Thursday, June 16, 2016


Welcome to Poetry Friday!   

When I went looking for comfort this week, I stumbled across J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon's book, VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON. The book, a collection of voices, real and imagined,  from the March on Washington, in July, 1963 resonated with me. 

FOR ALL, 1963

If you contend the noblest end
of all is human rights, amend
the laws: The beauty of the sun
is that it shines on everyone.

J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

Mama said,
"The one 
who stands out
is the one 
who dies."

Daddy said,
"Might as well 
try on
a noose 
for size."

My brother said,
of your future!
to your place."

My sister said,
I'll go 
with you,

J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

I am not the you of you
And you are not the me of me
But we're here in solidarity--
Brothers, sisters: one   (one  one  one)
Brothers, sisters: One.

We live in different colored skin,
Kin to different colored kin
But it's one march we're marching in
For freedom to be won   (won  won  won)
Brothers, sisters: One.

One country gave us birth.
One birthright gives us worth.
We must stand equal on the earth
For justice to be done (done  done)
For freedom to be won   (won  won  won)
Brothers, sisters: One.

J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

Aki Kimura, 46
San Jose, California

I'm neither black nor white but it's my March
too. My March because in Los Angeles
in the spring of 1942, I walked out of
an art class, out of my life, and onto
a bus, bound for internment
camp with all my family.
threat was how
they saw us:
about half
the number
who fill this
mile-long Mall.
Listen. Our country
takes very wrong turns
and counts on you and me
to set it right. In most countries
citizens can't do that, but here it's 
our job-- to steer toward justice together. 

J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

This week, may we all steer toward justice together.

Leave your links in the comments and I will round them up the  old-fashioned way. I have comment moderation, so don't worry if you don't see your comment right away.  I'll do an early morning roundup, but then I have a class, so I probably won't get back until later on tomorrow night.

Some Early Posters:
  • Laura Shovan's debut novel in verse, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, came out in April, but this week she is featuring another brand new novel, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH'S and a very silly gnome poem!
  • Brenda Harsham has a gorgeous floral photograph (I wish I was more of a botanist or gardener) and an original poem, "The Color of Teachers."
  • The very lucky Sally Murphy lives close enough that she can walk to where the Australiand Estuary meets the Indian Ocean to see dolphins! She has photographs, a video of surfing dolphins AND an original poem! 
  • Kathryn Appel introduced me to a whole new form of found poetry, Zentangle Poetry. She encourages people to check out another Zentangle poet, Miriam Paternoster. Definitely worth your time to watch her three minute video. 
  • Diane Mayr treats us to fairy poems by William Shakespeare at both Kurious Kitty and Random Noodling. There's a beautiful choral rendition of "Sing and Dance It Trippingly" at Random Noodling. 
  • Linda Baie is participating in the summer poem swap, hosted by Tabatha Yeatts. This week she received a very special poetry gift from Carol Varsalona. 
This Morning's Offerings…
  • Jama Rattigan invites us to a birthday party! She's celebrating Paul McCartney's 74th with songs, videos, and a recipe for a yummy cake that sounds absolutely scrumptious!
  • Matt Esenwine has come across many treasures, including four writing journals and an aqua blue typewriter, while helping his parents clear out his childhood home. Last week he shared "Ode to Toads," from his elementary years, this week it's "Ode to a Poem I'm Writing Because I Couldn't Think of Anything Else to Write About."
  • Gathering Books is continuing their theme, "Universal Republic of Childhood," with two poems from CHILDREN OF LONG AGO, by Lessie Jones Little (Eloise Greenfield's mother). Fats also includes two black and white photographs from Niki Boon's series on contemporary childhood without technology.  
  • At Books 4 Learning, you'll find a review for DANIEL FINDS A POEM, a new picture book that will be lovely for helping young children get started writing poetry. I read that book last week at Tattered Cover and considered using "finding poems" as the basis for today's Poetry Friday, before last weekend's events unfolded.
  • Earlier this week, Holly Thompson attended a poetry reading at Temple University Japan. Poet Chika Nagawa's work were mentors for Holly's "Loaded June," a delicate and haunting original poem that made me cry.
  • Holly Mordhorst is attempting to "leave dwarf orchard" and taste the tiniest bits of summer with images of watermelon boats, banana hammocks, broccoli trees, and "fireflies dragging the hush of evening up from the damp grass."
  • Tabatha Yeatts is celebrating Father's Day with Suzanne Rancourt's poem, "Whose Mouth Do I Speak With?" Don't miss the Vincent Carrella quote at the top of her post, such big truth in just a few words. 
  • We are sending lots of love, prayers, and good thoughts to Irene Latham, who recently lost her father.  Irene brings us the poetry of a fellow Alabaman, Tina Mozelle Braziel, and a giveaway of Tina's newly published chapbook. 
  • Laura Purdie Salas brings us a poem from Laura Shovan's THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY. I have definitely got to read this book and then pass it on to our new fifth grade teacher. EMERSON ELEMENTARY sounds like a perfect beginning of the year read aloud!
  • Poetry goddess and photographer extraordinaire, Mary Lee Hahn, has written a new poem, "by the lake at dusk." Does anyone besides me ever wonder how Mary Lee says so much with so few words?
  • I know some of you are not even out of school yet, but over at Enjoy and Embrace Learning, Mandy is already thinking about going back! She offers a terrific resource, Jane Yolen's WHAT TO DO WITH A BOX along with The Box Project, which she uses to teach children to collaborate. 

