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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

MY CAT

copyright 2015, Joy Acey



My kitten,
as everyone knows,
is the best cat 
you can find.
I dress her
in my doll's clothes.
She never seems to mind. 


copyright 2015, Joy Acey


     This poem was inspired by Stella and Sophie, two new friends I met last night.  Do you have a pet?  A cat?  A dog?  What do you do with your pet?  What does your pet do to you?  Can you write a poem about your pet (real or imaginary) today?  Have fun thinking about imaginary pets.


Writing children's poetry is the best way I know to meet new friends.





Saturday, May 30, 2015

THE WAY A POEM BEGINS





I know
how a poem begins.
It starts in quiet,
my mind still,
my palms together,
fingers pointing upward
just under my chin.
It starts as a prayer
for the right words.


    How do poems begin for you?  Can you write a poem about that today?

Writing children's poetry is a labor of love.

Friday, May 29, 2015

THE OLD BARN


The old barn remembers
when it knew the comings
and goings of all the farm animals,

the smell of wet hay under the cow's feet
and the mews of the cat
wanting warm milk,

the steam from the horse's soft nostrils
on cold winter mornings
and in summer the laughter
of children moving hay bales
in the mow to make a maze,

in later years, the smell
of diesel and oil mixed with dirt
around the truck and tractor,

the sound the skip-loader made
as it mucked out the pigs' pens,
or the scurrying of mouse feet
racing from the silo with discarded corn.

Abandoned now, the roof sags,
the wood has weathered gray,
dust motes float in the sun rays
slipping through the chinking,
the metal door hinges squeak needing oil.

The barn doesn't know
how much longer he'll be able
to stand it. He's waiting,
once more to hear the soft words
of lovers meeting in the mow.
There is only the echo of memory
to keep him company.
     Today's poem was written for Jane Yolen who shared a poem about a barn this week.  She didn't have hay in her poem and I commented on that.  She responded, it had been a long time since hay was made in her barn.  I suggested she needed to write a poem from the barn's point of view and Jane said that was my poem to write.  So I did.
     Your challenge for today is to take an object and write your poem from the viewpoint of the object.  Have fun writing.

The Poetry Friday Round Up is hosted this week by Margaret Simon on her blog Reflections on the Teche.  Thanks, Margaret for organizing us this week.  



     Writing a children's poem is like dropping a pebble into a pond, you never know how far the ripples will go.
 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Soon

Ho-Ho-Hot
On my bare
Toes.The cement is burning.

  It is over 90 degrees in Tucson and I took my shoes off to go put up the umbrella out by the pool, except I had to stop and put my feet in the water to cool them off.  Then I went inside and got my shoes before I finished with the umbrella.
  Can you write a poem today about being silly?  Have fun writing.

Children's Poetry shines all the colors of the rainbow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

DESERT ACROSTIC



Down in the gully
East of my house
Snake is watching a little gray mouse.
Eek, squeaked the mouse, Gulp,
Replied the snake, and
That is the end of this tale.

    I've been thinking acrostics lately, so last night I started thinking about this poem.  But, as you can see, as soon as I started writing the poem, my brain wanted a rhyming poem.  And I really wanted to make it a Western Diamondback Rattle snake and a packrat.  There were more details I wanted to include.  This is a sure sign for me that I'm forcing the poem into the form I want it in rather than letting the poem be what it wants to be.  In fact, I even started playing with using "tail" instead of "tale" to end the poem.  That way the packrat would still be alive instead of being dinner.  The point is, this is not a finished poem.  I know that.  The poem has told me so.  I need to listen to my poems.
     Here is your poetry challenge for today.  Write an acrostic poem. Then listen to your poem.  Where does it want to take you?

Children's Poetry can take you to far off lands. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE

      Sorry to be slow with my posting for yesterday, but it was my birthday and I was having a grand time. I went to a Friends of the Library book sale and bought lots of great picture and poetry books.  Lots of books at $10 a bag.  And here is a poem about what happened with my birthday dinner.

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE

Eating dinner,
my cards and presents
by my plate.

Unwrapping gifts
my family knows me
I get a new journal.

The cake is chocolate
the ice cream too.
I look up to see
movement out the window.

Surprise!
There in my backyard
is a bobcat.
She slowly walks closer.

She has come to give me
one more present
the gift of her sighting.



