Poetry Friday: National Author’s Day

“Memories are like a fountain no writer can live without.”
~ Ralph Fletcher ~

It’s the first Friday of the month, so that means it’s time for another Sunday Night Swaggers challenge. This month, Linda challenged us to

Find prose text or poetry you love from a published author and use it as a mentor text to write your poem. The poem doesn’t have to be about an author or authorship…but it could.

How could I possibly choose one piece of text that I love? That would be like picking a single shell out of the sea and declaring it to be the best shell. I also misunderstood exactly what I was supposed to do, so I did something a little different.

Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve used her books in my classroom for years. The loving grandmothers, the kids who, despite their good intentions, always find themselves in a muddle, the cats…I could go on and on. What’s not to love? I’ve written more than one picture book manuscript under the influence of Patricia’s warm and gentle style.

If I could write like Patricia Polacco,
I’d write a story about a girl and her grandmother
on a hot summer day.
A dog named Buster would lie
in the shade of big maple tree,
while a black cat named Inky
sat on the back step giving
himself a bath.

After lunch, the grandmother would
bring out an old basket filled with shells.
She and the girl would marvel over
the whorls and spirals,
the spikes and ridges.
The girl would run her finger
along the cool rim of
her favorite shimmering shell,
smooth as glass.
She’d hold it to her ear,
listen to the distant roar
of the pounding surf.
“How does it do that?”
the girl would ask.
Her grandmother would smile and say,

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

Read how my marvelous writing partners responded to this challenge at their blogs:

Molly  @ https://nixthecomfortzone.com/
Heidi @ https://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/
Linda @ https://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/
Margaret @ https://reflectionsontheteche.com/

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

15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: National Author’s Day

  1. I think you did this perfectly….and I love that I can’t really tell if the author of this poem is the girl or the grandmother or both at different times of life. What a beautiful image of a moment you’ve painting. I’m really missing my grandmothers right now. I feel like I could reach right out and grasp their hands….the magic of this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems as if you captured the challenge beautifully, Catherine. I want to tell you that we never receive Polacco’s books in donations at the bookstore. Shows that no one wants to give them up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I just loved this, Catherine. There’s a timeless appeal to your poem that makes it pure magic. It made me smile and feel heartened at the end of a long, busy week. It really is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a strong sense of moment you’ve created, Catherine! Such a tribute to Polacco’s signature strokes…and a grand standalone poem too, if you wanted to take out the first line-and-a-half. : ) I love these lines particularly:
    “the whorls and spirals,
    the spikes and ridges.
    The girl would run her finger
    along the cool rim of
    her favorite shimmering shell,
    smooth as glass.”
    Beautiful sounds, beautiful sensations.


  5. Your poem certainly captures the essence of Patricia Polacco. I recently read a bit of research that claimed that among other benefits, children who spend time with grandparents are happier. I hope this is true, but know from personal experience, that grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren are definitely happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Absolutely great pick. Patricia Polacco is a favourite of mine as well – I think I own practically all of her picturebooks. I love how fearlessly she has shared her experiences about having dyslexia and her initial struggles in school. 🙂 Great poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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