Late Afternoon Roundup…
  • It seems somehow ironic that I read Violet Nesdoly's original poem, "A little screed against project" today when I was sitting at a school district technology conference. The presenter had planned to start with a TED talk and couldn't get the sound to work on her computer!
  • Steven Withrow wrote today's original poem, "Close Combat," after reading that the fisher is one of the porcupine's only enemies. Be sure to listen to Steve read his poem aloud.
  • I  can't get Little Willow's blog to accept my comment, but if I could, I would tell her how much I love the line, "Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love," in Walt Whitman's, "I Dreamed a Dream." A great companion to "Love is More Thicker Than Forget."
  • Kelsey Empfield is a new teacher, and it's hard, hard work. She captures that roller coaster of emotions beautifully in an original poem, "I Cried and Laughed." This post is the first in a series; we will look forward to reading more Kelsey!
  • This morning we were treated to Sally's poem and photographs about seeing dolphins on her morning walk, tonight I'm reading Catherine's poem, "A Bale of Turtles," along with a photograph of turtles by her house. Am I the only one who didn't know a group of turtles was a bale?
  • This seems like a good time to share Dori's post about Lane Smith's new book, THERE IS A TRIBE OF KIDS, because it also focuses on groups of things. Dori shares lots of extra goodies about the book at the end of her post. 
  • Margaret posted an original poem, "What Nature Knows," at Reflections on the Teche. It reminds me of Wendell Barry's "The Peace of Wild Things." And I learned another new word, mbuntu
  • Karen Edmisten's offering, "Some Glad Morning," by Joyce Sutphen is another lovely poem that makes me think of "The Peace of Wild Things." There is just something about poetry when the world is hard…
  • At Keep Your Feet, Amelia shared some Shakespeare from "As You Like It." I was surprised how much our eighth graders loved this play!
  • Tara has written a special "Where We're From," goodbye poem to her students. It made me cry! How blessed those kids are to have shared a year with our friend from New York! She also includes several "Where I'm From" poems by her students. 
  • At "A Word Edgewise," Linda Mitchell is also saying goodbye to her students, with an original reverso poem. Can't even tell you how much I admire people who can still write the last day of school, let alone write with a form. 
  • Donna Smith's brother had a really scary experience with a pit bull this week. This experience was the basis of Donna's original poem, "Dogs."
  • Joy apologizes for posting later, but reminds us that it's still early at her home in Hawaii! She has an original poem, "Logan Reads," that I could see our kindies and first graders personalizing when they come back in August.
  • Another late poster, Mollie Hogan, has a beautiful poem, "Bottle It Up," that makes me think of Denver in January or February! Perfect!
  • Ramona was sorting through her stacks of poems and found an Amy Ludwig Vanderwater poem that would be perfect for opening Poetry Friday. Listen to the first few lines: Let someone light/ the poem fire./Let all friends/gather here/passing poems/soul to soul/in voices/ bright and clear. Ramona says she wants to memorize this one. I do too!
  • Carol Varsalona is just back from a three day Ambassadors' retreat for Wonderopolis. She has an original poem, enhanced by one of her ever creative presentations. 
  • And finally, Sylvia Vardell blesses us with a lovely bibliography of summer poetry books. Can't wait to dig in!
Happy poeming! Here's to a peaceful week! 


jama said...