     Do I need the last line of this poem? Or, should I switch the last two lines? Can you see how, "There in my backyard/ is a bobcat." is more exciting than There is a bobcat/ in my backyard? The order of the words  helps to build excitement.
     Can you write a free verse poem about what you did today?
     I feel wonderfully blessed to have so many friends sending greetings for my birthday via email and Facebook.  Thank you all.  I'm such a lucky girl.

Editing a poem is like picking fleas from a monkey's back.

May 25,2015



WORD JOCKEY 

At night, I jockey words
Around the paddock.
The trainer keeps time
While I keep running.

I exercise the words each day
Trying for a faster time--
A better run.  Sometimes
The word stretches its legs
Lengthens its stride.

Sometimes the word
Is stubborn and lazy.
It doesn't want to move
Balks at the starting gate.

Sometimes the word
Is scratched,
Scribbled into the dirt.

Some nights the word
Totally throws me
And I am left
To pick myself up and get back on
For another night's ride.
 
   This poem uses an extended metaphor.  It combines writing words with riding horses. I dream in words, they float around in my head at night as I try to put them together into another poem.  If you write, I'm sure you have had the occasion in conversation where someone mis-heard your writing and riding.  I think that may be where this poem came from. 
      My husband is a scientist.  At one time he had over 8,000 mice, of different strains, with different genetic backgrounds that he kept to use for his experiments.  We used to call him a Mouse Farmer.  As a student in school, are you a Desk Jockey?  So here is your poetry challenge for today.  Can you knock the heads of two ideas together and extend the metaphor?  Let's see, as a student, you might also be a Desk Gardener.

On the farm
the sun comes up early
I lift the top of my desk
take out paper and pen.

Stuck in this plot
enriching the soil
each paper tries to grow.
 
At noon,
the plants need watering
so we all march
to the lunch room.

To harvest great ideas
my teacher makes us
write many drafts.
We weed out many errors.

  

   Try this and let me know how it works for you. Have fun playing with words and ideas today.
      
 
Writing poetry for children is an exercise in love.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

THE CAVES

Caves are dark.
Caves are deep.
During the day
it's where bats sleep.

    Yesterday I went to Kartchner Caverns and explored the cave. I put on a helmet and headlamp to see stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, bacon, drapes and towers, all slowly made by dripping calcite.  I also got to see 45,000 year-old bat guano. It is hard to think of something that old. Can you imagine what life must have been like 45,000 years ago?  In the Discovery Center I saw a picture of a square foot with over 200 bats sleeping in that small space. Can I say my mind was boggled? 
   What do you know about rocks, stones, or caves? What do you know about the insects or mammals that live in caves? Can you write your own poem about one of these topics? Have fun writing.

Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.  
Joseph Roux

Saturday, May 23, 2015

TANKA



new moon,      a dark time
searching firefly can't find
an answering flash
a single frog by the stream 
haunts my night with his croaking

     I thought I'd try another tanka for today's poem.  A tanka is a syllabic poem like a haiku.
It starts with the 5-7-5 pattern and adds two more 7 syllable lines.  So it is 5-7-5-7-7.  Unlike haiku that is a nature poem, tankas are poems about love.  They were called pillow poems because in early Japan women would write the poems and leave them on their lover's pillow.Would you like to try writing a tanka today? Have a great Saturday. 


Children's Poetry Can Help You See.

Friday, May 22, 2015

WIND

Bend bushes bend.
Bow to the wind.
Fall petals fall.
Wind blows it all.

Springtime breezes
fly paper kites
taking our dreams
up to new heights.

    Are you ready for Memorial Day weekend?  What are some of the things you see in the wind?  Can you write a poem about the wind today?  Have fun writing.
   The Poetry Friday Round Up is hosted by Matt Forrest today over at his blog Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme.
  

 Children's Poetry Can Make You Giggle.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

LANTERNE

SPRING

Sand
cacti
when there's rain
desert blooming
hats.

    Today's poem is a Lanterne and I wouldn't know the term except my friend, children's poet, Matt Forrest challenged me to write four poems in four days and then find four friends to tag and ask them to write poems too.  Except, the last time I did this I had a hard time finding four friends who hadn't already been tapped to write poems.  AND this is Memorial Day weekend.  It is my birthday weekend and I don't want my friends to have to be glued to their computers posting poems when it is going to be a great weekend to be outdoors.
For my birthday, my husband is taking me caving.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  It is something I've never done before and I'm looking forward to it
  But, let's get back to the lanterne, because that is your poetry challenge for today.  Try writing one.  A lanterne is a form of cinquain poem.  It has five lines.  The title can work to make a sixth line for you or go without a title.  The first line has only one syllable, then each successive line adds one more syllable, until you get to the last line which has only one syllable again.  It is called a lanterne because if the poem is set with a certer margin, or centered on the page it looks like a lantern.  Each line should be able to stand on its own.


