Thursday, January 6, 2022

winter poem swap & the lost lagoon challenge

Greetings once again, Poetry Friday people. As promised I'm extending the pleasure of joining the Winter Poem Swap and getting to know Tanita better by sharing it with you today, well into January!  Below this you'll find January's Inklings poem challenge as well.

Tanita knows that my family starts our winter holiday with a celebration of the Shortest Day, the Longest Night, on the Winter Solstice. She also knows that I've often and recently used the acrostic to get a draft off the ground. Her poem is truly tailor-made for me, and incorporates all her gorgeous command of rhyme, rhythm and a slightly formal, archaic diction which fits the observance of the Solstice, a practice that reaches us from deep prehistory (and yet which happens right now too, every year!).

See how it's a little wrinkled?  I keep carrying it from room to room with me.

 Now if I could beg your indulgence:  please read this poem aloud while playing the following sound clip from the equally gorgeous handmade titanium wind chime that accompanied the poem.  You see it above in a photo which shows it hanging  before the sliding doors in my Library Lounge; it is both cozy inside and snowy outside at the same time!


I'm so delighted with every part of this gift--"Now wakes the wind.  It whisks the barren ground/Verdant beneath, as sprightly seedlings sleep"--which is always my greatest hope at this time of year. Sunlight is indeed unconquered, no matter what we may do to Earth; let 2022 be the year when each and all begin truly to conquer our misuse of her riches. Thank you, Tanita!


 It's the first Friday of the month, so we Inklings are again undertaking a challenge, this time set by me.  Despite my swoon over Tanita's gorgeously "old-fashioned" poetry it's not often I go for that, but every now & then something strikes my fancy, and this poem by Emily Pauline Johnson (who also published under her Mohawk name Tekahionwake and was born 1861 on the Six Nations Reserve, Canada West) captivated me.


The Lost Lagoon

It is dusk on the Lost Lagoon, 
And we two dreaming the dusk away, 
Beneath the drift of a twilight grey— 
Beneath the drowse of an ending day 
And the curve of a golden moon.

It is dark on the Lost Lagoon,
And gone are the depths of haunting blue,
The grouping gulls, and the old canoe,
The singing firs, and the dusk and—you,
And gone is the golden moon.

O lure of the Lost Lagoon—
I dream to-night that my paddle blurs
The purple shade where the seaweed stirs—
I hear the call of the singing firs
In the hush of the golden moon.


My challenge: "Use the form of this poem to build your own poem FOR CHILDREN about a treasured place that you return to again and again (geographical or metaphorical)." 
It seemed simple enough, but the form proved deceptive--and I counted wrong! I noted that the first four lines had 4 stressed beats each and that the last line of the stanza had 3...but in fact both L1 and L5 of each stanza have three beats. 
So my poem, like some of the others, departs from the form a bit, and doesn't quite have the same water-paddling rhythm--but there may be other pleasures lurking instead. See what you think.

 I bet I'm not the only one whose treasured place is the library, eh? I will say it worked better when I didn't have to keep an eye on the clock!
My school district has just announced a delayed opening tomorrow due to predicted snow that they have cancelled school***, so maybe by the time you read this, an 811 stanza will have been written! Here's where to find everyone else's treasured places.
 Thanks to Carol at Beyond Literacy Link who hosts us this week with a few One Little Words to get 2022 rolling, hopefully in a far more peaceful, prudent way.
***I am not one of my district's 10,000 students and staff currently infected with COVID. Woot. However, the closure today, while the district continues to say it's due to the max 2 inches of further snow, is really because they don't have enough staff to open the buildings. Here's a laugh:


  1. We have a snow day, too. Although are staffing issues and student absences aren't as severe as yours (10,000!), it does feel like the weather is trying to tell us something this week. I love your poem, Heidi. I was an encyclopedia (and atlas) sleuth, too, so I love that you included this favorite rainy/snowy day pastime. Maybe I'll have to do a little sleuthing today. Even though there were plenty of complexities in this challenge, it really stretched me. Thank you!

