Welcome to Poetry Friday. Mr. Linky and I are happy to host the solstice roundup. Please leave your links below.
It’s 5:29 pm on Thursday as I begin to write this post, and there’s a faint orange glow on the horizon. One advantage of living on the western edge of a time zone is that afternoon light does not totally disappear as we approach the winter solstice. I would rather awaken in darkness than lose the light at 4:30. Still, I’m looking forward to being on the other side of the shortest day of the year, anticipating the lengthening days of January and beyond.
The short days of winter are a perfect time to bring home a stack of books from the library and discover new favorites. A few weeks ago my pile included Liz Garton Scanlon’s new book, One Dark Bird.
Oh my stars–this is one magnificent book! As I read it I was completely captivated with the seamless rhymes and the amazing way the story weaves together a counting book and a beautiful natural history tale. Starling after starling joins a murmuration, escapes a predator, and then settles in the safety of trees for the evening (where counting back down begins.) And the language–wowzers! Here’s how the book describes the flock’s escape from the threat of a hawk:
Waves like water
dark then light
from down to up
then left to right
a rush, a murmur
out turns in
a corkscrew spin
they dance together
The illustrations beautifully match the words–that dot-to-dot and corkscrew spin are gorgeous on the page. I shared this book with a writing friend recently, and said I wanted to be Liz Garton Scanlon when I grow up. Little did I know that my pal knows Liz, and told her of my adulation. Can you see my face glowing red when I learned of this? But this is a book that makes me realize how much a lyrical picture book can accomplish, and inspires me to keep writing. I typed out the text of the book before returning it, and squirreled it away in my inspiration folder.
If you’re still shopping for a picture-book lover in your life, I recommend this one (okay, you’ve already figured that out from my gushing!) And while I’m recommending gifts for late shoppers, I’ll give a plug for my talented daughter’s newest game. Do you have older teens or twenty-somethings who like to tell stories and enjoy role-playing games? Here’s a gift suggestion: for $4 you can buy a pdf and print out a clever game about childhood friends living apart from each other for the first time, told through alternating in-person sessions and written letters. Check it out here
Wishing you a Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and joyful celebrations of all kind. And here’s hoping, after this season of darkness, for renewal and light in the coming year!