Thursday, June 5, 2014


Hurray! You found it! The Poetry Friday Roundup is here!

You've probably already been to Catherine Johnson's blog and discovered that we switched weeks. About two weeks ago, I was asked to accompany a group of sixty middle schoolers to San Diego. We'll spend a day at the beach, probably the first time for many of our inner city, never been out of Denver travellers, then head to Ramona, California for six days at a Young Life camp.  It probably won't be the most restful "vacation," but it will be a lot of fun! Because I won't have access to wifi while I'm at camp, Catherine graciously agreed to trade with me.

In honor of my upcoming adventure, it seemed a perfect day to choose a poem from one of my favorite summer poetry books, "Have You Been to the Beach Lately?" by Ralph Fletcher. You probably already know Ralph's work, but just in case he's new to you, he often chooses a theme, e.g. the beach, and then builds a series of poems around that theme. Each of the poems can stand alone, but they are also connected to each other, and tell a kind of a story. Have You Been to the Beach Lately? captures a not-quite-teen's beach trip.

“First Lullaby”

In the late afternoon
the sea breathes
onto the shore.

Lying on a towel
I feel the sand
still glowing
with the memory
of the day’s hottest sun.

The beach hushes
at this time of day
and it sounds like the
world’s first lullaby:
the low throaty waves
salty breeze in my ears,
and Mom humming.

Ralph Fletcher
in Have You Been to the Beach Lately?

After I return from camp, I’ll head to the mountains for a weekend with my book club. We’ll be there at the height of the wildflower season and will hopefully see lots of meadows that look like this one.  We’ll do a little hiking and a lot of laughing, and then probably some crying too, because the purpose of this trip is to say goodbye to our dear friend, Laura, who’s heading off for an exciting new job in Hong Kong and will be gone for the next two or three years.


Help wanted:  sturdy individuals
interested in grass-roots work
at a number of rugged locations
(cliffs, deserts, some tundra).
Good benefits. Must be strong
and adaptable, self-starter,
persistent, willing to relocate,
with no fear of high places
and no known allergies to bees.
 Ralph Fletcher

“Wildflowers” is from Ralph’s Blog, The Writer’s Desk, which you should definitely visit to read more of his poems. 

Thanks for stopping by today. Leave your comments below and I'll round them up several times throughout the day.


Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol - I had to follow bread crumbs to find the roundup today! I always enjoy reading Ralph Fletcher's poetry - thanks for sharing.

I've got info about a poetry contest and some thoughts about life's more crazy seasons today...

Diane Mayr said...

Wow, that must have been a real challenge to get the spacing correct on that last poem! Good job!

Thanks for hosting, Carol! At Random Noodling and at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet I have poems for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

KK's Kwotes has a teensy little quote from Yvor Winters.

laurasalas said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. I LOVE Ralph Fletcher's poetry--but I don't think I've actually seen this one before. How have I missed it?

I'm in with a poem called "Curly-leaf Pondweed," by Joanne Linden, from FIDDLEHEADS TO FIR TREES. It's at

Thanks for hosting! And have fun in San Diego--sounds like that will be quite an adventure:>)

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

As someone who loves nature, I enjoyed these, Carol - thanks for sharing! Today I have something that's definitely NOT children's poetry - but it's seasonal and natural and brand-spanking new:

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carol! Thanks for these two poems and for letting us in on your upcoming adventures.

I'm in(it goes live Friday morning at 3:30 am CDT) with an interview of poet Joan Bransfield Graham about school visits, writing poetry and more, an autographed Book Giveaway of her newest book, AND a haiku by Joan:

Linda B said...

Oh your trips sound wonderful, Carol. I love Ralph Fletcher too. Love "it sounds like the world’s first lullaby". Thanks for hosting. I'm happy I found you! Happy End of school! Our students left Thursday, final staff goodbyes Friday. I have an original 'goodbye' poem for this time of year!

Doraine said...

Poetry Friday folks are the best. I'm glad you worked it out to go on your trip. Though I do hope you come back with your sanity after a week with 60 middle schoolers!

Just a quick comment at DoriReads on life in general and missing Poetry Fridays.

Julie said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. Hope you have a wonderful time with the kids at your Youth Camp! For today's Poetry Friday, I have Wendell Berry's THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS - a good poem for worriers.

Catherine said...

Thanks for hosting today, Carol, and sharing Ralph's lovely poems. On a much more somber note, I also have a poem in honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day:

Julie said...

Oops - I forgot to put the link/name of my blog down for the Wendell Berry poem!! People can see it over at The Drift Record

Greg Pincus said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol... and enjoy your trips!

Today, I'm celebrating national doughnut day by re-sharing my ode to their deliciousness, Doughnuts! Oh, Doughnuts!

Now, who wants to meet for a snack?

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Carol, thank you so much for hosting this week! I was a bit confused with the switch, so glad I checked the kidlitosphere website again. Thank you for sharing as well Have you been to the Beach lately, as it happens, I just did! Was in Boracay two weeks back, and it was glorious.
Here's my Poetry Friday link:

"A Headstrong Boy" by Gu Cheng as found in Naomi Shihab Nye's "This Same Sky."

Mary Lee said...

My poem today is for teachers, or poets, or perhaps just anyone alive in this world who struggles to understand both the big picture AND the details.

jama said...

We're on the same beachy wave length today, Carol. I'm featuring sample poems from Rich Michelson's S is for Sea Glass at Alphabet Soup:

Thanks for hosting and have fun on your trip!

Tamera Will Wissinger said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday! I love Ralph's poems..."world's first lullaby..." probably gets me most. Have fun on your summer adventures.

