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, May 31, 2012


Soon it will be time
for Haisa Bak--
the Saguaro Harvest.

First the Saguaro blooms
a crown of white flowers.
The flowers close,
the fruit appears 
and grows
into red globes.

Then like the Indians
of the Tohono O'odham
we take a long wooden stick
and knock the fruit from the top
of the Saguaro.
It takes thick gloves
to pick the fruit 
from the ground.
Friends gather to help.
We peel the fruit,
all day we boil,
the pots get hot,
sweat drips from Auntie's brow.
We cook and cook
to make liquid
to make jellies and candies
from the sweet pulp,
and the old relatives and friends
sing songs, tell jokes
and tell the stories 
of other harvests
and other family
who aren't with us
for Haisa Bak.

      Can you write a poem today about a tradition in your family? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Rock

On my walk
I kicked a rock.
I liked the sound,
kicked it again--
harder this time.
Flip-flop, rip-rop.
One more time,
Flip-flop, rip-rop, 
rumbly, tumbly
and then my rock
at the side of the road
in another pile of rocks.
Couldn't tell
which rock
was my rock.
No more
flip-flop, rip-rop, 
rumbly, tumbly
So long rock
as I continue
on my walk.

     I do like rocks, but I usually focus on how they look and feel.  This morning I kicked the rock and liked the game I started.  David Harrison has a poem about using a rock for a laser rocket gun.  Have you played a game with a rock?  Have you tried building with rocks?  So today try writing a poem about a rock.  Have fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sand Storm

The dust is blowing.
The air is warm.
We call it a haboob,
this BIG dust storm.

    I told you I like to make up new words, but I didn't make up haboob.  I learned this word from reading the newspaper.  Haboob is a new word for me, so I wanted to use it in a poem.  Can you remember the last new word you learned?  Poets like learning new words, do you?  Yes, you are a poet.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A poem for two voices

Voice 1                                      Voice 2

I like to blow bubbles.

                                               I'll never stop.

I like to blow bubbles.

                                               and watch them pop.

     Writing poems with more than one voice, with dialog or for two voices is fun.  Wouldn't you like to try one too?  It doesn't have to be long.  as you can see, my poem only has four lines, or one rhyming couplet. 
Enjoy.  Maybe you'd like to try blowing bubbles while you write your poem.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tucson, May 2012

Desert radiates heat
sand blows
foothills haze
a lizard crawls
across my path
five orange tarantula hawks
fly past my window.

      A tarantula hawk is a member of the ant, bee, wasp family.  This wasp stings a tarantula and lays eggs on the body so the young can have something to eat when they hatch.  The zooming orange color is really quite pretty to see flying.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grace Anna

Shopping in the grocery store
with her dad
 four year-old
precious, pink princess
Grace Anna
practices her rhymes.
Laughs at
think pink,
glad Dad,
Grace Anna Banana,
Bet us lettuce
and dandy candy.

These are the divine rhymes
of regal Grace Anna.
This is how the poem begins.

     Happy Saturday.  Let the holiday begin.  Make this a grand weekend for poetry for you.  Find a poem you want to read.  Find a poem you must write.  Enjoy yourself.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Too Much Watermelon

Once there was a mean old felon
Who stole our ripe watermelon.
He said it had zing.
He ate the whole thing.
Now he is achy-bellowin'.

     This form poem is a limerick.  I made up that last word.  Can you guess the meaning? It is a play/reversal on bellyaching.  I like making up words and discovering new ones.  Do you?  When I was in school I used to get into a lot of trouble for this behavior.  My papers often would be returned with red ink marking them and a note from my teacher, "This isn't a word."  Perhaps this is why I am a poet, so I can make up words.  It is also probably why I love dictionaries.  Here is today's challenge.  Make up your own word and leave it and its definition in the comments section below.  Today is the birthday of my birthday poet Theodore Roethke.  He's probably most famous for his poem MY PAPA'S WALTZ.  But he wrote a lot of other great poems too.  I love the line a congress of stinks, from THE ROOT CELLAR.  and try reading NIGHT CROW, to see if you get the same eerie feeling I do every time I read that poem.  I look at Roethke's line breaks, his word choice and I'm still wondering how he gets me to the point I'm at when I reach the end of the poem. (Sorry, You'll have to page down to find NIGHT CROW but there is an audio version too.)   So I'm off to have fun playing with words, hope you have a fun day too.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Silly Rhyme

A plumed cockatoo
perched high in bamboo
caused quite a to do
by squawking yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo,
to each gnu and caribou
that she saw pass
below in the grass.