Thanks so much for sharing these poems -- sorely needed this week. "The beauty of the sun is that it shines on everyone." Perfect!

At Alphabet Soup, I'm celebrating Paul McCartney's 74th birthday on Saturday with Linda McCartney's Lemon Drizzle Cake.

My link will go live at 6 a.m. Friday morning.

Thanks for hosting this week, Carol!

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...


Thanks for hosting and sharing these poems. I started a petition, and I am attracting criticism, trolling and mansplaining. These poems are a balm to my beleaguered, betrolled soul.

Defending my petition has taken too much emotion and energy for me to create a new post, so I offer up The Color of Teachers, published Wednesday.

May we all find comfort in poetry. Warmly, Brenda

Sally Murphy said...

Beautiful poems and perfect for the sad events of this week. I especially loved the lines: Our country
takes very wrong turns
and counts on you and me
to set it right.
It is important that we all stand up to make positive changes, particularly to overturn wrongs.
Much love to you.
I'm in this week with a poem about dolphins and some photos:

KatApel - said...

Such powerful poems you found, Carol. Beautiful voices flowing through them all.

I'm sharing some zentangle poems on my blog today. I'm not an amazing artist, but I do enjoy the art of words.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

As Jama said, these are two perfect poems to share this week! (and thank you for hosting!)

My Throwback Summer continues with a high school journal entry from my sophomore year:

author amok said...

I loved Voices from the March -- it was our Cybils winner for poetry in 2015.

I recently read the prank-filled middle grade novel THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH'S. Because one of the pranks involves garden gnomes, I went looking for a gnome poem and found "Attack Gnome Poetry." Enjoy this funny poem!

Diane Mayr said...

I'm trying push aside the events of the past week, so I'm focusing on fairy folk--and sharing Shakespeare's fairies--at both Random Noodling and Kurious Kitty

Here's a quote from Dr. King to keep us going, I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.

Linda B said...

I echo Laura's words, loved Voices From The March when I read it for Cybils, and am glad you shared from it. I'll look again, Carol. These words mean much: "Our country
takes very wrong turns
and counts on you and me
to set it right."
This time, I'm sharing some words that meant goodness to me this week, and my first poem swap from Carol Varsalona, a wonderful surprise. Thanks for hosting!

GatheringBooks said...

Thank you, Carol, so much for hosting. Fats is in today with two poems from “Children of Long Ago” by Lessie Jones Little in keeping with our Universal Republic of Childhood reading theme. Here is the link:

Books4Learning said...

Thanks for hosting and please add my post on Daniel Finds a Poem.

HATBOOKS Author Holly Thompson said...

Thank you for hosting and for sharing a perfect post for this Poetry Friday after such a difficult week--I, too, loved the lines Sally quoted. This week I spotlight a collection of Japanese poetry in translation and share my poem inspired by that collection: Loaded June and Chika Sagawa (

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. This week my spouse is taking all the set-it-right action while I close out the school year--my offering is much more inward than outward until I can recharge a little. Thank you for your post!

Tabatha said...

Hi Carol! I like "may we all steer toward justice together."
I have a poem for Father's Day:
Thanks for hosting!

laurasalas said...

Thanks for sharing these poems that need to be heard, Carol. So much sadness in the news--it's overwhelming sometimes. Today, I'm sharing a poem from Laura Shovan's wonderful LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY. It's called "My Voice," and it's at

Mary Lee said...

You chose the perfect poems of comfort and resolve. Thank you.

I'm sharing a moment of peace at sunset by a small lake near La Porte, Indiana.

Irene Latham said...

Thank you for these lovely poems, Carol. I am featuring a chapbook of poems called Rooted by Thirst by a fellow Alabama poet Tina Mozelle Braziel. The poems are about housebuilding and love and nature.

