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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Ice Cream


My father drives an ice cream cart
he pedals through the street.
He sings out loud, “Cold ice cream bars,”
to everyone he meets.

I know how I can help him
as he pedals past the cars,
I’ll hand out paper napkins
for those drippy ice cream bars.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Dream

I love ice cream, here is a list poem with lots of flavors, based on a joke I heard.


I had a strange dream
Where a cow ate ice cream.
You never saw a cone so high,
100 scoops reached to the sky!

Chocolate, vanilla,
Cookies and cream,
Bubble gum mint and
Toffee ice cream,

Pumpkin pie,
Peaches, oh my
And rainbow sherbet.

Rocky road,
Cookie dough
And strawberry yogurt.

This ice cream cone was some dessert!

All night long, 
I watched the cow lick.
When I awoke, 
I felt soooooooooo sick.

My tongue was dry, 
My throat seemed thick,
My pillow was damp,
Where I’d licked it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


When bakers get bored
And they often do,
They throw their dough
Into a stew.

So, eat your soup,
But read the label
You might have dumplings
Or maybe a bagel!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Lunchbox

My lunchbox has a carton of juice,
Two carrots and a pear,
A peanut butter sandwich--
My mother put them there.

These things were in my lunchbox,
When I rushed to leave the house.
Can you tell me how this got in?
It’s a whisker twitching mouse.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Applesauce, applesauce,
Baby is eating applesauce.
Everywhere it’s

Applesauce in
Baby’s high chair.
It’s even dripped into his hair

Applesauce slipped
from Baby’s spoon,
splattered and sloshed
around the room.

It dripped on Baby’s bib
Slurped from there
into his lap.

Then it smooshed
into his toes—
Wiggley, squiggly
Applesauce toes.

Finally, it plopped
on the floor.
Now Baby needs a bath
but he wants more…

Applesauce, applesauce.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teaching An Ostrich to Dance

Have you ever tried
to teach an ostrich to dance?
Her legs are too long,
her feet, huge as a ranch.

When the music starts rocking
she can’t hear the beat
and as her partner, I’ll tell you,
she has two left feet.

She can't tango or cha cha.
She moves much too slow.
Her wings when they flap
don’t help her to go.

If you dance with an ostrich
you’ll have feathers in your face,
and no one would tell you
you’re dancing with grace.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Poetry Obscura Poems

Big Nathan Bicker
in his rain slicker
strolled through the town
while the rain tumbled down.

Tammy, Tammy,
the drummer's daughter,
carried a pig
in a diamond haulter.

Jane is a clod foot,
she's not quick.
Jane fell down
with her walking stick.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Silly verse

Laura Lean
skinny and mean
thinnest girl
I've ever seen.
She weighs so little,
she floats on air.
Watch her rise
from her chair.
Off she floats,
who knows where
is skinny Laura Lean.

     This poem is written in something I call Poetry Obscura.  I started with a nursery rhyme and wrote the opposite word, then I revised, edited and shaped the poem. Can you guess the nursery rhyme I started with?  It was Humpty Dumpty.  Try writing your own poem by starting with a familiar nursery rhyme and then translate the poem to its opposite.  It is fun to try this and you'll never run out of ideas.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Imagination Monday

     Happy crazy Monday.  I like my crazy imagination; it can take me anywhere.  Like flying on a carpet, my imagination can take me away from my troubles and to places that are zany and fun. If you had a magic vehicle to take you away, what would it be?  Do you think this is how The Magic School Bus got its start?  Or how about the sideways elevator?  What would you travel in?  Where would you go?  Brainstorm a list of things around you to travel with.  Could it be as small as a paperclip you'd need to shrink to travel on, or perhaps a colorful hot air balloon.  Try writing you own poem and then try drawing a picture to go with it.


I'd like to travel to the moon
in a blue canoe.
I'd paddle on the milky way
that's just what I would do.
I'd mail you home a post card
to show you where I'd been.
I'll ask you to come paddling
when I come again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Have a Super Sunday!

As a kid I always had trouble keeping my school papers organized and my desk neat.  Actually, I still do.


A troll lives in my desk.
He’s messing all about,
He’s stuck in there really good.
I just can’t get him out.
Determined to make him move,

I’m trying to do my best.

