Welcome

This is my playground for poetry written for children with ideas and inspiration for writing your own poems. Come on in. Sit for a spell, have a cup of words to swirl around and make your own cup of poetry. I'm so glad you are here. I hope you'll find the Kingdom of Poetry a fun place to be.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

AH, SPRING!


Egrets take to their wing.
Shama trill and lilt notes ring.
The mynah birds do their bird thing.

Cows in the pasture bray their moo.
I'm glad to be here, wish you were too.

The man on the corner
is washing his car
all the while singing
to a distant star.

The weather is better.
Yes, it is spring
and I can't think
of a better thing.

Aaaaah, Spring. 

   What things do you notice with spring?  Mary Oliver has a line in her poem The Summer Day, "I don't know exactly what prayers is.  I do know how to pay attention."  Every time I pause to notice things around me, I wonder am I paying close enough attention.  I need to practice--a lot.  How do you practice paying attention?  What have you noticed today?  What have you learned today?  Can you try writing a poem about that?    Then try drawing a picture to go with your poem.  Today I was playing with digital drawing.  My picture was drawn on my computer using a program called Paper 53.  I need to learn more about the program, but for now I had fun playing.  I hope you find time to play today, too.  After all, it is spring.

   A shama is a local bird, only found on Kauai and O'ahu.  Also known as the White Rumped Thrush, it has a red-orange chest like a robin.  It is considered to by the most gifted song bird on our island. It was first introduced to Kauai from Malaysia in 1931 and released on O'ahu in 1940.

Nothing is so beautiful as spring-- Gerald Manley Hopkins

Monday, March 20, 2017

SPRING



Last night
when I went to bed
I could still
smell the fragrance
of flowers I'd
put in a vase
on my dresser,
the sweet yellow
trumpets of daffodils.

   What is your favorite flower? Daffodils speak to me of happiness, joy and laughter.  They are Springtime. Can you write a poem about a flower today?  Have fun writing.

The cow's favorite flower is a buttercup.  What flower does a cow wear?  A cowslip. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Game Time




In the afternoon
when teacher
turns us loose
my friends and I
play duck, duck,
goose.

We tap
the goose
and then
we run.
Duck, duck
goose is
so much fun.


   What is your favorite circle game?  Do you know Ring-Around-the-Rosy, Flying Dutchman, Drop the Handkerchief, Squirrels-in-a-Tree?  What other games do you know?  Can you write a poem today for one of your games?  Would someone reading your poem know how to play the game?  Have fun thinking about what to write and how you are going to put your poem together.  Then have fun writing.  Try drawing a picture to go with your poem.

   He said, we can't all be Cinderella or the prince.  I want to know why.  I believe we can.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's that time again

My friends have snow.
It's two feet deep.
Their chilly weather,
they can keep.

Here on my island,
we've a tropical breeze
with lots of sunshine
and sand on our knees.


I got up early this morning to talk to a friend on the East Coast.  We ended up laughing and she called me a "Baby, just starting out."  My day had just begun while she was in the late afternoon of her day.  Do you have friends in other time zones?  How does that effect your talking to them?  Can you write a poem about a different time today?  It may be the differences between day and night, or different ages.  What if you could travel back in time?  Who would you talk to?  Or can you travel into the future?  Time is a man-made construct, so why do we have 24 hours in a day?  Don't sailors work on a four hour schedule of bells?
Anyway, I hope you have some time to play with poetry today and to have a good time.  Write on!

Today I will take my time slowly, thank you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PAINTING


I tried to paint an apple.
It turned into a blob.
I spattered paint everywhere.
I guess I am a slob.

   Have you ever tried to draw or paint something and it just wouldn't come out right?  I was thinking about that as I wrote todays poem. Then, of course, I had to try to paint a picture of an apple that was slobish. (I think I just made up that word.) Anyway, it took me about 10 minutes to set up my paints, brushes and paper.  But it only took about 5 minutes to paint my apple.  I did have to wait a few moments for the background paint to dry, but that is part of what made my edges blurry.
Then I had fun splattering the paint.
  One of my favorite children's illustrators uses splattered paint--Brian Wildsmith.
  Now with paint splattered, I have a mess to clean up.  I did have fun playing.
  I hope you have fun playing today too.  Can you try writing your own poem about your favorite piece of fruit?  Do you like bananas, oranges, grapes, pineapple, or pears?  Then have fun trying to paint a picture for your poem, or draw one.  Just have a fun day.  If you use real fruit to write and paint from, you can eat it when you are done.  And don't forget to clean up.