Mandy said...

Thank you for the lovely pieces you are sharing this week, they bring comfort to mind.

I'm sharing a new picture book from Jane Yolen that ties into building community is my room.

Violet N. said...

Hi Carol, thanks for hosting!

My post this week is a piece I wrote in the last little while, after feeling pushed to live ever more of my life online. "A little screed against progress" is here:

Steven Withrow said...

Great choices, Carol. I've posted an original poem called "Close Combat" today at Crackles of Speech:

Ruth said...

Thanks for hosting. I have some e.e. cummings today.

Unknown said...

The poems you chose go hand-in-hand with a book I finished this week, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. Thanks for sharing.

I have started a new blog series called Confessions of a First Year Teacher and tried free verse format for this particular confession:

Catherine Flynn said...

Thank you for sharing these poems, Carol. They do bring comfort. I especially love these lines: "The beauty of the sun/is that it shines on everyone."

Today I'm sharing an original poem that celebrates turtles enjoying that beautiful sun:

Thank you for hosting today!

Margaret Simon said...

The tone of this post resonates with the world's mood. Our focus should be turned to poetry and understanding, love and hope.

I am visiting my parents at the lake and feeling a bit guilty and yet connected to nature and "mbuntu".

Doraine said...

Thanks, Carol, for these words.

Today I'm sharing a picture book by Lane Smith, There Was a TRIBE of KIDS.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thank you for this, Carol.

I'm in with Joyce Sutphen this week. It's here.

Little Willow said...

my Thanks for hosting!

I posted Walt Whitman's wise words at my blog, Bildungsroman:

Tara said...

A perfectly curated collection for our souls, Carol. Thanks so much. I am sharing our end of year "Where I'm From" poems:

Donna Smith said...

I was in the middle of getting ready to do my post today, when I got a call from my brother. He had been attacked by a dog while out jogging. Suddenly I had something to write about.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hi, Carol, and thanks for hosting. I really appreciate how you used Pat's and George Ella's poems (from their amazing VOICES FROM THE MARCH) in this powerful way.

My post is much more mundane with a focus on poetry books about summer!

Linda Mitchell said...

The events of the past week have wrung me out entirely leaving me weak and weepy. Triumphs are that one of my kids graduated, one came home alive from Capital Pride in DC and today was the last day of school for me.

Before celebrating summer I will need some time to and be.

Thank you for the amazing words of the poems this morning. They touched me and stayed with me all day.

I've added my contribution to Poetry Friday here as a reverso titled: Last Day of School

Linda Mitchell

Unknown said...

Hi Carol, beautiful poems and very fitting for the events of the past week. Thank you for sharing!

Here is a link to my Poetry Friday post on my blog Keep Your Feet:
I decided to share one of my favorite poetry-related Shakespeare scenes.

Joy said...

Carol, Thank you for hosting us this week and for posting such excellent poems at a time in need of poetry. I'm in with a children's poem about reading.
Can you tell I'm helping with the summer reading program at my local library? Sorry for being so late, but I'm in the western most spot in the USA and it is still early here.

Joy Acey

Ruth said...

Oops, Carol, I accidentally deleted your comment at my blog. I'm sorry! Could you send it again, please?

Molly Hogan said...

Powerful post. Thanks so much for sharing. These words struck me and stayed with me: Our country
takes very wrong turns
and counts on you and me
to set it right.
It is important that we all stand up to make positive changes, particularly to overturn wrongs.

Here's a link to my post:
Thanks for hosting!

Ramona said...

"..It's our job--to steer toward justice together." I love your post and especially this line from "Turn." Thanks for this very thoughtful post. It's something we all needed this week.
I'm sharing a poem that almost ended up in the recycling bin this week. The stuff from the poetry boxes has been on the dining room table for two weeks. Thank goodness we don't use the dining table much. I'm curious how my Poetry Friday friends organize their collections of poems.
Here's my link:

Carol Varsalona said...

Carol, thank you for those poems that seem to brighten the world a bit in the midst of issues and grief. I just returned home from my Wonder Lead Ambassadors Retreat so please excuse the lateness of my post, Elevating Voice, on the topic of wonder that can be found at