Friday, December 21, 2018

Two Christmas Poems

By Eleanor Farjeon
This is the week when Christmas comes,
     Let every pudding burst with plums,
And every tree bear dolls and drums,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

Let every hall have boughs of green,
With berries glowing in between,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

Let every doorstep have a song
Sounding the dark street along,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

Let every steeple ring a bell
With a joyful tale to tell,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

Let every night put forth a star
To show us where the heavens are,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

Let every pen enfold a lamb
Sleeping warm beside its dam,
     In the week when Christmas comes.

This is the week when Christmas comes.
[little tree]                                            
little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"
Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.


Friday, November 30, 2018

When the Year Grows Old by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I've selected a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay titled When the Years Grows Old to post today.

When the Year Grows Old

I cannot but remember
  When the year grows old—
  How she disliked the cold!

She used to watch the swallows
  Go down across the sky,
And turn from the window
  With a little sharp sigh.

And often when the brown leaves
  Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
  Made a melancholy sound,

She had a look about her
  That I wish I could forget—
The look of a scared thing
  Sitting in a net!

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Sorry that I haven't been posting more frequently. I've been reading and evaluating lots of books as I am one of three judges for the 2019 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children's Literature--along with E.B. Lewis and Laura McGee Kvasnosky--and a first round judge for the Cybils Poetry Award.


You'll find the Poetry Friday Roundup at Carol's Corner today.

Friday, October 12, 2018

WHEN I GET ANGRY: An Original Poem

Some time ago, I got an idea for a collection of poems titled The Animal in Me. In the poems, children would imagine themselves to be like certain animals at times depending on how they felt. For example, an angry child might feel like he/she was a grizzly bear--or a child being sent to his/her room as punishment might feel like a big cat trapped in a cage. The collection never went too far. Here is one of the poems from it.
When I get angry, I’m a bear…
A grizzly bear
With coarse brown hair
And teeth that tear.
You best beware!
When I get angry,
I clench my paws
And snap my jaws.
I prowl and growl
Around my room
And fuss and fume
And stomp the floor
And slam my door…
I’m not angry anymore.


Friday, September 7, 2018


Anna (Chalupka) Koziski

Today, I'm sharing a memoir poem about my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather were Polish immigrants who came to America in the early part of the 20th century. Like many immigrants who were peasants, they had a garden and fruit trees and grew much of their own food. Years ago, a childhood image of my Babci preserving tomatoes inspired the following poem:


In the cellar
Babci sits on an old kitchen chair
made new with glossy gray paint.
Wearing an apron blooming with faded flowers,
she leans over the tub of steaming water,
plucks out plump tomatoes,
and peels off the wet, papery skins.

She fills shiny jars with soft red pulp,
stretches on rubber sealers,
presses down moon-round lids,
clicks closed the metal clamps.
She places the jars in a wire basket
and lowers them into a pot of bubbling water to cook.

On wooden shelves in a corner
she stores stewed tomatoes beside rows of pickled beets,
golden peach slices, green piccalilli,
and carrots the color of October pumpkins.

Standing there in late afternoon,
sunlight shining through a small side window,
I see her harvest preserved:
a rainbow glistening in glass.
Babci is keeping summer alive in jars.

Carol has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Beyond Literacy Link.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Two Zebra Poems

I LOVE writing animal mask poems! I enjoy imagining what animals might say if they could speak to us. Here are two poems in which zebras tell us something about themselves:

I love my snazzy black and white hide.
I wear it with a lot of pride.
My bold stripes help distinguish me
from other zebras that you see.
I'm truly unique--one of a kind.
We're not all the same!
Keep that in mind.

NOTE: No two zebras have the exact same pattern of stripes on their bodies. They are said to be as
different as human fingerprints.


I'm black
            and white.
I'm dark
            and light
like night
            and day.

I may look like a horse
            but I never say NEIGH!

Which mask poem do you like better?

Christy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Wondering and Wandering.


Friday, July 27, 2018


I am happy to tell you that Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's newest poetry anthology--GREAT MORNING!: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud--has just been published. I am also thrilled that one of my poems is included in this book!!!

by Elaine Magliaro

We're having a bake sale tomorrow at three.
We're raising money for our school's library.
We'll have goodies to sell--goodies galore--
Better than baked goods you buy in a store:
Cranberry muffins and cinnamon rolls,
Pretzels, turnovers, scones, donut holes,
Sweet Danish pastries slathered with jam,
Calzones stuffed with cheddar and ham,
Frosted brownies--fudgy and gooey--
Tart lemon squares--tangy and chewy--
Flaky fruit pies bursting with berries,
Peaches, apples, rhubarb, and cherries,
Coconut cream cakes, cookies, and more!
We'll have goodies to sell--goodies galore.
Come to our bake sale tomorrow at three!
Help us raise money for our school's library.

Check out Sylvia Vardell's post about GREAT MORNING! at her blog Poetry for Children.

You can find out more about this book here.


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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Two Bee Poems: Revising for Publication

I had to revise a number of the poems in the THINGS TO DO manuscript that was submitted to Chronicle Books. A few had minor revisions; others required major changes. One that underwent a major change was the honeybee poem, which had originally been a "worker bee" poem.