Today I'm celebrating the release of my rhyming picture book, THIS OLD BAND with a musical Soundcloud reading, and a giveaway.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Starting out the day with a switcheroo, are we? Keeping me on my toes! I'll have a look for this book-- it seems like a good one for kids to latch on to. In the first poem, I like that, on top of the sound of the ocean, we are left with Mom humming.

At Today's Little Ditty I have a fun interview with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Come check out their DMC ditty challenge for June and find out the winner of last week's giveaway!

Tabatha said...

I'm not posting this week, but I'm looking forward to reading other people's contributions! Thanks for hosting, Carol! :-)

Tara said...

Thanks for hosting today, Carol. Lovely to think of you amongst the wildflowers! I', sharing an e.e.cummings poem in celebration of an anniversary:

Amy LV said...

Thank you for hosting with these two lovely poems for summer! Ralph offers so much to us.

Over at The Poem Farm, I have a wee poem for the last day of school and a great Poetry Peek featuring some themed student poetry anthologies. You can find it all here -

Thank you for hosting - I hope that you have a wonderful trip!

Margaret Simon said...

I had to scramble around the social media today to find you. No worries. I'm here, safe and sound.
Best wishes to you in all your fun adventures this summer!
Love Ralph Fletcher not only for his poems (which are always good) but for his attention to boys and their writing. Guy Write was a hit with my boy writers this year.
I am in with an original poem about picking blueberries, one of the perks of living in the south in June.

Charles Waters said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for hosting. I have a new post at my blog which is called POETRY TIME. Take care. Happy camping!!POETRY-TIME-BLOG-12/c23vc/491700B5-6D6A-46A5-B19F-2996E48577F2

Charles Waters said...

Now I can't remember if I sent the link. Here it is again in case I didn't.!POETRY-TIME-BLOG-12/c23vc/491700B5-6D6A-46A5-B19F-2996E48577F2

Author Amok said...

Hi, Carol. What a beautiful line in Ralph Fletcher's poem -- the sand carrying the memory of the sun's heat.

I'm wrapping up a series of "In Residence" posts from Northfield Elementary. Today, the third grade poets are sharing their pocket poems -- and the craft project that goes with them.

Liz Steinglass said...

Hi Carol,

I'll go correct the link on my post so it leads back to you. I'm sharing the list of poetry books I'm planning to read this summer. Thanks for hosting!

Donna Smith said...

I loved First Lullaby - thanks for sharing it.
At Mainely Write I am returning to my writing after a month off! With all the spring rain, I've written "Rain, Rain, go away...", a song to the rain leaving.

Renee LaTulippe said...

I love the "Wildflowers" poem! What a delightful idea.

Thanks so much for hosting today, Carol. After a long hiatus, I am finally back with the next installment of the Spotlight on NCTE Poets with Lee Bennett Hopkins. This episode is all about John Ciardi, who won the award in 1982.

Have a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Love both these poems.

jan godown annino said...

Hi Carol & thank you for hosting.

Also, Ralph Fletcher is unknown to me, so this is a mighty fine & sandy introduction. I think we all feel a bit beachy this time of year. Great collection choice.

My limerick for Poetry Friday was in vogue in 1903 & was said often by my father, whose rhyming was most prolific during his Army drill sgt. days, recollected at my bookseedstudio site

Finally, Denver to S. Diego? Adventure applause to you & the kiddos. They are lucky to be trekking with such a lively adult companion. Brava! to you.


ps the switch was easy to follow...And I got to enjoy a great pastel video!

Little Willow said...

Hello to the poets, the beachcombers, and the wildflowers!
Thank you for hosting!

I posted something written by Marilyn Monroe at my blog, Bildungsroman, this morning:

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I love Ralph's work! Thank you for sharing and hosting. Enjoy your upcoming trip.

At On Point I have A Flowered Conjunction.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

And at readertotz we have a few lines from You Mean the World to Me. Thanks again!

Jennifer Ward said...

Found you! Thanks so much for hosting this week. I'm having a great morning reading everyone else's poetry posts.

I'm excited because tomorrow I'll be hanging with a number of poets at the West Chester University Poetry Conference, and so I decided to play with my own poetry this morning. So here's my Poetry Friday share, a personal piece about kale...yup, kale.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks so much for hosting! I didn't have any trouble finding you since someone got the Kidlitosphere Central page updated! (Thank you, Updater!)

I'm in with From the Telephone -- the link is here.

Ruth said...

Thanks for hosting! I have a poem by Mark Tredinnick today. (And I love the ones you've chosen!)

Violet N. said...

Thank you, Carol, for hosting and for the lovely beach poem which gave me the inspiration to join in with one of my own.

Walk the Beach is here:

Violet N.

Joy said...

Thanks for hosting us, Carol.
Thanks for taking me to the cooling waters of the beach. I need it, it was 108 degrees yesterday.

I've been making POETRY BOXES this week and I have a poem up for National Doughnut Day. You did know it is D-Day, right?

Have a great weekend.

Joy said...

Oh, silly me, I forgot to leave my web addy___

Unknown said...

So happy you are hosting today! And oh, how I love "the sea breathes / coolness / onto the shore" - I could use some of that right now!

Today I'm linking to my post about why we need poetry, which includes a TED talk about poetry and a bit of a poem, too. :)

Happy summer to all!

Carol Varsalona said...

Thank you for hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up, Carol. I have been following your participation in Mary Lee Hahn's " Our Wonderful World" and impressed with your grace as a writer.

Please accept my late submission that is written as the school year draws to a close. I decided to take a stroll down memory lane to highlight my first year of teaching when long hair and mini-skirts were in vogue. I welcome comments on my original poem that has had many iterations since my first draft in 2005. You can find the poem at: