Friday, December 29, 2017

POETRY FRIDAY: Ring Out, Wild Bells

My granddaughters want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I find the following poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson most fitting to post at the end of 2017.

In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Heidi has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.
May 2018 bring better days ahead for all of us!

Friday, December 22, 2017


My granddaughters on the day they went to take pictures with Sana
By Elaine Magliaro
Ride on a reindeer's harness.
Tinkle in the icy air.
Jingle across a Christmas sky.
Sing with a silver tongue.
Buffy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog.

Friday, December 1, 2017


I got some great news recently. My book THINGS TO DO was named a Best Book of 2017 for Kids by the New York Public Library! Here are two links where you'll find the list of the NYPL's Best Books of 2017 for Kids:

In addition, Sammy Juliano of Wonders in the Dark wrote a wonderful review of THINGS TO DO. He thinks the book should be taken into consideration for a Caldecott Medal. I couldn't agree more. I love the artwork that Catia Chien did for the book!
Excerpt: Birds know well the consequence of missed opportunities and the likelihood of a second chance not availing itself anytime soon.  Magliaro implores our feathered friends to take full advantage of the unfaltering mantra, “Fist come, first served” by descending down to a lawn where feed has been offered up.  A delay will undoubtably result in other birds “seizing the day.”  When breakfast has been negotiated the poet advocates airborne tenacity:  Stretch out your wings on the brightening sky.  Morning’s upon us.  Get ready to fly!  Chien’s overhead capture is an impressionist gem, featuring the metaphorical image of a bird sporting the wing span and tail of an airplane in a now busy sky of many other airborne creatures evoking Richard Bach’s line from his famed 1970 novella:  and the word for breakfast flock flashed through the air, till a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food.”  The artist makes lush use of saturated acrylic red and green projecting out from the flicked brown and tan cross strokes in a scene witness by the intrepid young girl and her inveterate canine.

For this Poetry Friday, I thought I'd post one of the poems that I had to cut from my THINGS TO DO manuscript:


Don’t YELL at me!
with a harsh metal voice
that makes my ears ring!
Don’t jolt me from my sleep
and start my day off wrong.
Sing me awake
with a soft morning song.


 Here are two reasons why I don't have much time to blog these days. My girls keep me busy!

Mary Lee has the POETRY FRIDAY ROUNDUP  over at A Year of Reading.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Poetry Friday: Autumn Celebration

by Elaine Magliaro

In October, colored leaves
Fall from oak and maple trees…
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.

I love autumn in New England! I love the colored foliage. I love watching my "grandgirls" playing in fallen leaves. The photos above were taken in October 2016. My girls had a true autumn celebration piling up and frisking in autumn leaves. I'm sure they'll celebrate again this year.
The Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at A DAY IN THE LIFE.
If you're wondering why I don't blog much these days, these pictures taken in my office/library may give you a clue:



Friday, September 15, 2017

SUMMER RITUAL: A Poem about My Maternal Grandfather

My maternal grandfather with (L to R) my Great Aunt Agnes, my Aunt Helen, and my maternal grandmother.




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.


September is my favorite month. I love the weather here in New England at this time of year. We still have warm days--usually without the summer humidity. Nights are cooler and comfortable for sleeping.

This month  brings to mind my Dzidzi--my maternal grandfather. He passed away in late September of 1984. It was the first real loss of a beloved family member that I suffered. It was traumatic for me.
Dzidzi with my father

Dzidzi was a Polish immigrant...a peasant from the Old Country. For many years, he worked at a leather factory in Peabody, Massachusetts, which is known as the Tanner City. He also worked in his garden behind his house. He grew many different kinds of vegetables--including onions, peppers, carrots, and beets. He cared for his fruit trees (apple, pear, and plum). His cherry tree was felled by a hurricane in the 1950s. He LOVED tending to his garden almost as much as he loved his family--and he loved sharing the food he grew in it.

