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Elaine Magliaro is a former teacher and school librarian who now teaches a children's literature course at a large university. Children's books and children's poetry are my passion.
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1. One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep

Guess what came in the mail a couple of days ago? A copy of a great new poetry anthology titled One Minute Till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep. The poems were selected by former Children's Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt and the illustrations were done by Christoph Niemann. The anthology includes more than one hundred selections--many by some of our most respected children's poets, including Nikki Grimes, Jack Prelutsky, Ron Koertge, Lee Bennett Hopkins, J. Patrick Lewis, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Marilyn Singer, Mary Ann Hoberman, Julie Larios, X. J. Kennedy, Pat Mora, Nancy Willard, Jane Yolen, Janet Wong, Joyce Sidman...and Kenn Nesbitt. There are so many other poets whose works are included that I just can't list them all!

I am so happy to tell you that one of my poems is included in this wonderful book—which has already garnered three starred reviews!

* "These pithy poetic observations and Niemann's engaging illustrations prove at once antidote and anodyne for the sleep-averse child demanding just one more....A dreamy collection of bedtime poems and witty illustrations that's anything but sleepy."Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "With a broad range of voices and sentiments, the collection delivers poems to meet any mood."Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Exuberant for the most part (with some serious musings to lend ballast) and in perfect harmony with its cartoonish, color-washed illustrations, this sleepy-time volume is just the thing for the rhyme-loving child who has graduated from Mother Goose."School Library Journal, starred review

One Minute till Bedtime is due for release on November 1, 2016. 
It would make an excellent holiday gift for parents of young children...and for kids who love poetry. I'm planning to order several more copies to give as baby and Christmas presents.

NOTE: Not all the poems in this anthology are about bedtime. They touch on various and sundry topics. Titles of some of the poems: A Hard Rain, The Dandelion, Our Kittens, Skateboard Girl, The Tadpole Bowl, A Visit to the Forest, Me and My Feet, and Armadillo.

The poems are divided into six sections--each of which begins with a poem by Nesbitt.

The first poem in One Minute till Bedtime is Whew!, Nesbitt's list poem in which a child tells us all the things he/she has to before being able to enjoy reading a book.

Here is how the poems ends:

my gramps and grammas.
Changed into 
my soft pajamas.
Fluffed the pillows.
Got my Ted.
Said my prayers.
Climbed in bed.
All that's done;
at last I'm freed.
it's time to read.

And here is my contribution to One Minute till Bedtime:

Chirping in the dark, their song
In the still air. A
Chorus of summer night strummers in concert with
Entertaining warm evenings with
Symphony of wings.


Linda has the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.


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2. TRUMP: A Verse about the Worst EVER Presidential Nominee

I do try to remain apolitical on Wild Rose Reader--but I have had it with the Republican nominee for president. So, I wrote a little verse about him. I hope he doesn't sue me!
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 TRUMP: A Verse about the Worst EVER Presidential Nominee

With roadkill for hair and a pumpkin-colored face,
Could Donald Trump WIN the Presidential race?
He’s braggart, a blowhard, a rich old buffoon
Who lives a sheltered life in his Trump Tower cocoon.
He’s a bigot…a racist…a misogynist—
And let’s also add “big fat liar” to the list!
Does a grabber…a groper…a tongue-down-the-throater
Really appeal to the American voter?


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Triciahas the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

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3. Halloween Poems for Kids

It’s time for Halloween poetry! Here are some of my elementary students’ favorites poems about the holiday:

by David McCord

Mr. Macklin takes his knife
And carves the yellow pumpkin face:
Three holes bring eyes and nose to life,
The mouth has thirteen teeth in place.
Then Mr. Macklin just for fun
Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his
Wry mouth to Jack’s, and everyone
Dies laughing!

Click here to read the rest of the poem.
(From ONE AT A TIME—Little, Brown, 1974)

by Aileen Fisher

We mask our faces
and wear strange hats
and moan like witches
and screech like cats
and jump like goblins
and thump like elves
and almost manage
to scare ourselves.

( From OUT IN THE DARK AND DAYLIGHT—Harper & Row, 1980)

by Lilian Moore

Look at that!
Ghosts lined up
at the laundromat,
all around the

Each has
and some
Each one seems to
think it

to take a spin
in a
washing machine

before the

(From SEE MY LOVELY POISON IVY—Atheneum, 1975)

by Karla Kuskin

Over the hills
Where the edge of the light
Deepens and darkens
To ebony night,
Narrow hats high
Above yellow bead eyes,
The tatter-haired witches
Ride through the skies.
Over the seas
Where the flat fishes sleep
Wrapped in the slap of the slippery deep,
Over the peaks
Where the black trees are bare,
Where bony birds quiver
They glide through the air.
Silently humming
A horrible tune,
They sweep through the stillness
To sit on the moon.

(From DOGS & DRAGONS, TREES & DREAMS—Harper & Row, 1980)

by Valerie Worth

After its lid
is cut, the slick
Seeds and stuck
Wet strings
Scooped out,
walls scraped
Dry and white,
Face carved, candle
Fixed and lit,

Light creeps
into the thick
Rind: giving
That dead orange
Vegetable skull
Warm skin, making
A live head
To hold its
Sharp gold grin.

(From ALL THE SMALL POEMS—Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987)


Triciahas the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

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4. It's All about Autumn Leaves!

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->It’s “yellow time.” October has arrived! Soon the leaves around here will turn golden and red and orange…and swirl down from trees in an autumn breeze. How I love this time of year.