He stole my homework papers,

Chewed my last week’s spelling test.
He’s broken all my pencils,

Caused my markers all to leak.
He took my tuna sandwich,
He’s had it half a week.
That very strange aroma,
You have begun to smell,
The troll, he is making it.
I know this very well.
You tell me, “Clean your desk.”
I really should, I know.
But if I clean the whole thing out
He’ll have no place to go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sleep Over Saturday

Saturday nights are a great time for sleep overs with friends.  Have you ever thought about writing poems with your friends when they sleep over?  This poem is based on a pun.

                                APPLE SLEEPS OVER

Pie and Apple
Asleep in bed.
Pie kept snoring
Till Apple said,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Friday

What is your favorite breakfast food?  Can you write a poem about it?
Here is another list poem. 

                                 WACKY WAFFLES

I love to make waffles,
I really do.
I’ll put whipped cream
on top,
when I make them
for you.
I’ll pour on maple syrup
really thick,
add a hot dog
on a stick.
peanut butter,
black eyed peas,
smooshie bananas,
holey cheese,
pepperoni and,
sardines from tins,
green onion dip,
gold raisins,
chocolate sauce,
bacon strips,
mustard and,
potato chips,
strawberry jam,
a little ham.
You say.
You don’t want my treat?
My baby brother will.
He loves to eat. 


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Thursday

When I was growing up, I got several warts on my hands.  I had to go to the doctor to get them burned off.  Most kids I talk to today don't even know what warts are, but here is a silly poem about them.


My uncle sells warts from his shop
Says business is good—he’ll never stop.

Round ones, fat ones,
Green ones, flat ones,
Ittsy-witsy small ones,
Skinny, smelly tall ones,

Bumply, rumply, some are slimy,
Uncle sells warts that are even spiny.
Warts from frogs, witches and cats,
Dogs and hogs and even bats.

Warts from eyes and tails and wings,
But who would ever want these things?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Being a Poet!


I can feel blood
rush to my head
as I bounce with a baboon
while bungee jumping
from the Eiffel Tower.

I can sip champagne, slowly
from a fine crystal goblet
so the bubbles don’t tickle my nose.

I can eat cotton candy for breakfast
work in a French perfume factory
wear nothing but smooth, soft silk
pilot NASA’s spacecraft,
float all the way to the moon,
experience zero gravity,
see the earth as blueberry pie.
I can ride on the back
of a humming bird.
I can do it all on paper.

I am a poet!

I love writing poetry because I can experience all kinds of things on paper,  I can go any where my imagination will take me.  
I hope your imagination takes you to many enchanted places today.  Write  poems about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wet and Windy Tuesday

If I was really being alliterative, I would have titled this Wet Windy Wednesday.
My mind has been else where and so Clo Ann Smith has introduced me to the Siberian Poet--that spot where your mind is barren. 

I'm watching the rain drops
form their tears
on the window.
They gather in groups
form drips that race
down the pane.
Wind changes gravity
as the streaks
slide in a diagonal tail.
Over the slick city streets
a lone seagull
glides, flying the waft.
 What will my day be,
teary raindrops
or seagull rides?

Hope your day has lots of new experiences, providing something to write about for poetry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Marvelous, Miraculous Monday

I am so excited and full of energy for this new week.  I have so much to share with you, but that will come a little bit later.  I'm so busy writing.


There are days I do not know
who I am or where I'll go.
On these days I take it slow
foot in front of foot
and pay attention as I go.

This is a developing poem.  I know this and several more verses are coming to it.  It does reflect how I'm feeling today.  I do like that last line pay attention as I go.
Poet Mary Oliver has part of a line in her poem THIS SUMMER DAY where she says, "I do know how to pay attention."  This is what poets do.  It is what scientists do too.  So for today try paying attention to all the things you see.  Make a list.  Then pick one thing from your list to write a poem about.  Fall in love (or hate) with that one item and let your reader know all about it
Look at the drop of water that drips from your faucet or the shower head.  What causes the drip to be that drop shape just before it falls?  What shape is it when it splats on the tile?  Look closely.  (These are questions physicist Richard Feynman asked when he was young.) When you have ketchup at lunch, does it flow from the bottle the same way?  Or watch a grasshopper like Mary Oliver, or an ant.  Have fun observing today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do you ever pretend you are a horse?

Wild Horses

When I was a child, my sister and I would play horses when we didn't have language to talk about what was really important.

It was easier being a horse
who pawed the dirt to claim territory,
stretching muscles as I'd rear back,
nostrils flared, fetlocks flashing in air
before taking off in a gallop or cantor,
a brown mane bouncing against my neck.

