Lighting the Darkness—Poetry Friday is Here!

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Almost Winter Solstice! I wish you light and warmth during these short days and long nights of December.

This fall I collected a pocketful of driftwood at Lake Michigan and made a handsome driftwood dude. He climbed atop a mountain of pumpkins to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Driftwood dude surfs on pumpkins!
Driftwood dude surfs on pumpkins!

Now that Hanukkah has begun, he’s given up his gourds and donned a cloak of candles and a new super-hero persona–Menorah Man.

Menorah Man!
Menorah Man!

Menorah man won’t go astray–
with pride and might he leads the way,
a candle flames on his beret
and lights our Hanukkah display.
–Buffy Silverman



I don’t think we’ll light Menorah Man’s candles during Chanukah. I’ve already had one unintentional fire when transferring latkes to a cookie sheet that was lined with paper towels. (The edge of a paper towel went into a lit gas burner. Handy tip: a metal spatula is great for whacking at and putting out flaming paper towels.) But we’ve got several other menorahs to light. As the holiday progresses, so do the number of candles and their multiple reflections in our bay window, which inspired this poem that I wrote a couple of years ago and recently revisited:

Colored Candles

More candles than we’ve had for 2014–tonight is the fourth night of Chanukah.

In my window
colored candles
flame and flicker,
dancing lights
reflect and glow.

They chase away the
moonless night.
Voices sing of
hope and wonder,

melting wax drops
drizzle-drips and

candles shrink and
dreidels spin–

Tonight is Hanukkah!
–Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved

I hope your holiday celebrations shine with light. And if you’re in need of some inspiration and wonder to get you through the dark days of December, read some poetry posts! Please leave your links and I’ll add them during the day.18923_original


Linda’s sharing a Picture Book Holiday Read-In, complete with holiday music, snacks, and photos of happy readers at Write Time.

At Alphabet Soup, Jama’s sharing Roger McGough’s “An Alternative Santa” and some childhood holiday memories as her last post of 2014.

Over at Live Your Poem, Irene delves into the darkness and shares poems from the new book POISONED APPLES: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann.

At Author Amok, Laura introduces two store-front literary centers in her area that offer writing classes, readings, literary events, youth programming, and, of course, books! As a holiday gift, Laura’s supporting both these centers and telling others how they, too can become a member or make a holiday gift.

Robyn (whose cleverness and talents know no bounds) shares a found poem celebrating friendship that she crafted for Christmas at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Laura Purdie Salas continues her poetryaction series with two original poems inspired by two picture books illustrated by Laura Dronzek, IT IS NIGHT and MOONLIGHT.

Over at The Poem Farm, Amy shares the story of her ever expanding nativity scene.

Linda shares a wonderful poem that UA Fanthrope originally wrote for her Christmas card at Teacher Dance.

Tabatha shares Joyce Ray’s poem entitled The Language of Trees.  Is there anything better than getting a gift of poetry? (Well, chocolate and candles are nice, too, as you’ll see at The Opposite of Indifference!)

Catherine shares “The Coming of Light” by Mark Strand and Reading to the Core.

At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi muses on this season’s darkness and shares Annie Finch’s Solstice Chant.

Margaret shares student poems written in response to Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner, and an Animoto video on A Maze Me by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Liz Steinglass offers some excellent holiday picture books that are favorites of her family.

Julie Larios is celebrating the news of our reestablishing relationships with Cuba with a video of a serenade sung on the streets of Havana. She also shares a poem from Margarita Engle’s The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom.

Keri shares an original caffeinated haiku at Keri Recommends.

Over at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme, Matt is also thinking of lighting up the dark night. He shares an original poem entitled “Candle at Midnight.”

It’s a deja vu blogfest over at Mainely Write where Donna reposts “My Wonder,” a poem she wrote in November and brings some light into the night.

At All About the Books Janet reviews bees, snails, & peacock tail: patterns & shapes–naturally, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Thanks, Janet–this one’s going on my to-read list.

Poetry can capture expressions of joy and sorrow.  Ruth shares her thoughts about grief this week, and some moving lines about losing a child from King John, by Shakespeare.

Over at Beyond Literacy, Carol offers “The Gift of Words,” an original poem accompanied by an image for holiday wondering.

At Poetry for Kids Joy shares an original poem with some wonderful photos of the Giant Eland in his grassy home.

Mary Lee shares “Barter” by Sara Teasdale, a poem to remind her of life’s goodness in times of craziness at A Year of Reading.

The Logonauts shares a bilingual poem called “Me x 2” by Jane Medina, and reviews the book Amazing Faces by Lee Bennett Hopkins, which celebrates diversity in the US.

