One of my favorite collections to share with children is Elaine Magliaro‘s Things To Do (Chronicle Books, 2017). Magliaro imagines all sorts of animals, familiar elements of nature (sun, rain, sky), and everyday objects like erasers and scissors. Writing a “things to do” poem is a great way to get children looking at familiar sights in new ways. This can also stretch their vocabulary, as they strive to find that just right word to describe an image.
I was recently inspired to write a few “things to do” poems myself. This is one of my favorites (although the last line still needs work.)
We’re on the cusp of spring, but winter has been reluctant to loosen its grip. In typical New England fashion, the weather has been vacillating between blustery snow and teasing breezes. Last week I was able to sneak in a late afternoon walk. I wasn’t the only one out enjoying the sunshine.
A Riot of Robins
Grace is a leafless maple ablaze with glowing amber lanterns: a riot of robins welcoming spring.
A few weeks ago I wrote about finding a short article by Jane Yolen about her correspondence with Nancy Willard. That led me to seek out more of Willard’s poetry, which led me to A Nancy Willard Reader, which led me to this magical poem by Linda Pastan.
In this kingdom the sun never sets; under the pale oval of the sky there seems no way in or out, and though there is a sea here there is no tide.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is happening at Poetry For Children. Please visit Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong as they lay out a veritable smorgasbord of poetry to help celebrate their latest anthology, Things We Eat.
It’s time for another Inkling challenge. This month, Margaret challenged us to “Choose a quote that speaks to you. Write a poem that responds to the quote. The words can be used as a golden shovel or throughout the poem or as an epigraph.”
Where to begin? I have been collecting quotes for over forty years. They are jotted on legal pads, scribbled in notebooks, carefully copied onto pretty paper. Finally, I opened to a random page in my current notebook. This is what I found:
“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle
That narrows it right down, doesn’t it? Coincidentally, sitting on my desk is a layer from a wasp nest that fell from a tree during a recent storm.
Those perfect little hexagons got me thinking…
How did the humble honeybee learn Euclidean geometry?
Without blueprints, with nothing drawn, they build a home of hexagons.
Mixing pollen, resin, oil, day after day, worker bees toil.
Using their bodies, they mark and measure every cell to house their treasure,
Liquid treasure, golden and sweet. Treasure they share, a delectable treat!