SPRING

Sand
cacti
when there's rain
desert blooming
hats.

That is a funny looking lantern to me.  I originally ended this poem with the word spring (and I didn't have a title),  but when I went back to edit, I was thinking of the Mother's Day hats that the Saguaro wear--pretty white flowers in a ring on the top.  I like the surprise of the hats at the end because when it rains, people put on hats too.  So there is a layered meaning at the end of the poem.

Line 1 = 1 syllable
Line 2 = 2 syllables
Line 3 = 3 syllables
Line 4 = 4 syllables
Line 5 = 1 syllable

An 11 syllable poem can be tricky.
 
   Now it is your turn.  Will you try writing your own lanterne?  If you want, please post your poem in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Limerick

To get tickets for the play I stood in line,
At the theater on Sunset and Vine.
I took a blind date.
Can’t say she was great.
The seat they gave her was K-9. 

   I am not good at writing limericks although I did once win an Honorable Mention in a limerick contest.  Limericks are supposed to be funny.  The rhyme scheme is a,a,b,b,a.  Can you try writing your own limerick today?

Children's Poetry can make a child laugh.
    

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I put the sleeping bags
in my backyard,
my friends and I
will sleep out tonight.
We'll eat lots of s'mores
tell scary stories,
and the moon will be
our night light.


   I've been reading 101 Things Every Kind Should Do Growing Up by Alecia T. Devantier.  (2002, Sourcebooks, Inc.)  Number 4 on the list is-- Every kid should camp in the backyard.  When was the last time you slept outside?  Have you ever slept in your backyard?  Try it, invite your friends and you can write your own poem about backyard camping.

Monday, May 18, 2015

MOONBEAMS

Trap a moonbeam.
Catch a star.
Keep them with you
in a jar.

Sparkling starlight,
shining moonbeams
These are the things
that make up your dreams.

With a jar of moonbeams
and stars bright as the sun,
you will find happiness
and days filled with fun. 

    Happy Monday.  I hope you are ready for a week filled with fun.  I know one fun thing you can do today. You can write a poem and give it to a friend.  Have fun writing.


Bloom with Children's Poetry.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

HAPPY SYTTENDE MAI

If we were in Norway
the peole would say--
Happy Nasjonaldagen.
Happy National Day.
Happy Grunnlovsdagen.
Happy Constitution Day

It is a good thing
the moon is bright
because we'll be partying
all through the night.


We'll have a parade.

We'll march right here.
Because we're celebrating
the best day of the year.

Play the music.
Grab your flag.
We'll wear native dress
It's called bunad.

Eat some lutefish,
lefse and cranberries.
Try some meatballs, rutabaga.
Let's all be merry.

Syttende Mai
we celebrate 
with flags and dance.
It's a day for parades
and Norwegian  romance.

Happy Syttende Mai.

     The 17th of May is the date the Norwegian constitution was signed making it sovereign from Sweden.  In the US we celebrate the day with parades and good Norwegian food.  Claiming to have the largest parade outside of Oslo, Norway is Ballard, a community in Seattle, WA.  Wisconsin, Chicago and New York also have parades today.
    Do you celebrate this day?  What does a bunad look like?  What does the Norwegian flag look line?  Can you write a poem about a parade today?  Or write about food or dance.  Have fun writing. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SEQUOIA II

 Yesterday, for THE FRIDAY POETRY ROUND UP, I posted a poem about Sequoia.  The poem was one I'd written from a challenge posted by Michelle H. Barnes on her blog, Today's Little Ditty. Earlier in the month Michelle interviewed Nikki Grimes and Nikki posed 10 words and asked us to write poems for one of the words.  My poem started with the word leaf and ended up at talking leaves with Sequoia. Then yesterday, Tabatha Yeatts on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, presented a Biography poem.  She used Langston Hughes' poem Helen Keller as a mentor poem for form to write her own poem Louis Pasteur.  You can find these poems on her blog here.  I love biography poems and told Tabatha I'd try putting my Sequoia information into the format she used for her poem--12 lines!  So, here is my attempt.  What do you think?

