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.

SOL 15/31: Poetry Friday! Make Every Day Count

Today for Poetry Friday we are being hosted by Heidi @ My Juicy Little Universe. She has a great in-depth post all about a group of committed young people who are actively trying to raise awareness about global climate concerns. If you are interested in learning more, click here to read her post.

We have just one week of school ahead of us before spring break finally arrives. I’m not sure where the last four weeks have gone – it feels like President’s Day was yesterday! I’m not complaining of course, but just surprised how fast the time seems to have gone.

Once we return from spring break, the rest of the school year feels like it slips right through my fingers. We have much more learning ahead – National Poetry Month in April is coming! Last year I had such a wonderful time introducing poetry to my kindergartners. My group this year will dive right into this genre, I am sure. I may even have a few kiddos who could understand and attempt haikus.

Ten weeks
isn’t long.
So much ahead!
Tricky Teens
Butterflies and
Oviparous animals
to study.

We will not
count down days.
Instead we will


SOL 8/31: Poetry Friday IWD 2019

As always. Fridays = Poetry Friday. A chance for bloggers to come together and share their love of poetry with each other. Thank you to Catherine @ Reading to the Core for hosting our roundup today. Our theme is International Women’s Day.

As a mother of four daughters, today I celebrate my girls and compose a poem honoring who they are and speak words of anticipation and expectancy for the amazing women I know they are each destined to be.

Once silly, playful, joyful
full of wonder and questions.
Life was a playground,
a place to discover who you were.

You navigated treacherous waters
while charting your own course.
Your feet firmly planted in your
unique identity
passions and beliefs
hopes and dreams.

Life is before you
with countless adventures
full of uncertainty and challenge
excitement and celebration.

Embrace every moment.
Charge forward in strength.
Lean into the power you possess
draw from the well of courage
you have stored up along the way.

Nothing is outside your reach
nothing is beyond your ability.
Let the wondering spirit of your youth
be a buoyant force of support
through every step of your journey.

SOL 1/31 (& bonus Poetry Friday) Winter Haiku

Hello March! Today marks Day 1 of 31 days of blogging with my friends at Two Writing Teachers. Every March they host the annual Slice of Life Challenge, where bloggers commit to posting to their blog every day for a month. Last year was my inaugural year, and I am proud to say I stayed the course and posted each and every day. I won’t say it was easy. I met several new friends along the way though, which made the journey all the more sweet.

My first post will be a dual posting, since Day 1 happens to fall on a Friday, which is Poetry Friday. We are gathering together with Linda Baie over at her blog, Teacher Dance. She has a beautiful poem about spring to share – I encourage you to stop over!

I wish I could say that where I live we too are on the precipice of spring. Alas, here in northwest Montana, winter still has a tight grip on us. As I type this post, the banging of my husband up on the roof attacking the death grip of icicles on our dormers reminds me that spring is still a long way away from us. Reading Linda’s poem is a beautiful promise of what awaits us in another six weeks (at least).


Poetry Friday: A Valentine Retrospective

Join us today with Jone for Poetry Friday!

What a week! And it’s not even over yet. Wednesday marked the 100th day of kindergarten, and of course the very next day was Valentine’s Day. Talk about a 1-2 punch! Honestly though, I have a group of terrific kindergartners who can really roll with a change of pace when it comes to special days, so we ventured into a couple of days outside the usual routine and celebrated both days with gusto. We still read, wrote, and explored math learning, but with a more focused lens on each of the celebratory days.

My friend Margaret is my poetry mentor and biggest cheerleader. Her post earlier this week on writing skinny poems has inspired me to try one myself, using the metaphor dice I recently ordered. If you don’t have a set of these yet, I encourage you to check them out. They are a lot of fun!

I knew I wanted to use the word LOVE for my concept, so I purposely only rolled the adjective & object. The dice gave me SILENT and ZOO. No two words could be more in opposition of what Valentine’s Day looks like in a kindergarten classroom! Consequently, my metaphor read:

Love was not a silent zoo

I do wish to clarify my use of the word zoo in describing my classroom – one definition of the word zoo reads: a situation characterized by confusion and disorder. Was there confusion among my little friends? Did we see a little disorder in our day? Imagine what 18 kindergartners delivering their Valentines might look like in the room….. confusion?…yup. Disorderly?…absolutely. But full of excitement?…100%! For many of my students this was their very first Valentine’s Day in a classroom, and because of that, the disorderly confusion was embraced!

Home Birth Haiku

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month, but a pounding headache prevented me from posting my Spiritual Thursday post. I hope my fellow ST friends will allow a late and combination Poetry Friday post today!

Donna @ Mainely Write and Laura @ Writing the World for Kids are the hosts where you can read more from my fellow bloggers today. These communities of writers are the most welcoming, heart-filled places! I encourage you to take a peek at what others are sharing in both spaces.