Today, I have two poems about autumn leaves…and reviews of three picture books on the same subject.


Here is an autumn leaves poem that I wrote many years ago:


In October, colored leaves
Fall from oak and maple trees—
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.

By Eve Merriam



Autumn leaves tumble down,
Autumn leaves crumble down,
Autumn leaves bumble down,
Flaking and shaking,
Tumbledown leaves.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Written & illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Beach Lane Books, 2016

I have been an admirer of Lauren Stringer’s picture book art for years. I love how she captured the essence of a snowy day and evening in Cynthia Rylant’s SNOW (Harcourt, 2008) and the warmth and coziness of time spent indoors on a cold winter day and night in her book WINTER IS THE WARMEST SEASON (Harcourt, 2006).

In her newest book, YELLOW TIME, Stringer gives readers a colorful glimpse of “falling leaves” time of year. Stringer said that she first experienced “yellow time” when she moved from New York City to Minneapolis. She said the view of ash trees through her window “was suddenly transformed by a huge gust of wind into a rain of leaves that covered everything and turned the world yellow.” Stringer beautifully captures that experience through a childhood perspective. Many of the book’s illustrations are saturated with yellow. She uses soft, curving shapes to depict tree tops, boughs and tree trunks bending in the wind, the movements of children delighting in the fluttering and swirling and whooshing of leaves borne through the air on an autumn wind. 
Stringer’s text is spare. She uses her art to illuminate what “yellow time” is all about. It is a true celebration of that wondrous time of year that passes all too quickly.  Her book is a “symphony of yellow.”


Written by Julia Rawlinson
Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Greenwillow, 2006

It’s autumn. Fletcher, a young fox, notices that the world around him is changing. Every morning things seem “just a little bit different.”

The rich green of the forest was turning to a dusty gold, and the soft, swishing
sound of summer was fading to a crinkly whisper.

Fletcher becomes worried when his favorite tree begins to look dry and brown. He thinks the tree is sick and expresses concern to his mother. His mother explains that it’s “only autumn” and not to worry. Fletcher runs outside, pats his tree, and tells it that it will feel better soon.

Of course, the leaves on the tree continue to turn brown and fall from the branches. Fletcher catches a falling leaf and reattaches it to his tree--but the wind shakes the leaf loose again.

The next day, a strong wind blows through the forest, and the tree’s leaves are set flying. Fletcher’s upset when he sees a squirrel taking leaves for its nest and a porcupine using the fallen leaves to keep itself warm. Try as he might, Fletcher cannot save his tree from the inevitable. Finally, he clutches the last leaf as it flutters from the tree and takes it home--where he tucks it into a little bed of its own.

The following morning, Fletcher is awed by the sight of his tree, which is now hung with thousands of icicles shimmering in the early morning light. He wonders, though, if the tree is okay and asks: “But are you all right?” Fletcher is relieved when a breeze shivers the branches and the tree makes “a sound like laughter…” The little fox then hugs his tree and returns to his den for a “nice, warm breakfast.”

Fletcher and the Falling Leaveshas a longer, more lyrical text than Oliver Finds His Way. Beeke’s soft-edged pastel illustrations capture the tone and setting of this comforting story and deftly convey the change of seasons as autumn turns to winter.

Written & illustrated by Carin Berger
Greenwillow, 2008

Carin Berger, who did the “bold” and brilliant collage illustrations for Jack Prelutsky’s Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, hits a high note again with her art in The Little Yellow Leaf. Her illustrations in this book are inventive and striking. Berger even used composition and graph paper as the backdrop for some of her pictures. Her spare illustrations with changing perspectives and her lovely lyrical text partner well in this tale about finding strength in friendship.

The main character of this little allegory is a “Little Yellow Leaf.” It’s autumn. The LYL clings to a branch of “a great oak tree.” I’m not ready yet, thought the Little Yellow Leaf as a riot of fiery leaves chased and swirled round the tree.” No, the leaf isn’t ready to leave its home in the tree--even as the afternoon sun beckons--even…

as apples grew musky,
pumpkins heavy,
and flocks of geese
took wing.

Even when LYL sees that the other leaves have “gathered into heaps, crackly dry, where children played,” it isn’t willing to join them. And it still it isn’t ready to leave its home when a harvest moon blooms in an “amber” sky.

LYL holds fast to its branch through a long, cold night when snow falls. It holds fast as days pass. It looks and looks at the tree--but sees only the “shimmer of snow.” LYL is all alone. At least that’s what it thinks…until one day it spies a “scarlet flash” high up in the tree. It has a comrade! Both had been hesitant to cast off for the unknown. The Little Yellow Leaf and the Scarlet Leaf take courage in each other…set themselves free and soar.

Into the waiting wind they danced…
off and away and away and away.


Violet Nesdoly has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

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5. POETRY FRIDAY: Wild Geese

I often find it difficult to capture an image/idea that I have in my mind in words. Autumn is the time of year when I hear the honking of geese that are heading south for winter. I have tried over the years to write a poem about migrating geese—but I have never been really satisfied with the results. Here are two versions of a “wild geese” poem that I wrote. The first was written several years ago; the second was written earlier this year.
One Poem Two Ways
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned: “It’s time!”
We’re heading south before the snow…
And winter winds begin to blow.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk!
That’s the sound of fall.
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay
Our journey to a warmer clime.
Mother Nature warned, “It’s time!”
Days grow shorter. Trees grow bare.
Pumpkins fatten. Frost nips the air.
We know the signs. It’s time to go
Before the sky fills up with snow.
But we’ll return again next year
When we can sense that spring is near.
We leave you with our parting call—
Honk! Honk! Honk! That’s the sound of fall.
Here is one of my favorite fall poems:
Something Told the Wild Geese
by Rachel Field, 1894-1942
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, "snow."

