Progressive Poem 2020 is Here!

The Kidlit 2020 Progressive Poem is here at Dani’s blog site, but Dani’s not here.  She’s having tech issues, so Margaret Simon is stepping in to keep the ball rolling, so to speak.

Yesterday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater offered her choices for the next step.

It’s a basket of goodies…and Little Red!
It’s a campfire. I follow my nose. I see
For Dani, I chose the campfire line because it appeals to my senses.  I love the smell of a campfire. Here’s the poem with this line added:

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake.
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn.

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold.
Hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees.

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown
Meet and lock. Time slows down.
I scatter the cakes, backing away
Safely exiting this strange ballet.

I continue the path that winds down to the lake.
Missing my breakfast for beauty’s sake.
But wait, what’s that delicious smell?
Something familiar, I know so well.

It’s a campfire. I follow my nose. I see

Robyn Hood Black will take the baton next.  Here are two lines she can choose from:

Option 1: a circle of friends waving at me.

Option 2: the very place I’m meant to be.

To follow the progression, here is the list of bloggers in order of appearance:

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at A Journey through the Pages
7 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel, hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth,
24 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28 Jessica Bigi hosted at Mainly Write
29 Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces
30 Michelle Kogan


Poetry Friday: Lamenting May

Welcome to Poetry Friday! I am honored (and a little nervous!) to be hosting our gathering this week. In the time I have spent sharing my poems and reading the incredible poetry by everyone who gathers here, I have made many new friends who have inspired me in my writing. My post today has a more somber mood, and I thank you in advance for letting me share my story with you.

I have always looked forward to the month of May with a great deal of anticipation. While the first official day of spring came in March, it really isn’t until May that we begin to see and feel the evidence of spring. The grass finally turns green, an array of fragrant blossoms adorn the trees, and warmer days beckon short sleeves, capris, and sandals.

As I approach May now, my spirit lacks the same enthusiasm. My mother’s birthday is May 1st, with Mother’s Day following not long after. Her death in 2016 was the beginning of my downcast attitude for the month of May. Last year I tried to approach May Day (May 1st) with a celebratory heart, sharing a May Day basket and spreading joy of the spring season with others in my mom’s memory. This helped some, but the ache from her loss remained.

As this May approached, I could feel the familiar sense of sorrow begin to return. This year though, it was a much deeper ache with a greater sense of sadness. On May 25 of last year, my older brother succumbed to an unexpected cardiac arrest while riding his bike in Glacier National Park. The utter devastation from this loss took our family on a journey we were completely unprepared for. Despite our sorrow through the experience, we experienced God’s abundant comfort and grace, believing that he has a greater plan despite our sorrow.

I have found a great deal of comfort in music, specifically worship music. My poem today is a golden shovel. To write a golden shovel poem, the writer chooses a line from another poem, and places each word from that line (in order) as the ending word in each of the lines in a new poem. This reimagining becomes a new poem with new meaning.  Nikki Grimes made the form popular with her book One Last Word.

The line I’ve taken is from a song that has been especially meaningful to me in my journey through grief –  “Is He Worthy?” written by Andrew Peterson and performed by him along with Chris Tomlin. You can listen to the song in its entirety here if you like.

There are unexpected experiences that do
not announce to you
their arrival. I don’t know
when they are coming or that
they will pull all
I am anchored to right out from the
stable ground I am standing on. The dark
overtakes, leaving me believing I won’t
find my way back. Grief feels like it will never stop.
I can’t imagine ever rediscovering the
joy I once felt. Yet You remain, revealing a beacon of light
that gently comforts and continually reminds me that from
the greatest place of loss and the darkest of days, getting
to the other side means walking through
a journey where we
must lean into healing that only You can do.

Mom with brother Don, 2015.

I hope you will join me and the rest of my Poetry Friday friends by sharing a poem or simply reading the poetry from others through the link-up button below. I look forward to hearing from all of you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Poetry Friday: Butterfly Pi-Ku

My friend and poet mentor, Margaret Simon is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering today. Stop over at her blog to read about her students’ exploration of nature through poetry. Their beautiful pi-ku poems inspired me to write one of my own!

My kindergartners and I are currently in awe and wonder over our 10 painted lady crysalises. On Monday of this week the 10 caterpillars were heartily feasting on the food in the plastic cup they came to us in just 4 days prior. Every day they seemed to grow larger! Wednesday the first crysalis found its hanging spot on the lid, and by the next day, all 10 had settled into their positions while 20 wide-eyed boys and girls looked on in amazement.

It is such fun watching their excitement and listening to them share their thoughts and predictions of what is happening. I am amazed at their depth of understanding and curiosity with the entire process. Fingers crossed that we are in the classroom on the day our butterflies are ready to emerge into the world!

tight crysalis.
a miracle right before our eyes.

Progressive Poem 2019

Today I jump into the middle of a poem-in-the-making along with 29 other blogging poets. I am not going to kid you, this is an intimidating adventure for me, as I consider myself truly a novice poet. I am sharing company with some very gifted writers who inspire me greatly.

At Day 11, I am nearly at the midpoint of our song lyric poem. I’m happy to say that song lyrics are a happy place for me to be. Music has always, and continues to be a big part of my life. Music inspires me, uplifts me, and often helps me cope with life’s challenges that come and go, often without warning.

