Thursday, November 09, 2023

Poetry Friday: I'm hosting! (No overthinking allowed.)

I was thinking, overthinking, and waffling about what to post. Then, as I grew tired of waffling, overthinking — and, let's face it, just plain thinking — Atticus suggested that I post "Autumn in New York." One really can't go wrong with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, can one? No, one cannot. 

Ramona had thoughts too. She suggested the nothing-but-poetic scene from You've Got Mail in which Joe Fox expresses the perfect fall thought.

So, dear reader, if you too do not want to overthink anything but would simply like to bask in the beauty of Ella and Louis, and the joys of a screenplay by Nora Ephron, join me:  



Mr. Linky is helping me round up this week's Poetry Friday posts, 
in his always-helpful, linky way. 

Thanks for joining us! 

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Poetry Friday: "I wanted to be surprised."

Of course, we should be careful about what we want. Reality is always surprising. 

I've been away from the blog for a while. Life has taken many surprising turns in the last few months and I'm sad to have to share that my father passed away. We'd seen such decline in the last year as he battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer that spread to his bones. When he opted for hospice care, we got him moved into a beautiful place and he died two days later. I was surprised by that, but also by hummingbirds and by an Oscar Wilde quote that played a part in Dad's last days. In addition to grieving the loss of a man who spent 89 years on this planet, we've been handling the many details that need to be handled, and now I'm working on moving my mom — who still lives two hours away from us and had to go into Memory Care — to our town, which will make everyone's life better and days happier. I have so much to say and to write about caring for one's parents, but today is not the day for that. Today, I just want to share some wisdom and loveliness from Jane Hirshfield, who is always a balm to my soul. 

I wanted to be surprised.

by Jane Hirshfield

To such a request, the world is obliging.

In just the past week, a rotund porcupine,
who seemed equally startled by me.

The man who swallowed a tiny microphone
to record the sounds of his body,
not considering beforehand how he might remove it.

A cabbage and mustard sandwich on marbled bread.

How easily the large spiders were caught with a clear plastic cup
surprised even them.

I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended.
Or why each time a new fossil, Earth-like planet, or war.
Or that no one kept being there when the doorknob had clearly.

What should not have been so surprising:
my error after error, recognized when appearing on the faces of others.

What did not surprise enough:
my daily expectation that anything would continue,
and then that so much did continue, when so much did not.
(Read the rest here, at 


The round-up this week is being hosted by Buffy Silverman

Photo thanks to BarbeeAnne at Pixabay

Friday, September 29, 2023

Poetry Friday: I need a little Emily Dickinson today

 But then, who doesn't? 

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.

This poem is in the public domain. 


Have a beautiful Friday and may you ease one life the aching today, 
or be on the receiving end of such kindness. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Poetry Friday on a Saturday: Irene Latham's new book!

Look at this gorgeous cover! 

When I heard that Irene Latham had a new book coming out, I was over the moon. (I know, I know. I had to say it.) I've long admired Irene's endless talents. She is a wordsmith, poet, art aficionado, editor extraordinaire, and an incredible collaborator with the-also-endlessly-talented Charles Waters (whose work also needs to be checked out as soon as you have time to get lost in his website). 

What's the new book about? 

The premise of the book is intriguing: these poems are a catalog and overview of items we, humankind, have left behind on our neighbor in space. Some items are moving and meaningful (an American flag, a gold replica of an olive branch, the ashes of astrogeologist Eugene M. Shoemaker, a family photograph of astronaut Charles Duke) and some are merely "space junk" (check out the book for that fun array) but every object and poem inspires a thoughtful reaction. 

My first dip into The Museum on the Moon: The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface left me charmed. The illustrations, by Myriam Wares, are consistently bewitching but also varied enough to match the mood of each poem perfectly. 

My second dip into The Museum on the Moon had me thinking about how stealthily educational the book is (in every marvelous sense of the word.) It left me wishing that I was still a homeschooling mom, teaching my daughters about the world (and the space around the world) through beautiful books. The Museum on the Moon would have inspired an entire unit study/deep dive for us. I miss those days, but that doesn't mean that this book doesn't have a place on my bookshelf. I will never stop collecting gorgeous picture books that send me over the moon. I'm delighted to add this one to my collection. 

