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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Elaines original poems, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 201
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. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. WHEN I GET ANGRY: An Original Poem

Many years ago, I wrote a mask poem about a grizzly bear—which I have posted at Wild Rose Reader on more than one occasion. Here it is:


I’m grizzly bear. I’m fierce and fat…

And dangerous. Remember that!

My teeth are sharp as sabers.

My curvy claws can cut like saws,

And when I prowl the woods I growl

And frighten all my neighbors.

I rule the land. This forest’s mine!

I ain’t NOBODY’S valentine!

Don’t think that you can be my friend…

My dinner?



The End

Earlier this year, I used Grizzly Bear as a springboard for writing a poem told in the voice of a child who is having a tantrum:  


When Iget angry, I’ma bear…

A grizzly bear

With coarse brown hair

And curvy claws that cut like saws…

And teeth that tear.

You best beware!

When Iget angry,

I clench my paws

And snap my jaws.

I prowl and growl

Around my room

And fuss and fume

And stomp the floor

And slam my door…


I’m not angry anymore.


Here are two picture books on the subject of of children dealing with their anger:


 The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Keri Recommends this week.

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11. TOO LITTLE!: An Original Poem

I have been away from posting at Wild Rose Reader for FAR TOO LONG! I made the decision recently to give up writing for legal/political blogs and to concentrate once again on writing poetry for children. I thought I'd post one of the poems that I had written in recent months for Poetry Friday this week. It touches on the frustrated feeling young children often get when they are told by parents, other adults, and older siblings that they are TOO LITTLE to do so many of the things that they would really love to do.

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by Elaine Magliaro

THEY say
I’m TOO LITTLE for this…
I’m TOO LITTLE for that.
I’m too little to do SO MANY things.
I wish I were big like my sister and brother.
I wish I were big like my father and mother.
I wish I were BIG—as be as can be…
Like the giant blue whale who lives in the sea.
There wouldn’t be ANYTHING bigger than me!
Then I’d shout and I’d spout, “Make way, make way!
I’m going to go where I want today.
I’m going to do what I want to do.
And you can’t say no ’cause I’m bigger than you!”


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Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Reflections on the Teche.

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12. A Poem about the Megalodon

I’ve already posted a number of poems from my unpublished collection titled Docile Fossil. Here’s another poem from that manuscript. I wrote it as a definition of the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived—the Megalodon.

Megalodon: A Poetic Definition

Megalodon, Megalodon:
A giant-jawed phenomenon
Much bigger than a mastodon,
A predatory paragon,
A monster shark that preyed upon
Dolphins, whales…a beast of brawn—
The mightiest biter of the deep
Who’s gone to his eternal sleep.


Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

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13. MARSHMALLOW CHICKS: A Poem for Easter

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Here is my poetry selection for the Friday before Easter. It’s about PEEPS©--which I used to love to eat when I was a little kid.

By Elaine Magliaro

I hear them peeping

in their package,


Eat me!

Eat me!

I break open

their plastic shell,

hold soft hatchlings

in my hands.

One by one

I savor

a chattering of chicks,

chubby marshmallow chicks

coated with colored sugar.

I lick their bright yellow down

from my fingertips.


You’ll find the Poetry Friday Roundup over at Life on the Deckle Edge.

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14. DAMSELFLY: An Original Poem

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Here’s another poem from my unpublished collection Docile Fossil. It’s a mask poem in which I speak in the voice of a fossilized damselfly.


I was trapped in time!
Enrobed in sticky resin
that hardened over the ages.
Now you see me
preserved in amber--
a perfect specimen
of the me I was
millions of years ago.
Here I will remain forever
a prisoner of the past,
my wings outspread
in a semi-precious sky.

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15. What a Pit-ty!: An Original Mask Poem

Several years ago, I embarked upon a new poetry project. I decided to write poems about fossils, dinosaurs, and other extinct animals. I spent a lot of time doing research on a number of animals—including the woolly mammoth, pterodactyl, dodo bird, Beelzebufo ampinga, megalodon, Euoplocephalus, megatherium—as well as a couple of places—the Petrified Forest and the La Brea Tar Pits. I’m kind of a science nerd—so doing the research was fun for me.

