Thursday, December 1, 2011


Welcome! Come in! Poetry Friday is here today. Sorry to be slow putting up the initial post-- I had power cord issues yesterday and had to make a quick run to the Apple store last night after my son's basketball game! Thank heaven for extended holiday shopping hours!

Thought long and hard about what to do for POETRY FRIDAY today. Everyone is always so amazing and clever and brilliant and um, well, poetic. Sometimes I am some of those things, but sometimes, (maybe most of the time), I am well, um, I guess the best word to describe me is um, maybe I should just say ordinary…Finally decided I would not worry about being clever or wonderful this week, I would just be my plain old ordinary unpoetic self and put up links to a few poems I have loved this week.

First, there's a poem about perseverance. I'm the mom of two teenage boys, and they are great guys, but sometimes, well, sometimes, you just gotta persevere. This is an old poem, but I just found it this week. I loved it and am going to share it with my fourth graders today. We have been talking about perseverance all year, and I think they will enjoy this as a companion to Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son," which is one of their favorites.

"Keep a-going"

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like sighin', sing --
Keep a-goin'!

Next, there's a poem for teachers. Kate Messner is a middle school teacher AND an author (you really need to know MARTY MCGUIRE, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z, and her newest OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW). A while back she wrote a poem that I loved. I read it, then kind of forgot about it, then another friend posted it on Facebook this week.

Revolution for the Tested


But don’t write what they tell you to.
Don’t write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Put your pencil down.

Don’t write to fill in lines.
For a weary scorer earning minimum wage
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.

Write for yourself.
Write because until you do,
You will never understand
What it is you mean to say
Or who you want to be.
Write because it makes you whole.
Kate Messner

Read the rest of the poem at Kate's website.

And finally, after a crazy week, here is a poem I found just yesterday at one of my favorite websites, "Your Daily Poem."

"Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah"
…I'd need to remember
how silliness
saves the world
at least some of the time
ting ting walla walla bing bang

Mary Ann Hurt

Read the rest of this poem at Your Daily Poem.

May you have a day full of ting ting walla wall bing bang!

Poetry Friday will be kind of um, intermittent-- i'll post the early folks before I head off to school (I teach fourth grade), then will have to do another big post after work tonight…


Carol said...

Hi, Carol.

The Write Sisters are in with some students poems
from (eek) last century -- Tiny Roads Inside the Cabbage.

Thanks for hosting this week.


PS -- Don Graves was one of my important teachers, too.
He did his initial research on how children write in my classroom
in Atkinson, NH.

Carol said...

I'm in California (okay, so Colorado isn't the East coast, but still...) and Fridays are my busiest mornings, so I wanted to give you our URL for Poetry Friday now, as I won't be able to post it to your blog until late Friday. I don't have the specific URL because it won't post until Friday morning.

Over at we're finishing up our First Annual Ten Days of Thanks-Giving with a few more Thankus (thank you notes written in haiku). My contribution thanks the universe for my hiking buddies.

Thanks for hosting today. I'm happy to discover your blog!

April April Halprin Wayland &
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Betty Reese

Carol said...

Wow--I should stop by more often! Really appreciated your honest, work-in-progress reviews of three books I hadn't heard about. I'm giving you my Dec. 2 Poetry Friday link here and now because I can't guarantee I'll be available later. : ) I'm following directions from my e-book publishers Sylvia and Janet and posting my contribution to p*tag as a commercial for all three e-book anthologies. Thanks for hosting!
By Heidi Mordhorst on A BOUNTY OF THANKSGIVING READS at 2:55 AM

Tabatha said...

Hi Carol!

Enjoyed your post, especially the last poem. I don't think anybody can set out to be clever or wonderful -- it just happens when you follow your heart. Thanks for hosting! :-)

I've got movies and poetry today:

Julie said...

Hi, Carol - thanks for hosting Poetry Friday. Ting tang walla walla bing bang, indeed! Over at The Drift Record I've posted a poem by Ruth Stone, who died last week at the age of 96. Also a reminder that Janet Wong's and Sylvia Vardell's Gift Tag is now available.

Mary Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy L V said...

