leaves falling
Wild geese calling
Honeybees huddling in their hive

Turkey eating
Winter’s waiting to arrive


Here is an excellent book of autumn poems written by Douglas Florian, which I am happy to say, is still in print:

poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books, 2003

Autumnblings is the third in Douglas Florian’s series of seasonal poetry collections. The twenty-nine poems in this book touch on a variety of autumnal topics: apple picking, Indian summer, pumpkins, falling leaves, the first frost, the migration of geese, and Thanksgiving. Readers will find a plethora of short, light-hearted poems that speak about animals and the changes in nature that take place during this season.

As in Winter Eyes, Summersaults, Handsprings and Florian’s collections of animal poems, including Insectlopedia, Beast Feast, Mammalabilia, and In the Swim, there’s also plenty of clever wordplay in Autumnblings to delight old and young readers alike. The book contains poems with the following titles: HI-BEAR-NATION, AWE-TUMN, and SYMMETREE (Autumn is the only season/The leaves all leave./Call it tree-son.) In his poem BRRRRRRR!, Florian writes about Octobrrrrr’s cold, Novembrrrrr’s chill, and Decembrrrrr’s freeze. In TREE-TICE, Florian speaks of the number of leaves falling from trees--one leaf…then two…then three…and so on. It’s, according to the author, A tree-tice on/Arithmetics.

Autumnblings includes a few shape poems and several list poems with the following titles: What I Love about Autumn, What I Hate about Autumn, The Wind, Birds of Autumn, The Owls, The Colors of Autumn, What to Do with Autumn Leaves, Thanksgiving, and Autumnescent.

The collection concludes with NAUGHTUM, a poem that relates how The trees are bare./The birds have flown…./The leaves fall down/And then get burned,/As autumn slowly gets winturned.

Florian’s illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencils add just the right touch of color and humor to this collection that is a “must have” for elementary classroom library collections.


Michelle has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.

Friday, September 9, 2016

POETRY FRIDAY: Two Poems about Pledges

By Elizabeth Powell

Republic, your cool hands
On my schoolgirl shoulders.
Not sure what allegiances meant
Until the vows were held by heart,
By memory, by rote, by benign betrothal.
Republic, you were mine, I knew
Because of Mother’s religious pamphlets:
Lindsay for Mayor.
McGovern for President.
How to Register Voters.
I didn’t ever want to go to school
On Saturdays. The baby-sitter said
If Nixon won, I’d have to go…

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


by Jacqueline Woodson

When the kids in my class ask why
I am not allowed to pledge to the flag
I tell them It's against my religion but don't say,
I am in the world but not of the world. This,
they would not understand.
Even though my mother's not a Jehovah's Witness,
she makes us follow their rules and
leave the classroom when the pledge is being said.

Every morning, I walk out with Gina and Alina
the two other Witnesses in my class.
Sometimes, Gina says,
Maybe we should pray for the kids inside
who don't know that God said
"No other idols before me." That our God
is a jealous God.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


A little history about the Pledge of Allegiance (

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In its original form it read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. At this time it read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy's daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


Amy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.

Friday, September 2, 2016

POETRY FRIDAY: Sun and Moon Poems

In early May, I sent out a collection of mask poems to a publisher. The collection takes the reader through the day on a farm. Most of the poems are written in pairs (mare and foal, father sheep and lamb, cows and bull, mother duck and ducklings). A couple of weeks ago, I received a rejection via email. The editors, however, gave me hope that they would like to see more of my work. They wrote: Lovely language, especially our favorite, Mother Duck. Does not fit our needs right now. Please keep us in mind for future projects. 

I have a trusted poet friend who did a critique on the manuscript for me. After speaking with her, I have decided to do some revisions. I have already cut the first and last poems as I feel they are unnecessary…and add little to the collection.

I decided to post those two poems for Poetry Friday this week.


I’ll arise and brighten the sky.
I’ll bid the night and dark goodbye.
I’ll shine
and light the way
for arrival of a brand new day.


Now that the sun has left the sky.
It’s time for ME to shine on high…
To spread my gentle pearly light
For all the creatures of the night.


Penny has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Penny and Her Jots.