Poetry Friday: “For You”

Like many of you, I was deeply saddened to learn of Paul B. Janeczko’s death earlier this week. Although I never met Mr. Janeczko, I feel like he was an old friend. His books have been a staple in my classroom since I began teaching and have guided and inspired my own writing. Last night, I spent the evening poring over favorite titles, trying to decide what would be a fitting tribute. In the end, I chose “For You,” by Karla Kuskin, which is included in Poetry From A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers (Simon & Schuster, 1994). This poem is especially poignant for me because my sweet orange cat Noodles passed away just a few weeks ago.

For You
by Karla Kuskin

Here is a building
I have built for you.
The bricks are butter yellow.
Every window shines.
And at each an orange cat is curled,
lulled by summer sun.
The door invites you in.
The mat is warm.
Inside there is a chair
so soft and blue
the pillows look like sky.
In all the world
no one but you
may sit in that cloud chair.
I’ll sit near by.

Noodles “lulled by the summer sun.”

There are just two more weeks until March 8th, International Women’s Day. I’ll be hosting the Roundup that day and would love it if people help to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. You can read more here. In the meantime, please be sure to visit Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: A Harbinger of Hope


As seen on my drive to work earlier this week:

a ribbon of rainbow
peeks through gray clouds
a harbinger of hope

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Writing the World for Kids. Be sure to stop by to read more poetry and to help Laura celebrate the publication of her new book, Snowman – Cold = Puddle. And although this may be a little obvious, my haiku could easily be transformed into an equation poem:

showers + sunbeams = rainbow

Photo by Karen Cantú Q on Unsplash

Poetry Friday: My Grandmother Making Breakfast

Last week, I shared some gleanings from poet and teacher Gregory Orr’s book A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry, specifically his thoughts about the distinction between lyric and narrative poetry. Orr acknowledges that these two poetic forms occur along a continuum, with very few poems being purely one or the other. He also observes that while “most poetry readers and writers have shifted toward lyric,

The narrative impulse is still powerfully present in all of us as a fundamental way of organizing experience into meaning.”

Orr includes an exercise at the end of this chapter, challenging his readers to write a narrative poem. He suggests writers “choose a figure who is known to you…then imagine that figure in a context.” Once you have these basic elements, “add yourself to the situation” and keep asking “what happens next?”

This poem is my response to the exercise. As with any prompt, I bent the rules a little, but kept true to Orr’s direction to “narrow the focus.”

My Grandmother Making Breakfast

She stands at the stove
in the center of her kitchen,
cracking eggs
into a cast iron frying pan.

I sit at her drop-front desk
in the corner by the window,
perched on a yellow stool,
trying to shuffle cards
in a collapsing arch,
the way my father does.

She stirs the eggs,
their sunflower yolks blooming
into the black pan.

My attention is on the cards,
my ten-year old hands
not quite dexterous enough
to manage the trick
of mingling and
mixing them.

Meanwhile, my grandmother
adds salt and pepper to the eggs,
now coalescing into fluffy mounds
and the warmth of the stove radiates
throughout the kitchen.

Soon, she will spoon our breakfast
onto flowered plates.
The cards will be scattered
on the desk, forgotten for now.

We will sit and eat.
She will sip her coffee;
I will sip Hi-C  from a glass
that once held shrimp cocktail.

But for now,
we are both focused
on the task at hand,
lost in our thoughts,
content to be alone

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

Please be sure to visit Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Just a reminder about the Roundup on International Women’s Day (March 8th). I’m hosting that day thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the day by sharing poems that honor women. These could be original poems or poems written by others. They could be poems about an important woman in your life who deserves to be celebrated, someone famous, an unsung woman of historical significance, or a poem by your favorite female poet. The choice is yours. So please feel free to participate (or not) in any way that feels right to you.