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.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Remembering Lee Bennett Hopkins with Poetry

I have been thinking a lot lately about my dear friend Lee Bennett Hopkins who passed away earlier this month. I've also been thinking about all of Lee's poetry books that I have collected over the years. I have dozens and dozens of them! I used his books often when I was teaching elementary school. I treasure those books even more now that he is gone.
One of my favorite anthologies compiled by Lee came to mind a few days ago. It's titled ON THE FARM. It's a thin volume of sixteen poems that is beautifully illustrated by Laurel Molk. It was published by Little, Brown in 1991. The book contains poems by some of America's finest children's poets--including David McCord, Aileen Fisher, Lilian Moore, Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth--and Lee Bennett Hopkins.
Here's a sampling of the poems you'll find in this lovely anthology:

by Mary Britton Miller

Come trotting up
Beside your mother,
Little skinny.

Lay your neck across
Her back, and whinny,
Little foal.

You think you're a horse
Because you can trot--
But you're not...

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Valerie Worth

The lawnmower
Grinds its teeth
Over the grass,
Spitting out a thick
Green spray;

Its head is too full
Of iron and oil
To know
What it throws

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Myra Cohn Livingston

Thank you for the sun,
          the sky,
     for all the things that like to fly,
          the shining rain that turns grass green,
          the earth we know --
          the world unseen...
Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By Robert Lewis Stevenson

The friendly cow all red and white, 
I love with all my heart: 
She gives me cream with all her might, 
To eat with apple-tart. 

She wanders lowing here and there, 
And yet she cannot stray, 
All in the pleasant open air, 
The pleasant light of day... 

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

By James S. Tippett

The horses, the pigs,
And the chickens,
The turkeys, the ducks
And the sheep!
I can see all my friends
From my window
As soon as I waken from sleep.
The cat on the fence
Is out walking.
The geese have gone down
For a swim.
The pony comes trotting
Right up to the gate;
He knows I have candy
For him...

Click here to read the rest of the poem. (NOTE: You will have to scroll down a page as the link takes you directly to a poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth.)

By David McCord

The pickety fence
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A clickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A lickety fence...

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Lee opened ON THE FARM with his own poem titled HELLO, FARM.

By Lee Bennett Hopkins

Hello, ducks,

Hello, hen house,

Hello, woodpiles,


I used Lee's poem as a model for the following poem that I wrote in his memory.

By Elaine Magliaro

Hello, children,

in cozy nooks.

Hello, meter,

all the time!


Kathryn Apel has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.


Friday, July 19, 2019

MOON Poems & A Rocket Poem

This weekend my husband and I will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing--and our 50th wedding anniversary!, I thought I'd share some of my original moon poems and one rocket poem.
Live in the sky.
Be bold…
be shy.
Wax and wane
in your starry terrain.
Be a circle of light,
just a sliver of white,
or hide in the shadows
and vanish from sight.
Look like a pearl
when you’re brim-full
and bright.
Hang in the darkness.
Dazzle the night.

Of the sun, bright
Orb in the evening sky, Earth's

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.

Sometimes Moon is round and bright.
Sometimes it’s just a wisp of white.
Sometimes it vanishes from sight.
Moon is an ever-changing light.
Night sang Sun a lullaby,
sprinkled stars across the sky, 
switched on Moon
and let it shine
into this little room of mine.

Off the launchpad in a
Cloud of smoke,
Kicking off its invisible tether to
Earth, it blasts into space, blazing a
Trail, searing the sky with its fiery tail.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol's Corner this week.



Friday, June 14, 2019

Poem for a Retiring Teacher

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a poem for one of my former teaching colleagues who was retiring. I had worked with Robin for a dozen years. She came to my elementary school after I'd been teaching there for more than twenty years. She was a wonderful addition to our teaching staff. She was hard-working, dedicated, loved children, and got along well with everyone.