I’m offering one of my poems about the La Lrea Tar Pits from that unpublished collection titled Docile Fossil for this first Poetry Friday in National Poetry Month.

What a Pit-ty!

I’m a…
Boiling pool of gummy goo,
Bubbling pond of asphalt brew,
Black and icky pit of pitch
Not concocted by a witch.

One of my intriguing features:
The horde of hapless Ice Age creatures
That stepped into my greasy guck,
Got trapped and were forever stuck.

Horses, smilodons, and camels,
Woolly mammoths, other mammals,
Birds and mollusks…insects, too,
Stumbled into my sticky stew.

Once engulfed in my thick sludge
The helpless creatures couldn’t budge.
Now here they lie entombed in tar--
And here, preserved, their fossils are.

Find out more about the La Brea Tar Pits by clicking here.


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Poem Farm.

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16. SKY: An Original Acrostic

I’ve been away from blogging at Wild Rose Reader for far too long. There have been many changes that took place in my life during the past few years. My attention has been diverted elsewhere. I haven’t even been writing much poetry. I’ve got to get my creative juices flowing once again.

For the first day of National Poetry Month, I thought I’d post the poem SKY from an unpublished poetry collection I wrote a few years ago titled Spring into Words: A Season in Acrostics.

Suddenly Earth’s blue dome springs to life, catches careening 
Kites, fills with the face of a smiling sun, the music of
Young songbirds and geese honking homeward.

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17. POETRY FRIDAY: Things to Do If You Are a Book

I’ve been away from blogging at Wild Rose Reader and Blue Rose Girls for so long that I thought I might forget how to post. It has been an eventful year for me. We finally moved into our new home in June. It was—at first—difficult saying goodbye to my home of thirty-seven years…and even more difficult boxing up and moving all the “stuff” we had collected in nearly four decades. The heaviest things to tote to our new place were the thousands of children’s books that I owned and cherished—books that I’ve been sharing with my granddaughter Julia. We had a number of bookcases built for our in-law apartment so I could keep my books on display…and easily accessible. 

NOTE: For Mother's Day, my daughter gave me 
a lovely drawing of our old home. 

We’re fortunate that our apartment is more spacious than most in-law suites. Still, it’s much smaller than our old place. At my age, it has been good to “downsize.” My apartment is much easier to clean than my other home. It’s the perfect size for two old fogeys! 

It’s so wonderful living next door to my daughter and son-in-law. I get to see Julia every day. It’s such fun watching her change and grow…reading books with her…helping her make puzzles…listening to her vocabulary grow.

Lots and Lots of Book Shelves!

By Elaine Magliaro

Be filled with words that tell a tale
of a little mouse and a giant whale
of a runty pig and his spider friend
who was true and loyal to the end
of a badger who loved eating bread and jam
of a funky guy, green eggs, and ham
of a spunky girl named Ramona Q.
of a boy and the Jabberwock he slew.
Be filled with words and tell a tale
that will let my imagination sail.
Be a mystery
or a fantasy
or sing with sounds of poetry.
Between your covers
let there be
a story that’s just right for me.

Over at Wild Rose Reader, I’ve posted an original poem for the holiday season titled Under the Tree.

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18. SUN: An Original List Poem

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pictures of the built-in bookcases that we had installed at our new home. I’ve already begun filling the shelves—even though we haven’t moved yet.

Julia likes to visit my “library,” look at all the pictures books, pull books off the shelves and “read” them. Sometimes, she insists on taking one of the books back over to her side of the house.  

(BTW, we're planning to have another built-in bookcase made for our upstairs hallway. One can never have too many bookcases!)

I often grab my “gram cam” to snap pictures of Julia reading books.

Julia reading Miss Mary Mack.

Julia reading Merry Christmas, Ollie!

One of Julia’s new favorites isn’t a picture book. It’s Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days. One night last week, she refused to go to bed without the book. On Wednesday afternoon, she sat on the floor of the family room quietly flipping through the pages and looking at the illustrations/sketches that Grace included in her novel. That night, her dad told me she chose Dumpling Days over her favorite stuffed animal when he put her to sleep.


Julia reading Dumpling Days yesterday:



My life has been so busy lately that I don’t find much time to write poetry. I did compose the following a list poem in my head this week. I consider it a companion poem to the one I wrote about night last fall.

rises in the eastern sky,
melts the stars 
and bids goodbye
to darkness, night, 
and lights the way
for arrival of a brand new day.


