Poetry Friday: Oceans of Leaves


“When we write, we should play with what pleases us,” Lester Laminack advised the audience at the Connecticut Reading Conference earlier this month. These words have been in my head as I’ve thought about what to write for Carol Varsalona’s “Finding Fall” Poetry Gallery. Once again, Carol has invited teachers, writers, and poets to contribute a seasonal poem, which she will assemble into a stunning visual gallery.

Autumn is a perennial favorite for poets, so finding a new angle is quite a challenge. Then, when I was walking my dog last week, I noticed how she sought out the piles of leaves collected along the roadside. She was having just as much fun in the leaves as I used to when I was little. I had found a topic that pleased me, a topic I could play with. Here is the result.

Oceans of Leaves

When autumn leaves transform
lawns into orange and yellow oceans,
our dog races through the piles
swelling and drifting across the yard.
Like a dolphin, diving in and out
of foamy ocean waves,
she plunges
into heaps of maple leaves
that rustle and crunch
under her sagging belly.
A smile of joy spreads across her face
as she catches the perfect wave
and rides the golden surf.

© Catherine Flynn, 2015

Please be sure to visit Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Round Up.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Oceans of Leaves

  1. Love your poem Cathetine! You are so talented. I’m going to share that with our students. The kids would love to create illustrations. Can you imagine a kindergartner’ drawings alongside a 5th graders? Thanks for sharing.


  2. Catherine, I am so excited that you captured the fun of rustling in leaves but from your dog’s point of view. In all my years of observing the crunch of leaves under my feet and the bonfires of youth, I have never seen an animal enjoy the season the way your described. Perhaps, you will capture your dog’s romping through the leaves to accompany this poem. I really enjoyed this perspective of autumn and would say, add in a collage of children’s illustrations to capture this moment. I look forward to the offering.


  3. I love this poem, Catherine! Your language is so beautiful. I’d love to share the poem with my first graders. I think they would be entranced, as I am, by your comparison of the swelling piles of leaves to the ocean’s surf.


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