Friday, February 27, 2015

Poetry Friday: Poems on the Buses

Home in 1952...with my sister (on left) and brother (behind me.)

Seattle Metro has a Poetry on the Buses program, bringing short poems to all their riders and trip planners/website readers. The theme this year is "Home," and here is a poem of mine (with slight revisions) that appeared Wednesday on their site. 


A yard gnome in December snow.
Against the fence, an August rose.
A screen door banging open, shut.
A summer purr, a winter mutt.
A mailbox waiting all year long.
A postcard whistle, letter song.

Click here to see the version of the poem which was posted on Seattle Metro's Poetry on the Buses website. And here's wishing you a beautiful spring -- March is just two days away!!
Poetry Friday's round-up is being hosted today by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe. Head over there to see what other people have posted (and to see Heidi's CHallenge for the month of MarCH!)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Poetry Friday: Valentines and the Lovelorn

Happy Valentine's Day Tomorrow!

In honor of it being Friday the 13th directly before Valentine's Day, 
I offer up Todd Boss's "A Waltz for the Lovelorn" for Poetry Friday.

The Selfie, 50's-style.

A Waltz for the Lovelorn

Like foot-worn wooden floors
that ache in common places, 
the hearts of the lovelorn groan 

as, through their paces, again
and again their roomers pass. 
Isn't there a music --- strings ---

in the way an old floor sings? 
And oh, but to leave our porches
and step into the grass! to bear 

on our shoulders no more
than moonlight, and to settle, 
suspended awhile!---to smile

at the weightlessness of things---
as children do, 
                  on swings.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Cathy Mere at Merely Day By Day. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Poetry Friday: A Tidbit

Joanie Mackowski

Here is a Poetry Friday tidbit (definition: delicacy, dainty, snack, nibble, goody) which seems perfect for February, the tidbit-ish month, right? It's from a poem titled "Birdsong," by Joanie Mackowski.

...And stars
grow feet and walk across the years, into these dozing,
ordinary days, climbing the spine’s winding

stair, where crickets yawn and history spins.

Click here for the rest of the poem. And definitely read more of Mackowski's work - she has so much fun with language (fun, yes, but hard work, that) and some of the fun is bound to rub off on you as you read. In addition, it's fascinating to trace the technical control of sound that Mackowski exhibits as you weave your way through her work.

Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass is the host of today's PF round-up. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Poetry Friday: Awards Season!

Blue on Blue by Dianne White, illustrations by Beth Krommes

Next Monday morning the ALA will make its Youth Media Awards announcement and I, for one, will be listening when they do. I love following the Mock Caldecotts and Mock Newberys right up to the day the winners and honor books are revealed. And I'm just as excited to hear about the Sibert (non-fiction); the Batchelder (translations); the Pura Belpre (Latino); the Geisel (beginning reader); and the Coretta Scott King (African-American.)  Now if only the ALA would make the announcements in the evening, I'd have an ALA Pizza-and-Popcorn party where we sit around, just like it's the Oscars, and bet on who will win.  

Let's hear it for the wonderful books of poetry being mentioned as possibilities for the Caldecott - the stunning illustrations by Rick Allen for Joyce Sidman's Winter Bees; ditto the artwork by Melissa Sweet for Paul Janeczko's Firefly July; Jon Muth for both text and illustrations for Hi, Koo; Becca Stadtlander's illustrations for On the Wing by David Elliot, and the illustrations by Gary Kelley for J. Patrick Lewis's Harlem Hellfighters. This year I'm going with a dark horse, hoping that Blue on Blue by Dianne White, with wonderful illustrations by Beth Krommes, will get some of the love it deserves from the Caldecott committee.

Having looked at the Mock Caldecotts and Mock Newberys, I think Marla Frazee is likely to get the picture book medal for The Farmer and the Clown, and it looks like both the Newbery and the CS King are headed the direction of Jackie Woodson for her verse novel, Brown Girl Dreaming (which also won the National Book Award.) Maybe The Family Romanov will get the Sibert? and Frida by Yuyi Morales for the Belpre?  I have no idea what book will win the Batchelder, though I do love the fact that books originally published in another language are finally getting translated into English in the U.S. 

Well, I can't have a Pizza-and-Popcorn party, but I can ask which books you would like to see get the medals. Any of the poetry titles mentioned above? Other favorites? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by Paul at These 4 Corners. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"January Jumps About in the Frying Pan"

Don't you just love how the New Year stretches out in front of you this time of year? From January to December, there's very little filled in yet on the calendar. Possibilities abound. By December, it will be a jumble of scribbled notes, circled days, reminders, appointments, annotations, and cross-outs.

Translation: Fog in January, sunny year. Free downloadable calendar with original artwork by Sophie Kukukita

Below is a little months-of-the-year poem that I like for its asymmetrical rhythms - the poet, George Barker (about whom I know very little other than the fact that he was English and T.S. Eliot declared him a genius) takes his time line-wise, syllable-wise, and stress-wise in getting to the rhymes he wants, a little like a jazz musician who arrives at his logical destination despite unpredictable digressions. November is my favorite stanza, with February a close second. How about you?

January Jumps About 

January jumps about
in the frying pan
trying to heat
his frozen feet
like a Canadian.

February scuttles under
any dish's lid
and she thinks she's dry because she's
thoroughly well hid
but it still rains all month long
and it always did.

March sits in the bath tub
with the taps turned on.
Hot and cold, cold or not,
Has the Winter gone?
In like a lion, out like a lamb
March on, march on, march on.

April slips about
sometimes indoors
and sometimes out
sometimes sheltering from a little
shower of bright rain
in an empty milk bottle
then dashing out again.

May, she hides nowhere,
nowhere at all,
Proud as a peacock
walking by a wall.
The Maytime O the Maytime,
full of leaf and flower.
The Maytime O the Maytime
is the loveliest of all.

June discards his shirt and
trousers by the stream
and takes the first dip of the year
into a jug of cream.
June is the gay time
of every girl and boy
who run about and sing and shout
in pardonable joy.

July by the sea
sits dabbling with sand
letting it run out of
her rather lazy hand,
and sometimes she sadly
thinks: "As I sit here
ah, more than half the year is gone,
the evanescent year."

August by an emperor
was given his great name.
It is gold and purple
like a Hall of Fame.
(I have known it rather cold
and wettish, all the same.)

September lies in shadows
of the fading summer
hearing, in the distance,
the silver horns of winter
and not very far off
the coming autumn drummer.

October, October
apples on the tree,
the Partridge in the Wood and
the big winds at sea,
the mud beginning in the lane
the berries bright and red
and the big tree wildly
tossing its old head.

November, when the fires
love to burn, and leaves
flit about and fill the air
where the old tree grieves.
November, November
its name is like a star
glittering on many things that were
but few things that are.

Twelfth and last December.
a few weeks away
we hear the silver bells
of the stag and the sleigh
flying from the tundras
far far away
bringing to us all the gift
of our Christmas Day.

                 ---George Barker

Speaking of time passing - month-by-month or year-by-year - here are two photos of George Barker - young and old. A life lived in between those two snapshots.

If you want to read what other people are posting for Poetry Friday, head over to Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem, by clicking here.