SEQUOIA
by Joy Acey

He
developed script
for writing Cherokee,
a language they could see.
He,
a teacher,
gave Indians tools
for writing and reading mastery.
He left behind a newspaper
full of talking leaves,
a message so strong
they named, after him, redwood trees.

    Using 12 lines can you write a bio poem about yourself or someone you admire?  Have fun writing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

SEQUOIA


LEAVES

from a Sequoia
long, thin
pine needles

poke and jab
make us slightly
uncomfortable

like the Indian legend
of talking leaves
genius, clever, brilliant

let me remark
upon his native intelligence
taught himself

to read--first in English
then devised script
for his Cherokee

taught his daughter
to read and write
in her own tongue

with his daughter
showed the Chiefs
usefulness of written words

convinced the Cherokee nations
to learn to read and write
and to understand
the power
of talking leaves.

    Michelle Barnes has a poetry challenge this month on her blog Today's Little Ditty suggested by Nikki Grimes. Nikki supplied ten words for writing poems. One of the words was leaf and this got me to the story of talking leaves, how Sequoia convinced the Cherokee nations to learn to read and write. The tall red wood trees that grow along the Pacific Coast are named after him.  I think it is a pretty amazing story. I know stories about dogwood trees, apple trees, willow trees, and even a Davie poplar tree on the campus of the University of North Carolina.  Do you know any stories about trees?  Would you like to make up your own story? Can you write your own poem about a tree, leaves or even one leaf today?  Have fun writing.



  Today is Friday and Diane Mayr is hosting the Friday Poetry Round Up on her blog Random Noodling.  You can read more poetry at her blog and take a tour of all the blog sites featuring poetry today.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

WISH UPON A STAR

Tonight
I'll go out
at dusk
to watch
the stars
appear.
I'll wish
upon the first
I see.
I hope 
the sky
is clear.

   When was the last time you wished upon a star?  Isn't it wonderful we have stars and can wish upon them?  What would you wish for?  Can you write a poem today about one of your wishes or dreams?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

BEDTIME STORIES

Mom reads to me at bedtime
from my favorite book
about Horton the elephant
who hatched an egg
and how funny
that baby bird looks.

   Does your mom or dad read to you at bedtime?  What is your favorite story?  Every child should have the right to be read to before bed and to have a favorite bedtime story.  Can you write a poem today about your favorite bedtime story?  Or make up your own story. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Clouds block the sun
day is gray, wind bows
tree limbs sway

in the planter
a quail nests
eleven speckled eggs

on the ground
ten more small quail
scurry under the fence

a rabbit runs
along the fence
spring brings changes
in and out.

   It has been a strange day, but the sunset has been spectacular.  What has your day been like?  Can you write a poem about it?

Monday, May 11, 2015

POETRY

Poetry and I
play idea tug-of-war
strong lines are shaping.

I lasso a word
then I set it free once more
I will try again.

The right word tickles
my hand tingles and itches
I must write words down.

I take up my pen 
dash words across my paper
to write this poem.

    Since this poem is about writing poetry, it can be called ars poetica--a Latin word meaning the art of poetry.  Each stanza is written in the linked haiku form using renga popularized by the Japanese master Matsua Basho.  Can you try writing your own haiku or ars poetica today?  Have fun.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

Mom,
Here's a love letter
I've written for you
to honor,
respect
and cherish you.

I want you to know
I love all you do
and I will ever
echo THANK YOU.


  I've got a different challenge for you today.  Can you write a LOVE LETTER to yourself telling about all the things you like and want for yourself?  Have fun writing.
   When my mom was alive, every year on Mothers Day I would receive a letter from her thanking me for making her a mom.  She definitely had an attitude of gratitude.  What are you grateful for?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

NATIONAL IRIS DAY

Irises flower
purple bearded blooms ready
for a spring time trim

   Today is National Iris Day and my web search suggested the holiday originated in Japan.  So the day calls for a haiku.  I hope you enjoy this one.
I'm going to have fun trying to draw some irises to go with this poem.  Can you try writing your own iris poem today?

Friday, May 8, 2015

TWILIGHT

This light pushes through clouded glass,
a fading of visions.  The sun has passed fiery red,
birds settle for the night, only the owl
begins his evensong.  The leaves still on the trees

have lost their color and begin to stir.
The children called from their play
pedal bicycles home. The table set for the evening meal
and the dog fed.  Now is the time
of the clock's unwinding.  The son tells the father
of the weekend scout jamboree.