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, "frost."
Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Cari Best wrote a touching picture book about a wounded goose that landed in her backyard. It is based on her own experience. A photograph of the one-footed goose is included on the title page. The book was beautifully illustrated by the late Holly Meade.
From the title page:
“Goose’s story is true. She came on a Sunday. We could only guess about how she’d hurt her foot…Whatever it was, the goose with one foot became our spring and then our summer that year. Who would have thought she’d become our inspiration for all times, too.”
Booklist gave Goose’s Story a starred review. Here is an excerpt from that review:
“Best's simple prose is rhythmic and beautiful, more poetic than much of the so-called free verse in many children's books; and Meade's clear, cut-paper collages show the drama through the child's eyes--the clamor of the flock against the New England landscape through the seasons; the honking and jumping for the sky; and one goose left behind, wild and beautiful, hurt, and strong.”
Unfortunately, the book is now out of print—but you may be able to find it in your public or school library…or a used copy from an online bookseller
A Family Movie about Migrating Geese
My five-year-old granddaughter Julia likes Fly Away Home, a 1996 movie starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin. Julia and I have watched the movie together a few times.
NOTE: (Fly Away Home won the 1997 Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award as the Best Family Film, the 1997 Christopher Award (for family films), 1997 Young Artist Award in the category of Best Family Feature – Drama, and the 1997 Genesis Award for Feature Films.)
Fly Away Home movie trailer:
 Mary Chapin Carpenter—10,000 Miles
Something Told the Wild Geese (Ann Arbor Youth Chorale)
Mary Oliver reading her poem Wild Geese
Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

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6. POETRY FRIDAY: A Little Autumn Poetry

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The weather can change fast in September in New England where I live. One day it may be hot and humid with the temperature rising into the mid to high eighties. The next day, the temperature can dip into the low sixties...or fifties.

I love this time of year in New England—especially as summer gives way to autumn and the leaves begin to change color…and the days are drier and cooler.

Yesterday, I was reading through some of my old poetry files that I hadn’t looked at in a long time. That’s when I found the following “tidbit” of a poem titled September. I have no memory of ever having written it. I thought I’d post it today.


Summer sighs
as it grows old.
The brassy sun
is not so bold.
Nights start to entertain
the cold.

Here is an autumn list poem that I wrote years ago:


Crickets sighing
Birds goodbying
Pumpkins growing plump and round

Apple picking
Football kicking
Chestnuts thudding on the ground

Bright leaves falling
Wild geese calling
Honeybees huddling in their hive

Turkey eating
Winter’s waiting to arrive


Here is an excellent book of autumn poems written by Douglas Florian, which I am happy to say, is still in print:

poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books, 2003

Autumnblings is the third in Douglas Florian’s series of seasonal poetry collections. The twenty-nine poems in this book touch on a variety of autumnal topics: apple picking, Indian summer, pumpkins, falling leaves, the first frost, the migration of geese, and Thanksgiving. Readers will find a plethora of short, light-hearted poems that speak about animals and the changes in nature that take place during this season.

As in Winter Eyes, Summersaults, Handsprings and Florian’s collections of animal poems, including Insectlopedia, Beast Feast, Mammalabilia, and In the Swim, there’s also plenty of clever wordplay in Autumnblingsto delight old and young readers alike. The book contains poems with the following titles: HI-BEAR-NATION, AWE-TUMN, and SYMMETREE(Autumn is the only season/The leaves all leave./Call it tree-son.) In his poem BRRRRRRR!, Florian writes about Octobrrrrr’s cold, Novembrrrrr’s chill, and Decembrrrrr’s freeze. In TREE-TICE, Florian speaks of the number of leaves falling from trees--one leaf…then two…then three…and so on. It’s, according to the author, A tree-tice on/Arithmetics.

Autumnblings includes a few shape poems and several list poems with the following titles: What I Love about Autumn, What I Hate about Autumn, The Wind, Birds of Autumn, The Owls, The Colors of Autumn, What to Do with Autumn Leaves, Thanksgiving, and Autumnescent.

The collection concludes with NAUGHTUM, a poem that relates how The trees are bare./The birds have flown…./The leaves fall down/And then get burned,/As autumn slowly gets winturned.

Florian’s illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencils add just the right touch of color and humor to this collection that is a “must have” for elementary classroom library collections.


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Michelle has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.

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7. POETRY FRIDAY: Two Poems about Pledges

By Elizabeth Powell

Republic, your cool hands
On my schoolgirl shoulders.
Not sure what allegiances meant
Until the vows were held by heart,
By memory, by rote, by benign betrothal.
Republic, you were mine, I knew
Because of Mother’s religious pamphlets:
Lindsay for Mayor.
McGovern for President.
How to Register Voters.
I didn’t ever want to go to school
On Saturdays. The baby-sitter said
If Nixon won, I’d have to go…

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


by Jacqueline Woodson

When the kids in my class ask why
I am not allowed to pledge to the flag
I tell them It's against my religion but don't say,
I am in the world but not of the world. This,
they would not understand.
Even though my mother's not a Jehovah's Witness,
she makes us follow their rules and
leave the classroom when the pledge is being said.