     Do you ever have days when you just feel like being silly?  That's how I feel today.  I don't even know where this poem came from. It probably isn't fair to call this a poem, just the beginnings of one, that I'll probably want to play with more later.   I do know that these words jumbled into my mouth and it felt pretty good to tickle around with them.  They set up a rhythm that had my feet marching and I had a hard time getting out.  So I invite you to be silly today too.  Find some words that you like the feel of in your mouth and see what comes out. Just play with the words and have fun.  You might want to grab a rhyming dictionary and find a random page that appeals to your mouth or eyes and see what happens.  I own 6 different rhyming dictionaries and some days I just like reading these books.  I hope you have a day filled reading, writing and laughter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Let's go swimming.
Do you want to come?
We can splash
in the pool
and have a lot of fun.

We can touch the bottom
and swim side to side.
We can kick and splash.
We can float and glide.

So if we need to cool off,
Let's head for the pool.
We'll play Marco Polo
and follow all the rules.

   Do you like to swim?  In Tucson it was 106 again today, so I really like to swim to cool off.  The water is in the 80's. This makes for a really nice swim.  When I was young, I took Red Cross swimming lessons from the time I was very young. 
    My son took baby swimming lessons and won badges for back stroke and 25 and 50 meter swimming when he was 4. (We were living in England then.)  He joined a summer swim team when he was 5 and won lots of ribbons.  He became a life guard in high school and taught swimming to young children.  He still loves to swim.
    Can you write your own poem about swimming today?  Or how about one about water.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Bear Comes to Tea.

If a bear comes to a tea party
he'll want to eat
extremely hearty.
He'll nosh on salmon,
shrimp and trout,
and will not leave
when you want him out.

     I'm still playing with the tea party.  When I first drafted this poem, I had, " trout, salmon and shrimp."  I just couldn't get a good rhyme for shrimp.  So I had to change the line and order for the fish.  I tried ending the line with "shrimp, too" so I could rhyme with "too." but that sent the poem into a dead end also.  Today, instead of writing a poem, can you read to find poem with an end rhyme that you think is elegant (clever)?  If you find one you especially like will you share it with me in the comments.please?

Monday, May 21, 2012

A heron sits
upon a telephone pole
calling, calling.

Searching for a friend,
family, a home.
He cries a heron call
and then lifts off.

      I saw this great blue heron on my morning walk in Tucson, AZ--a long way from any body of water.  He was quiet noisy calling out.  Watching this bird made me realize how important family is to me too.

     For today's poem, can you write about family?  Have fun!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nap Time

Do I have
to take a nap?
My hands want to
clap, clap, clap.
My feet want to
tap, tap, tap.
Oops, I heard
your fingers
and point toward bed
where I WILL

     Can you snap your fingers?  Do you remember when, how you learned to snap them?  How about writing a poem today on all the noises you can make with your hands?  Or simply write a poem about something you can do with your hands or feet.  Hope you have a jolly good time writing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

More Tea Party

I'm having fun with the tea party.
Liz Steinglass suggested a duck.  Here is a first draft.

If you invite a duck to a party,
watch out for his big feet.
They are webbed and wet
and you can bet
he'll use them both to eat.

     When I lived in North Carolina, there was a man in our community who was born without arms, so he had to do everything with his feet.  He never wore shoes because he needed his toes to pick up his fork, to drink his coffee, to turn the page in the book he was reading.
     He was the nicest, most interesting man.  He had his own gardening company and even on the coldest of days, he'd be outside, barefoot, working.

     Since I'm still on the tea party, would you like to come?  Write your own poem to include in the comments below. 

    Happy Saturday, I'm off to the Library to look for Laura Numeroff 's If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, to see if I can learn more about rhyming from her.  