The daughter shares the sleep-over invitation.
The mother asks about homework and the father
lets the weight of the day slip
from his shoulders, considers how bright
these stars will shine.


   The Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Michelle Barnes today on her blog Today's Little Ditty.  She also has a fun poetry challenge going for this month suggested by Nikki Grimes.  Thanks for hosting us, Michelle.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm going out 
at dusk tonight.
I'll stay until
stars come out.
I hope I learn
something new,
and tonight will be
a real knockout.

   The moon is waning and the planets are shining in the night sky.  What do you think you'll see tonight?  Can you write a poem about what you see?  Have fun writing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I WILL SAY YES


Today I will say YES
to the sunshine brightening the sky,
it's beauty so wondrous
it enriches my eye.

I'll say YES
as I dance on my way to school.
No cares. No worries.
I'm one dancing fool.

I'll say YES
when you ask me to come play.
I'm floating on a cloud.
Up, up and away.

I'll say YES and smile
to all I meet,
I'll even wave
to cars in the street.

YES to new things
I'll try, YES, YES, YES.
I know it will bring me
much happiness.

   I was reading a blog post yesterday at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme from Matt Forrest and he mentioned saying YES.  It reminded me of being in a poetry workshop with him at the Highlights Educational Foundation Barn.  Any time we had an exercise or an activity to do as a group, Matt would be the first to say YES, let's give this a try and see where it takes us.  So this poem is for Matt with a message for all of us.  What can you try today that you haven't tried to do before?  For your poetry challenge today, can you write your poem in a form you haven't tried before?  What ever you do, try having fun today and say YES.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HAPPY POEM ON YOUR PILLOW DAY

May 5th is a busy day for celebrating.

In Hawaii and Japan, Boys' Day is celebrated on May 5th. Families fly kites, colorful painted carps, from their houses to show a boy lives there to be honored. I've written a poem for this holiday and previously posted it HERE.     http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2013/05/happy-may-5th-boys-day.html

In the Southwest, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with fiestas and great food today. I've posted an acrostic HERE and a free verse poem HERE ,
and another poem HERE all about Cinco de Mayo.

But, Poem on Your Pillow Day is a new holiday for me.  I can not think of having a pillow poem without thinking of TANKA.  Japanese women would write tanka to put on the pillows of their lovers.  Later women convinced their sponsors to pay to have the poems collected into booklets.  These early booklets were some of the first poetry books published by women poets.  So, here is a tanka for today.

Twenty baby quail
scurry and scatter, running
under their mothers
breasts offering protection
soothing comfort, feathered love

   A tanka is a syllabric poem made up of 5 lines.
Line 1 = 5 syllables
Line 2 = 7 syllables
Line 3 = 5 syllables
Line 4 = 7 syllables
Line 5 = 7 syllables

  It is like a haiku with two extra 7 syllable lines.

  Can you try writing a poem to leave on someone's pillow today?  Have fun writing.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

REVERSO






In the bathroom
where humidity rises
blooms
the orchid
in a flourish
again.

Again
in a flourish
the orchid
blooms
where humidity rises
in the bathroom.


    This reverso poem reads well no matter which direction you want to read it in.  Which way do you like better?
   My husband likes to grow orchids and he has had amazing success with getting the flowers to bloom again this year.  This plant has half a dozen blooms on it and the stalk has another half dozen buds to bloom later.  This dear plant gives us so much happiness, I had to make it the topic for my poem for David L. Harrison's word of the month challenge.
   For your challenge for today, can you try writing your own reverso poem, one that reads well from top to bottom and from bottom to top?  Have fun experimenting with this form.

MOON MUSINGS

I look out my window
and what do I see?
A big, round moon
looking at me.

I wonder what happens
when I go to sleep
with the moon up there
and our world 
for him
to keep.

What does he see?
What does he know?
When the sun comes out
where does he go?

   According to my Poetry Friday Anthology for CELEBRATIONS compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for Pomelo Books, the first Sunday in May is World Laughter Day.  What makes you laugh?  What do you find funny?  Do you know a good joke to make someone laugh?  Can you write a funny poem today?  When was the last time you laughed?  Have a fun Sunday.  Enjoy your writing.