As I was thinking about how to approach writing a poem about my friend, a poem by Mary O'Neill titled Miss Norma Jean Pugh, First Grade Teacher came to mind. I pulled The Random House Book of Poetry for Children off the shelf and read the poem. It was the perfect inspiration for my poem about Robin.  (Click here to read O'Neill's poem.)

By Elaine Magliaro

On a morning in May that's sunny and bright
When robins are singing with great delight
And butterflies flit through blossomed air
And lilac scents are everywhere
And honeybees buzz around apple trees
And you feel the breath of spring in a gentle breeze...
When your whole wide world seems fresh and new
And sparkles with beads of morning dew
And you'd like to fly a kite or climb a tree,
Play with your friends down by the sea,
Ride your bike and roller blade,
And have an exciting escapade--
Who cares if two and two are four...
Or five or six or even more?
Who cares if Earth is shaped like a sphere
Or December's the last month of the year?
Well, now I do--I really do
Even though I didn't used to--
Not until I met Mrs. Berg!
She's pretty old as teachers go--
Fifty-four or six or eight or so--
But she makes her students WANT to KNOW!


Laura Shovan has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.



Friday, May 24, 2019

FACING IT: A Poem for Memorial Day

 My father served in the army during World War II. One of my mother's first cousins, John Koziski, was  killed in that war. A number of my friends served in the Vietnam War. Two did not return home. I'm
 posting a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa in honor of them and all of our veterans who have served our 
 country during wartime.

 By Yusef Komunyakaa

My black face fades,   
hiding inside the black granite.   
I said I wouldn't  
dammit: No tears.   
I'm stone. I'm flesh.   
My clouded reflection eyes me   
like a bird of prey, the profile of night   
slanted against morning. I turn   

this way—the stone lets me go.   
I turn that way—I'm inside   
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a differenceVietnam Veterans Memorial Located in Washington D.C., the Memorial is roughly 500 feet wide, and the names of soldiers who died in Vietnam are etched on its black granite walls. For more information and photos, visit The Wall-USA.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Dani has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Doing the Work that Matters.



Friday, May 10, 2019

A Poem in Memory of My Beautiful Mother

A poem in memory of my beautiful mother Mary Koziski Drabik (February 24, 1918-January 5, 2017)
by David Young

I see her doing something simple, paying bills,
or leafing through a magazine or book,
and wish that I could say, and she could hear,

that now I start to understand her love
for all of us, the fullness of it.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.
My mother's last Mother's Day (2016)
Mother's Day 2012

Elizabeth Steinglass has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Friday, May 3, 2019

DOUBLE DACTYLS about Fairy Tales & Children's Books

Here are some double dactyls that I wrote years ago. All of them are about children’s books and fairy tales. Not sure that I adhered to the poetic form perfectly. Still, it was fun writing them!

Higgeldy piggeldy
Charlotte Cavatica,
Writer and weaver,
Spun tales for her friend,

Wilbur, the runt pig
She nurtured and cherished.
That spider was loyal
And true to the end.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Vegan Pete Rabbit
Pilfered some lettuce
And carrots and kale.

Mister McGregor
Chased after that bunny
But Peter escaped
By the fluff of his tail.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Poor Sleeping Beauty
Slumbered for decades
Because of a spell.

Prince Charming knelt down and
Kissed the prone princess.
They married. They’re happy.
There’s no more to tell.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Sad Cinderella
Sat in the ashes
Bemoaning her fate.

Godmother fairy
Said: “Honey, don’t blubber.
My magic will score you
A rich, handsome mate.”

Higgeldy piggeldy
Beauty was grossed out
Watching the ugly Beast
Nnoshing raw boar.

“God,” she said, “can’t you please
Masticate quietly!
Dining with you is
A distasteful chore.”
Higgeldy piggeldy
Max was a "wild thing,"
Got into mischief,
Was sent to his room,
Kicked up a rumpus
With Like-minded wild things.
Some kiddies go crazy
Once they leave the womb.

Click here for the definition of the Double Dactyl from The Poetry Foundation.

Jama has the Poetry Friday Roundup at her wonderful blog Alphabet Soup.