Be sure to also check out Irene's MOON Discussion Guide and her Museum on the Moon Padlet


The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Poetry Friday: Her First Novel by James Tate

Photo: Saliha Sevim, Pexels

I'm sharing this one because, honestly, who among us (well, among those of us who write) hasn't had a wake for a novel like this? The last three lines made me laugh out loud (as did, well, most of the poem.) It's a little bit of genius and a lot of real-life writerly angst. 

Her First Novel
by James Tate

When Connie finished her novel she came
over to my place to celebrate. I mixed up a
shaker full of Manhattans and we sat out on the
porch. "Here's to… What's the title?" I
asked. "Well, that's a problem. The title's
kind of awful. It's called THE KING OF SLOPS."
"Gosh," I said, "that's unfortunate. I think
you can probably do better than that." We took
a drink and reflected. "It's about a hospital
orderly." "Ouch," I said. "It doesn't sound
very promising, does it?" "Is there a love
angle?" I asked hopefully. "No," she replied,
"everybody hates him. He's a creep." "Then
(Read the rest here.) 


The round-up this week is being hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Poetry Friday: Pole-vaulting Grasshoppers

Happy Poetry Friday! 

As the end of August draws near, I'm sharing a haiku that I wrote a few years back. I remember walking a particular path the year I wrote this and noticing, as I always do in August, the intensity of grasshopperly activity. 

I hope that as your summer draws to a close, the subtle sense of shifting seasons brings you joy, surprise, or delight. 

Summer's End
by Karen Edmisten

August, morning walk.
The grasshoppers' pole vaulting,
a season shifting.


The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Linda at TeacherDance

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Oops, I fell off the internet again

We've been occupied by all-things-parents, getting my folks moved into an assisted living residence while also dealing with hospitalizations for my dad. There's been a lot of emotion around all of it, from a lot of corners, but that's a post for another time. 

July passed in a blur. My daughters went to see Taylor Swift and we are still talking about it. (How did they get tickets? We still don't know. But I was so grateful to have one thing go so flawlessly in July. My Swifties had a nearly perfect experience. So happy.) 

As I attempt to get back into reading, writing, and poetry rhythms, I thought I'd share something simple, lovely, and relatable. From Barbara Crooker: 

In the Middle

of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,

(Read the rest here.) 


Tabatha has the weekly poetry round-up at The Opposite of Indifference

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Poetry Friday: "Summer Song" by William Carlos Williams

This week's Poetry Friday host, Irene Latham, has invited everyone to a "Moon in June" themed roundup. She's encouraging us to "share a favorite moon poem (yours or someone else's), a moon story, a moon memory, a moon dream...or whatever your moon-heart desires!" Irene's newest book, Museum on the Moon, will be released on August 8th. Take a look at this gorgeous cover: 

Can't wait to read this one! 

My moon-themed selection this week is from William Carlos Williams. I turn to Williams when I want shimmering imagery that pulls me perfectly into a scene. Who, after all, doesn't appreciate the vividness of a red wheelbarrow or the sorry-not-sorry nature of a plum-eating confession? Williams applies the same deft and inviting hand to the sharing of a summer morn. 


Summer Song
by William Carlos Williams 

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer's smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

(This poem is in the public domain.)


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Poetry Friday: Laura Shovan and Michael Rothenberg's *Welcome to Monsterville*

Welcome to Monsterville
, by Laura Shovan, with illustrations by Michael Rothenberg is a sweet, sometimes silly, moving, always charming collection of art and poetry that brings a variety of monstrous (in the best of ways) emotions to life. 

The story behind this book is immensely touching. The seeds for the book were planted in early 2020, as Laura first mentions here. How did the book grow? Check out this post, "When I Cry," which is an explanation of the book's growth, a tribute to a beloved friend, and a farewell to that same dear friend who passed away much too soon (and before his collaboration with Laura was published.) 

