Monday, December 30, 2019


I know it's probably not politically correct, and  I'm probably not supposed to say this, but as a little girl, I loved going to the zoo. One of the animals I loved most was the polar bear. I remember watching them cavort in the water.

Now that I'm older, I understand that wild animals are supposed to be free. And I feel so sad to know that the choices we have made are hugely damaging to other inhabitants of our planet. Especially animals like polar bears. I want my students to understand that we have to make better choices.

That's why I am so glad that there are books like SEA BEAR. Debut picture book author Lindsay Moore, who has a degree in medical and scientific illustration, traces the journey of a polar bear, across the Arctic ice and through the ocean. It's one of those timeless picture book, simple enough for very young children, and yet one I am sure would also engage my middle school readers.

End matter includes a page of factual information about polar bears, sea ice, and climate change, and another page about other animals above and below the ice.
"Polar bears are patient beasts,as patient as glaciers. We know how to hope and how to wait.I learned to be patient long agofrom my polar bear mother- 
to be patient while hunting,to be patient with weather,to be patient in darkness. 
A polar bear can outwait almost anything--     seals,       storms,          and long sunless winters--             but a bear needs something to stand on, 
I watch the ice.           

Thursday, December 26, 2019


NINE MONTHS: BEFORE A BABY IS BORN follows a young child as she and her parents await the birth of a new baby. Miranda Paul's quintrains are playful and bouncy.  

The point of a pin.
Then it divides…

Our story begins. 

Jason Chin’s detailed and accurate illustrations provide children with accurate information about pregnancy. Each two-page spread is divided in half. The left hand side shows the development of the fetus, most in actual size. The right hand side shows the family- a dad, a mom, and the big sister who is probably three or four, as they engage in a variety of “waiting for baby” activities- reading about babies, examining baby clothes, attending an ultrasound appointment, gardening, and building a crib. As the baby grows, it takes up more and more of the two-page spread. 

Rich end matter includes "More About Babies," a detailed description of a baby's development over nine months, "Whoa Baby!" (nine amazing things a baby can do before it is born), “Humans vs. Animals (gestation length for animals ranging from mice to lions to elephants) and then  “What If- What if there are two, or more than two embryos? What if a baby is born early, What if Something Goes Wrong?”

A perfect book for a big brother or sister who is waiting on a sibling to be born.

Monday, November 4, 2019


I'm kind of embarrassed to admit, ok, so maybe this wouldn't surprise anyone who knows me, but I am a little nosy. I love knowing the details of people's lives, for instance, what the Rockies' have on their inboard flight menu, and where the actors from the performing arts center stay while they are in Denver. SCIENTISTS GET DRESSED, then, was a book that was made for me.

The book features photographs (some of them foldouts) of approximately twenty different kinds of scientists at work, everything from astronauts to neurosurgeons, to astronomers, to forest canopy biologists, to paleontologists, to volcanologists, to raptor biologists. Each is accompanied by two or three paragraphs of description about what that scientist wears when they are at work.

End matter for this book is super fun and super creative:
  • Photos tell Science Stories- ten questions a person could ask when looking at a photograph of a scientist at work, 
  • If You Were a Scientist How Would You Get Dressed
  • What are scientists jobs called?
  • You Can Be a Citizen Scientist
  • A two page spread on scientists' gloves 
  • Vocabulary list
  • An interview of marine biologist, Eric Hoffmayer
A book I think lots of kids are going to enjoy!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER- written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Don Tate

As a long time urban educator and as the mom of two African American sons, I think I have a fairly extensive knowledge (not to mention a library) of famous African Americans. Nevertheless, this week I learned about a person that was totally new to me when I read CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER.

Carter Woodson was born on a small farm in Virginia in 1875. His father was a former slave and solder in the Union Army. His mother had vivid childhood memories of standing on the auction block. The pair struggled to support their family of seven, and Carter only went to school four months out of every year, because he had to work on the family farm the rest of the year. Carter began his scholarly career reading the newspaper to his father.

At age 16, Carter followed an older brother into the coal mines. One of the coal miners opened his home to the miners every night. When the men discovered Carter could read, he was again pressed into service. At age twenty, Carter finally returned to high school. He graduated in two years, then went on to college, eventually earning a Ph.D from Harvard. When a professor stated that the Blacks had no history, Carter was determined to prove him wrong. He dedicated the rest of his life to proving that, establishing Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month,  in 1926.