I knew more about being a wild horse
than how to live with parents who yelled
trying to tame me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


What bugs me?

Yellow jacket
Cicada in the tree
But I cannot lie
The worst for me
Is the buzzing, biting
Minnesota fly.

The form of this poem is a list. I spent a week in Minnesota and I was surprised by those biting flies.  It seemed to me that even though I used bug spray, they could find me.  They went straight to my eyes and bit my neck and arms.  So I had to write about those flies just to get even.
 List poems are fun to write and can be written on just about anything.   Can you write a list poem about the toys in your room, or the foods that you eat?  Try to include at least two of your senses (sight,sound. smell, touch, taste) and maybe one simile (like, as) to compare one item to something else.  Have fun.

Friday, May 13, 2011



Foot after food
trudging over granite
past lichen blue
thru rough gouged cracks--
crevices tasting of century’s erosion.

Seeking moth wings
belly scratching munchies
beetle legs and dead carrion sweets
Working alone or in tandem
smelling success on a warm summer day.

I do enjoy just watching insects.

Coyotes yip and wake me up.


I awake to high pitched yips
of coyotes on the greens.
I imagine a mother
taking her pups on their first outing,
to learn their universe.
Feel grass, taste it, smell
the difference from desert sand.

The pups start, as the sprinklers kick on
and dew gathers in the grass.
Their mother throws herself down,
rolls on to her back, wets her fur.
Comforting, she laves each pup,
shows them
what it feels like
in the rain.

Sorry this was posted on Thursday, May 12 but for some reason blogspot was having problems.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Night Songs

I love this time of year because we open the windows to the breezes, but sometimes that can cause problems.


My windows are open
to the evening breeze.
I hear crickets
scratch their knees.

Cicadas have a
raucous roar.
They keep raving
more, more, MORE!

The bullfrog chants
like a bassoon.
Croak, croak, CROAK
to the moon.

The tree frog sings
a chirpy peep.
Is it any wonder

Do you ever lie in bed and listen to the sounds of the night?  When I can't sleep, it's what I do.  Try writing a poem about the things you hear.   I have another night poem planned for tomorrow, so come back.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Little Tommy Rocket

Read this poem out loud and see if any of the words just feel good in your mouth.  It certainly is a silly poem.

Little Tommy Rocket

kept his pet frog in his pocket.

One day when Tommy
dashed about
his little froggie
jumped right out.

The frog hopped down
Tommy's throat
causing him to sputter
and to choke.

When Peter Proudfoot came jogging by
he heard poor Tommy's croaking cry.
He grabbed young Tom by the chest
then pushed hard there to depress.
The Heimlich did what was best
and out flopped the frog. Flying !
Peter's move was death de-fying.

Tom grabbed the flying frog and said,
If it weren't for Peter I'd be dead.
And he told his froggie pet,
I wish that we had never met.
If I'd of known that you'd do that
I would have fed you to the cat.

Now Little Tommy Rocket
only keeps gum in his pocket.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How was your weekend?

Did you have a good weekend?  Mine was great.  Can you guess from today's poem what I did?


If I were a dog, I know what I’d do,
I’d dig out of my pen and go to the zoo.

And when I got there I’d follow through,
And uncage all the other animals too.

The lions and tigers, the kangaroo,
Bears and buffalo and the quick running gnu.

Elephant, rhino, and a hairy baboon,
Hippos and penguins and a sad calling loon.

Once all the animals were out running free,
We’d rush to the mall to see a movie.

We’d eat candy, pop corn, and icy sno-cones.
Then when it was over, we’d all hurry home.

We’d close all our doors, clean up any mess,
So no one would know, and no one could guess.

I hope you have a great week.  Can you write a poem about your favorite animal?  Maybe you can make it a riddle poem where each line gives a clue and you don't reveal what the animal is until the last line.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day


By the time you arrive
the saguaros will be in bloom.

Even now they load
the top of cacti
in prickly green horns.

Only the bare core of the white
flower will be left for you.

Their pollen dusts birds
grows to red fruit.

sweet and succulent
like our waiting for you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dragons and Fairy Tales

I love Saturdays.  I hope this is a great Saturday for you.

Darwin the Dragon

Darwin was a dragon
Who wouldn’t go to school
He didn’t play with fire--
He thought it wasn’t cool.