Every morning, I walk out with Gina and Alina
the two other Witnesses in my class.
Sometimes, Gina says,
Maybe we should pray for the kids inside
who don't know that God said
"No other idols before me." That our God
is a jealous God.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


A little history about the Pledge of Allegiance (UShistory.org):

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In its original form it read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. At this time it read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy's daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


Amyhas the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.

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8. POETRY FRIDAY: Sun and Moon Poems

In early May, I sent out a collection of mask poems to a publisher. The collection takes the reader through the day on a farm. Most of the poems are written in pairs (mare and foal, father sheep and lamb, cows and bull, mother duck and ducklings). A couple of weeks ago, I received a rejection via email. The editors, however, gave me hope that they would like to see more of my work. They wrote: Lovely language, especially our favorite, Mother Duck. Does not fit our needs right now. Please keep us in mind for future projects. 

I have a trusted poet friend who did a critique on the manuscript for me. After speaking with her, I have decided to do some revisions. I have already cut the first and last poems as I feel they are unnecessary…and add little to the collection.

I decided to post those two poems for Poetry Friday this week.


I’ll arise and brighten the sky.
I’ll bid the night and dark goodbye.
I’ll shine
and light the way
for arrival of a brand new day.


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.


Penny has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Penny and Her Jots.

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9. POETRY FRIDAY: End of Summer

Well, the hot days of summer...and endless hours of freedom are coming to a close for school-aged children. On the first day of school each year, I presented my students with little booklets of end-of-summer and back-to-school poems. For this Poetry Friday, I am posting some of the poems that I included in those booklets

Here is the first stanza of Eve Merriam’s poem  Leavetaking:

Vacation is over;
It's time to depart.
I must leave behind
(Although it breaks my heart)

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

by Prince Redcloud

Close the barbecue.
Close the sun.
Close the home-run games we won.
Close the picnic.
Close the pool.
Close the summer.
Open school.

Here is the last stanza of Judith Viorst’s poem Summer’s End:

And all the shiny afternoons
So full of birds and big balloons
And ice cream melting in the sun are done.
I do not want them done

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Here is the first stanza of Bobbi Katz’s poem September Is:

September is
when yellow pencils
in brand new eraser hats
bravely wait on perfect points–
ready to march across miles of lines
in empty notebooks–

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

From Aileen Fisher’s poem The First Day of School:

I wonder if my drawing,
will be as good as theirs.

I wonder if they'll like me,
or just be full of stares

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


My granddaughter Julia is really enjoying her summer this year. She is learning how to swim...and loves jumping into the pool! 


Heidi has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.

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10. POETRY FRIDAY: Two Summer Poems by Lilian Moore

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This week has been free of nanny granny duties for me as my “grandgirls” are up in Maine with my daughter and son-in-law. I thought I’d post a couple of summer poems written by Lilian Moore—one of my favorite children’s poets—for them.


If you catch a firefly
            and keep it in a jar
You may find that
            you have lost
A tiny star.

Click here to read the rest of the poem


I made a sand castle.
In rolled the sea.
            "All sand castles
            belong to me—
            to me,"
said the sea.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

I miss Julia and Allison SO much. I can't wait to see them tomorrow. Fortunately, my daughter has been sending pictures of the girls to me and "Papa."



The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Dori Reads today.

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11. POETRY FRIDAY: "In Summer Time" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We have had a lovely summer up here in my neck of the woods...until now. A humid heat wave has recently hit us...and I hate that type of weather!

Today, I'm posting a poem that speaks to the joys and pleasantness of the hottest season of the year.

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By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
NOTE: The following poem is in the public domain.
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When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,—
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night—
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite—
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds’ song and the water’s drone,
The humming bee’s low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.


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About Paul Laurence Dunbar
(From the Academy of American Poets)

Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. His parents Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar were freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school he edited the Dayton Tattler, a short-lived black newspaper published by classmate Orville Wright.

Click here to read more about Paul Laurence Dunbar.


Julianne has the Poetry Friday Roundup at To Read To Write To Be.


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12. A Sneak Peak at My First Poetry Book, THINGS TO DO!

Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail. It was an advance copy of Things to Do--my first published book! I have waited a long, long time to hold a copy of it in my hands. It was such a wonderful experience--especially because my granddaughter Julia was with me when I opened the envelope. She sat beside me while I read it to her. I also read her the dedication: For three special ladies who bring joy into my life--my daughter Sara, and her daughters Julia Anna and Allison Mary.

Here are some photos that I took of my book:

Now...I just have to wait until February 7, 2017 when my book will be released by Chronicle Books.


Tara has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.

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13. DANDELIONS: A Mask Poem

I LOVE writing mask poems! It's fun pretending to be an animal, a plant, an element of nature, an inanimate object and speaking in a voice other than your own. I enjoy imaging what it might be like to be the sun or the moon, a lion or a grizzly bear, snow or the rain,  an evergreen tree in winter or a maple tree in autumn.

Years ago, I wrote a collection of animal mask poems (Voices All around Me)--which is still unpublished. Months ago, I decided to include some of those poems in a new seasonal collection of animal and plants that children often see/hear in their own environment--including spring peepers, honeybees, apple blossoms, ladybugs, a garden snake, earthworms, a mole, a maple tree, wild geese, snowshoe hare, a spruce tree, and a hibernating woodchuck.

The collection has received one rejection to date. I think I may try another publisher one day.

I thought I'd share Dandelions, one of the poems from that collection, this morning:


We go where WE want. We do as WE please.
We live without limits or boundaries.
Uplifting breezes carry our seeds
Hither and yon. YOU call us weeds!
We don’t grow in gardens. We live wild and free.
We’re independent. That’s how it should be.


