Thursday, June 10, 2021

Welcome to Poetry Friday!


"Columbine Flowers" by wcurrierphoto is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Welcome to Colorado! I'm excited to introduce you to Jeannette Encinias, a new-to-me poet, whose glorious, richly detailed sensory images, remind me more than a little of one of my all-time favorite poets, Mary Oliver. Jeannette lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a book, Queen Owl Wings, coming out in November. I discovered Jeannette when a friend posted "Beneath the Sweater and the Skin" on Facebook earlier this week. This morning, when I was thinking about what I might post, I immediately thought of Jeannette's poem. I emailed to ask if it would be ok to share her work and link to her website, and she very graciously responded, within an hour. So here, without further ado, is my absolute favorite new-to-me poet!

"Beneath the Sweater and the Skin"

How many years of beauty do I have left?

she asks me.

How many more do you want?

Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.


When you are 80 years old

and your beauty rises in ways

your cells cannot even imagine now

and your wild bones grow luminous and

ripe, having carried the weight

of a passionate life.

Read the rest of the poem here

Jeannette Encinias

I went hunting on her website and discovered nine more poems. It was hard to choose only one, but I finally did. You will probably want to go to her site and read the rest though, because they really are lovely. 


I worry seriously
about only a handful of things.
Eyes to the ground
furrowed brow
beating heart

Then I remember
that I am here right now.
with good work and a big, bright love.
With a dog who just had a bath
after running in the mud
(Read the rest of this gorgeous poem here).
Jeannette Encinias

And now, include your link in the comments below and I will round them up! 

Thursday Night Posters
  • Linda Mitchell was first today with some found haiku from what seems like a gorgeous new picture book from Brain Pickings author, Maria Popova. 

  • Tabatha Yeatts reminds us that yesterday, June 10th, was Empathy Day. She shares a Nikki Grimes quote and also a Kim Stafford poem, “Curse of the Charmed Life.”

  • Michelle Kogan, whose lovely art shows up on my Facebook page several times each week, has not one, but two original poems today. One is inspired by the wind and the other one came from a photograph that Margaret Simon posted on her blog.

  • Ruth has “Vanishing,” a sobering poem about the disappearance of birds from our world.

  • Jone discovered a poem she wrote about ten years ago and revised it. The crafting is terrific!

  • Janice Scully reviews EVERYWHERE BLUE,  a novel-in-verse, about a 12-year-old oboe player whose brother has disappeared. I immediately had to go to my district’s ebook collection and check out! Sounds terrific! 

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes is featuring  a poetry graffiti project in Philadelphia. What a cool project! Take five minutes to watch the video with people’s reactions. 

  • Robyn Hood Black has all kinds of fun craziness- graduations and family celebrations, plus a new home in the mountains, and then she is moving out of her artist’s studio. I’m tired just reading about all of the business in her life, but she managed to find time to post an Emily Dickens’ poem besides! 

  • Sally Murphy’s poem, “Leisure” by WH Davies makes a perfect companion to the poems I shared today. Be sure you leave a minute to walk on her beautiful winter beach (via video anyway!)

  • Matt Esenwine is headed to Maine, one of my favorite spots in the whole world, but first he stopped to share a poem about his wife that he first shared nine years ago, when, coincidentally, I was also hosting Poetry Friday! A crazy world. 

  • Catherine Flynn is pushing toward the end of the school year. Sitting on her back porch, she spotted her first firefly, several weeks earlier than usual, and wrote about it. 

  • Fellow Coloradoan, Linda Baie, who often works at a bookstore only a few blocks from my house offers a Russell Hoban poem with some great advice on puzzles and life!

  • Carol Varsalona is the final late-night poster, in with a collection she calls “Winters and Sprinters.”


Mary Lee, the ever-faithful tender of Poetry Friday, has posted the new Poetry Friday Host Sign-up calendar. Be sure to stop over and choose a date. 