    Each of the faculty at the Highlight's Founders Workshop, Poetry for All, stressed reading as well as writing, so I'm off for the reading part.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tea Party

Yesterday I suggested you try writing a poem about a tea party.  I just got back from the Highlight's Founders Workshop in poetry, so I'm running.  I'm busy, there is so much to catch up on.  Sorry this post is late.  But Linda Anderson asked me a question about having tea in a bubble and it got me to thinking.  I could use my response for today's poem.

Hey Linda,
  The bubbles are magic, so you can put as many imaginary folks in a bubble as you'd like. There you go again, Linda--how wonderful--you've got me thinking, a funny series of poems (probably quatrains) with advice for having tea parties.

The Snail
Never invite a snail for tea
he'll slobber on the plates
and eat half cookies.
He'll leave his slime
all over the place,
and will not brush crumbs
from his face.

I'm jazzed about all the things I learned at the workshop and all the ideas I need to follow up on (and the revisions I want to work on).  The workshop was a wonderful experience--
I recommend it for anyone who has the chance to attend and loves children's poetry.

One of the free books in my "BAG" was Eileen Spinelli's TEA TIME TODAY; Poems to Sip and Savor.  It is a delightful book with lots of tips on how to have the most delightful tea parties.  I'm going to need to study this book to see how my poems are different. 

But, your challenge for today is to write a poem about one person you'd invite to a tea party, or someone you wouldn't want there.

Never invite the hippo,
you really don't want him there.
He will crack your hand-painted china
and smash your dainty sitting chair.

    (Yuck, that really needs some help with the meter, but the idea is there to get you started.)  Have a super Friday and I sincerely hope I get some of this work done so I can really work on my poetry and have my own party.

    I welcome your comments, or your poems (please) in the comments section below.  Thanks for dropping by.  I appreciate all your help.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bubble Magic

The faeries are blowing wee soap bubbles,
they're growing like flowers in the tall grass.
They are sending you an invitation
come along every young laddie and lass.

Come play with the bubbles and drink some tea.
Dine in your bubbles and blow one for me.

     Yesterday, children's poet Eileen Spinelli gave me a bottle of soap bubbles.  She said it would help me to get in touch with my inner child.  It was a bottle of magic.  I took the bottle outside and blew bubbles. They settled in and on the long grass.  The glistening orbs made me think they would be the perfect thing for a faerie tea party.  Each one held a rainbow.
     This poem has a really long line for me.  It is a pentameter (5 foot) line.
Do you like blowing soap bubbles?  Can you write a poem about that today?  Or experiment with using your own pentameter line.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It is starting to rain
what does it matter?
On the tin roof
pitter      patter
The drops are falling
fatter and fatter
ping  Pang  PONG
I'll get NO sleep
while the rain
        its song.

I'm in Honesdale, PA at a Highlight's Foundation Workshop titled Poetry for All.  I'm having a good time learning from David Harrison, Eileen Spinelli, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and 20 other children's poetry writers.  It has been raining and I've been watching little frogs jumping along a path, a garter snake slithering through the poetry rock garden and a robin red breast building a nest--all things very different from the desert of my home.  The rain is different too.  I'm enjoying everything here.
    What are you enjoying today?  Can you make a list of the things you enjoy?  What makes you happy today?  Choose one thing to write your poem or use them all in your own list poem.  Have fun.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Pogo Stick

This is my pogo stick
it bounces up and down.
I jump and jump
on my pogo stick
until I tumble down.

     Write about one of your toys or possessions.  Start with the line, This is my _________________  (fill in the blank) and get rolling.  I'd love to see poems about the things you treasure.  Have fun writing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Animal couplets

A little brown toad
jumped along the road.

A brown kangaroo
hopped along too.

A tiger on the prowl
stopped to growl.

Where were they all going to?
Australia or Timbuktu?

Now think of an animal. How does it move? Can you think of a word that rhymes with your movement word? For instance, A little red panda skips; a dolphin swimming flips. So write your own poem about a traveling menagerie. Where are they going and what will they do when they get there? Have fun writing your poem.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

My mother, the youngest daughter
of the Iowa farmer's ten children
pumped a hand car to ride to school.