Mary Lee has the Poetry Friday Roundup over at A Year of Reading

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14. A Little Poetry News from Wild Rose Reader

I am happy to announce that I have poems that will be included in two upcoming anthologies:

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep, edited by Kenn Nesbitt and illustrated by Christoph Riemann (Little, Brown)--which is due to be released this coming November...


A Rocketful of Space Poems, edited by John Foster and illustrated by Korky Paul (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)--which will be published in February 2017.

I am looking forward to getting copies of both books. 

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15. POETRY FRIDAY: Birds, a Nighttime Poem

Some time ago, I began working on a book of nighttime poems. Then I gave it up! I felt some of the poems seems a bit forced. Later, I put a more serious effort into a couple of other collections--one is a seasonal collection of mask poems told in the voices of told in the voices of plants and animals. The other is also a collection of mask poems that are told in the voices of a farmer and his wife, their domesticated animals, a few wild animals, the sun and the moon. I have tentatively titled it Farm Talk.

 Here is one selection from my collection of nighttime poems:

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The birds outside have stopped their cheeping.

Now they’re in a tree top sleeping.

They’re fluffed up in a cozy nest…

Getting a good…

goodnight’s rest.


I also wrote a follow-up collection to my Things to Do book. The follow-up takes place on a winter day. I have sent both Farm Talk and Things to Do: Winter Poems off to publishers. I am hoping that at least one of them will be accepted for publication. I'm not getting any younger!

FYI: The new release date for Things to Do (Chronicle Books) is February 7, 2017. Note: I sold the manuscript in the fall of 2011. I hope I'm still alive when the book is published.


Katie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Logonauts.

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16. POETRY POTPOURRI—April 3, 2016

In this article, three well-known children’s poets—Rebecca Kai Dotlich, J. Patrick Lewis, and Carole Boston Weatherford—talk about their school visits. They “reveal how some of the magic happens, what they hope to leave behind, and how much more they take back home with them.”

 Rebecca Kai Dotlich

 J. Patrick Lewis

 Carole Boston Weatherford


Rhyme & Reason: Celebrating NCTE’s 2016 Notable Poetry List (School Library Journal)

Every year, the members of the National Council of Teachers of English Excellence in Poetry for Children Award Committee compile an annotated list of the best children’s poetry books. For 2016, the members selected nineteen titles that would be excellent for teachers/librarians to share with their students and for parents to share with their children.

Click here to view a printable pdf version of the NCTE 2016 Notable Poetry Books of the past year.


Here are two poetry videos that my granddaughter Julia loves to watch:

How Do I Love Thee?

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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17. Why Is Children’s Poetry So Invisible?

Late last year, I was surfing the Internet looking for articles about children’s poetry when I came across a piece in The Guardiantitled Why is children’s poetry so invisible? In the article (dated 28 April 2015), Chrissie Gittins, an award-winning British children’s poet, said that it was time “to get confident about children’s poetry…” because children love it. She suggested that publishers, bookshops, and libraries should stop hiding it and start celebrating it.

Chrissie Gittins:

Hoorah for the just-out CLPE poetry award shortlist! What treasures! In fact it’s the only award for a book of children’s poetry in this country. Lucky for writers of children’s fiction there are at least 10 opportunities for them to submit to prizes which are solely for fiction. But, is poetry eligible for the Carnegie Medal, the Costa Book Awards, and the National Book Awards? Yes it is! Have you ever seen poetry shortlisted for these awards?

The last time a poetry collection was shortlisted in the children’s section of Costa prize was in 1999 when it was still called the Whitbread Book Awards. This year, out of 91 nominations for the Carnegie prize, only one was for a poetry collection, and that book didn’t make the longlist. (Any professional librarian can nominate a book and it is added to the nominations.) 

Certainly children’s poetry doesn’t win these prizes, even on the very rare occasion it is shortlisted. Why is that?

If you read summer and Christmas book round-ups, or lists of top 10/50/100 book recommendations, they hardly ever include poetry. If you go into bookshops and libraries, do you see signs for children’s poetry? Not many? Is it perhaps because in many bookshops poetry is likely to be found under signs which say “Fairy Tales and Gifts”, “Jokes”, “Rhymes and Giggles” and “Hobbies”? Do you see much stock of children’s poetry? No? Why is that?

Click here to read to the full text of Why is children's poetry so invisible?


It appears that children’s poetry is treated much the same way “across the pond” as it is here in our country. Children’s poetry books are pretty much invisible in book stores. They rarely win a Newbery Medal or Newbery Honor Award. Although novels in verse get more attention these days, poetry collections—especially those for younger children—rarely get serious consideration for the “big awards.” What is the reason for that? Do children’s librarians think that poetry is a fringe literary genre that is, for the most part, unworthy of awards?

I’m glad that the National Council of Teachers of English acknowledges America’s most gifted children’s poets with its NCTE Award  for Excellence in Poetry for Children and that there is a Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for the best children’s poetry books of the year—but neither of those awards is broadcast on the Internet like the ALSC awards. They are only “big deals” to poetry lovers like me.


Back in 2006, I wrote Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome, my first post for the Blue Rose Girls blog. Here is an excerpt from Part I:

Poetry is the Cinderella—pre-fairy godmother—of children’s literature. It is often a neglected genre in the school curriculum. It is usually relegated to the servants’ quarters of education. Schools do not purchase multiple copies of poetry books for teachers to share and discuss with children in reading groups. Many teachers—and, sad to say, librarians—are unfamiliar with the names of some of our most accomplished children’s poets and their works. And most administrators consider poetry a frill, as literature to be shared with children—if shared at all—when there is that rare free moment in the school day.

