Poetry Friday: Summer to Fall

Last week I was looking through an old notebook and came across a notation for 4×4 Poetry. I learned about it on Margaret Simon’s blog who was introduced to it by Denise Krebs. Basically, the “rules” are:

  • 4 syllables in each line
  • 4 lines in each stanza
  • 4 stanzas
  • 4 times repeating a refrain line – line 1 in the first stanza, line 2 in the second, and so on.

I began by reading some journal entries to pick out a refrain line. I chose the phrase “moving forward.” I sometimes think of the transition from season to season as a restart or an opportunity to reset goals. Nature is always my go-to for ideas, so as we move from this wondrous time of summer into fall, I let nature inspire my words. This form wasn’t as easy as I had expected, but I came up with something I felt was worthwhile sharing.

Summer to Fall

Moving forward
Summer’s goodbye
Drops dewy tears
On petal blush

Birds gorge on seed
Moving forward
To a warmer
Winter dwelling

Maples transform
To red, gold, brown
Moving forward
Into deep sleep

Warm days, cool nights
A reminder
To reset goals
Moving forward

Fall Equinox - When Is the First Day of Fall? (2021) - Farmers' Almanac

You can find out more about Poetry Friday here. Irene has the round-up today, so head on over there for more poetry inspiration and fun.

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Poetry Friday: Cosmic Jewels

Last week I was inspired by Denise at Dare to Care to write an IN ONE WORD poem. You can find out more about it here in a post from April Halprin Wayland.

The backstory:
This week the full harvest moon lit up the sky! Also visible were Jupiter and Saturn, and in my area, a plethora of stars – more stars than I had seen in a while. I don’t use the word “plethora” much either in spoken or written form, but it’s what came to me when I looked at that sky. In addition to the stars, there was a plethora of beauty, wonder, and awe. So I decided to use “plethora” for my poem.

The process:
I used Wordmaker to find 282 words from “plethora.” From there, I chose thirty that I liked, then narrowed that list to fifteen, and ended up using ten of those. Since this was my first time trying out the form, I decided to keep the words at the end of the line as in the original rules, although April suggests acceptable variations. I did make one variation, adding an “s” to “pearl.”

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Cosmic Jewels

High above the earth
the harvest moon is an opal
glistening on a dewy late summer rose petal,
lighting the path of a scurrying animal hero.
Jupiter and Saturn, those planet pearls,
play their part
in the cosmic opera,
inspiring this poet
to find words of hope
in her heart.

Laura has the Poetry Friday round up today, so I hope you head on over for more poetry inspiration and fun.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 16 Comments

Poetry Friday: For the Love of Fall

I’ve been struggling with ideas lately. Some days the words come easily, some days they’re stuck inside me, hiding. I wanted to write something new for today’s Poetry Friday, but after wrestling with my thoughts for an hour, I couldn’t come up with anything quite satisfying enough. So I read and reread – poems from poets I love, poems I wrote, poems waiting to be shared. I found this list poem about my favorite time of year, made a few revisions, and decided to post it here today. Fall is a wondrous season of transition. I’m hoping it brings a restart for me.

For the Love of Fall

the quilt of red and yellow and orange on the hill
the air, cool and crisp, on my cheeks
the smoky scent of a crackling bonfire
everything pumpkin (and pumpkin everything)
warm afternoons that surrender to cool evenings
a harvest moon—big and round and oh-so-close
the first day it’s cool enough for your favorite sweater
honking geese
Halloween
dog vs. squirrel—
Crunch! Crunch!
Scamper! Scurry!
…Gone!

Denise has today’s round-up at Dare to Care. Head over for more poetry fun!

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 14 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Friend Like You

Happy Perfect Picture Friday everyone! My friend and colleague, Frank Murphy, has recently written a series of “like you” books: A Boy Like You, A Girl Like You, A Teacher Like You, and his most recent, A Friend Like You. In this book he teams up with diversity and inclusion expert, Charnaie Gordon, and illustrator Kayla Harren to celebrate true friendships—what Frank believes to be some of our most important possessions.

Title: A Friend Like You

Author: Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon

Illustrator: Kayla Harren

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2021

Audience: Ages 4-8

Themes: friendship, diversity

Opening lines: You’ll meet thousands and thousands and thousands of people in your lifetime. Some you will only meet once. Some you’ll get to know a little. And you’ll get to know some people so well that you’ll call them friends.

Synopsis: This book celebrates the many wonderful ways to be a friend and to find friends. It reminds us that friends are there to laugh with you, build you up, share adventures, and forgive. Friends of all shapes and sizes, old or new, just like us or completely different enrich our lives in special ways. Through the illustrations, we are able to follow two friends who first meet and then have a variety of experiences as their friendship grows.

Why I Like This Book: I love all the possibilities the authors give us to think about friends and how they are an essential part of our lives and how we see the world.  It demonstrates through words and incredible artwork the diversity of friendships and how they can transcend “race, skin color, religion, gender, gender expression, hopes and dreams, age, nationality, abilities, interests, failures, or successes.” The Authors’ Note at the end offers additional thoughts for discussion.

Resources: A suggested letter writing activity is offered as part of the back matter.

For a list of wonderful picture books, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

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Poetry Friday: What the Milkweed Knows

How to Grow Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies | Garden Design
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A couple of weeks ago Mary Lee Hahn wrote about the August Poetry Peeps challenge – to write in the style of Jane Yolen or Joyce Sidman’s “What the _Knows” poems. I’m always up for a challenge, and I loved the form What the ____Knows, so I decided to join in.

I’ve been obsessed with the milkweed I planted last spring ever since starting to see some monarchs in the yard. I check on the plants daily, research the things I notice, and continue to learn from nature. So it seemed right that my poem be written about the milkweed. My poem is more free form. It’s more like a list poem and doesn’t follow a particular rhyme scheme, but you will hear some rhyming words and assonance.

What the Milkweed Knows

The quiet kiss of a monarch’s egg,
The gentle creep of caterpillar feet.
The buzzing bees,
A swaying breeze,
The silky strands of parachuting seeds.
The glow of the moon
on a clear starry night,
The wonders of nature,
The cycle of life.

Elisabeth has this week’s poetry roundup at Unexpected Intersections. Stop by to enjoy more poetry fun.

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