Things to do if you are a WORKER BEE as it appeared in my manuscript:

Be yellow and fuzzy.
Stay busy. Be buzzy.
Tidy and clean.
Tend to your queen.
Be a working machine—
A syrup collector.
Go forage for nectar.
Reap pollen from flowers.
Don’t spend idle hours.
Don’t sit and relax.
Make honey and wax.
You must toil without end—
Yours is a lifetime of labor,
My friend.

My editor Melissa Manlove thought the poem was too long. She suggested I keep just the first two lines...and leave the poem at that. I decided to add two new lines to the beginning.

The final draft of Things to do if you are a HONEYBEE as it appears in my book:

Flit among flowers.
Sip nectar for hours.
Be yellow and fuzzy.
Stay busy.
Be buzzy.

Sylvia Vardell has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Poetry for Children.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Two Original Beetle Poems

Today, I have two beetle poems for you. The first is a haiku; the second is a mask poem.

Beetle on a rose

in shining armor…ready

to battle sharp thorns



My love is this beautiful red, red rose.

Of all the blossoms, it’s the one I chose.

It has silky petals, leaves of emerald green.

It’s the yummiest flower that I’ve ever seen.



Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Monarch Mask Poem

(Picture by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson)

One sunny day
I laid a wee egg
beneath a broad leaf.
It was a gem,
pearly and white--
a seed of new life,
a small bit of me
that I'll never see
grow wings and take flight.
Some time ago, I began writing a collection of mask poems tentatively titled Butterfly Days. The poems are told in the voices of a Monarch butterfly, butterfly egg, and larva--as well as a milkweed plant. I put the manuscript on the shelf and haven't worked on it for many months. The poem above is the fourth one in the collection at the present time.
Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Friday, June 1, 2018

COTTON CANDY: An Original Poem

My older granddaughter didn't have school last Friday because of kindergarten screening. It was a beautiful day so my husband and I took the "grandgirls" to Salem Willows Park. Julia asked if I'd get them some cotton candy, which they really enjoyed. That little trip brought to mind a poem that I wrote about cotton candy for a poetry collection about sweet things that has never been published.


Fairy floss,
pink puff of spun sugar,
cumulus confection,
sunset cloud
floating on a cardboard cone.

It's a great joy for Mike and me to take "our girls" to places we went to as kids to have fun.


Buffy has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Home for the Seasons: A Memoir Poem

I spent many of my happiest childhood days at the home of my maternal grandparents--Michael and Anna (Chalupka) Koziski. They owned a small duplex on a quiet street in Peabody, Massachusetts. They lived on the left side of the house. My Aunt Emily and my cousins Karen and Joyce lived on the right side after my Uncle Stanley passed away when he was in his late twenties.
After the death of my Babci and Dzidzi, I decided to write a collection of poems about them and their home in order to honor their memory. Here is the first poem from the unpublished collection:
A Home for the Seasons
My grandparents’ house seems to hug their shady street.
A white duplex, its twin front doors
stand side by side
just three steps up from the sidewalk.
We always enter their house through the side door.
Stepping into the kitchen,
we find Babci sitting at the far end of the table
spooning filling onto circles of homemade dough
and making pierogis, crocheting afghans,
or snipping lacy designs from paper—
a traditional folk art she learned in Poland.
Sometimes we see her painting flowers on the cupboard doors
or hanging starched curtains she embroidered by hand.
The aroma of stuffed cabbage or babka baking in the oven
often greets us at the door.
Most days, Dzidzi spends outdoors tending to his garden
or painting the shutters green
or mending the picket fence
or building a backyard fireplace for summertime barbecues.
My grandparents always busy themselves
making their place a special place
for the family to gather throughout the year,
making it a home for all the seasons.
Anna & Michael Koziski

Four Cousins
My sister Virginia is in the back row.
Front Row (L to R) Me, Joyce, Karen
Rebecca has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Sloth Reads.
NOTE: I want to thank my grandnephew George Blaney for putting many of our old family pictures on CDS for close relatives.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Afternoon on a Hill: A Poem for My Mother

Sunday will be the second Mother's Day we celebrate without my mother. I picked out the following poem to honor her because the simplest things could bring joy into her life: a colorful sunset, the scent of lilacs in spring, a crisp autumn day, taking care of her youngest granddaughter. I think she would have liked Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem about spending an afternoon on a hill enjoying nature.

Afternoon on a Hill
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
I will be the gladdest thing 
    Under the sun! 
I will touch a hundred flowers 
    And not pick one. 
I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes, 
Watch the wind bow down the grass, 
    And the grass rise. 

 Click here to read the rest of the poem.
My mother's last Mother's Day (2016)

Jama has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Alphabet Soup.


Friday, May 4, 2018

And the Winner of THINGS TO DO for the Fourth Week of National Poetry Month Is...

The winner of a signed copy of my book THINGS TO DO is Glenda Funk! Congratulations, Brenda! Just email me your address and let me know how you would like me to inscribe the book.