Deborah Hopkinson is one of my favorite storytellers and Don Tate's artwork definitely enhances the story. During the first pass, I read for story, but during the second, I noticed how Tate had worked drawings of more than fifty famous African Americans into the illustrations.

End pages include "Learn More about Carter G. Woodson" as well as an author's and illustrator's note.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

THE CRAYON MAN: THE INVENTION OF THE CRAYOLA CRAYON by Natascha Biebow, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Once there was a man who saw color EVERYWHERE.

     He noticed the yellow-orange petals of the black-eyed Susans
         in his garden. He marvelled at the rich scarlet-red tones of
             the cardinal's feathers. He admired the deep blue-greens
                 of the waves in the sea. 

                         Color made him really, really HAPPY!

So begins Natascha Bierbow's picture book biography about Edwin Binney, the man who invented crayola crayons. Binney worked at a factory where carbon black, a substance used in things like printing inks and shoe polish, was made. In his spare time, Binney invented slate pencils and a wax crayon that would write on wood and paper packaging. When his wife told him that children needed better and cheaper crayons, Binney went to work. And all of us know the result....

End pages include a two-page spread about how crayons are made today, and another page with more information about Edwin Binney.

Pair this with MAGIC RAMEN and POP, also Chris Barton's WHOOSH!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

MAGIC RAMEN by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz

My middle schoolers love, love, love their ramen noodles.

And I'm pretty sure they will love this picture book biography that describes how Momofuku Ando invented ramen noodles shortly after World War II.  Thinking MAGIC RAMEN would pair really well with POP: THE INVENTION OF BUBBLE GUM by MEGHAN McCARTHY. Or make a nice addition to a unit on persistence.

End pages include an author's note, a pronunciation guide, and an afterword with additional information about Momofuku Ando.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Tenth Annual Picture Book Ten for Ten- We're All In This Together

The events of the last few weeks have left my heart heavy to the point that I wasn't sure I was even going to do a PB Ten for Ten this year. But somehow, I just couldn't not participate in the Tenth Annual Picture Book Ten for Ten. Hence my theme (such as it may be)- We're All In This Together.
There will be lots more great collections at Cathy Mere's Reflect and Refine. 

Bear Came Along
by Richard Morris and LeUyen Pham
One of those absolutely perfect picture books that all kids from age 2 up to 102 will love!

Lottie and Walter
Anna Walker
Lottie doesn't want to go into the swimming pool because she knows there are sharks in the water. 
Her friend, Walter, convinces her otherwise. 

Otto and Pio
Marianne Dubuc
Otto the Squirrel is perfectly content living alone in his treehouse until the day when a furry white creature, enclosed in a bushy green egg arrives....

Drew Brockington
A small green monster is a mess until a hot dog vendor saves the day!
I could see using this book to introduce a discussion 
as to how our actions can soothe or escalate situations. 

I Can Only Draw Worms
by Will Mabbitt
A crazy fun counting book in which the narrator is decidedly unapologetic about his talents. 

If I Was the Sunshine
by Julie Fogliano and Loren Long
It's by Julie Fogliano (If You Want to See a Whale and When Green Becomes Tomatoes) and Loren Long. That might be all I have to say. A beautiful and poetic picture book.

Lawrence in the Fall
Matthew Farina
Lawrence the Fox needs to share a collection at school.
His friends are excited but Lawrence doesn't collect anything...

Where Are You From?
Yamile Staled Méndez and Jaime Kim
A little girl keeps getting asked where she is from.
Her abuelo helps her craft an answer.
Also available in Spanish.

My Heart is a Compass
Deborah Marcero
A girl draws several different "maps" of her world. 
I want to use this book before kids create heart maps of the stories they want to tell this year. 

If DaVinci Painted a Dinosaur
by Amy Newbold and Greg Newbold

Dinosaurs as seen by many different artists.
A reminder that there are many ways to see the world. 

Friday, July 26, 2019


Last week, Jared Polis named Bobby Lefebre Colorado's Poet Laureate. According to his website, "Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker from Denver, Colorado. He is a two-time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and a two-time TEDx speaker.  LeFebre has performed at hundreds of cultural events, social actions, detention centers, conferences, and colleges and universities across the United States and abroad." He's also a playwright, whose newest play, Northside, just completed a 25 day run at Su Teatro in Denver. And the coolest thing for me-- last week I ran into G, who works in the cafeteria at my school. She's Bobby's mother!

