Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Ritual: An Original Memoir Poem

As the end of August draws near and the tomatoes in our garden are beginning to ripen, I’m reminded of Dzidzi, my maternal grandfather. Dzidzi loved his large vegetable garden that was situated behind my grandparents’ house. He so enjoyed bringing me down to his garden to pick tomatoes and peppers and carrots and onions and beets every time I visited during growing season when I was young.

I remember the year Dzidzi died. He was in the hospital at the end of the summer in 1984. He had esophageal cancer. It frustrated Dzidzi so much that he couldn’t tend to his garden. He passed away in late September. I was devastated. I had spent many of my happiest childhood days at my grandparents’ house. Some of my fondest memories are of the times Dzidzi and I picked vegetables in his garden.

I’m posting the following memoir poem from my unpublished collection A Home for the Seasons in memory of my grandfather Michael Kozicki.

My mother and I arrive at my grandparents’ house
late one Sunday afternoon.
Babci greets us in the kitchen
with cold drinks clinking with ice cubes.
Dzidzi fetches a small wooden basket
from the cellar, takes my hand,
and walks me down the stone path to his garden.
He leans over a tomato plant,
holds a fat red globe in his cupped hand,
and looks at me. I nod approval.
I can almost taste the tomato’s warm, juicy flesh.
We choose a dozen more and place them in the basket.
We pick three green, glossy-skinned peppers,
pull up a bunch of feather-topped carrots,
enough beets for my mother to make a pot of zimny barszcz
thickened with sour cream and floating with cucumber slices.
Every visit to my grandparents’ house
is the same this season—
a small harvest of vegetables—
and when we leave, I take home
a little basket of Dzidzi’s garden.


Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Roundup is at Live. Love. Explore!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marriage on a Mountain & Baby Crazy

I know...I know. I haven't been posting much this summer. Recently, I've been spending a lot of time with my new granddaughter Julia Anna. I was also away in Vermont for a few days for the wedding of the daughter of two close friends. Maura, our friends' daughter, got married on Sugarbush Mountain. It was a perfect day and I had an enjoyable ride up and down the mountain on a chairlift. One of the best things was getting to spend a couple of days with some of my oldest--and dearest--friends. I've known three of these friends since first grade!

Here are some pictures I'd like to share with you:

Wedding in Vermont

Julia Anna

Four Generations of Females

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things to Do: School Poems

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been retired for seven years now. For more than three decades (1968-2004) during the month of August, I’d be preparing my classroom—or my library—for the new school year. I have lots of wonderful memories from my days of teaching at an elementary school. It was via teaching young children that I got hooked on reading and writing poetry. I doubt I would have ever written children's poetry if I had gone into another profession.

Here are some of my “things to do” poems that I wrote about school.

Things to Do If You Are a School

Be cool.
Let students rule!

Things to Do If You Are a Pencil

Be sharp.
Wear a slick yellow suit
and a pink top hat.
Tap your toes on the tabletop,
listen for the right rhythm,
then dance a poem
across the page.

Things to Do If You Are a School Lunch

Be a pizza
crusty and hot
thick with tomato sauce
gooey with cheese
topped with salty circles of pepperoni…

Things to Do If You Are a Stapler

Click your metal jaws together.
Grip my papers
with your teeth of steel.
Then bite down hard
with all your might
and bind them together

Things to Do If You Are a Spelling Test

Don’t make me queasy.
Be easy!!!

Things to Do If You Are a School Bell

Ring loudly at the end of day.
Brrrrring! Brrrrring! is all you have to say.
We kids will soon be on our way.
When we hear that sound—it’s time to play!


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Dori Reads.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School 2011: Poetry & Picture Book Recommendations

Back to School Picture Books

Bookshelf Bests: Favorite Books for Back-to-School (Scholastic)

9 Back to School Picture Books (Delightful Children’s Books)

Back to School (ALSC Blog)

Back to School Books for Your Kindergartner (Birmingham Mommy)

Picture Books about School (No Time for Flash Cards)

First Day Of School Picture Books (Ann Arbor District Library)

Top Ten Starting School Picture Books (Little Sprout Books)

A Guide to Picture Books for the First Day of School (Bright Hub)

Book Bunch: School Stories (Wild Rose Reader 2007): In this post I recommend picture books about school in the following categories:
- Getting the Jitters
- Fun at School
- A Bad Day at School
- School Stories to Tickle Your Funny Bone
- School Stories about Teasing and Bullying
- Going to School at Sea

A Perfect Pair: School Stories (Wild Rose Reader 2007): This post has reviews of Amy Hest’s Off to School, Baby Duck! And Anna Alter’s Francine’s Day.

School Poetry Posts from Wild Rose Reader & Blue Rose Girls

Poetry Friday: Going Back to School...with Poetry

More School Poems: Review of School Supplies

Review of Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School

Things to Do If You Are a Stapler & Other Back-to-School Poems

Review of Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year

Review of Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems

Review of This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

Going Back to School...with Poetry (2010)

Friday, August 12, 2011

POETRY FRIDAY: Something About Me

I've had a wonderful few days visiting with my new granddaughter Julia Anna since she came home from the hospital on Monday. Like any proud new grandma--I've been taking lots and lots of pictures.

Here's the poem I selected to post this morning because I won't see Julia for a couple of days. I hope she doesn't change too much in that time!

Something About Me

There’s something about me
That I’m knowing.
There’s something about me
That isn’t showing.
I’m growing!


Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Star Danced and My Granddaughter Julia Anna Was Born!!!

A star danced,
And under that
was I born.
~ William Shakespeare

My heart danced, too, at 1:22 am on Saturday, August 6th. That’s when my beautiful granddaughter Julia Anna was born! It was such an amazing experience for me to be there when my daughter Sara gave birth to her first child—my first grandchild—to help Sara…to give her words of encouragement…to share in this truly memorable event with my only child. I’m floating on cloud nine at the moment.

There had been some concern near the end of my daughter’s pregnancy that her baby was quite small—but my little granddaughter fooled us all. She weighed in at 7lbs. 11 oz and measured 21 inches.

I rarely miss a Poetry Friday—but last Friday morning, my husband and I headed off to the hospital to be with my daughter from the beginning of her labor until the birth of Julia Anna. I’m so happy that Sara insisted that she wanted me to be there with her.

Julia will come home today. I’ll be helping out a lot in the coming weeks—so if I’m not posting much, you’ll know why. It’s not because I’m sick…or on vacation. It’s because I’m a happy victim of New Grandma Syndrome.

As with all new proud grandmothers--I have lots of baby pictures to share with you!

And later the same day...

I'll be reading lots of picture books and oodles and oodles of poetry to my little granddaughter.

For my Julia:


Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Poppa's gonna buy you a mocking bird.

If that mocking bird don't sing,
Poppa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

If that diamond ring turns brass,
Poppa's gonna buy you a looking-glass.

If that looking-glass gets broke,
Poppa's gonna buy you a billy goat.

If that billy goat runs away,
Poppa's gonna buy you a bale of hay.

If you grow up and get real tall
You'll be the prettiest baby of all.

Julia already IS the prettiest baby of all!

To Sara & Jerry,

Thanks for giving me
the most beautiful granddaughter
in the world!