Friday, November 26, 2021

ode to the small things of autumn

Greetings, Poetry Friday folk, and if you are Emeka Barclay, you are especially welcome! Emeka's one of the many new and interesting poetry people that I met online at the #NCTE21 National Convention last weekend, and I do hope some of them will join us here on Poetry Fridays to bring us new, diverse voices in the children's poetry community.

I attended the virtual NCTE this year largely because of my participation on the NCTE Committee for Excellence in Poetry for Children.  I don't think I would have done another virtual convention again otherwise.  I found it REALLY hard to commit and be present in the way you can do intensely where you're there in person, with the group energy carrying you along.  Still, I'm glad for what sessions I did attend, and the one our committee did was presenting our list of Notable Poetry Books for Children.  Please do check it out by clicking the link below!

During the same event, NCTE unveiled its 2022 list of Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels, selected by the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee. The list can be downloaded here.

“We are the only committee in the country that focuses on selecting notable books of poetry and verse novels for children, ages three to thirteen. We are proud of the wide range of themes in this year’s notable poetry books, including new anthologies, advocacy, social and emotional well-being, history, nature, social justice, and science. Our verse novel selections include themes of fitting in, dystopian adventure, refugees, coming of age, and language extinction,” said Ted Kesler, chair of the NCTE Children’s Poetry Awards Committee.

And of course we celebrated the 2021 Awardee for Excellence in Poetry for Children, JANET WONG! Read more here and here.

I had also promised to do my monthly Climate Friday post on the results of  COP26 last week, but I don't know what I was thinking...especially since now my school district schedules parent conferences on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week!  For the moment I'll just link to this explainer of the main takeways.  I hope it gives both hope and a reality check. 

Now for the poetry!  This month the Seven Poetry Sisters invited us all to play along with their "Ode to Autumn"  challenge. Two weeks ago I was kind of mad at autumn and I posted this no/de. This one, however, I bashed out yesterday morning once the stuffing was made and the turkey in the oven (and about a hundred other things done, in concert with the rest of the family).


thanks & gratitude

too many mornings we wake to 

how did I get here?


no matter how hard I try

knowing that the day will be

strained, slippery, sloppy

& we

get up anyway.  who are we to

resist the riot of minor miracles (this pecan)


tiny blessings (this parsley) orbiting us like

iridescent insects, mithering us with

their background buzz?  if they bite

us, if they sting, it’s just to

demand our attention, to denounce our

ennui.  get up.  get up & bare your skin.

draft ©HM 2021


Did you notice it's an acrostic? I definitely used to think that falling back on an acrostic was a cheater-pants 2nd-grader move, but no more:  it really does always lead to something real for me.  Well, it feels real to me, and I hope to you too! I also can't help but link to a lot of songs that bubbled up as I was writing.

Our host today is our dear Ruth at There Is No Such Thing As a Godforsaken Town. We are sending all our love, compassion and hope to Haiti and Ruth is sending us back months and years worth of gratitude, which is a feat on her part.  I am #grateful for her and all of you here in the Poetry Friday community!


Friday, November 12, 2021

a no/de to autumn

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends and strangers--all are welcome to partake of the weekly party!  

It has been 6 days since the clocks fell back and, as every year, I feel like they all fell on me. I can still ride my bike* to school leaving at 7:30, but I have to scoot outta there by 4:15 to get home comfortably before it gets too gloamy, and today is the first day I have not awakened substantially before my alarm at 5am.  I have some hope that I will stay awake tonight past 8pm!

I am a Summer in every way, shape and form.  I'm like those trees that have strategies to protect their seeds through fire regimes, which you can read about here:  I REQUIRE the blazing heat and sun of summer to make it through the winter, when I go dormant.  There have been years (notably the one we spent in France) where I didn't get enough summer, which made the winter very bleak indeed.  And, as I type this, I am looking directly into the light of a full-spectrum lamp.

So here's a no/de to autumn, inspired by the ode which the Seven Poetry Sisters are working on for later in November.  I'll try, really I will, but I dunno--some days the gorgeous leaves just feel like an insultingly meager compensation for the loss of a loved one. In fact, this poem comes from a series I wrote back in 2017-18 called The Art of Losing. My form is an invented one that maybe I'll call the diminuendo.


Thanks to Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for rounding us up this week with a wash of ocean poems from FRIENDS AND ANEMONES.  I hope y'all who love fall are getting a good dose of what you need--sweaters? pumpkin spice? candles?--and I'll see you around the Kidlitosphere.


 (the song is better than the videography)

 *Until next week, when I'll review the news from COP26 for Climate Poetry Friday, here's my wonder of an electric (battery-assist) bike I call HummingBee, which allows my middle-aged bod to delight in cycling to school 2-4 days a week as though I were 11 again.  Please ask me if you have questions about e-bikes!

Here is HummingBee all kitted out for the summer bike adventure. We travel much lighter on the way to school!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

let's get physicsal

Greetings, Poetry Friday People!  All are welcome at this table, even those like me who believed (may still believe) that they are not math people. 

But if poets and scientists are kindred spirits, then so are poets and mathematicians, for is not math at the heart of nature and science, and is not math just another language for language lovers to embrace?

Our INKLINGS challenge for the first Friday of November is set by Linda Mitchell, who as a librarian loves 512 and 539 as much as she loves 811 (right, Linda?): "For November, write a poem that includes the idea of percentage/ percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem in some way."

Well, alrighty then.  Roll with it, folks!


Superposed PercentAge

with reference to theoretical physics, Mary Oliver and Schrodinger’s Cat

The commencement speaker told my daughter she’d

easily live to 100 and beyond, "maybe on Mars!” he said,

with a note of thrill in his quantum entrepreneur’s voice.  

My chance of living to 100 is, according to the internet 

calculator, 0%.  At 57, I am instead likely to make it 92% 

of the creaky, forgetful way to my own personal century.

Doing the math, I find that these ≈57 years I have so far lived

are 0.619 of my predicted total out of 100, or about 62%,  

which despite counting as an F on most grade scales feels

satisfactory to me. Yet according to the RealAge assessment  

on my health insurance site, I am not only 57 but also exist

in a quantum state of 51.4 due to clean living and privilege. 

Like everything, I’ll die at last, and too soon--unless I spend

that 5.6 years simultaneously, like that cat, alive and dead.

Now I’ll tell you what it is I plan to do with the remaining

35 years or 38 percent of my 100% wild and precious life:








this box.


draft HM 2021


 This one is wiiiiiide open, so it will be fun to see what others have come up with.  Check out their creations!

-Catherine at Reading to the Core
-Linda at A Word Edgewise  -Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

Mary Lee is also our host today, so wave on over in the manner of quantum particles, as if going in two directions at the same time, and I'll hope to see you there!