Upon his appointment, Lefebre said, "The poet, and more importantly to me, the poet laureate, should not only strive to raise the consciousness and appreciation and the promotion and consumption and reading and writing of poetry, but they should also strive to raise the consciousness of our collective psyche, and heal where there is hurt, celebrate where there is joy, share where there is peace, disrupt where there is stagnation, build where there is opportunity, fight where there is conflict, and challenge where there is complacency," LeFebre said.

I didn't have an easy time finding his work on line. The one poem I did find is "Social Worker," a spoken word poem that LeFebre performed as a TED talk. 

"Social Worker"

When I tell people what I do for a living
they often respond by saying things like
"bless your soul" "that must be difficult" and my all time favorite, "it's so nice seeing someone not work for the money"
I'm a social worker
I tend to the wounds of people crucified by circumstance
carry hope and band-aids in my briefcase
share my own scars for street cred
I work with kids who see their probation officers
more than their fathers

Check out Bobby's website here. 

Enjoy other poems at Margaret's Reflections on the Teche

Friday, July 19, 2019


Last week, Rooney did a presentation at the Denver Country Club.
I didn't go, he went with the trainers, but I heard he was quite a hit!
Thanks so much for all of your kind words about my sweet guy. It really is super fun to be his mom for two years, and yes, it will be hard to give him up, but when I see the joy he brings to his partner, it will be worth it. He's snoring beside me as I wrap up Poetry Friday (actually early Saturday morning) on a crazy full day. 

Poetry Friday was full of all kinds of celebrations!

Celebrating the Moon Landing...
It seems only right to begin by honoring  Elaine Magliaro, who is celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. Elaine has also managed to find time to write five moon poems (and one rocket poem). 

Catherine also has an original moon landing poem, based on a prompt from Colby Sharp's CREATIVITY PROJECT.  Word Press is not letting me comment on Catherine's post today, but if it had, this is what I wanted to say, "Trying to incorporate all five of those things into one poem does not seem like an easy assignment Catherine, but you have nailed it beautifully. Your details are so real that you make me wonder, “Did she really have a cat named Luna?” Well done!"

At "My Juicy Little Universe," Heidi Mordhorst shares an original poem, "Moonwalk vs. Heatwaves." Heidi's poem is accompanied by an article and several songs.

Celebrating History…
At "A Word Edgewise," Linda Mitchell shares Pat Valdata's NO MAN CAN TOUCH, a book of 56 bio poems about women pilots. Linda has gone to the trouble of hunting down photographs of the women. Super cool!

In another history-related post, Tabatha Yeatts is sending Donna "Missive from a Motorcyclist, 1917." Her original (rhyming!) poem is accompanied by some old photographs. Fascinating!

Sylvia Vardell is continuing her EXTRA! EXTRA series, where she asks authors of novels in verse to submit poems that did not make it into their novels. Today's poem comes from WHITE ROSE by Kip Wilson. After reading one poem, I'm feeling like I have to get hold of the novel!

Celebrating Creative Families...
Robyn Hood Black seems to have inherited a few poetic genes from her mom. She broke her ankle this week and has two poems about that event- one by her, and then a limerick by her mom, with maybe a little help from her stepdad.

Matt Forest Esenwine is also a member of a very creative family. Today his poem and photographs highlight his five-year-old daughter's considerable artistic abilities. Matt, I'm sorry, for whatever reason Word Press just isn't letting me comment on posts today

Celebrating Songs
This month's poetry challenge at Today's Little Ditty is "found haiku," which is more than a little intriguing for me, as someone who quite often can't even find her car keys, let alone a haiku! Today, Michelle has found haiku in Joni Mitchell's song lyrics.

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow is also featuring song lyrics. Hers, "Balcony Dreams," by Mauwe, is beautiful and haunting. 

At "There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Country," Ruth celebrates friendships with "Here's To You," a beautiful song by Brooke Fraser, who is new to me. 

Celebrating Nature...
Every time I hear mention of Robert MacFarlane's LOST WORDS, I think, "I HAVE to own that book." Molly Hogan has used one of Macfarlane's words as the basis for her own poem. An added bonus is a beautiful song based on one of the poems in the book. 

