Apr 072014

Nature offers little treasures right before our eyes–like this bird’s nest perched on a wreath on my glass front door. Standing on a stool, I saw that an egg was added each day.  Now, as the mother house finch sits on her nest, I try to give her space.

What gems await your notice? Look closely. Focus. Then capture a few key words on paper.


Wreath-top Nest


 A mother finch



until she finds

a fading wreath

still hanging on a door.

She twitters,


gathers grass,

     soft leaves,

     and fur

to weave into a bed.

Day by day,

blue eggs appear—


     and two,

     then three,

     now four.

At last, she nestles

in her wreath-top nest

as her tiny heart

     hums lullabies

to young ones curled in eggs.

Jun 222012

Rhythms and play of sounds in poetry call attention to words and invite physical response—clapping, tapping—all exploration of language.

Even young children who have heard poems can tell about an idea, an image, or a happening as someone else records. As a grandmother, I began sending poems to my young grandson before he was a year old. Imagine my delight when he sent me his first poem. Recently, I sent him a poem about geese I saw in an unexpected place.  Here is my poem:

Goose Dreams

In the middle of town,

three quiet geese

sit in the shade

of a maple tree

and dream

of a rippled lake.


And here is Jonathan’s 3 1/2-year-old response (with Mom’s typing):

The geese love to swim
When they are done they walk in a line
The babies walk behind their mom
One after another

Having nudged poems out of first graders (to twelfth graders) as well as my own preschool sons years ago, I know that children have poems in them. All they may need is some poems to hear, a prompt, and someone to appreciate their creative ideas.

Share poems!


Mar 052012


When I visit schools, I often talk about Bonnie, my Golden Retriever mix who inspires poetry.  We have fun together.  As my son points out, Bonnie and I are a lot alike.  We both like to explore in the woods, we both like to dig in the garden, and we both love blueberries.  Sometimes we both get into mud, even if we didn’t intend to.  Oops!

Bonnie’s enthusiasm, her wagging tail, her mischievous nature, and her interesting diet (?) have all inspired poems.  Here is a small sample.  As you read them, think about what you would say about your own pet.



My yellow pup
ate up
the Encyclopedia Britannica

from “Silicate Minerals”
to “Singapore,”

leaving behind
a paper puzzle
of 24 pages.



Oh, my!
Oh me!
My pup just ate
a bumblebee.



A swift swipe
of a happy tail
wipes the coffee table clean
of dust
and collected treasures.



Bonnie and I
sit together
writing poems.

I hold the pen
as she rests her head
on my lap.

Aug 202011

Until I was 11 years old, my family lived in a house with a mimosa tree in the yard. Mimosa trees have smooth bark and V-shaped branching–perfect for climbing. In the mimosa’s gentle arms, I honed my tree-climbing skills and watched the world.

In summer, when pink tasseled blossoms covered the tree, the yard was a fragrant garden that smelled like a potpourri of flowers, watermelon, and sweet hard candy. Years later, that scent is still fresh in my mind and entwined with childhood memories.

A familiar scent still calls me to stop and notice, as when my dog and I walked past a mimosa tree one morning.


Two hummingbirds
on phantom wings
and dip
a fruity floral scent
of pink

Aug 172011

I’m thinking about poems that are inspired by fragrance.  Here’s one of my short poems.  It’s true–no need to worry about those bees. The sweet scent of a bush filled with these tiny white flowers was enough to captivate all sorts of bees.

By the way, most of my poems are short and focused snapshots.



I’m standing
in the midst
of a hundred buzzing bees,

but not a one
notices me.

To a bee
what am I
next to a thousand
sweet white blooms?

Aug 162011

Poetry begins with looking, listening, touching….  As poets, our five senses are at work as we notice the world around us. Sometimes we focus on one of those senses, but we can draw from all five.  Writing about what we see is the easiest because we have more words to describe what we see than we have to describe other sensory perceptions.  Finding words to describe what we smell can be more of a challenge.

When I wrote Mama’s Wreaths, I faced that challenge.  Having made my own evergreen wreaths for many Christmases, I had some experience to draw from.  When my friend Joann Moretz talked with me about her childhood memories of her mother’s wreath making, I could smell the evergreen.  The sticky sap that stained my hands had a strong scent of its own.  I could not keep from playing with the words that became the story.  Fragrance is powerful.