Tabathahas the Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Opposite of Indifference.

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19. MOLE POEMS: Variations on a Theme

Every now and then, I like to write poems about a particular subject in a number of different ways. I have arranged the following three mole poems in the order in which I wrote them. The first poem is a “things to do” list poem; the second and third are mask poems.


Make your home
in the damp darkness
unknowing of snow
and stars
and summer breezes.
Live among roots
and rocks
and sleeping cicadas.
Excavate tunnels
in the moist brown earth.
Listen for the soft music
of seeds sprouting,
worms wiggling,
rain pattering on your grassy roof.
Spend your days in a world
of unending night.


I live in the earth.
I burrow through soil.
A claw-footed creature,
In darkness I toil.
I excavate tunnels.
I really DIG dirt!
I’m a fine engineer.
I do hate to be curt…
But I’m here on the job…
I can’t stop now to chat.
I’m a hole-digging mole.
I’ll just leave it at that!


Psst! Psst! HEY! I’m right down here.
I’m a busy little engineer
Building tunnels underground.
You rarely hear ME make a sound.

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Backyard Mermaids is a memoir poem. It relates a memory of one of the summer experiences I had with two of my first cousins at the home of my maternal grandparents. My cousins lived on one side of my grandparents’ house. We spent lots of vacation days together—running through the lawn sprinkler, picking vegetables in my grandfather’s garden, playing dress-up in the basement, meeting in our clubhouse under my grandparents’ front porch. 



An August afternoon,
the air hangs over us like a moist veil.
A cicada stings the silence.
Dzidzi turns on the sprinkler.
Thin ribbons of silver beads
stream upward, glisten in the sun.
We run back and forth through the tiny waterfall,
our bare feet squishing through wet grass,
liquid diamonds cooling our sunburned skin,
seaweed hair clinging to our heads and necks.
We are mermaids of the deep
and the sun, a giant topaz,
floats above us in a sea of sapphire blue.


Violet Nesdoly has the Poetry FridayRoundup this week.

7 Comments on BACKYARD MERMAIDS: A Memoir Poem, last added: 9/8/2012
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21. APPLES--A Memoir Poem

I apologize for being absent from Wild Rose Readerfor so long. It has been an especially busy and hectic summer for me. Just this past month, I’ve attended two family weddings, celebrated my granddaughter Julia's first birthday, vacationed in Maine, and bought a house! My husband and I hadn’t planned on moving because we love the house we are living in at the present time--and we love our neighborhood. I have, however, been spending a lot of time away from home living at my daughter’s and providing daycare for my granddaughter. That has left me little time to read, write, blog, spend with my husband, or visit with friends and other family. My husband, daughter, son-in-law, and I decided a few months ago that it would best for all of us if we could find a home where we could all live together. I didn’t think we’d find the perfect place so soon...but we did. It was the first property that we looked at.

Here are some pictures that I took yesterday of the grounds around the house:

My daughter, son-in-law, and Julia will live in the main house—a Georgian farmhouse built around 1790--with an addition that was built circa 1850. My husband and I will live in the in-law suite--the carriage house that was converted into an apartment in 1999.

The original owner of the house was a woodworker and an apple farmer. In fact, he had an apple orchard on our property. The thought of an apple orchard brought to mind a memoir poem that I wrote about my maternal grandparents and the apples that grew in their yard.


We tasted the green apples of summer,
watched the season pass through Dzidzi’s garden,
shared its bounty.
Now we help harvest the autumn apples.
Dzidzi places two large baskets beneath the tree.
He stands on a ladder and reaches for the highest apples.
We stand on wooden crates and pick apples
from the bottom branches
and salvage what we can from the ground.
In one basket we place the best apples we pick,
the eating apples, the perfect ones.
We fill the other basket with cooking apples—
the ones with brown spots and bruises
that Babci will cook into thick applesauce,
the ones she will bake in fat apple pies
steaming clouds of cinnamon spice,
the ones she will make perfect again.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Random Noodling this week.