My post today will follow Donna’s Spiritual Thursday theme of Home, but will include a poem for my Poetry Friday friends. I’m actually happy the way this worked out. Last night when I was struggling with a distracting headache, I could not think of what I wanted to write about on the topic of Home. Today, headache gone, and a turn of my new metaphor dice, and everything fell into place. You may find it an unusual and unexpected reflection of home, but the dice made the call:

Have I got you wondering where this is going? It will help you to know that I had two of my four daughters at home with a midwife. I could write at length about all of the incredible aspects of a home birth versus a hospital birth, but the most beautiful part for me was simply being HOME. Having the comfort of my own bed, the freedom to move about as I needed, surrounded by my family allowed me to experience and control my labors in my own time, and more importantly, in my babies time. No doctor’s schedule to feel pressured by. No worry of a switch of nurses at shift change. Time was not a concern whatsoever. Thankfully, my first baby came in under 3 hours, while the second took her sweet time, making everyone wait

Through the entire experience of both births, the presence of my midwife and doula brought such comfort and reassurance. At no point did I ever feel rushed, or that I was doing anything wrong. My second labor was a very long day for everyone, but never did she seem concerned about my slow progress. She was in it for the long haul. She offered support when asked, diligently checked baby’s heartbeat regularly, and remained nearby when needed. This allowed me to focus on every contraction and remain as relaxed and rested as I could in between.

These experiences give home a whole different meaning to me as I reflect back on these home birth experiences. Home was a safe haven where the miracle of life entered the world. Where our older daughters witnessed the birth of a sister, then peacefully drifted to sleep in their beds. Where everyone woke the next morning, sitting together at the breakfast table taking turns cuddling the baby. Where the rhythm of life was barely disrupted; the welcome arrival of our new member brought us into a new rhythm, overnight growing from a family of five to six.

This photo was taken outside the house on the morning of our youngest daughter’s birth – 18 years ago this past Tuesday as a matter of fact! It seems the perfect setting for my accompanying haiku. My dice roll didn’t really make a metaphor I found workable, so I sketched out a few ideas, and discovered I had written a haiku without even trying.

Thank you for letting me share my beautiful memories from a very special home.


Poetry Friday: Grandma’s Blessing

Join us today with Tabatha @ The Opposite of Indifference

In my poetry practice, one area I am currently trying to understand better and play with with in my poems is the art of metaphor. Last week my friend Margaret told me about this set of metaphor dice that her students love to use when writing poetry using metaphors. I couldn’t point, click, and ship fast enough, and just two days later, they arrived.

The first couple of rolls yielded a very strange combination of words, but roll three was a gem. It was amazing how quickly an idea for my poem came together, and almost instantly I knew I had just the picture that perfectly depicts the story it tells.

There is nothing like a grandma’s love for her first grandbaby. I have been so privileged to walk alongside Margaret in her journey to finally holding this precious bundle of joy. Little Leo is truly the light of her life! And I am quite certain that all of you grandmas out there know just what I’m talking about!

Poetry Friday: Then & Now

Poetry Friday round-up Kathryn @ Kats Whiskers

On my way home tonight I stopped at a former colleague’s house to return a baby backpack I had borrowed over the winter break for my visiting 9 month-old grand-nephew. My colleague and I hadn’t see each other for a number of months, so I came inside for a few minutes to visit and see his family. He and his wife have two of the cutest redheaded boys in the world, and it had been quite a while since I had seen them. They are now 4 and 2, so it was fun to chat and catch up.

Watching the chaos of a home with two busy little boys caused me to remember what our house once looked like and sounded like when my husband and I were deep in the weeds of raising our four daughters. Almost empty-nesters now, it has been many years since our evenings were anything like I witnessed tonight. I took it all in.

On my drive home, I couldn’t help but remember all of the crazy, demanding aspects of being a parent of young children. The constant chatter that seemed endless, the never-ending request for my attention, and what seemed like ceaseless piles of dirty dishes and laundry demanding my attention

Tonight in the quiet of my kitchen, I began comparing my then with my now, and found a poem come to life.

Dinnertime chaos buzzing with conversations
of everyone’s highs and lows of the day

Dinnertime calm for two (sometimes three) at the kitchen island,
scrolling on our phones, reflecting on the day’s events

Bedtime baths, jammies & stories
running, squealing, chasing down the hall

Bedtime texts, Instagram, Snapchat check-ins
savoring a book of my choice, dogs at my feet

Middle of the night bad dreams,
slipping in between mom & dad for comfort

Middle of the night curfew checks,
a gentle whisper in my ear, “I’m home, mom”


Sometimes all too quiet.