Saturday, April 16, 2022

npm 16: the progressive poem lands here

And here we are, halfway through!  Today it is my honor and challenge to add to the annual collaborative KidLit Poetry Friday tradition known as the Progressive Poem. Like a Progressive Dinner, in which the dining party enjoys each course of a grand meal at different house, the poem passes from blog to blog, poet to poet, each offering a line to progress the poem towards its end on April 30.

This year we have children's fiction on the menu.  Thanks to Irene Latham , originator of the Progressive Poem, we are drawing from books to build a cento, "a literary work made up of quotations from other authors." She started us off with a line from a favorite book, and each of us so far has selected and/or adapted from our favorites.  Here's where we are, with my line added at the bottom.

I've made another change too, just as an experiment.  I've italicized the narrative lines and left the lines which seem to belong to a member of the mapless traveling party in regular font.  Some indenting maybe also helps us manage the very much longer lines that characterize our poem.  If anyone ahead prefers the other formatting, feel free to change it back!

2022 Progressive Poem

Where they were going, there were no maps.

Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful, 
so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –
 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all 
the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.
The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.
Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,
Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 
and they stepped out into the middle of it.

I apologize (or maybe I don't!), but I just can't help casting a climate-conscious light on our poem so far--for indeed we, and our children especially, are headed somewhere where "there are no maps."  Plenty of us are overwhelmed, would rather say "No thank you, none of this terrifying adventure today," but we must heed the call, ere "the irrevocable moment passes."  We do have to go back, so as not to forget how we got here, and also move forward--with puddle-wonderful joy and much singing about what we are trying to save (monkeys! mountains! trees! swallows!)--journey forward with pure imagination, hopes, dreams, and discoveries that become solutions. 

The whole world is a garden, rather sad right now, and we are stepping into the middle of this challenge with poetry to gird us. How will Ruth and those that follow move our rambling, ragtag group of adventurers to action?  Visit Ruth tomorrow at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town to see what she makes of all this. Onward, poets!


Our lines came from the following sources:

  1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
  2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
  6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
  8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
  10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
  11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
  12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
  13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
  14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

The schedule of 2022 Progressive Poem participants is:

1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing


  1. Brilliant! Well played (and well formatted)!!

  2. Thanks, Heidi, for this wonderful post! It was very helpful to me as I wrote (chose) my line!

  3. Wow, Heidi. Yes, well done! It is good to consider a climate conscious response. A little sadness can be a good thing to activate.

  4. Interesting twist, Heidi! I knew you'd provide one!

  5. Sorry I missed it yesterday & it's wonderful to lead us down this path, Heidi.

  6. A perfect choice, Heidi! I like your formatting change, too.

  7. Of course they did, with you conducting this line.... Perfect, Heidi - thank you!

  8. Heidi, thanks for leading the poem to a place of reflection so all of us can contemplate how we can become change agents of this world. We need to save the greenery, the animals, and promote well-being and happiness with solutions. Your formatting looks good. I was thinking about that early on.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!