The 10 lines so far have placed the setting – I see a beautiful summer day and sense a completely carefree spirit in the text. It makes me think of July here where I live. I’m smack-dab in the middle of summer, with NO THOUGHT of returning to school anytime soon.  Instead, I am seeing only endless warm summer days ahead of me with no demands on my time other than making a decision between going for a hike or paddle boarding for the day!

Just the other night a Facebook friend posted that he was joyfully spending the morning listening to The Carpenters. I instantly was transported back in time to elementary school when I would sing along with Karen Carpenter with all the passion my 8 year-old heart could give! I knew I would find just the right line from a Carpenters song to add.

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,
make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!

Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes

Found Lines:
L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”

And now I hand off the baton to my friend, Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche. Can’t wait to see where we go next, Margaret!



Spiritual Thursday: Renewal!

Renew: (transitive verb) to make like new restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection

Where I live in northwest Montana, it always feels like spring has been a long time in the coming. The long days of winter seem at time like they will never come to an end.

What I have noticed though, despite its seemingly tardy arrival, is that spring often seems to arrive in the blink of an eye. Unlike winter that often slips in among us at a slower more steady pace, spring’s arrival can feel like an overnight event. Winter creeps in, first with frosty morning windshields, and chilly temps that show our breath as we exhale. Slowly over time those cold mornings get ever colder, and often the arrival of the first snow doesn’t seem to take us too much by surprise.

Spring doesn’t typically tease us with its pending arrival. We wait and watch for the piles of snow in our yards to shrink, yet they seem to hold their own. We wonder when we will ever see the ground again.

At long last, spring break week arrives! This is typically the turning point for us. Sunshine is present for more hours in the day (thank you Daylight Savings) and with each passing day, the snow piles give way to the brown earth. Within what seems like only a few days, a few brave green blades of grass show themselves, and hardy crocuses take the role of harbingers of spring’s arrival.

This year our transition into spring dovetails with the Lenten season, which for me brings about a deeper spiritual renewal in my soul. As I am allowing my heart to more deeply understand the journey Jesus made to the cross, I am also marveling once again at the resurrection of nature all around me. God’s amazing creation we see all around us is a many splendored thing indeed!

How is the act of renewal making itself manifest in your life presently? I look forward to reading each of your posts on this topic that we are all experiencing in one form or another. And thank you, Irene, for the opportunity to host our Spiritual Thursday post this month!

Add your links below:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

SOL 26/31: I Spy @ Starbucks

It’s spring break week, which means I can do my Costco run when they open rather than at peak shopping time on Saturday. I’ve got a little time to kill before the doors open, so what better way to wait than to swing in for a coffee at the next-door Starbucks?

People watching is always fun to do in a coffee shop. Two friends sit at a nearby table, catching up on families and work life. Another table hosts two friends who I’m guessing might be a middle-age daughter and her mother. They are smiling and laughing together, perhaps sharing stories of silly encounters with the grandchildren. Behind me sits a solo table with a man, his chocolate croissant, and and orange juice. He is soon joined by a friend and they begin discussing matters of current events and the dismal weather outside.

It’s a quiet morning in Starbucks. Everyone has a story and a friend to share it with. I share mine with you today! Cheers to whatever your day brings your way.

SOL 25/31: Hello Spring Break

Hello Spring Break.

Hello quiet mornings.

Hello second cup of coffee.

Hello recipes I’ve been wanting to try.

Hello spring wardrobe return migration.

Hello catch-up reading.

Hello family dinner.

Hello Lone Pine hikes.

Hello extra rest.

Hello lots of relaxing.

Hello Spring Break.

SOL 23/31: The Journey Home

It has been a wonderful 3 and a half days with my daughter and her high school choir, visiting Spokane and Seattle for their spring tour. Spending time exploring Seattle was great fun, but definitely a reminder that there truly is no place like home. At heart, I am a small-town girl. The hustle and bustle of big city life is fun to drop into, but it is not the life for me.

My quiet street, the grocery store, the library, and my school just a few blocks away make for a simple Norman Rockwell life (I could, however, do without the swelling property taxes, thank-you-very-much).

I live a simple life full of simple slices. Of course that isn’t to say that folks in big cities aren’t also living their own simple lives. Everyone can make the most out of where they are and what they do in that place. I am just happy and content with my little place in the world.

And I’m super happy that spring is here! February was brutal, but it made us stronger, and it will make us enjoy each and every warm day that melts the snow away that much more.

SOL 22/31: Exploring Seattle

I am currently chaperoning my daughter’s high school choir tour to Seattle. It’s been fun being with this group of teenagers from a small Montana town. Everything about a big city fascinates these kids. Tall high rise buildings, unique restaurants, and fancy sports cars are just a few of the eye-catching things that stop them in their tracks.

Today we visited the beautiful St James Cathedral. Our wonderful guide taught us about many details we might have easily missed without her knowledge and expertise. We viewed a painting from the 14th century, I lit a candle for my friend’s friend who is battling cancer, and we sat in awe listening to the romantic orchestral pipe organ fill the sanctuary with a beauty that was positively palpable.

The highlight of course was hearing the kids sing in this incredible space that is just meant for the joy of music! I was especially thrilled to join them on one of their songs that I actually sang when I was in this choir. Other visitors sat down to listen as well, mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty in their voices.

This video doesn’t exist