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.  INVICTUS, William Ernest Henley 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

HAPPY PI DAY

   Today is March 14, which makes it Pi Day 3.14.  It is also a day for writing poems about math, for baking pies and eating them.  Yum!

I HATE MATH

Math and me,
I don't do great.
It takes too long.
I'm always late.

My mom says things
I don't get her.
"Practice, Son
and you'll get better."

Not knowing math
does terrorize.
There are facts
I should memorize.


   How do you memorize things?  I know for me, the best place to memorize is in the bathroom.  When I was in fourth grade and needed to memorize, my teacher sent me out to the playground.  Somehow the rhythm of the swing helped set up a rhythm in my brain to be receptive to the things I needed to remember.  I frequently start at the end and memorize back from there.
   Do you have timed math tests and quizzes?  In third grade on Fridays, we'd have timed tests.  As soon as we were done, we were to put our tests on the teacher's desk and we could go out to play.  I was not good at this.  So as I frequently do, I redefined the rules.  I decided to write as neatly as I could.  I decided to check my work and show the proof.  Of course, I was the last to finish--but I did have every problem correct and had the neatest paper.  Do you ever "re-define" the rules?  What do you do?
   In the long run, this strategy didn't pay off because everyone thought I was bad in math.  If I'd just put in a little more effort, I could have been awesome.
   In fifth grade, there was a student Bruce Marcuson who memorized all the state capitols.  When we'd play a geography game, he'd always win.  Now that I know how to memorize, to remember 50 facts is easy.  If I'd only known that when I was young. 
   What can you do to exercise your memory skills today?  Is there a poem you want to learn?

   Your poetry challenge for today is to write a poem about your favorite kind of pie.  Have fun writing and memorizing.  Can you draw a pie to illustrate your poem?

  Here is another hibiscus I drew last week.  The hibiscus is Hawaii's State Flower.


Live now so you'll have great memories.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Asleep at the Wheel



I'm back after a three week course in Botanical Illustration.

  I learned a lot.  We used colored pencils and water color pencils to do our art.  I learned about plants, but I also learned about myself through doing the art. I learned some new techniques for drawing and coloring.  I learned that I don't particularly like the static-ness (Is that a word?) of plants.  I'd rather observe flowering plants in their natural habitat.  I also gained a great respect for the people who do botanical illustration.  Why someone would want to spend hours, days, weeks trying to get their picture to look like a photograph is beyond me though.
Here are the parts of a hibiscus flower.  This is Hawaii's State Flower.


It was interesting to take the flowers apart to see all of the hidden parts, but I hated ruining the pretty flowers.  I kept thinking of a Mary Oliver line from her poem This Summer Day, "Don't all things die at last, and too soon?"  And, I didn't like my role in making that 'too soon.'


   Can you find a flower, leaf, nut, fruit or plant to try drawing today? And when you are done, or while you are making your art, think of a poem to go with your picture.

I kept thinking of this:

FLOWERING TREES

Flowering trees sway
on a tropical isle,
watching them play
makes me smile.

   Maybe part of the reason I wrote a short poem about trees is because a friend, Mark Walsh (an emergency room nurse) challenged me to write a TREE poem.  He wants to start a poetry tag game with me.  I hope I am up for this.  Do you know how to play poetry tag?  One person starts with a poem and the person tagged plays off of that poem.  In this instance Mark might reply with a poem about flowers, growing, isles, tropics, or things that make him smile.  Who knows what his poem will be.  It could be something he writes or a poem from another poet.  Poetry Tag might be something you'd like to try with your friends.

Tomorrow, March 14 is PI Day (3.14), many people celebrate by eating pie.  What is your favorite flavor of pie?  Can you write a pie poem today to give to a friend tomorrow?  I think I'm going to try to bake a pie today.  Somehow it seems unfair.  I don't want to start my oven because it will make my house too hot and on the radio they announced New York City Schools will be closed tomorrow for a snow day.  If you live in Australia or south of the equator where it is summer season now, you know what I mean.  But if you live where it is snowing, all I can say is come visit me where we spend our entire year in shorts and t-shirts.  I do live in paradise.