  2. Heidi, what a great trio of poems here. Tanita is so good at whatever she puts her hand to, as are you! That looks like a fun challenge; I may have to try it. The library was definitely one of my favorites places when I was growing up.

  3. What a fun and full post. The wind chimes are so pretty. I am also home on a snow day and I do not know how many staff are sick...but I know that some are. Thank you, Mother Nature! 'The Lost Lagoon' is a poem I usually wouldn't spend time with. But, I enjoyed it more and more as I tried to emulate it. I really appreciate that it was a mentor text for the challenge. Thank you! Now, I need a second pass at those wind chimes...moving to my sliding doors to see snow as well.

  4. I'm enjoying a snow day up in Maine as well and your post just added a lovely layer to the falling snow. Tanita's poem is gorgeous --the language is divine, especially when accompanied by those wind chimes. Wow! Your library poem is also wonderful and I'm especially fond of that last line "Hallowed be all my selves." Thanks for a great challenge this month.

  5. I'm taken with your "Hallowed by all my selves" too! What a great post, and prompt from you. Such a great variety of remembrances from you Inklings! Thanks, too, for the hilarious link at the end, which I've sent to my teacher-daughter. Here's to 2022 - Stay safe & well & creative!

  6. Everyone here had a snow day yesterday, surprise! It was frightfully cold, high of 12 & snowy. Tanita sent a lovely poem, Winter Rising indeed. And I've loved everyone's poems I've read so far from your challenge, Heidi, including yours. Yes, a library was a favorite of mine, within walking distance of my school, so I went there while waiting for my mom to pick me up. But before we moved to the city, I lived in little town & the bookmobile was awesome. I love all the parts you included about the shelves especially.

  7. Heidi, what an amazing post. First, Tanita's poem reads like a play, a drama that unfolds that ends with the sun, especially accompanied by the chimes. Wonderful. And your poem written for the prompt is so moving and I felt the wonder of the library as I read. I'm glad you are well!

  8. The library is, indeed, one of my forever-treasured places. "Hallowed be all my selves" is a line I'd like to carry into my current phase of life!!

  9. Your poem solidifies that you are truly 'shelf aware', Heidi!
    And Tanita's poem/chimes 'ring' true, too.
    But the McSweeney's article is painfully funny. I especially like the alternative for home testing :"our school nurse has approved the use of a Q-tip with six droplets of vodka splashed onto an egg carton instead". HA!

  10. I enjoyed every part of this post, Heidi! Tanita's poem is gorgeous. I felt swept away by the imagery of the first two lines. And listening to the wind chimes -- perfect pairing for the poem. It was fun, this Poetry Friday, visiting each of the Inklings Lost Lagoon poems. Your library is a place I'd like to spend this snowy day.

  11. Challenge accepted! I will make an effort to spin gold from my poetry straw. Thank you for sharing yours!

  12. Wonderfully rich post Heidi. Hail yes, to that sunlight rising us in Tanita's poem to you. I'm always so happy and grateful to see the sun, feel it, and have it throughout winter.
    I like the rolling rhythm of the "rows and rows" throughout your poem, all the alliterating r's and the "wisdom tooth" in there too—Lovely rollicking Library poem!
    Thanks for the, should I say laughs, I guess yes, from your School note-better to laugh from the pain of it all. A good friend of mind is a High School Math teacher at a
    Chicago Public School, and keeps me abreast of what's happening there… Stay Well!

  13. Thanks for sharing Tanita's lovely poem: "Now wakes the wind. It whisks the barren ground" That line totally grabbed me, too. Catches me up and whisks ME away. And your poem captures that feeling of basking in the treasure of the library-especially love that last stanza. And--oh, that McSweeney's post. I am laughing and crying at the same time--a standard occurrence lately.

  14. Somehow I missed this over the weekend. But here I am marveling at Tanita's poem, the lovely chimes, and your library poem. A rich post indeed to warm me on this winter morning. Yes, it's 45 degrees after 80 yesterday.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!