Grateful for You!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the support and encouragement that abounds in the kidlit community, and especially among children’s poets. One of the blogs that exemplifies community support is Today’s Little Ditty, where Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has created a place for poets to play, learn, and grow. Each month a guest writer or editor inspires us with a challenge, leading to the creation of new poems–over 500 of them in 2017-2018! From those poems, Michelle has put together her third anthology: The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2017-2018.

I was delighted when this little gem arrived in my mailbox on Wednesday and eagerly began to read. Ninety-six poems in response to twelve challenges–so much poetic goodness! I started bookmarking some favorites to share, but soon realized that I could not include the entire feast. I decided instead to focus on one challenge. In May, 2017 Melissa Manlove asked us to write a poem that explores how writing (or a book) is like something else.

With the permission of the poets, I’m reprinting responses to Melissa’s challenge that are included in the anthology. Most of these extended metaphors include a nature theme, which resonates with me. I planned to showcase just a few, but really–what was I going to omit? Read these poems, and you’ll understand my predicament!

First off is one of Jane Baskwill’s quartet of poems comparing poems to seasons. The winter retreat from shivering storm to warmth of hearth also works for Snowvember!

Poems in Winter

Poems in winter are
slow to rise–
when storms rattle the window panes
and wind whistles through cracks,
they shiver and shake and hide undercover,
not wanting to come out,
not willing to leave their nest
until lured by the snap-crackling of a promise,
drawn to the warming intoxication of the hearth.
They curl up by the fire momentarily–
cold hearts melt as icy fingers thaw.
Poems in winter
make good kindling.
–©Jane Baskwill

Renée LaTulippe internalizes the stormy metaphor–right into a writer’s eyes, brain, and derriere, until finally the weather lifts.

Word Storm

Writing’s a tempest
a torture
a pain

a squeezing of eyes
a baffling
of brain

it’s hours and hours
of butt
in the seat

a roundabout repeat
of type and
delete

a chaser of muses
of phrases
begun

an exhale of storm clouds
when writing
is done
–©Renée M. LaTulippe

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater brings the reader into a science classroom to observe the parallels between a scientific and writerly phenomenon.

Science Is Like Writing

In science I held up a prism.
The sun made a rainbow
on my book.

Our teacher explained
about bending light.
My friends all came to look.

Science is like writing.

A poem takes white light in me
and breaks it into colors
for everyone to see.
–©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Irene Latham takes us on a fishing trip, and lets the reader reel in the secrets to a good book.

Fishing for a Reader

A good book
hooks
with a sharp first line.

Its plot wiggles
and pulls and surprises.

Its characters are bait
that wait
for you to bite.

A good book
reels you in

with glistening language
and a splash
of style.

It soaks you with memories
and new discoveries.

A good book
holds steady
through The End–

and then
it lures you in again.
–©Irene Latham

The huge spider web that often hangs outside my kitchen window inspired my poem:

One of our resident spiders from last summer.

Web Weavers

A spider spins
her silken strands
to trap and tie
a buzzing fly
that stumbles in her net.

A writer spins
her skein of words
to hook and bind
a reader’s mind
until her tale is spent.
–©Buffy Silverman

Mary Lee Hahn turned to a garden to show the growth of a poem. I love the details of ants and flamboyant flower, and the unexpected ending.

Peony Poem

an idea
sudden, surprising
like red peony shoots
the first color in a spring garden

a draft
leafy, bushy
too much green, but with buds
sweet enough to attract ants

a poem
lopsided, fragrant
overly showy, flamboyant, glorious
cut for a vase or for a grave
–©Mary Lee Hahn

And finally, Rebecca Herzog’s poem goes in a fun and completely different direction–slurpees! I can imagine the writer, her brain freeze, and her delight as she powers through.

Slurpee

Grab a cup
So excited

Top it off
Mind ignited

Great big sip
Tale united

Big brain freeze
Uninvited

Wince in pain
Muse indicted

Shake it off
All doubt blighted

Push on through
Ending sighted

One last swig
Scribe delighted
–©Rebecca Herzog

And there you have it–one inspiring chapter of twelve in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2017-2018. To read more about the making of this anthology, visit Michelle’s blog. Or head over to Amazon, and grab your own copy!

Be sure to stop by Wee Words for Wee Ones where Bridget is hosting Poetry Friday from Switzerland today. There you can read about Dot, the poor poultry who found her way into Bridget’s Swiss celebration, and find links to all of the Poetry Friday posts.


























30 thoughts on “Grateful for You!

  1. There is so much to be thankful for in this generous and giving community of poets and readers and writers. I love all of the poems you share here (I completely understand your predicament at not being able to pick just a few). I’m enjoying my copy of these poems.

  2. Thankful to be reading your post today, Buffy and for your spotlight on TLD3. The poems you chose to showcase are some of the best. Looking forward to participating in this inspirational community more often. Missed you! =)

  3. I’ve read them once,
    I’ve read them twice,
    such entries from this book are nice,
    I bow to you for sharing here
    these samples from the poetic sphere.

  4. Every day I’m reading a few, and understand why you chose these ditties, Buffy, Each one brings an image that lets us see the poet’s eye. Lovely post for a treasure of a book.

  5. Wow, Buffy–that was delightful! I haven’t received my copy just yet, and I’m looking so forward to reading all the “chapters.” I do love your spinning, weaving metaphor–such economy of words. Happy to share the pages with you!

  6. Thanks, Buffy. This was such a treat. Enjoyed all the poems — and yes, it would be difficult to select just a few from the anthology to feature. So many talented poets to inspire and delight us.

    1. What a lovely surprise, Buffy! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing all of these comparison poems! The variety of metaphors was incredible for this particular challenge and so difficult to narrow down to just a few. I love seeing your real-life inspiration for “Web Weavers.” 🙂 I’m grateful that you were on the Ditty Committee this year and for your other two wonderful poems in this volume as well!

  7. It was such fun to enjoy this group of poems here. Each one delights in its unique way, and it’s impossible to choose a favorite. I fully understand why you included them all! I received my copy of the book, but haven’t yet found the time to browse and enjoy. Today might just be perfect for that!

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