Babci and Dzidzi with my older sister
My poem Summer Ritual is a remembrance of the times I'd visit my maternal grandparents in summer and early fall--and return home with a bounty of fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from Dzidzi's garden.


A few weeks ago, I posted a poem about my maternal grandmother titled CROCHETING.


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


Friday, August 25, 2017

CROCHETING: A Poem about My Maternal Grandmother

 My Babci: Anna Chalupka Kozicka

By Elaine Magliaro

The crowns of blossoming fruit trees
are pink and white clouds.
We sit under the apple tree,
petals falling around us like spring snow.
Nearby Babci relaxes in the wide Adirondack chair
crocheting an earth-brown afghan
for our summertime picnics.
Her nimble fingers dance
as she hooks and loops
the dark yarn into intricate designs.
From a single strand
she creates a lacy island
where we will float
on a sea of soft green grass
near Dzidzi’s garden,
eating ham sandwiches,
crunching homemade pickles,
savoring our summer afternoons.

Why I chose to post this poem today: We have had some fine summer weather here this week--sunny, warm, breezy, and dry. Two days ago, my older granddaughter asked if we could have a picnic in our yard. I thought it was a wonderful idea! I lay down a blanket on the lawn in the shade of our old ash tree. Julia and Ali and I had a lovely lunch of red grapes, fontina cheese, and yogurt. The next day, we did it again. My husband joined us for our picnic this time. In addition to grapes, cheese, and yogurt, we had some leftover shrimp and pasta with pesto sauce that I had made with basil from our garden. The girls gobbled up the pasta! Our picnics brought back memories of some of the childhood days that I spent at the home of my beloved maternal grandparents.

Years ago, I wrote a collection of memoir poems about my Babci and Dzidzi. Babci loved to crochet and make food for and feed her family. She also canned fruits and vegetables from their garden. One of her specialties was homemade piccalilli.

My Babci is the one on the right.



Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Check It Out.







Friday, August 4, 2017

Statue in the Park Poem

Laura Purdie Salas wrote on her blog that the Poetry Princess challenge (her choice) for this month was "a poem of any kind, mood, or topic to go with the title 'Statues in the Park.'"

I am no "Poetry Princess"--but when I heard about this challenge, it brought to mind a poem that I wrote about the George Washington statue that is displayed in Boston's Public Garden. I wrote the poem about thirty-five years ago. I don't know where the poem is at the moment so I am doing my best to write it down from memory.
Statue in the Park
by Elaine Magliaro

In the city park, I know
a famous man from long ago.
Astride his horse, George Washington--
father of his countrymen--
tall, majestic, cast in bronze,
he guards the Public Garden's swans,
benches, and the tulip beds...
with pigeons sitting on his head.


Donna has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Mainely Write.


Friday, July 21, 2017

DAWN: An Original Poem That Needs Revision

melted stars
tucked night in tight
woke the sun,
switched on its light...
then made it shine
into this little room of mine.

I haven't posted for a few weeks. I have been going through a writing "dry spell." It has been frustrating for me. I was on a roll for several weeks working on two different collections--and then my muse went on vacation. That said, I have been really busy caring for my "grandgirls" five days a week. And in summer, I like to take them outdoors...and play with them in the pool. By the time my daughter gets home from work and we finish dinner, I'm rarely raring to write.

Still, I feel so fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my granddaughters. They bring such joy into my life. My daughter is going to take a couple of weeks of vacation this summer--so maybe I'll get into my writing groove once again.


I decided to post the poem about dawn, which I found in a computer folder of poems that I had forgotten about. I know it needs more work--but I wanted to participate in Poetry Friday this week.
Katie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Logonauts.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Case of the Missing Caterpillars

On Tuesday, my husband and older granddaughter spotted some interesting-looking caterpillars munching on our dill plant. My husband, two granddaughters, and I checked them out several times during the course of the day. That night, I counted ten caterpillars on the plant. On Wednesday morning, there were just two left. By Thursday morning, they had all disappeared--even though my husband covered the plant with netting.
Our family was really disappointed. We had so hoped to see them metamorphose into butterflies.