  • Jama actually posted last night, but her link didn’t go live until 6:00 this morning, so I’m including it in the Friday offerings. Her poem, “The Blue Garden” by Helen Dunmore is more than a little bit magical, as are Jama’s musing’s about the poem. And the accompanying art is also ‘blue-tiful!” (To steal Matt Esenwine’s words)!

  • Denise Krebs comes to us all the way from Bahrain, in with a poem-prayer (one of my favorite genre), inspired by Ruth’s post last week. And then she goes on to play around with stress words (iambic or otherwise). A world unknown to me, but I know a lot of you can probably offer advice!

  • Mayra comes to us from the United Arab Emirate, with Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Unfurling People” from the beautiful poetry picture book WOKE: A YOUNG POET’S CALL TO JUSTICE. Mayra wonders how the book might have been different if written by women poets from an Asian background. I agree with her, a new book ready to be written!

  • Sending lots of love and good wishes to Molly  in Maine. It’s been a difficult spring, but she writes that poetry, both at work and at home, is saving her. Today she has an original poem, “After the Diagnosis.” 

  • Elisabeth Norton takes us on a stroll to her pond (in my next life I am so going to live by water!), where she’s discovered a new creature, and written a s-s-simply s-s-superb original haiku. 

  • Irene Latham has completed what seems to me the Ironman Triathlon of poetry- she’s writing to a specific topic- Spring; she’s found a gorgeous piece of art- Mary Cassatt’s Spring: Margot Standing in the Garden;” and then she’s used Carl Sandburg’s “Summer Stars” as a mentor text to write “Margot Says Hello to Spring.” I’m exhausted thinking about this!

  • Margaret Simon, who hosted last week, is going through a bunch of rigmarole learning to use Word Press’ changes to their platform. And so she borrowed Heidi Mordhorst’s format, the definition, to write about it. 

  • Karen Eastlund is having a super-fun week with her grandchildren, who are very talented and also funny poets! Drop by her blog to read a poem from each of them. 



  • Another Carol, Carol Labuzzetta, witnessed a small miracle this week. She took lots of beautiful pictures and wrote a story poem. Be sure to stop by to read it. 

  • April Halprin Wayland posted a poem that she promised would blow our minds. Man oh man, was she right! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT miss this absolutely glorious poem!!! Wow to the wow to the wow!

  • Jonathan, an ELA teacher from Hampton, Virginia, has been visited by an old friend that I think many teachers are facing right now! At least he has the gumption to write an original poem about it, which is a lot more than I am doing right now!

  • The brilliant and oh-so-creative Mary Lee has started PoemPairs, a new series on her blog. Earlier this week, she paired a picture book with a podcast, today it’s an original poem with a podcast about learning languages, and in particular, languages that are disappearing. Oh, and did I mention she’s learning Arabic?!? And while you are there, sign up to host Poetry Friday one week during the next six months. 

  • Donnetta, like Jonathon, expresses many teachers’ realities in her original poem, “Summer Break So Far.” I can definitely relate!

  • And last but not least, let’s welcome Marilyn Miner, who is posting on Poetry Friday for the very first time! She has an original poem, “The Shed,” that makes me wonder if she has somehow been in my garage!

Thanks so much for posting all of these lovely poetic offerings this week! I feel like the Universe is speaking to me about being more alert and more present in my life! OK, OK, I get it!!!

Be sure to stop by Mary Lee's blog to sign up to host Poetry Friday!

Friday, May 21, 2021

#MarvelousMaryLee #PoemsforMaryLee

This week, I'm joining Christie (Happy Birthday!)
and a whole bunch of Poetry Friday friends,
celebrating the career of my dear friend,
Teacher and Poet Extraordinaire,
Mary Lee Hahn.

Earlier this week, a good friend gave me Linda Sue Park's terrific new book,THE ONE THING YOU'D SAVE. It's a short novel in verse. Each poem is a sijo, a three-line Korean poem, with thirteen to seventeen syllables per line. THE ONE THING YOU'D SAVE starts out:

“Imagine that your home is on fire. You're allowed to save one thing.