Hooray for silliness and keeping a-going, two things which seem small but are so important! I, too, love Kate's poem, such a good reminder to write for ourselves.

Today at The Poem Farm, I have a poem about a button as well as a Poetry Peek into a second grader's voice and how a librarian shares student work around town!

Happy Poetry Friday!


Doraine said...

Hi Carol, I enjoyed your poems, especially the ting tang walla walla bing bang. I remember singing that with my mother.

At DoriReads, I'm still recovering from a Hawaii trip, but borrowed some grandkids to put up Christmas decorations. So, Robert Louis Stevenson's, "Christmas at Sea" is my choice this week.

Diane Mayr said...

Hi Carol! Today at Random Noodling I look at an anthology of WW II poems.

Kids of the Homefront Army has a poem about the 1943 World Series.

Like you, Kurious Kitty has a poem by Langston Hughes, and, Kurious K's Kwotes' P.F. quote is by Hughes, too.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Thank you for hosting today, Carol. I love Kate's poem - it's definitely one to share with my sixth graders as a reminder about the joyous process that is writing.

I've got poems reflecting ecoliteracy (sounds cool, doesn't it? and it is!) today:

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol! And "ordinary" is great. Terrific wisdom for teenage boys and writers alike, and I love the touch of silliness.

I have a silly photo with mine today, too, ringing in a future snow day or two with Ralph Waldo Emerson:

laurasalas said...

Hi Carol, Thanks for hosting! I'm in with a poem from my book, BookSpeak, called "If a Tree Falls." That's at

And I've got 15 Words or Less poems (everybody welcome to play) at

Love the poems you shared. Kate's is great (though we have to follow through by not determining kids' futures by their very ability to do that formulaic writing. Or we have to do a better job of explaining test writing vs. real writing...Love the YDP poem. I just had a poem accepted there for April:>)

Donna Smith said...

I loved the poem about writing for yourself. Sometimes your writing isn't appreciated by others, and that has to be okay with you...even if you'd rather have them love it. Writing is for your audience, but it's also for you and of you.
My original poem is posted at

Janet said...

Hi Carol,

I enjoyed all three of those poems. My daughter loves to sing the shallawalla bingbang song -- it's perfect for certain crazy moods!

I have a poem about December today at Across the Page:

Thanks for hosting!

Janet at Across the Page

(Hope this comment will go through -- I use my Google account so rarely I'm never sure how to go about logging in. But here goes...)

david elzey said...

after an unintended absence i've got a new poem about being old this week

thanks for hosting, and for noting something that's been sitting in the back of my head recently. i've been thinking we don't really have any political pop songs the way we used to, and i can't remember when radio played a new "novelty" song like the witch doctor.

hmm. perhaps i have a blog post brewing...

maria horvath said...

Thank you, Carol, for hosting.

I never thought of it this way, but that poem has it right -- we do need some silliness in the world.

Over at A Poem a Day, we're spending the month looking at the sonnet. Today, it's Shakespeare's turn with one of his beautiful but less-familiar sonnets.

Linda B said...

Thank you for hosting, Carol. I loved your keep a goin' poem. After yesterday in the snow (I live in Denver too), I need that to keep me going to work! I am sharing today about novels in verse, another way to get students hooked on poetry.

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you so much for hosting this week. Here is our post on GatheringBooks:
Iphigene shares her thoughts about Joel M. Toledo's "Dusting" =)

My favorite line from the poems you shared today:
"Write because it makes you whole.:
so so true.

Steven Withrow said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol!

I'm in with an original short essay about speech sounds and involving rhyme in the children's poems of Ted Hughes:

Steven Withrow

Irene Latham said...

Hi Carol - thanks for roundup...especially after the cord failure! Hate when stuff like that happens. And you know what? ordinary is the bread and butter of poetry. Love the keep 'a goin' poem. Thanks for sharing! I'm in with some thoughts about truth in poetry (should poems tell the truth?).

Ruth said...

Thanks for hosting today in spite of your busy teaching schedule. I'm in with Rita Dove. Here.

Author Amok said...

"how silliness saves the world" -- a thought I try to live by.