In the Author's Note, Laura tells us more about the spirit of the monsters that Michael drew and Laura brought even more fully to life through poetry: 

We didn't know then, in January 2020, that the dark shadow of Covid-19 pandemic was about to overtake us. Michael and I sat talking at a wooden picnic table outside Wakulla Springs State Park. Decades ago, the classic monster movie Creature from the Black Lagoon filmed scenes in the springs' pristine water. But we had our own shadows and monsters to deal with. Michael had recently lost his only son, Cosmos, to addiction. My own college-aged son was clawing his way out of a years-long depression. 

Michael began doing art therapy and one day sent Laura the first of many monsters: 

Laura's response, a poem called "Neighbor," is playful and inviting, but also hints at the depth of what's to come in this collection: 

...when it moved in, I wasn't sure 
how this strange being, round and tall, 
would squeeze in through a door so small. 

Emotions are like that — surprising us when they move in, sometimes feeling strange and too big for the space we think they should occupy. That's the beautiful and subtle theme that's woven through this work. 

Hunger is an "Eleven-eyed monster/banging on my door." A monster has a birthday ("They laughed and hugged each friend/and said, 'I never knew you cared.'") A "strange new breed of rooster" finds a way to break free, and a root monster "hums a sweet song/during long lonely hours/of purple-blue moonlight/and dancing with flowers." 

One of my favorite poems from the book is "Green Cave," in which the speaker, wrestling with anger, seeks refuge in the comforting cave of a forsythia bush. The speaker is joined by a "monstrous bird" with blue feet:

The monster sang about being so angry
that it feels like a million arrows are prickling your skin.

Its wings beat to the song's rhythm like a soft, calm breath.

Ever since then, when I'm so mad I can't stay inside,
I go to the green cave and listen for the monster's song.

Michael's perfectly paired drawing: 

I love that both this drawing and the poem present anger as something that we can spend time with, even cozy up to — it's a necessary emotion that demands acknowledgment and company. If we don't spend time with the songs of anger (and anger's cousins — grief, sadness, bewilderment), we'll never move forward. The monster's song, the safety of the green cave, the "rhythm like a soft, calm breath" ... we need them all. 

Welcome to Monsterville is a book for children and a book for everyone. We've all felt the monsters, been the monsters, run from the monsters, and befriended the monsters. This book is a beautiful hat-tip to our human complexity. 

An educator's guide can be downloaded at Laura's website and you can buy this delightful creation wherever you love to buy your favorite delightful creations


Speaking of delightful, the Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by the lovely and gracious Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise. She's not only welcoming us for Poetry Friday, but she's also hosting her annual Clunker Exchange. Details are in this post


Next week, Irene Latham has invited everyone to a "Moon in June" themed roundup. She's creating educator resources for her upcoming book, The Museum on the Moon

Irene says, "You're invited to share a favorite moon poem (yours or someone else's), a moon story, a moon memory, a moon dream...or whatever your moon-heart desires!" 

More details are here

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Poetry Friday: an unexpected encounter

Photo courtesy of Emily Hopper/Pexels

I got busy last week and didn't get a post done but today I sat down and captured this moment from a recent walk. I try to walk most mornings and one route I take goes by a protected wetland area. 

I don't usually feel the need to protect myself from the inhabitants but, hey, I was, after all, the trespasser in this scenario. 

by Karen Edmisten 

An unexpected
encounter, the impact as if
a piece of sky pounced.
Thwacked from behind, 
I was startled, unmoored,
looked around.
His innocently cocked head 
fooled me not.
Red-winged blackbird thug.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Poetry Friday: "New Moon Newton" by Oliver Baez Bendorf

Poem-a-Day, from, comes through again. 
This was yesterday's poem. Of it, the poet says: 

“Everybody knows that poets are moonstruck. Of course, it’s so cliché, but we have our reasons and they are compelling. How could I not be struck by the force that causes ocean tides? This poem is a surrender to change, to a fresh start, to trust in the benevolent forces not only celestial but also earthly, such as friends and strangers, that have moved me into a brighter, kinder phase of life.”
—Oliver Baez Bendorf

Enjoy, friends! 
And be sure to visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for the Poetry Friday round-up. 