Your family and pets are safe, so don’t worry about them. 

Your Most Important Thing. Any size. A grand piano? Fine.”

I used THE ONE THING YOU'D SAVE as inspiration for my #MarvelousMaryLee poem. 

"If My Home Was On Fire…"

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

A million quiet kindnesses, gathered over fifteen years.

Another million life preservers, tossed to a woman drowning. 

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

Those first emails, when I was trying to start a blog and boldly

 contacted the only blogger I knew, repeatedly, to ask stupid questions,

and Mary Lee responded, graciously, again and again. 

And I would take the introductions to a zillion opportunities--

friendship with Franki, CYBILS, Poetry Fridays--

doors opened, connections made, relationships formed.

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

The red velvet cupcakes carried in a shoebox from Burlington

consumed in minutes by my football-loving high school sons.

A decade later my oldest still asks when Mary Lee will visit again. 

And I would take the memories from walks at the Botanic Gardens,

I watched as she changed lenses, leaned in, marveled,

drew extraordinary from what had been previously only ordinary.

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

I would take the CD of hopeful songs

sent from Ohio in one of my most un-hope-filled times  

I would take pieces because I played the CD so many times, it broke.

And I would take reminders of April Poetry Month when Mary Lee

created community, dreamed up themes, posted prompts,

and we all sat around, roasting marshmallows at her poetry bonfire. 

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

I would take my frantic pandemic emails, sent last March

to the most famous teacher I know, when I was feeling totally lost.

Her calm responses- schedules, ideas, formats. Cow pictures? Who knew?

And I would take retirement ideas. Start thinking now, Carol.

Do the things you love. Plan new chapters. Dream big.

And so I have Rooney. Write poetry. Imagine art classes.

If my home was on fire, I would take my Mary Lee collection.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021

POEM #30- Raising Rooney-

 “I've Got RooneyAll Over Me”

“I’ve got Rooney

all over me,”

says Armando

plucking a yellow hair

from the bottom

of his backpack. 

“I’ve got Rooney

all over me too,”

I think. 

On my navy hoodie,

on the living room couch

where he sleeps

every chance he gets.

Across the backseat

 of my car. 

I’ve got Rooney

all over me 

in other ways too.

His exuberance

as he yanks off his vest

and dances around the room 

inviting me to play.

His intense focus

and eagerness to please

when I put him 

on a long stay

and walk across the room. 

His huge heart

in trying things

that are hard

or scary for him.

He hates metal bleachers

But he would do them if I asked. 

His endless patience

In dealing 

with the little ones 

as he accompanies

a sad four-year-old to class

Or listens to a six-year-old read. 

His huge love

how he bounds across the room

or walks the hall endlessly

with a kid who is 

frustrated or broken-hearted.

He just knows who needs him. 

Soon Rooney

will leave me.

But really he won’t.

I’ve got Rooney 

all over me. 

© Carol Wilcox, 2021

Thursday, April 29, 2021


 Almost every year I've done April poetry,  I've managed to work in an abecedarian. Here is this year's.

Back to school, August 2020 (we didn't actually go to school until November).

"Rooney: An ABCdarian"

Amigo, ally, angel,

Backporch buddy, 

Clandestine couch cuddler,

Deep dirt digger, aka Doctor Destructo,

Excited about everything,

Faithful friend,

Galaxy’s go-to guy,

Happy to host visitors,

Intelligent and intuitive,

Jump on genius,

Killer of computers and cords,

Lover of ladies,

Mischievous mascot,

Never met a stranger,

Outstanding observer of odors,

Patient preschool protector,

Quiet comforter of kids,

Reluctant reading station,

Snoring stuffy assassin, 

Tiny bit timid,

Unabashed admirer of Uncle Craig,

Velcroed vest remover,

Worry wart and water wader (but only if necessary),

eXcellent example of all that is good,

You are loved

From A to Z.