Diane is celebrating the solstice at Random Noodling with some original poems and the poetry swap poem she received from Irene Latham. At Kurious Kitty, Diane shares “Stars” by Sara Teasdale.

Jennifer has been writing love poems with her students, and shares her original poem at Teacher Et Cetera.

Ramona shares a favorite Christmas poem by Elizabeth Searle Lamb at Pleasures from the Page today.

Jone captures the spirit of the season with her nativity poem at Deo Writer.

Did I miss your post?  Please let me know (a few comments wandered into the wasteland of the unapproved, unbeknownst to me–I think I’ve found them all now!)

43 thoughts on “Lighting the Darkness—Poetry Friday is Here!

  1. I found you over at Donna’s blog, and I had to read more about the Menorah Man! This was such a cute poem that really captured the spirit of Hanukkah! He sounds like stiff competition for The Hebrew Hammer! Despite the latke fire, I hope you and your family still enjoyed the holiday.

  2. Your handsome driftwood man make the perfect Menorah Man. And thanks for the handy metal spatula tip…I hope I don’t have to use it 🙂
    Both poems are wonderful. I especially love these lines from Colorful Candles:
    melting wax drops
    drizzle-drips and

    I’m not in today, but thanks for hosting.

  3. Buffy,
    Thanks for all the holiday cheer and for hosting us today. Sorry I’m late, but I’m currently in our western most time zone and it isn’t even 9 o’clock in the morning yet. I’m in today with another African animal poem and pictures. Today is the Eland. What do you know about this animal? And of course, I have a poetry prompt too.
    Happy Holidays.

  4. Buffy, thank you for hosting Poetry Friday. Your driftwood character certainly graces your table with style for the holidays. I was wondering if you have a poem for the Finding Fall Gallery that accompanies the decoration. If so, I would love to post it.

    I am offering a short poem accompanied by an image for holiday wondering. It is in anticipation for the unveiling of the Finding Fall Gallery at Christmastime.

    Happy Holidays to you.


  5. Happy Hanukkah, Buffy! I’m hoping the New Year approaching will shine more of the light you mention, after a 2014 of many dark days around the globe. One omen of good things to come was the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Talking together is always a better way to solve problems than not talking, right? To celebrate, I’m sharing a poem by Margarita Engle from The Surrender Tree. And also embedded YouTube video of the most wonderful serenade, sung to a woman at her doorway in Havana. Hope some of you will watch it – it’s honestly a breath of fresh air. Here’s the link:

    Happy Holidays, everyone!!

  6. Happy Hanukkah, Buffy, the candles in the window are always beautiful, keeping us quiet and settled. I like that first verse rhytym of the ‘flame and flicker’. Our school smelled of latkes nearly every day this week. I have poems of Christmas this time from UA Fanthorpe. Thanks for hosting on this special Poetry Friday!

  7. Happy Hanukkah, Buffy! (And, Irene – once I misspelled it IN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE I WROTE. Now I always have to double-check…)

    Thank you for hosting, for sharing your delightful, multi-talented Driftwood Dude ( a man for all seasons), and for your poems – the first, fun, and the second, just lovely and lively.

    This week I’m sharing a found poem I used for our Christmas card this year, celebrating friendships:

  8. Happy Hanukkah, Buffy! “Colored Candles” is a beautiful poem. I love the tradition of placing a menorah in the window. And latkes. Lots and lots of latkes.

    This Friday, I’m posting part 2 in a series on literary non-profits. Today’s featured organizations are both store-front literary centers in my area. They both offer writing classes, readings, literary events, youth programming, and, of course, books! Interested folks can become a member or make a holiday donation.

  9. Oh, I love Menorah Man and your poems, Buffy! Sorry to hear about the latke fire though. Mmmmm, latkes . . .

    At Alphabet Soup, I’m sharing Roger McGough’s “An Alternative Santa” and some childhood holiday memories as my last post of 2014 (it goes live at 6 a.m.):

    Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, and thanks for hosting!

    1. Hi Buffy – thank you for hosting! Sorry about your fire experience… we had a kitchen fire a few years back when the kids were small… I was in my bedroom with the door closed so I could talk on the phone, and the kids kept shouting… lo and behold, finally, I heard “Fire!” Scary. Last night we were at a restaurant and some folks were lighting Hannekuh candles, and it was so beautiful hearing them sing! I am leaving on a jet plane in the morning and appreciate the opportunity to add my link tonight… I’ve got a couple of poems from the new book POISONED APPLES: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann. Enjoy, and yes to warmth and light! xo

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