More Madness: The Feathered Furry Edition

I’m still shooting the hoops in March Madness Poetry.  The voting is happening now for the third round. Surprisingly I did not write science-y poems for the first two rounds, but animals played starring roles in them. I decided that it was time to go back to a nature/science poem for this round. My assigned word was vaunted, and when I brainstormed what might be vaunted, I thought about a barn owl’s sight and hearing. Did you know that a barn owl, whose ears are not placed symmetrically, can find its prey by listening on a dark night? So what does a mouse do to avoid this well-adapted predator? If an owl flies far overhead, it freezes, so that the owl can neither see or hear movement. If the owl is close enough to spot it, it tries to zigzag or make a beeline to a hole or brush. Of course many mice (and shrews, voles, rats, and bats) are caught by these predators.


In the middle of the night I thought that the mouse might write a letter to the vaunted owl, and tease her about not being as great of a predator as her reputation (insomnia is great for coming up with ideas–the only problem is if I can read my scribbles in the morning.) Then the owl could reply–my original idea was to have the owl swallow mousey while mouse read the letter, but I opted not to go the bloody route. I tried to give both characters formal voices to go with their letter writing habits. You can read the poem here. Be sure to also enjoy the fun kid-friendly poem that Darren Sardelli wrote about a principal’s litany of woes.

Radar, our sweet neighbor
Radar, our sweet neighbor

We have not had a dog for several years, but my daughter took care of our neighbors’ pets for about 6 weeks this winter. The dog came over for daily visits, and sweet old soul that he is, spent a lot of time snoozing and snoring. He inspired Three Dog Night, my round 2 poem:

Three Dog Night
By Buffy Silverman

A gusting windstorm slammed the door as snow swirled overhead.
The frosty breezes froze my toes and followed me to bed.
I lay there sandwiched by my pups: Bella, Bear, and Bree,
and snuggled in their furry warmth till sleep washed over me.

Someone bellowed! Someone cried! A squeak! A bleat! A moan….
Who was hooting, wailing, whooping? I blinked and heard a groan.
I found no owl, no fox or moose—no wild menagerie.
‘Twas just the roaring, snoring snorts of Bella, Bear, and Bree.

For all the Poetry Friday posts, stop by Reading to the Core.

26 thoughts on “More Madness: The Feathered Furry Edition

  1. You’ve been coming up with such wonderful poems for the competition this year, Buffy! I’m delighted you’re moving on to the elite eight because you always offer a unique perspective and engaging storytelling and I want folks to see that this is what children’s poetry is all about! Paunch is a great word for Round Four… I bet you already have some clever ideas swimming in that creative mindsea of yours.

  2. Congratulations on your win in round three! I loved the letter format and the formal tone. Very civilized predator and prey! Good luck on the next round — you’re on a roll!

  3. I had to laugh at your dog poem, Buffy, as I read it with my snoring dog on one side and my purring cat on the other!

  4. Congrats on making it to Round 3!

    Radar looks like a such a sweet dog — love the idea of a puppy sandwich :)!

    You nailed the voices of the mouse and owl. Love how you incorporated character, drama and facts in your poem. The epistolary form was also brilliant. Good Luck!

  5. You brought back memories of my cat laying on my legs like an anvil, and snoring so delicately. I miss him. And yet I sleep so much better. Life is strange. Thanks for that uplifting animal-loving poem.

  6. Best wishes in the MM Poetry, Buffy. The poems are wonderful. I don’t have a dog anymore, but remember well being awakened by the snoring of an old dalmatian.

  7. I’m so glad you went back to science for this round. Your first two poems were great, but your science poems are always my favorite. I especially love the formal voices of Mouse and Owl — I expected them to slap each other with their gloves. So fun!

  8. Love your dog poem, Buffy! Interesting to hear about owls. I love all the funky artwork of the last two years that seems to have made owls cool. I’m very drawn to owls and plan to do a poetry book of owls one day.
    Will read your poem in the morning. I too get insomnia thanks to youngest for never sleeping through. She calls herself an owl. Best wishes in March Madness Buffy.

  9. So cute! You’ve captured the sounds so well, but, you haven’t lived until you’ve hears the noises from a slightly overweight, sleeping cat! I wish you well in the competition!

  10. Buffy, your poems ROCK! While the sounds of basketballs bouncing around are coming from the TV in the family room, I’m sitting back, sipping tea, and enjoying all the poetry in our own March Madness. Well, I can’t really say “our own” because I am not brave enough to enter. But to all of you intrepid poets, my hat is off to you! Good luck, Buffy in round three and beyond!

    1. Maybe next year, Ellen? It’s all in good fun–I try to think of it as a fun writing prompt, and not get too hung up on the competition aspect. And it’s nice to imagine classrooms reading and rooting for these poems.

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