Thursday, November 28, 2013

For Thanksgiving

Two poems for my readers . . . and wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving.

By Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

In Harvest
By Sophie Jewett

Mown meadows skirt the standing wheat;
I linger, for the hay is sweet,
New-cut and curing in the sun.
Like furrows, straight, the windrows run,
Fallen, gallant ranks that tossed and bent
When, yesterday, the west wind went
A-rioting through grass and grain.
To-day no least breath stirs the plain;
Only the hot air, quivering, yields
Illusive motion to the fields
Where not the slenderest tassel swings.

Read the poem in its entirety.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Thanksgiving

Well, this week is a no-brainer. Let's write about thanks, Thanksgiving, gratitude, or anything that resembles thankfulness.

For a bit of inspiration you might want to check out these links.
Thanksgiving Poems at
The Cranberry Cantos at The Poetry Foundation

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem of thanks. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Poetry Friday - Thanksgiving

Back in 2009 the Poetry Seven took up the challenge to write together. Here were the rules.
  • We each do a villanelle.
  • In one of our repeating lines we use the word thanksgiving, in the other repeating line we use the word friend.
  • No other rules, no other similarities. Just those two things.

The villanelle I wrote is a bit of an anthem and appropriate for the upcoming holiday, so I thought I'd share it again.
Dear friends, Thanksgiving!
For glorious oaks and sprawling trees
in winter, summer, fall and spring

For all things green and lush and living
that dance so lightly in the breeze
dear friends, Thanksgiving!

For spiders spinning webs of string
while swinging and dangling on a trapeze
through winter, summer, fall and spring

For sunflowers bold and bright and smiling,
climbing skyward with grace and ease
dear friends, Thanksgiving!

For birds that chirp and peep and sing
while visiting blossoms with bumblebees
through winter, summer, fall and spring

For poems, prose and words that sing
of beauty that brings us to our knees
Dear friends, Thanksgiving
in winter, summer, fall and spring!

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.. Happy Poetry Friday all! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Prose to Poem

I've been reading a lot of primary source documents for my class and am thinking about transforming a prose document into poetry. Let's consider this a form of a found poem. Take a letter, a speech, a passage from a favorite book, any portion of prose with some meaning, and use words from it to write a poem. (Note that if you use excerpts from poems by other authors that you will be writing a cento. You can read more about the cento at

Here's a poem I wrote based on the words from the chapter Winter Animals in Walden: Or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.

Hills rose up around me
and in misty weather
loomed like fabulous creatures.

I walked freely
far from the village street,
where I heard the forlorn note 
of a hooting owl.

At length the jays arrived,
then the chickadees in flocks,
hammering away with their bills.

And once a sparrow
alighted upon my shoulder.
For a moment,
I was more distinguished
by that circumstance
than any epaulet
I could have worn.

I hope you'll join me this week in turning prose into poetry. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Poetry Friday - To Sleep

Here's what I need most in my life these days ...

To Sleep
by John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed casket of my soul.

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy Poetry Friday all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Poems of Peace

In thinking about Veterans Day I read over some of the pieces linked at the Poetry Foundation's page on Veterans Day Poems, as well as some of the entries at The Sandbox. I have a great deal of respect for soldiers, the sacrifices they make, and the work they do. We wouldn't be who we are without them. That's why this week, I want to write about peace, something we should all be working towards.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem for peace, or perhaps one for soldier. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, November 08, 2013

2 Days Late for a Birthday Milestone

On November 6, 2006 (that was 7 years ago!), I launched this blog. Here's a picture of that post.
At that time I was still teaching our technology course and was looking to expand my work with students. 

I've come a LONG way since I started my first web site in the spring of 1995 (yes, you read that correctly). Back then my web pages were all written in HTML. Now this web stuff is so much easier.

I haven't been around much as of late, but am trying hard to reconnect with the community that first embraced me and brought me into the blogging fold. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I've connected with, many of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life.

So, I'm wishing myself a belated happy birthday while thanking you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm so grateful every time you stop by.

Poetry Friday - For the Chipmunk in My Yard

I've long been a reader of and subscriber to American Life in Poetry. American Life in Poetry is a free weekly column for newspapers and online publications featuring a poem by a contemporary American poet and a brief introduction to the poem by Ted Kooser. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry.

If you subscribe, each week you get a lovely little gift of poetry in your inbox. What could be better? If you stop by online, you can print out a PDF of your favorite columns.

Here's one of my favorite fall selections from this project.

For the Chipmunk in My Yard 
by Robert Gibb

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble

Read the poem in its entirety.

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Diane at Random Noodling. Happy Poetry Friday all!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Cinquain defines the cinquain in this fashion.
The cinquain, also known as a quintain or quintet, is a poem or stanza composed of five lines. Examples of cinquains can be found in many European languages, and the origin of the form dates back to medieval French poetry. 
The most common cinquains in English follow a rhyme scheme of ababb, abaab or abccb. 
I'll admit that the first part of this definition was unfamiliar to me. It was only this second part that I recognized.
Adelaide Crapsey, an early twentieth-century poet, used a form of 22 syllables distributed among the five lines in a 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 pattern, respectively. Her poems share a similarity with the Japanese tanka, another five-line form, in their focus on imagery and the natural world.
This is the form that is taught in schools alongside haiku and diamante, though I'm not fond of the didactic approach generally taken, which consists of listing words related to a topic (adjectives, action verbs, etc.) .

If you are looking for some guidance, Kenn Nesbitt has a nice page on how to write a cinquain.

For a bit of inspiration, here's an example by Adelaide Crapsey.


Look up…
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind…look up, and scent
The snow!

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a cinquain (or two). Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Poetry Friday - November Night and Triad

I've been reviewing poetic forms while selecting topics for my Monday Poetry Stretch series. Since cinquain will be coming up soon, I thought I'd share a few examples today.

November Night
by Adelaide Crapsey

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

You might know Adelaide Crapsey as the inventor of the cinquain. Even though she authored fewer than 100 poems, her work is spare, yet powerful. Writing through illness and her impending death, much of her work touches on death and dying. Here's an example of one of those poems.

by Adelaide Crapsey

These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow…the hour
Before the dawn…the mouth of one
Just dead.

You can learn more about Crapsey at The Poetry Foundation. If you want to read more of her poetry (she did write more than cinquains), take a look at Verse by Adelaide Crapsey.

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda at Teacher Dance. Happy Poetry Friday all!