NOTE: I apologize for this late announcement. I came down with my second respiratory infection in a month and have been feeling really tired and out of sorts.

First Week's Winner: Books4Learning

Second Week's Winner: Robyn Hood Black

Third Week's Winner: Brenda Harsham

All winners should email me their snail mail addresses. Let me know how you would like me to sign your books. If you want me to send the book to someone other than yourself, that's fine with me--as long as it isn't overseas.
Brenda has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Friendly Fairy Tales.


Friday, April 27, 2018


 A Martian Chronicle: Words of Earth's First Astronaut to Land on Mars

The sky is pink.
The rocks are red.
There ain’t no birdies

It’s bare. It’s bleak.
Don’t see no plants…
Or other green

It’s desolate.
The air is scant.
Except for me—
No life’s extant.

It’s dusty, dry.
I need a beer.
Get me outta here!


TO: Pluto
DATE: August 24, 2006
RE: Demotion to Dwarf Status

Sorry, Pluto, you’re way too small.
You’re just an itty-bitty ball…
An insignificant cosmic dot…
A speck in the Milky Way. You’re not
Considered a planet anymore.
Here’s your pink slip; there’s the door.
You’re off the list. Goodbye! Adieu!
Don’t go making a hullabaloo.
There’s nothing…nothing…you can do.
Accept your fate.


(NOTE: IAU stands for the International Astronomical Union)


Posts from earlier this week:


 Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 22-28). 
Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

TWO COW POEMS: Variations on a Theme

One writing exercise that I enjoy doing is writing about a particular subject in different kinds of poems. Here are two poems that I wrote about cows. The second is a mask poem. You'll see that the poems have some things in common:


Graze on a hillside meadow
dotted with dandelion suns.
Breathe in the sweet smell of clover
and freshly mown hay.
Flick flies away with your tasseled tail.
Feel summer days pass by
like silk over silver.
Moo and chew
and chew and moo.
your grand green view.


Up here on the hillside,
We graze and we laze.
We laze and we graze
On warm sunny days.
We chew and we moo.
We moo and we chew
And ruminate on
This grand green view.

Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 22-28). 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

SOLE SONG: A Mask Poem about a Pair of Shoes

Here is a mask poem that I wrote back in 2010 for one of Tricia's (Miss Rumphius) poetry stretches.
Tricia wrote:

Shoes make great subjects for writing. Pick a shoe, any shoe, and it will tell you a story. It may want to tell you about a special event--a wedding, a prom, a soccer game. It may want to tell you about how it hid from the other shoe? It may want to tell you about a previous owner. If a shoe has traveled many miles, it will have many stories.

So, that's the challenge for today. Write a poem about shoes, or an event where the shoes figure prominently, or a pair you wanted by couldn't have, or .... there's just so much to choose from!

Sole Song

We’re the well-worn soles of shoes
reading all the sidewalk news.
As we go along our way
we broadcast headlines of the day:
dots of rain
wad of bubblegum
bright stain
of cherry popsicle
that bled
its sticky sweetness
cool and red
concrete cracked
by root of tree
telltale clue
of injured knee
ghost of ant
whose remnants lie
flattened from a passerby
Our bugaboo!
We just stepped in doggy do!

Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 22-28). 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

FOLLOW THE LEMON DROP ROAD: An Original Poem from an Unpublished Collection

Years ago, I began working on a collection of poems about sweet things. There were two different versions of the manuscript. One included poems just about candy. The other contained poems about all kinds of sweet things--including donuts, pudding, popsicles, a birthday cake.

My good friend Grace Lin and I planned to collaborate on the project. We even took a "investigative field trip" to YUMMIES, a famous candy store in southern Maine where we found hundreds of different kinds of candies--some of which I hadn't seen in decades. You can read about our trip here: How Sweet It Is!: A Poetry Tale.

In 2011, when Grace was out in San Francisco, she spoke with Melissa Manlove, an editor at Chronicle Books. She told Melissa she had a manuscript written by a friend that she wanted to send to her. Grace had planned to send Melissa my manuscript of candy poems. After some thought, Grace decided to send her my THINGS TO DO manuscript. I will be forever grateful to Grace for doing that. My book THINGS TO DO might never have been published if it hadn't been for her! I might never have received a 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Award or the 2018 Margaret Wise Brown Children'sLiterature Prize.

NOTE: I also owe a debt of gratitude to my wonderful editor Melissa Manlove who helped me shape my manuscript into the book it became...and to Catia Chien, the talented artist who created beautiful, dreamy illustrations for my text.

Here is one of the poems from SWEET TOOTH, my unpublished collection of candy poems:


A good witch gave me directions to Candyland.

She told me to follow the Lemon Drop Road

Straight past Vegetable Valley

And Eat-It-It’s-Good-for-You Village.

She said to beware of the sugarless not-so-gummy bears

And bitter chocolate bunnies

Who often fool unsuspecting travelers

With their phony sweet talk,

And entice them to eat only healthful foods

Like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.


I’m glad she warned me.

I can’t wait to reach my destination.


I must follow the Lemon Drop Road…

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road…

Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 22-28).