I'm not sure what ate them. I doubt they crawled away on a long-distance journey. We couldn't find them anywhere else in the garden.
Thinking of those caterpillars brought to mind Christina Rossetti's poem Caterpillar.

by Christina Rossetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry:
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

My husband and I did some research on the caterpillars. They looked a lot like the larvae of the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly--who like dill plants. I'm not sure, however, that they live here in the Northeast.


Heidi Mordhorst has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Li-Young Lee and Poetry about Fathers

I fell in love with the poetry of Li-Young Lee when I read his debut collection Rose. Published in 1986, the book won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. In the foreword that he wrote for Rose, Gerald Stern said that when he first came across Li-Young Lee’s poetry, he “was amazed by the large vision, the deep seriousness and the almost heroic ideal “reminiscent more of John Keats, Rainer Maria Rilke and perhaps Theodore Roethke than William Carlos Williams on the one hand or T.S. Eliot on the other.” Stern added that what characterizes Lee’s poetry “Is a certain humility, a kind of cunning, a love of plain speech, a search for wisdom and understanding…”

Stern also wrote in his foreword that the “father” in contemporary poetry “tends to be a pathetic soul or bungler or a sweet loser, overwhelmed by the demands of family and culture and workplace.” He said that the father in Lee’s poems isn’t anything like that. He said the “father” in Lee’s poetry is “more godlike”–and that the poet’s job “becomes not to benignly or tenderly forgive him, but to withstand him and comprehend him, and variously fear and love him.”

Lee’s second collection, The City in Which I Love You (1990), is a remembrance of the poet’s childhood…and his father. Writing in Publishers Weekly, reviewer Peggy Kaganoff said the book’s poetry “weaves a remarkable web of memory from the multifarious fibers of his experience.”

For Father’s Day, I have selected some poems from Li-Young Lee’s Rose and The City in Which I Love You to share with you.

Excerpt from Eating Alone

Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can’t recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Excerpt from The Gift

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.
Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Excerpt from My Father, in Heaven, Is Reading Out Loud

My father, in heaven, is reading out loud
to himself Psalms or news. Now he ponders what
he’s read. No. He is listening for the sound
of children in the yard. Was that laughing
or crying? So much depends upon the
answer, for either he will go on reading,
or he’ll run to save a child’s day from grief.
As it is in heaven, so it was on earth.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.




Some old photos of my father, Sigismund R. Drabik (1912-1984): Polish Immigrant, American Citizen, World War II Veteran


NOTE: I am having trouble with Blogger this morning. I can't figure out why there are whited-out areas on this post.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol's Corner.


Friday, June 9, 2017

What Is Supposed to Happen by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yesterday was my older granddaughter's last day of preschool. She spent three years at that wonderful place...with many of the same children who have become her "best friends." After school, my husband and I took her to a nearby park/playground where she and her classmates had an end-of-the-year picnic. The kids all had a grand time playing with each other.

My husband and I finally got to meet many of the children she has been telling us about. It was great watching her having fun and running  around with her friends--some of whom will be going to the same school for kindergarten. I know she'll miss the others who will be attending different schools in the area.

As I watched my granddaughter chatting and playing with her classmates, it brought to mind a favorite poem written by Naomi Shihab Nye: What Is Supposed to Happen. It's a poem that I included in a memory book that I put together for my daughter as a high school graduation gift.

My little "grandgirls" are growing up--and I'm left with the same mixed emotions that I had as I watched my own daughter mature, widen her world outside of family, go off to kindergarten and then college.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

When you were small,
we watched you sleeping,
waves of breath
filling your chest.
Sometimes we hid behind
the wall of baby, soft cradle
of baby needs.
I loved carrying you between
my own body and the world.

Now you are sharpening pencils,
entering the forest
of lunch boxes, little desks.
People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

My younger granddaughter came to the picnic too.

Mary Lee Hahn has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Year of Reading.