National Poetry Month — Form Thursday (Triolet)

I love and hate the writing of poetry in form. Some of my favorite forms are the triolet and the villanelle that employ the use of repeating lines. Favorite, in the sense that they tend to infuriate me like a jigsaw puzzle, but so satisfying when completed. 

A triolet is a one stanza eight-line poem with an ABaAabAB rhyme scheme. The first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as well as the second and final lines.

Triolets that somehow change the meaning of the repeating line seem particularly accomplished. You will notice that the triolet I am sharing today, doesn’t change the meaning of those repeated lines as it goes. 


The sun is off to bed, my dear

And darkness gathers shadows in

She whispers as she pulls him near

The sun is off to bed, my dear

Come closer, child, away with fear

This world turns gently in its spin

The sun is off to bed, my dear

And darkness gathers shadows in.

                        –Kristy Dempsey (all rights reserved)

National Poetry Month — Favorites

Ahh, Collins. How can you be so brilliant while mocking "brilliance"? I *heart* you. I giggle every time I get to the line, "there is just no way that you are the pine-scented air."

(Be sure to click through and read the whole thing.)


by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…

                    —Jacques Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

(Read the rest here.) 

                                     — Billy Collins

National Poetry Month — Lyric Tuesday

What? Bob Dylan is definitely a poet. 🙂

“Forever Young”
Lyrics by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

National Poetry Month — Original Monday

When my oldest was just a tiny thing, she didn’t quite get the concept of bare feet. She was positive for oh-so-long, that going without her shoes meant "bear" feet. And oh how she wanted to be a bear! All the time. Everywhere.

It makes me smile to remember her saying, "Are you being a bear, Mommy?"

“Bear” feet

Walk like a bear

When there’s warmth in the air

When the green grass grows

its springy invitation

Slip out of your shoes

Leave your socks over there

Sink down to your ankles

And walk like a bear

           –Kristy Dempsey (all rights reserved)

National Poetry Month — Easter Edition

For the beauty of the Earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth 
over and around us lies
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on earth and friends above;
For all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thyself, best gift divine,
To each race so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

          — lyrics by Folliot Sandford Pierpoint

National Poetry Month

I’m on a spring kick — can’t help it; have you looked outside?? — and so I bring another springy poem today from Karla Kuskin. She was a gem, that Karla, and this poem is how I feel every time I look outside.

(On a side note, if you haven’t read Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s Lemonade Sun, especially A Circle of Sun which reminds me of this Kuskin poem, you’re missing another sunshine-y treat.)

Be sure to read the rest of Kuskin’s poem at the Poetry Foundation website. (I’ve included the link below.) Here I’ve only shared the poem through my favorite line. Happy Spring!



I’m shouting
I’m singing
I’m swinging through trees
I’m winging skyhigh
With the buzzing black bees.
I’m the sun
I’m the moon
I’m the dew on the rose.
I’m a rabbit
Whose habit
Is twitching his nose

Read the rest here.

Friday Five

1. I read THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET this week. Loved it but had a weird emotional breakdown afterwards. I think it had to do with my husband’s recent heart attack and realizing I’m not an astrophysicist.

2. Good news from my Philomel editor, Tamra: ME WITH YOU was licensed by Scholastic Book Clubs! My little book is going to be in the book clubs! WHOOO-HOOOO!

3. Still waiting to hear on my latest pb submission. Glacial pace, this business. (Okay. I exaggerate. But slower than I wish.)

4. Had follow-up doctor visit this morning after hand surgery last week. I am fine. I asked the doctor if it was okay to start washing dishes again. And he said “Absolutely not.” Indefinitely. Really. Why would I lie? 🙂

5. Received uncorrected proofs from Bloomsbury UK for MINI RACER, my forthcoming pb illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. The art is ADORABLE. Can’t wait to share them with you. I expect to receive Bloomsbury US proofs soon, which will be slightly different because the text is slightly different in the two versions. I will share as soon as I can.

National Poetry Month

It seems odd as the weather is turning warmer and the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming to post a poem about winter trees. But during our time here in the US since July 2009, one of the most apparent differences (for me) between Brazil and the US has been the trees. Don’t get me wrong. We love the trees in Brazil in all their greenness and palm-ishness and home-for-monkeys-ness. But here in the US, the trees actually change. There are seasons. And in each season there is a beauty that is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. William Carlos Williams captures the beauty of winter in Winter Trees.

Winter’s been nice but it’s even nicer to see those buds that were sleeping all winter begin to peek their faces out into the sun.

Winter Trees


All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

National Poetry Month

I don’t have a perfect plan for Poetry Month this year, no special events, no original poetry from a schedule of poetry veterans. But I will be reading a lot of poetry this month and sharing it with others. And more than likely it will spill over here each day.  A favorite from this past week of reading:

Part Two: Nature


TO make a prairie it takes a clover

      and one bee,—

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do

If bees are few.

      -Emily Dickinson