Anyone who thinks that it’s quiet in the country has not spent time at my house. Right now the spring peepers are peeppeeppeeping outside my window. Soon the chorus frogs will join in, followed by toads and gray tree frogs. When summer starts, there’ll be green frogs and bull frogs. And of course, the birds serenade from sunup to sundown, with red-winged blackbirds leading the pack right now.
I’m a fan of all this amphibian and avian bluster, and was delighted when an F&G of Georgia Heard’s new book, BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices showed up unexpectedly in my mail box. This book is sure to be a crowd pleaser in elementary school classrooms. Consider this froggy sample:
I can imagine a classroom filled with alternating choruses of froggy sounds! The book’s noisy journey continues with geese, fish, mockingbirds, rattlesnakes, honeybees, and more. Backmatter gives more details about the animals and the function of their sounds (I was pleased that Georgia wrote that toads are actually a type of frog, addressing a common misconception. And did you know that a big claw snapping shrimp makes a sound that is louder than a jet engine? I did not!) The poems in this book beg to be read aloud with a whole passel of kids.
This April I’m planning to read and review more poetry books, and to use the books as inspiration for my own writing. Liz Steinglass and I are once again exchanging daily poems. There’s nothing like knowing that someone expects you to write something to get yourself going!
Here’s the opening stanzas of a noisy poem that I’ve played with the past couple of days, inspired by my attempts to locate and photograph a peeper. I failed to spot the peeper, but I did spy a muskrat, some wood ducks, and inspiration:
How to Find a Spring Peeper
Stand quietly on the marshy shore.
One voice peeps, then another and another,
peep, peep, peep,
loud and strong
until crackle, creak…
you step on a stick
and silence falls.
A single peep begins again
near the thick brush.
It’s echoed by another and another.
A songster peeps barely two feet
from where you stand,
invisible to your human eyes.
A muskrat swims in the grassy pond,
stopping on a hummock
to nibble grass.
The poem continues with other animals that are hanging out at the vernal pond across the street from my house, and more peeping. In the poem, a peeper is finally spotted. My camera and I hope to be successful in real life, but so far they have sung and sung without my locating one!
There’s lots of April poetry goodness flying around the internets. Head over to Karen Edmisten’s blog for the Poetry Friday party and a John Ashbery poem.