Alas! Children’s poetry usually doesn’t get invited to the royal ball either. It is seldom honored with the “big” award. To my knowledge, just two poetry books have been recipients of the Newbery Medal since 1922: Nancy Willard’s A Visit to William Blake’s Inn in 1982 and Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise in 1989. Surely, there have been other poetry books published over the years worthy of acknowledgement. Am I mistaken to infer that the people who are most knowledgeable in the world of children’s literature also perceive poetry as a genre that is less important than fiction and other nonfiction? Why are there so few Prince Charmings willing to squire Cinderella Poetry around town unless she’s all dolled up for a special event? If I were Rodney Dangerfield, I might opine on the state of poetry for children: It don’t get no respect.

Over the years, I witnessed how the reading and writing of poetry with my students helped them to reach inside themselves, to unlock original ideas and thoughts, and to find their own unique voices. There were times when I was awestruck by the poetry they created. Some of my second grade students even modeled their poems after the works of such esteemed authors as Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Marilyn Singer, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Poetry definitely enriched my classroom and the lives of my students. I know this not only from what I observed in the classroom—but from letters I received from parents and students at the end of each school year.

One June a mother wrote: “When Kate sits in our window and responds to the moon and stars by writing poetry, I glow with happiness.” Another mother wrote: “Thank you so much for helping Alex discover his ‘new eyes’ in your class. Your love of poetry and music enriched him…” In his letter, Sam said: “…And I love the poems you read to us.” Noah wrote: “When I read poetry, that encourages me to write poetry. Writing poetry gets my imagination going.” Notes such as these reinforced my belief that poetry—all kinds of poetry—should be an integral part of every child’s education.

Poetry has been a genre too long neglected and too often overshadowed by other children’s literature. For years, I have been on a mission to bring it out of the shadows and into the limelight. Unfortunately, there is only so much enthusiasts like me and a few respected anthologists and advocates like Lee Bennett Hopkins and Paul Janeczko can do to achieve such a goal. I encourage all bibliophiles—teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, reviewers, parents, booksellers, children’s literature bloggers, and experts who sit on awards committees—to join in an effort to see that poetry for children is acknowledged as an equal, is invited to the royal ball more often, and when it arrives at the palace, is escorted down the red carpet to the grand hall where it can bask in the attention that it truly deserves.


Do you think children's poetry is invisible? Do you think it should receive more attention from teachers and librarians...and from ALSC? Do you think that children really do enjoy poetry?

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18. SPRING THING: Welcoming April...and National Poetry Month!

Being a nanny granny for two little ones is a lot more tiring than I had expected. Julia is four now—and Allison just turned one in early March. Sorry to say that I don’t have much time or energy for blogging these days. I have managed to carve out some time for writing poetry. In fact, I wrote three new collections this year. The first one I completed is a seasonal collection of mask poems told in the voices of plants and animals. The second one is also a collection of mask poems--told mostly in the voices of farm animals. The manuscript that I just finished last week is my second collection of “things to do” poems. This collection is about winter.

 Julia and Allison

FYI: Things to Do, my first poetry/picture book, won’t be published until February of 2017—not this coming October as originally planned.


Here are some poems about April and Spring to start Poetry Month off:

And now spring settles in,
Pitches her green tent
Robins return, daffodils dance
In the garden, fruit trees explode with blossoms, as the sun
Lays her warm yellow hands over the earth.

Softly, raindrops come to call. Can you
Hear them gently tap-tapping
On the
Windowpane, on the roof with an
Even, steady beat…
Repeating the song that April loves to

Patter of April showers.

Up go our umbrellas,

Down go our booted feet…

Down into shimmery

Liquid looking glasses.

Everywhere we go we’re

Splashing in pools of fallen sky.

Soft, scented breezes, kite-catching winds, the
Pitter patter of warm rain on the
Roof, daffodils and daisies and lilacs
In bloom, apple trees wearing snow-white crowns.
Now the sun lingers at the edge of day and
Green…lovely green…has come home to stay.


Shower in the April sun

Shower in the light,

Streaming down on yellow days.

Stand out in the pouring rays.

Like butter on a toasty bun,

Let the sunlight melt and run

In golden rivers on your skin.

Feel it glowing deep within.

Feel the touch of early spring,

Feel the warmth that April brings.

Shower in the pouring rays

Washing winter cold away.


The talented children’s poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

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19. Poetry for Little Ones: "Lullaby & Kisses Sweet"

Poems to Love with Your Baby
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Alyssa Nassner
Abrams Appleseed, 2015

I haven’t written a poetry book review in ages! Actually, I haven’t been buying many children’s books since my husband and I downsized when moved into our new place—right next door to my daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. It took soooo long to move all my books—many of which are children’s poetry books—to my new abode. It also cost a lot of money to have custom-made bookcases built and installed in my new library/slash office and upstairs hallway so my books would be easily available when I wanted to get some to read to my granddaughter...or myself. I thought it best to cut back on book purchases. In addition, my favorite children’s bookshop closed its doors in June 2012. The owner—who is a good friend—couldn’t compete with big businesses like Amazon. I so miss visiting her store, browsing through the books there, chatting with her and getting her advice.

In the past week, though, I splurged and ordered a couple dozen children’s books from Barnes and Noble. First, I needed some baby gifts. (I always give books to new parents.) Second, I wanted to give Julia some picture books for her fourth birthday. Third, I wanted some new children’s poetry books for myself!