Darwin didn’t want to learn
To roar a scorching flame
He couldn’t burn an angry red.
He was very tame.

He wanted just to sing
To be like all the birds
But then the other dragons
Thought Darwin was a nerd.

He didn’t scare the knight
That he was told to slay
Instead he kicked a soccer ball
And asked the knight to play.

All that Darwin wanted
Was a garden he might tend,
So dragons could paint flowers
And share them with their friends.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Friday

Western Gecko
in striped pajamas
on a spring morning
looked for his mama.

He called to her.
He moaned.  He wailed.
He even dropped
his spotty tail.

Poor Western Striped Gecko

     This poem is written in quatrains, verses with four lines.
     Isn't this guy a cutie?  I found him as I was moving pots of flowers when we were putting a water fountain in my front courtyard.   He was so sweet to wait for me to take his picture.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo

in a fiesta
our heritage

dance to mariachi
enjoy the happy

Music playing
and singing about
your ancestors,
ourselves and others.

     So what are you doing to celebrate this wonderful day?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


can not eat
do not have a mouth
and only live 48 hours.

This is another FIB, that lovely mathematical  poem

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Pole


Everyday in the afternoon
at school
for two weeks
we practiced dance steps,
 grabbing of hands,
weaving bright ribbons
around a May Pole.

On the day of the spring performance
I wore a new buttercup sundress
my mother made.
It had straps tied
in bows on my shoulders.

Before I put on the dress
Mother showed me
how to shave under my arms.
My mother showed me
steps to becoming a woman.

Do girls and boys learn how to weave the May Pole at the schools in your town?

Sorry this is so late today, I spent the whole day at the hospital in the emergency room so they could tell us that my husband didn't have the flu, or a stroke, or heart attack.  What he does have is idiopathic vertigo--the Roy Williams disease.  That is really great news.

I have another good May poem for you tomorrow, come back soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

more on haiku

shiny red outside
crisp white succulent inside
holding Eve's first tooth

      I wanted to spend a little more time with modern haiku. In school, children are taught the classic form of haiku—three lines, 17 or 21 syllables (5/7/5 or 7/5/7). Since the father of modern haiku is considered to be Bashō (1644-1694), a 17th century Japanese poet, counting syllables doesn't make much sense. Japanese haiku are written in congee or pictograms. There isn't a correlation between the number of symbols the Japanese allow in each line and the English system. So somebody just picked a number. ( I'd like to know who that person was and how they got all those English teachers to agree to it.)  If you look at the International Haiku Journal, you'll find many poems written with four syllables in each line. You'll find lines with two or even only one syllable in the line. You'll find haiku written as all one line, like the American Sentence of 17 syllables that Allen Ginsberg advocated. For me, the important thing is the poem should evoke a feeling or sensation. It should be about nature or love, and there should be a depiction of a season or time of day.
      I can't help but imagine what Bashō's life must have been like. He walked North to South Japan on both islands. (His diaries have been published.) As he walked, I imagine him composing these short poems about nature that he could hold in his head until he stopped for the night and could write them down. He earned his living by writing documents(birth certificates, death certificates, marriage contracts and letters) for a population that was largely illiterate. So of course he had beautiful hand writing. In the towns he'd stay in, he would meet with people and teach them Renga, which is a form of linked haiku. I imagine these to be like drinking parties, because each person participating would be responsible for a haiku that links to the theme dictated by the master poet. After orally presenting the poem, the master would comment and everyone would have a drink of sake. If it was a good haiku it would be cheers and a drink, if it was suggested that the haiku needed some work, tweaking, then everyone would drink in commiseration. You can imagine that as the evening wore on the haiku would become more ribald and filled with puns. The gatherings were all men. At the end of the evening a renga winner would be declared. The poets strove to enhance their reputation of being good at this game. 
      Much of what I've learned about haiku over the years has come from Lenard Moore and the great folks of the North Carolina Haiku Society.

There are a lot of great links here and great information.

If you like reading haiku, you might enjoy visiting the web site of children's writer Maureen Wartski. For several years she has made it a practice to write a haiku each day.

      If you find haiku fun, you might want to learn about renga and the histories of some of the great renga masters, tanka, haiga, and haibun.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day

cool, clear water flows
from the garden rock fountain
a cottontail drinks

     You know this classic haiku form
of a three line poem, on a single breath, 5-7-5 syllables in each line.
(7-5-7 is OK, too.)