She fed the chickens, detassled the corn
and played trombone in the community band.

Worked hard all her life.
Drove a fork lift at Douglas aircraft
during the war.

Married my father, the bigamist,
had two daughters
got a teaching credential.

Needed extra money to pay off
the debts of that bigamist,
to pay for the divorce lawyer.

She got a night job
at a drive in theater
as a bookkeeper.

Then married her boss
kept his books
while he drank any profit.

She sent those two
girls to college
and graduate school.

When she retired
she moved to the beach
began china painting.

Adorned each cup and saucer,
each plate and jelly jar
or butter dish with flowers.

Each creation the perfection
of strawberry, gold finch
cardinal or dogwood.

Her art, lives on
bringing joy and happiness
to me as I eat my toast
on this Mother's Day morning
thinking of Mom.

My friend Bridget Magee www.weewordsforweeones.blogspot.com and I both wrote Mother's Day poems to post today. You can read her poem at the link above. Did you write a poem for your own mother? Can you? You can post your poem in the comments section below.
Here's hoping you have a great Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Five Brown Chickens

Five brown chickens
in the barn scratching
looking for a place
for their eggs' hatching.  

Along comes the farmer,
he gives a big HOOT
then under the fence
the chickens all scoot.

CLUCK says the first chicken
as she takes the dive.
CLUCK, CLUCK says the second
as she tries to stay alive.

says the third one
says the fourth, LET'S LOOK FOR FOOD.

But the fifth was the rooster

     Do you like chickens?  How about trying a chicken poem today?  Have you read many chicken haiku?  Maybe that will work for you.  Have a great Saturday.
And if you hatch something interesting, please share your poem with me.  You know egg-sactly what I mean.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Golden Treasure

I thought I saw
 yellow swallowtails
flitting past
flying in a cross formation.
Then I recognized
this treasure rare
was four goldfinch
flying there.

     Do your eyes often see things differently than what they really are?  You'll see a face in a crowd and think it is a friend and as you walk toward them, you realize it isn't. 
     I often misread signs when I look at them quickly.  Usually it is with a humorous result.  For instance, I'll see a sign that cautions, "Be careful walking up the stairs," and I'll misread it as, "Be careful walking up the stars."  It does instantly take me to a poem I want to write about walking among the stars.
     So here is today's challenge--write a persona poem from the voice of the sun or the moon, or even a star.  Perhaps you want to have a conversation between them. What do they see?  Do they get tired doing the same thing day after day, night after night?  What do they do for fun?
     I hope you have fun writing your poem.  Please share your verses with me in the comments.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What's Your Story, Morning Glory

Blue Morning Glories
sway on their vine,
dance in the wind,
looking divine.

In the morning
droplets of dew
rest on their petals,
bluer than blue.

Turning their faces
toward the sun,
bright in the morning
then evening they're done.

     Here is a quick challenge.  See how many different kinds of flowers you can name in a minute.  Make a list.  Now select one flower from your bouquet and write your poem about that flower today.  Have fun and if you'd like to share your poem, please leave it in the comments.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Angel Trumpet

This morning there was a green spider on the Angel Trumpet flower.

This is a persona poem in the voice of the spider.

I went to a jazz club
late last night.
Everything was in
black and white.

I jumped on the stage
in my green suit,
grabbed a trumpet
to toot, toot, toot.

     Find a comfortable place to sit for a while.  Make a list of all the sounds you hear.  Can you write a poem using some of the sounds?
    Have fun writing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Am Who I Am

I push my way 
    out of a cocoon.
I dry my wings 
    in the sun until noon.

Then I'll flit
     and flutter by
Because I am
    a butterfly.

     This is a persona poem. It is written in the voice of the butterfly.  Many riddle poems are also persona poems when they ask the question, "Who am I?" 
Can you write your own persona poem.  Think of a common object.  It could be your backpack, lunch box, your dog or even your goldfish swimming around in a bowl.  Write a poem in that object's voice.  What would your goldfish want you to know?  Or write a riddle poem.  What ever you do, remember to use your five senses and have fun with your creation.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Three Spotted Deer

Oh dear,
what do I see?
Three spotted deer,
One, two three.