Thanks for hosting, Carol. I am writing in response to nature photographs today. I have an original "Sage Tanka" and two more photos for PF folks and their students to write about.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks so much for doing the roundup this week!

At Wild Rose Reader, I have a post titled "Keep a Pocket in Your Poem: Celebrating the Poetry of J. Patrick Lewis." this week!

Katya said...

I couldn't find a tea poem that I liked in English so I struggled with a translation all week... it came out ok.

Anastasia Suen said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for hosting today. At Picture Book of the Day, I'm sharing When I Love You at Christmas

Charles Ghigna said...

Thank you, Carol, our poet/friend whose name is a holiday song! ;-)

To kick off the season we have posted the brand new picture book poem "I See Winter" @ The FATHER GOOSE Blog

Stenhouse said...

Great minds think alike! We also have Kate Messner's poem "Revolution for the Tested" on the Stenhouse Blog. Enjoy it one more time!

Jone said...

Hi Carol,
I know that feeling of doing Poetry Friday when teaching., Thanks for hosting.
My entry is a recap of "Poem a Day" for November. Love the poem you shared.

Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting this week! On my blog today, I am discussing the Cinquain form and shared some example poems following 3 distinct Cinquain patterns that I found:


Karissa Knox Sorrell said...

Great poems and thanks for hosting! I have a poem by Mary Oliver with a unique take on motherhood.

Karissa Knox Sorrell

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hi, Carol, thanks for hosting. Love the reminder of the value of silliness! My post this week features J. Pat Lewis and links to guides and trailers for his work that my wonderful graduate students have created.

Jeannine Atkins said...

Carol, thanks for the sharp pencil and poems. I'd never seen that one by Kate Messner, and agree it bears repeating. (and I'm also a huge fan of Over and Under the Snow, and Kate's other books.)

Good luck with two teen boys and fourth graders in December!

I'm writing a bit about having a poem included in Gift Tag, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. And the holiday spirit, at:

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hi again, Carol ~ The direct link is

Thanks again! (And next time, to make it easier on you, consider using Mr.Linky. The day we hosted Poetry Friday, I was out of town and couldn't check in most of the day...Mr.Linky handled things just fine!)


Donna Smith said...

Didn't know if this was going to have links or not, so I'm linking my earlier post...original poem:
A New Child at Mainely Write. Thanks!

Kyle said...


Thank you for the poem Revolution for the Tested. Yesterday a parent sent me a letter he wrote about his teacher. It is a beautifully written piece about the joy of learning. NO WHERE in the letter does he talk about testing. A couple of hours later I spent time reviewing reading "DATA".

I want KYLE KIMMAL to be in the middle of the page for the new revolution.

Janet S. said...

Thanks for hosting.
My selection is "Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face and Other Poems: some of the best of Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Brandon Dorman.

Charles Ghigna said...

Thanks, Carol!

We posted our brand new "I See Winter" picture book poem @ The FATHER GOOSE Blog

Liz Garton Scanlon said...

Carol... Thank you so much for hosting. Here's my post:

Anonymous said...

I have Billy Collins' "Workshop" at

Thank you for hosting the roundup.

Joyce Ray said...

Carol, thank you for sharing Kate's remarkable poem. I read it all on her site and love it. Thanks for hosting today!

Marjorie said...

Hello, Carol - thanks for your three poems. Amazing how three such diverse poems selected by osmeone else can nevertheless be completely apt to a reader far away!

Here's a link to our PaperTigers offering for Poetry Friday - we are taking a look at e-books for children on our blog at the moment and Sara has a great interview with Janet Wong today...

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Thanks, Carol! I just discovered Kate's work and love her language. I posted here.

Today, at On Point, I have an original haiku honoring my friend who just had a double mastectomy:
Christie Taylor Waldon
and at readertotz we have:
The Mice of Nibbling Village

Thanks again!

Mary Lee said...

I deleted my earlier comment because all of the slots on the January-June Poetry Friday Roundup Host Calendar are now filled!

Here's my link for this week's PF post -- Building Bridges:

mondal said...

I'm following directions from my e-book publishers Sylvia and Janet and posting my contribution to p*tag as a commercial for all three e-book anthologies. Thanks for hosting!
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