Friday, October 18, 2013

Poetry Friday - Mortimer Minute

I hope Mortimer isn't too angry that I finished off the last of the fresh celery greens last night while making a pot of yummy vegetable soup. I promise to head to the farmer's market tomorrow to get him something green and leafy if he promises to stick around!

I've been absent from Poetry Friday for quite a while now, so Laura Purdie Salas thought this might be a way to get me back into the swing of things. I think she just might be right! Like Laura, I'm not much of a meme girl, but this one was too much fun to pass up.

So, without further ado, I'm jumping into the Children's Poetry Blog Hop head first. Many thanks to Laura for the invite!

Here’s how to hop “Mortimer Minute” style!
  • Answer 3 questions. Pick one question from the previous Hopper. Add two of your own. Keep it short, please! This is a Blog Hop, not a Blog Long Jump. This is The Mortimer Minute—not The Mortimer Millennium!
  • Invite friends. Invite 1-3 bloggers who love children’s poetry to follow you. They can be writers, teachers, librarians, or just plain old poetry lovers.
  • Say thank you. In your own post, link to The Previous Hopper. Then keep The Mortimer Minute going — let us know who your Hoppers are and when they plan to post their own Mortimer Minute.
Mortimer's got some friends waiting, so let's go!

Mortimer: Is there a children’s poem that you wish you had written?
Mortimer, you really can't expect me to pick just one! There are so many that I love for so many different reasons. Since growing up next door to a dairy farm, I've always had a fondness for cows. This means that I wish I had written just one of the many cow-themed poems penned by Alice Schertle. Here's one of my favorites.


She landed hard,
they say,
and afterward was slightly lame.
For several days
the curious came to stare,
and many hoped
that she would dare
to try the trick again.
They went away dissatisfied.
She never tried
to jump again,
but gazed for hours at the moon.
They never found the dish and spoon.

Poem ©Alice Schertle. All rights reserved.

Mortimer: Do you have a favorite poetry book from childhood?
I certainly do! It's called THE PEDALING MAN AND OTHER POEMS and is written by Russell Hoban. Here's a photo of my well-worn and much beloved book. It was published in 1968. I'm not sure when I got it, but I remember it well. Growing up near the Erie Canal, Genesee River, and Lake Ontario I was very familiar with water, but it was this poem of Hoban's that captivated me. 

Old Man Ocean
by Russell Hoban

Old Man Ocean, how do you pound
Smooth glass rough, rough stones round?
     Time and the tide and the wild waves rolling,
     Night and the wind and the long gray dawn.

Old Man Ocean, what do you tell,
What do you sing in the empty shell?
     Fog and the storm and the long bell tolling,
     Bones in the deep and brave men gone.

Mortimer: If you could host a dinner party and invite three poets, who would you choose?
Oh Mortimer, that question is just so unfair. Since I'm a rule-breaker, I'll give you two answers. If I could dine with the dead, my choices would be Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. Of folks writing poetry today, I'd choose J. Patrick Lewis, Helen Frost, and Avis Harley. (Yes, I left out some AMAZING poets, but I'm going to gloat for just a moment and tell you that I have shared meals with some of them!)

That's it for me and my Mortimer Minute. Next week the the Children's Poetry Blog Hop continues with Robyn Hood Black, an author and poet I had the honor of sharing many fabulous meals with while attending a Highlights Foundation workshop.

Robyn is the author of Sir Mike (Scholastic) and Wolves (Intervisual Books) and writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her poetry appears in The Poetry Friday Anthology and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, Pomelo Books), in Georgia Heard's anthology of found poems, The Arrow Finds Its Mark (Roaring Brook), and in leading haiku journals. Her fiction has appeared in Highlights and her poetry has been featured in Ladybug and Hopscotch. She also creates "art for your literary side" through her business, artsyletters.

Check out other poetic things being shared today at Merely Day by Day. Happy Poetry Friday all!


  1. Yay for hopping back into Poetry Friday - Mortimer and the rest of us always look forward to seeing you! Loved your mini peek behind the scenes. I also love anything by the amazing Alice Schertle, and I wasn't familiar with this Russell Hoban poem - "Bones in the deep and brave men gone" will accompany me down to the beach today.

  2. Yay, she's back! "Taradiddle" had me at the title. Love that poem (hadn't seen it before). And the Hoban book is also new to me. This is why you must participate in PF again. :)

  3. Love this Alice Schertle poem, and especially "They never found the dish and spoon." What a perfect last line!

  4. Hi Tricia! For my Mortimer Minute, I chose an Alice Schertle poem as well. Almost chose Taradiddle, but chose Walk Softly from Keepers. Love How Now Brown Cow equally well!

  5. Wonderful Mortimer Minute! I hadn't seen either of those poems before, and they are both good.

  6. Alice Schertle's a genuine talent -- surprises in every poem. And Russell Hoban was a genius -- music in every line. Both greatly inspiring. Thanks for these, Tricia.

  7. I must admit to being completely fascinated with your poetry book from 1968. I always admire people who can put their hands on favorite books from childhood. I'm thinking it must be one of the top three signs of a true book lover. I also enjoyed your Alice Shertle poem. I'm going to have to read more of her work. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Ditto re "Taradiddle"! I like to suggest that poem to teachers who are building a Poetry Suitcase of props and poems. Put an old dish and spoon in the suitcase (tied to that poem)--and after you've read the poem you can say, "Of course they never found those things--they're here in MY Poetry Suitcase!"