New Moon Newton

            God is Change,
            And in the end,
            God prevails.
            But meanwhile . . .
            Kindness eases Change.
            Love quiets fear.
                        —Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

whole patterns of them
rocking around in the radiant arena
above and around our heads
on a night when the wind
sang like a scream
and the deer stood frozen
as a statue of itself
the sky was dark because
la luna had finished revealing themself
and was not yet ready to 
begin again

and I get it now:

(Read the rest here, at 


Photo courtesy of Stux at Pixabay

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Poetry Friday: "To the Sea" by Anis Mojgani

One thing I love about receiving a daily poem from is discovering poets I've never read before. Last week, this lovely poem by the Poet Laureate of Oregon, Anis Mojgani, landed in my Inbox. What have I done to deserve such gifts? (Oh, I'm glad I asked. I subscribed to the Poem-a-Day series. Subscribe, read, bookmark, repeat.) 

To the Sea

by Anis Mojgani

Sometimes when you start to ramble
or rather when you feel you are starting to ramble
you will say Well, now I’m rambling
though I don’t think you ever are.
And if you ever are I don’t really care.
And not just because I and everyone really
at times falls into our own unspooling
—which really I think is a beautiful softness
of being human, trying to show someone else
the color of all our threads, wanting another to know
everything in us we are trying to show them—
(Read the rest here.) 


a happy 40th anniversary! Huzzah! 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Poetry Friday: Love After Love by Derek Walcott

Do you know what's lovely about getting older? Finding out what a forgiving friend you can be to yourself, what a good friend you've been to you. Discovering, in the last oh-so-many years, that you have painted a sprawling and gorgeous picture, written a story that was worth preserving. 

You have loved others your whole life. Now Derek Walcott and I are reminding you to love you, too. After all, aren't you the one who persevered and made it this far? Feast, reflect, and keep going. 

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.

(Read the rest — and listen to the poem being read by Jon Kabat-Zinn — here, at The Marginalian. Or go here, to NPR, to hear another lovely reading by Tom Hiddleston.) 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Poetry Friday: "Throwing Children" by Ross Gay

This one, by Ross Gay, was recently in my Inbox (thanks to Poem-a-Day at I loved it and couldn't wait to share it with you. 

Throwing Children

by Ross Gay

It is really something when a kid who has a hard time becomes a kid who’s having a good time in no small part thanks to you throwing that kid in the air again and again on a mile long walk home from the Indian joint as her mom looks sideways at you like you don’t need to keep doing this because you’re pouring with sweat and breathing a little bit now you’re getting a good workout but because the kid laughs like a horse up there laughs like a kangaroo beating her wings against the light because she laughs like a happy little kid and when coming down and grabbing your forearm to brace herself for the time when you will drop her which you don’t and slides her hand into yours as she says for the fortieth time the fiftieth time inexhaustible her delight again again again and again and you say give me til the redbud tree or

(Read the rest of this utterly delightful poem here, at 


Thursday, May 04, 2023

Poetry Friday: Morning, by Mary Oliver

Happy Poetry Friday! I missed last week again due to some family medical stuff but I'm here now, it's Friday, and there's poetry out there that's demanding to be read. Let's read it. 

Here are two short poems by Mary Oliver about morning: 

by Mary Oliver 

Salt shining behind its glass cylinder.
Milk in a blue bowl. The yellow linoleum.
The cat stretching her black body from the pillow.
The way she makes her curvaceous response to the small, kind gesture.


(Read the rest here.) 

A Thousand Mornings
by Mary Oliver 

All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night

(Read the rest here.)

And if you love Mary Oliver, check out the new audiobook Wild and Precious: A Celebration of Mary Oliver, from Pushkin. I just downloaded it and can't wait to listen. 


The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by the fantabulous Linda B. at TeacherDance

Photo courtesy of Eszter Miller at Pixabay. 

Also? May the exquisite poet, Gordon Lightfoot, rest in peace. I loved him so.