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.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Joy's Smiley Face
   Every year on the first Friday in October you have the opportunity to celebrate World Smile Day.  Isn't it wonderful that this celebration also falls on a Poetry Friday.  What better way to celebrate smiles than with poetry.  Today honors Harvey Ball, who in 1963 designed the big yellow smiley face. What can you do today to make someone smile?  I'm going to try writing a tetracty.
     I learned about this form from Australian children's poet Kathryn Apel. I also found more about the history of the form here. Tetractys also have a mathematical meaning, find more here.

So I thought I'd try using the tetracty form to write my smile poem.

will smile back.
Lift someone's day
with smiles you'll make new friends along your way.

   This is a syllabric form with five lines. The first four lines have as many syllables as the line number.  One syllable in the first line, two in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth.  In the fifth line are 10 syllables.  So there are 20 syllables in the whole poem, 10 in the first four lines and 10 in the last line.  You can try rhyming lines 4 and 5, but it's not required.  If the poem was written in two lines, you'd have a couplet.  You don't have to rhyme like I did with the day/way, but I think it adds a nice echo and a little music to the verse. 
    This poem has a hat shape and so now I'm thinking of writing another tetractys poem about tipping one's hat in greeting or tribute.  Poetry is like that--one fun idea leads to another.  You never know where your poetry journey will take you.

  Now it's your turn.  Have you ever drawn a smiley face on a card or letter?  Do you include them in your texts?  Does your teacher use smiley faces when grading class work?  Have you ever tried to make someone smile?  Today, in honor of World Smile Day, try writing your own poem about smiling? Have fun.  I hope you have a bright yellow marker to use in writing your poem.  If you'd like to share your poem, please leave it in the comments below.  Remember if you are younger than 13, you'll need a parent or teacher to leave the comment for you.

   Today is Poetry Friday.  You'll find more poetry at the Round Up hosted this week by Violet Nesdoly on her blog here.   Thanks Violet for hosting us this week and for a great post on Poetry Camp at Western Washington University at Bellingham, WA. (If you follow this link, you'll see pictures of me and find out what I was doing last weekend.)

Do an act of kindness--make one person SMILE.


  1. I'll smile for a while
    so you can stockpile
    some of these grins
    that I spin,
    pile these beams
    that I gleam
    in a bin
    til you need to redeem

    1. Oh what fun, Tabatha. I thought about you so many times last weekend at Poetry Camp. I wish you had been with us. We had so much fun. Happy Smile Day.

  2. This is the second time to see the tetracty. I have taken notes, Joy. I loved seeing all your "smiles" at Poetry Camp, am sure you brought happiness to that crowd! When you wrote about smiles I thought of a grandmother who sang that old song, "When you're smiling'. . ."

    1. That sounds like another fun poem--Grandma's Smiles. I'll have to see where my I'll Help Grandma poem is.

  3. I'm smiling, to have inspired, in part, your smile poem, Joy. :)

    1. Thanks for the fun, Kathryn. Happy Smile Day. I actually enjoy syllabic poems a lot.

  4. Joy, you were impossible to miss, with your pink hair! Really enjoyed your poem about getting a shot. It was a fun weekend. So glad to have met you in person!

    1. Did you like my using my camp bandanna for a crown? Violet, Shots! Shots! Shots! actually started out a lot longer listing all the shots kids need to get, but with Janet Wong's excellent editing, we got it down to a short slightly funny poem. I so enjoy working with Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell. They are the best editors ever.