When I saw that Lee Bennett Hopkins had recently published a book of children’s poetry titled Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby, I knew I HAD to get three copies—two for the grandsons of a good friend and one for my five-month-old granddaughter Allison. When Julia saw the two copies that I had put aside for my friend’s grandchildren, she wanted one of them. I told her that they were gifts for some other children. She looked at me and said, “I want one for MY baby!” I asked, “Who is your baby?” She quickly replied—quite emphatically—Allison!

So…I fetched the copy that I had gotten for HER baby—and we read it while we sat side by side on the sofa. Then Julia took the book and “read” it by herself.

I’m so glad that I had found out about Lullaby & Kisses Sweet on Lee’s journal. My granddaughter Julia loves the book…and it’s a wonderful baby gift.

The book is divided into five sections: Family, Food, First, Play, and Bedtime.  

  • FAMILY includes poems about Mama, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa.  
  • FOOD includes poems about sitting in a high chair, eating spaghetti, and snack time.  
  • FIRST includes poems about a baby taking its first steps, getting its first tooth, and saying its first word (Ma-ma). 
  • PLAY includes poems about building with blocks, painting pictures, and playing in a sandbox.  
  • BEDTIME includes poems about bath time, reading books, and a night light. 

Lullaby & Kisses Sweet is a perfect little package—a padded casebound board book that contains thirty delightful short, rhyming poems, which toddlers will enjoy having read to them at any time of the day. Many of the poems are brand new—and I assume—were commissioned for this collection.

The poets whose works you’ll find in Lullaby & Kisses Sweetinclude: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Marilyn Singer, X.J. Kennedy, Laura Purdie Salas, Kristine O’Connell George, J. Patrick Lewis, Alice Schertle, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

Alyssa Nassner's uncluttered illustrations are a fine complement to the poetry. The babies and parents and grandparents are depicted as cats and bears and bunnies and lions and foxes--all with friendly rounded faces.

The collection opens with Rebecca Kai Dotlich's poem Morning, which begins:

Sun woke up,
So did I.
Good morning, Mama. 
Good morning, sky.

The book ends with Michele Kruger's poem Lullaby, which begins:

Let the world grow dark
and spin.

It's time to tuck
sweet baby in.


If you're friendly with young parents who have a newborn, this would be a special little gift to give to them. It would be an excellent book to introduce toddlers to poetry.

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20. Here and There (August 9, 2015): Starring Children's Book Lists & Recommendations


The Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Fall 2015 




Great Read Alouds for Preschoolers

Great Read Alouds for Kindergarteners 

Great Read Alouds for First Graders

Great Read Alouds for Second Graders

Great Read Alouds for Third Graders

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21. Why Public School Teachers Don’t Want to Work in Indiana Anymore

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Valerie Strauss has an article in today’s Washington Post about a big problem facing the state of Indiana. Evidently, educators aren’t too keen about teaching there these days. According to Strauss, the problem has become so acute that some schools have had a difficult time finding teachers to cover classes for the new school year. She noted that some state legislators want a committee to discuss the teacher shortage.
In addition to Indiana, teachers are also leaving others states as well. Strauss provided the reasons for the teacher shortage in some parts of this country:

What’s going on? Pretty much the same thing as in Arizona, Kansas and other states where teachers are fleeing: a combination of under-resourced schools, the loss of job protections, unfair teacher evaluation methods, an increase in the amount of mandated standardized testing and the loss of professional autonomy.

I think Strauss is right.

Strauss pointed out one of the things that happened in Indiana recently. She said that Governor Mike Pence and the Republican leadership “showed their respect for teachers by working very hard this year to strip power from Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, a veteran educator who won election to the post in 2012…Oh, by the way, she is a Democrat.  David Long, the Republican president of the Indiana Senate, said while explaining why the legislature would want to remove Ritz as chairman of the state Board of Education: 'In all fairness, Superintendent Ritz was a librarian, okay?'”

Perish the thought that a veteran educator/media specialist who won teacher of the year awards at two different schools should have any power as the Superintendent of Public Instruction!  


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22. Back to School 2015: Children's Books and Book Lists

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Off to School, Baby Duck!
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Jill Barton
Candlewick Press, 1999

Baby Duck is nervous about going to school. It’s a good thing Grampa is on hand to help allay Baby’s fears and send her into class singing a happy song.

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Wemberly Worried
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow/HaperCollins, 2000


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Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow/HaperCollins, 1996

Today Was a Terrible Day
Written by Patricia Reilly Giff
Illustrated by Susanna Natti
Viking, 1982

Ronald Morgan gets discouraged at school one day when he does everything wrong—including making mistakes when reading aloud in class. Then, on the way home, he reads the note his teacher has given him without any help. The day’s troubles dissipate in the excitement of knowing that he can actually read. (Pair this book with Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and have children discuss their “terrible” days.)


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David Goes to School
Written & illustrated by David Shannon
Blue Sky Press, 1999

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Morris the Moose Goes to School
Written & illustrated by B. Wiseman
Harper & Row, 1970

Morris can’t read or count. He goes to school to learn how. Young children will enjoy all the funny situations and experiences Morris has during his first day in an elementary classroom.

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Math Curse
Written by Jon Scieszka
 Illustrated by Lane Smith
Viking, 1995

A Fine, Fine School
Written by Sharon Creech 

 Illustrated by Harry Bliss
Scholastic, 2001

No matter how fine a school may be—too much of a good thing can prove to be a bad idea. Principal Keene learns about some of the other important things in children’s lives from a young girl who has the courage to speak up to an adult.