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22. BUSYBODY: An Animal Mask Poem

Yesterday, I watched my granddaughter Julia as she looked out the side door at two gray squirrels scampering along the old rock wall that serves as the boundary line between our “new” property and the property of our next door neighbors. It’s fun for me to look at a familiar scene like squirrels skittering around through the eyes of little Julia who gets so excited about such things. I enjoy  listening to her excited noises when she gets wrapped up in the wonder of things that are new to her young eyes.


Today, I’m sharing an animal mask poem. In it, I tried to capture the voice of a squirrel busy scavenging for food in autumn.

By Elaine Magliaro

I’m a hurrier
searching for acorns
and maple tree seeds
stashing them now
for my wintertime needs.

It’s autumn…
I’m busy.
I’ve much work to do.
So sorry I can’t stop
To visit with you.

Must hurry,
Must scurry…
Can’t chatter today.
I’m busy…too busy
Must be on my way.


Here are some pictures of Julia enjoying her first tastes of her Grampy’s yummy homemade lasagna:

 Here are two pictures that I took of her when we vacationed in Maine in late August:

Here is a picture that I took of Julia at her first birthday party in August:



Marjorie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Paper Tigers this week.


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23. THE SOUND OF FALL: An Original Animal Mask Poem

I wrote the first draft of the following animal mask poem last month. I kept fiddling with it over the weeks. I felt it needed a couple more lines—but hit a wall. Then, when I was in bed the other night, two lines just popped into my head.

Here is my most recent draft of that poem--which is told in the voice of migrating geese:

By Elaine Magliaro

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.


Laura Purdie Salas has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Writing the World for Kids.

P.S. Check out Laura’s terrific collection of poems about books and reading, BookSpeak! It would be an excellent book to share with elementary students.

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24. Autumn Fire: A Memoir Poem & Book Winners Announcement


One of the things I remember most about the autumns of my childhood is the scent of burning leaves. I miss that today. The following poem is based on my memory of a time I spent with two of my cousins at my grandparents’ house. We raked up a pile of autumn leaves and sat on wooden crates watching—and smelling—the leaves burn at dusk on a cool October day.

By Elaine Magliaro

Two tall maple trees grow
in front of my grandparents’ house.
In late October
they shed their golden crowns.
When the fallen leaves
curl up like little brown bear cubs,
we rake them into a pile
at the side of the street.
As dusk arrives
Dzidzi sets our harvest afire
with a single match.
We sit on wooden crates
at the sidewalk’s edge,
watch the brittle leaves
blossom into golden flames,
smell autumn’s pungent breath.
From the pyre summer rises,
a small gray ghost,
and drifts away
into the darkening sky.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Teaching Young Writers.


The three winners of Janet Wong’s book Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election year are Gretchen, Bridget Wilson, and vezenimost. Congratulations to all of you!

Note to the winners: Please email me your names and addresses and I will send the books off to you.


5 Comments on Autumn Fire: A Memoir Poem & Book Winners Announcement, last added: 10/14/2012
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25. TERMITES: An Original Animal Mask Poem

I know I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog that I LOVE writing animal mask poems. I have written dozens of them. A few years ago, I took the advice of my friends Grace Lin and Janet Wong and culled out all the poems about smaller animals and insects that children might observe in their backyards or find close to home for a collection. I also wrote some new poems. I had tentatively titled the collection Backyard Voices. Then I changed it to Listen! Listen! after I wrote the following poem to introduce my collection of animal mask poems:

Listen. Listen. Cup an ear.
Little creatures living near
Speak in voices we can hear.

One of the new poems that I wrote for Listen! Listen! is about insects that we hate to find invading our homes—TERMITES.


Crunch, crunch, crunch!
Yum, yum!
Tastes so
Tastes so
Tastes so good.
A piney plank
A two by four
A big broad beam
A parquet floor
A pair of clogs
A tool shed door
We eat all day
And we still want more.
Crunch, crunch, crunch!
Yum, yum!
Tastes so
Tastes so
Tastes SO GOOD.
Amy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.
We had a wonderful family Thanksgiving at "The Farm." Julia didn't sleep all day. She so enjoyed having lots of company.
Julia on Thanksgiving

This week I took Julia outside  a couple of times so she could explore her yard. I took this short video of her:

It is great being a nanny granny! I love spending so much time with my granddaughter Julia.



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