They will munch
bark from the tree.
Those three spotted deer
walking by me.

    There is a homophone/homonym in this poem.  Can you find the two words that sound the same but are written differently and have different meanings?  Yes, dear and deer.
    I do like writing counting poems because they lend themselves to being read by two voices.  I guess I could make the last line "One, two three" to repeat the counting.  Which do you think would be better?
    When I young we jumped rope to the chant:
When I went to sea,sea, sea
Oh what did I see, see,see?

   Sea and see are another homophone/homonym.  Can you think of others?  Knowing homonyms is very useful in writing poetry.  Can you write a poem today that uses either counting or homophones/homonyms?   Oh, this could be fun.
I've already thought about hare/hair, and bare/bare.  (Red/read and two/too are homonyms/homophones also.) Write on!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A brown donkey
in the field today
eats the grass
and munches the hay.
If he's ignored
he will bray.
Listen and you'll hear
him say,
hee-haw, hee-haw.

     This picture is another one I took on my recent trip to North Carolina.  Can you draw a picture, take a photo of your own or find a picture in a magazine to write a poem to go with it?  Have fun.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Today is the day
the fifth of May
when we can celebrate
the Battle of La Puebla
where 400 Mexican soldiers
defeated the 800 French.

It is a day
for family parties,
for a fiesta with food,
for music and dancing,
and for breaking
the pinata
and eating candy.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

   What are you doing today?  Can you write a poem about your plans for the weekend.  Remember to try to use all  your senses.

Friday, May 4, 2012

More Fruit

all the
ripe fruit,

Oranges are juicy.
Oranges are sweet.
Remove the peel
before you eat.

     I'm still going crazy over fruit.  I'm thinking mangoes, pineapples, papaya, cantaloupe,  watermelon, and bananas.  What is your favorite fruit?  I wonder if you help the fruit to your ear, what story would you hear?  Can you find a poem to write somewhere in all this good fruit?  Happy Friday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fruit Salad

Please understand,
eating fruit, I like
a lot.  I find it
cheers me and makes me
happy and healthy.

A peach is a furry fruit
I bite in soft and sweet.
Tasty and yummy
it's a fruit I like to eat.

     Can you identify where I've used alliteration in these poems? 
     What is your favorite fruit?  Do you eat fruit at lunch?  Can you write your own poem today about a piece of fruit?  If you had a bunch of grapes what do you think one grape would say to another?  Sounds like a riddle poem doesn't it?

Q: What did one grape say to another?
A: Welcome to our bunch
     stick around my purple brother
    and we'll have you for lunch. 

   Oh, I think that is bad.  Definitely needs some work.  Anyway, have fun writing.
Happy May.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


From my point of view
a person only loses
if they stop taking the next
leap of faith.

    Do you know that riddle about where is the place you'll find your glasses?  The answer is the last place that you look for them.  Once you find your glasses, they are no longer lost.  Lots of things in life are like that.  As long as you keep working toward your goal, eventually you will reach that goal.  I love writing acrostic poems.  I always love where the words take me.  Here is your challenge for today--find a dictionary.  Open the book at a random page and close your eyes.  Point your finger and put it down on the page.  What word did your finger pick?  Read the definition for your word.  Can you write an acrostic poem for your word?  Have fun.  I do love May. It is a special month for me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweet Dreams

     I ride a painted pony
the one who has blue eyes
we gallop in the star light
across the midnight skies.

We're chasing falling stars
to capture and to keep
then dust them over children
in their beds to help them sleep.

So if you wake with star dust
twinkling in your eyes
say thanks to the blue eyed pony
who gallops across the skies.

     What helps you sleep at night?  Do you have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal?  Do you sleep with a teddy bear?  Have you heard stories about the sandman who carries his bag of sand around to sleeping boys and girls and 
tosses sand in their closed eyes to help them sleep?  That is what this poem is about-- catching falling stars and putting the star dust in children's eyes to give them good dreams.  It is all make-believe, but isn't that part of the fun?
     Today can you write your own poem about sleeping, dreaming or going to bed? Oh, I think today is a great day to think about having big dreams.  Happy May Day.