Written & illsutrated by Kevin Henkes  
Greenwillow, 1991

Hooway for Wodney Wat
Written by Helen Lester 
 Illustrated by Lyn Munsinger
Houghton Mifflin, 1999

Poor Wodney Wat (Rodney Rat) can’t pronounce his r’s. His classmates constantly tease him. When Camilla Capybara, a new student who is a big bully, enters the classroom, Wodney fears his days at school will only get worse. Fortunately for Wodney, he is a hero by story’s end because he gets rid of Camilla….forever.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon
Written by Patty Lovell
Illustrated by David Catrow
Penguin, 2001

Molly Lou is the shortest girl in first grade. She’s got buck teeth, has a terrible singing voice, and is quite clumsy. Her grandma gives her the courage to take pride in herself. Then Molly Lou moves to a new town away from her grandma and old friends. A bully picks on her and teases her—but Molly takes it all in stride and wins over her classmates…including her harasser.

Thank You, Mr. Falker 
Written &illustrated by Patricia Polacco 
Philomel, 1998

Autobiographical story about young Polacco who was teased by classmates and called a “dummy” because she couldn’t read. In fifth grade, a teacher who is both understanding and wise takes the time to tutor the young artist every day after school and opens the world of words to her.



Back to School Books (Bank Street)

Back to School Books (Parents' Choice)

Bookshelf Bests: Favorite Books for Back-to-School (Scholastic)

School Days (Reading Rockets)

It's Time to Think About...Back to School Books! (ALSC Blog)

Back to School (Powell's)

That Back-To-School Feeling: Picture Books for First Days (Booklist)

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23. Three Back-to-School List Poems

I thought my Internet connectivity problems were solved after Comcast came out to our house last weekend. Things were great until Friday morning. Since then, I haven't been able to connect to the Internet at all. It's so frustrating! All my poetry files are on my computer. In addition, I have been using my computer to do research for a poetry book that I have been working on. It gets SO frustrating!

At least, I can get some posting done when I have access to my husband's laptop. I thought I'd copy and paste three of my original school-themed list poems that I have posted at Wild Rose Reader before as this is back-to-school season.


Click your metal jaws together.
Grip my papers
with your teeth of steel.
Then bite down hard
with all your might
and bind them together


Be sharp.
Wear a slick yellow suit
and a pink top hat.
Tap your toes on the tabletop,
listen for the right rhythm,
then dance a poem
across the page.


What’s in my backpack?
Hmm…let’s see:
a tunafish sandwich,
raspberry tea,
an apple for the teacher…
and one for me,
a pair of scissors,
a stick of glue,
washable crayons…
and markers, too—
three sharp pencils
my Winnie Pooh
a bright red folder,
a paper pad,
a calculator to help me add…
a little love note from my dad!

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24. SHADE: Two Short Poems and a Picture

Sorry that I wasn't able to post last Friday. I have been having major problems with Internet connectivity--even after someone from Comcast came out to fix things. After that, things were fine...for five days. Then last Friday I couldn't connect at all. It appears that we finally have the problem solved--but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Last Sunday, I was able to post three back-to-school list poems on my husband's laptop. Click here to read them.

Today, I have a photograph, a thirteen-syllable haiku, and a riddle rhyme for you.

bathing in sunlight
showering shade below


Beneath the trees
Where I am laid--
A lace of darkness.
I am _ _ _ _ _.


Catherine has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Reading to the Core.

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25. NOVEMBER Poems

We have had some spectacular November weather up here in Massachusetts. Temperatures have reached into the seventies this week! That certainly isn't typical for this time of year. So happy that I have been able to take my granddaughters outside to enjoy the warm days and autumn foliage that still clings to some of the trees.

So often the poetry we hear/read about November focuses on Thanksgiving/giving thanks. I thought I'd post some November poems that include other aspects/thoughts about the month.

Here is a poem titled NOVEMBER RAIN by Maud E. Uschold. (NOTE: This poem is in the public domain.)

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This autumn rainfall
Is no shower
That freshens grass
And brings the flower.

This rain is long

And cold and gray,

Yet sleeping roots

Are feed this way.

Trees and bushes,

Nearly bare

Of leaves, now chains

Of raindrops wear

Along each twig.

Some clear beads fall.

A tree could never

Hold them all.


Here is an excerpt from a children's poem written by Dixie Willson about autumn and the month of November:


I like the fall,
The mist and all.
I like the night owl's
Lonely call—
And wailing sound
Of wind around.

I like the gray
November day,
And bare, dead boughs
That coldly sway
Against my pane.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Here is the first stanza of a poem about November written by Clyde Watson:

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

Click here to read the rest of the poem. 


Here is a cinquain written by Adelaide Crapsey, the woman who invented the poetic form:


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

You can read about Crapsey here.


Here is an excerpt from Rita Dove's poem NOVEMBER FOR BEGINNERS:

Snow would be the easy
way out—that softening
sky like a sigh of relief
at finally being allowed
to yield. No dice.
We stack twigs for burning
in glistening patches
but the rain won’t give.

Click here to read the rest of Dove's poem.


And here is an excerpt from Helen Hunt Jackson's poem NOVEMBER:

This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns...

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Here are the first two stanzas of Lucy Maud Montgomery's poem NOVEMBER  EVENING:

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Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.

Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing
Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing;
Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming,
 Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming. 


NOTE: I have had trouble formatting the poems in my post this morning. I'll try to fix if I can when I have some free time. Friday is always a really busy day for me.



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