Margaret Simon received a gorgeous nature poem from Michelle Kogan this week. Michelle wrote a poem about the anhinga bird (which I had never heard of), and then painted a beautiful watercolor. There are definitely some talented folks in this crowd!

Kay McGriff has also written an original poem, "Nature's Ninjas" about phages, in honor of her daughter's 21st birthday. I love the tradition of writing a special birthday poem and I definitely know a lot more about bacteriophages than I did before!

Carol Varsalona celebrates nature with one of her beautiful word and watercolor creations (I really do want to learn how she does this!). And then there's a double bonus because she share's Ruth's poetry swap gift, another gorgeous original poem. 

In another original poem, Cheriee Weichel takes us all on a glorious adventure in the Pine Valley region of British Columbia. It makes me long for a simpler life.  

Jone Rush McCulloch shares her gift from the Poetry Swap, a gorgeous triolet from Mary Lee Hahn. It seems that Jone took a picture of the Grand Canyon, and then Mary Lee wrote her triolet, and then, wait, there's more, Jone found a haiku, which she added to Michelle Heidenrich Barne's challenge for this month. Phew!

Celebrating New Poetry Collections
Speaking of books I HAVE to own, Irene Latham is featuring Michelle Shaub with her new poetry book, Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections, that is coming out in September. I love, love, love hearing the backstory behind books, and this interview will be really fun to share with kids.  

At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona and her grandson, Jack, are enjoying CLACKETY TRACK, a fun new collection of train poems by Skila Brown. 

Mandy Robek is in with a nonfiction dinosaur collection, IN THE PAST by David Ellis. Mandy describes the book as just the right blend of poetry and nonfiction. 

And then some others...
As if writing triolets was not enough, the ever creative Mary Lee Hahn, continues her "Playing With Poetry" theme from April. At Nerd Camp in Michigan, she found two fun new books, INSTANT POETRY and SCRIBBLE OUT POETRY. I think I might need them!

Linda Baie is celebrating her 1900th post and hoping the poem she wrote for Iphigine has arrived. The picture that goes with her poem looks like my front porch the weeks before school starts!

Kat Apel's had a busy week at the 14th annual CYA Conference in Brisbane. Interesting to read her groups discussion of several writerly questions! 

If I could have commented on Word Press blogs today (what am I doing wrong?) I would have said this to Michelle Kogan about her poem, "Perseverance." I love this! Those last four lines! Perfect! It reminds me “From Mother to Son” which is one of my all time favorites!

Thursday, July 18, 2019


Rooney- May 27- 8 weeks old

I have to confess, I haven't written, or even read, a lot of poetry this summer. My summer has pretty much been consumed by Rooney, the yellow lab puppy I picked up at the airport on May 26th. Rooney actually belongs to Canine Partners of the Rockies. The organization raises dogs for people with mobility challenges- multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, quadriplegia, etc. I've been volunteering for the organization for about two years, and my principal finally gave the go ahead for me to raise a puppy. I needed my principal's approval because one of the requirements of raising a service puppy is that he goes everywhere, including work, with me. 

Since May, we pretty much have gone everywhere together- end of year field trips, professional development, swimming, out to eat, and even to a Rockies game. Every day, though, there is a tiny bit of bittersweet, because every day, I remind myself that Rooney isn't mine, and in two years, this sweet, sweet guy, who has totally stolen my heart, will leave my life to become a huge part of someone else's life. I treasure each and every minute, but I also know that this is a temporary situation

For my poem today, I decided to revise a poem I wrote in April. 

"I Will Love You Well"

I will wipe up puppy puddles,
wake when you whimper,
walk you several times a day.

I will love you well.

I will teach you sit and down and stay,
buy toys and treats, play tug of war,
save your baby teeth in a special box.

I will love you well.

I will know your tickle spots,
let you give me slobbery kisses.
pull your lanky body into my lap when there's thunder.

I will love you well.

And then someday, I will hand your leash
to another, and turn my back,
and walk away.

I will love you well,
but you won't be mine.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019
Colorado Rockies Game- 10 weeks
Scholastic Reading Summit- June 27- 12 weeks
Leave your poems in the comments below and I will round them up throughout the day.

Friday, July 5, 2019


Summer is when I catch up on all the reading I meant to do during the school year. It's not that I don't read during the school year, I just don't get through novels nearly as fast, and by summer, I have a huge TBR stack. BREAKOUT has been in my stack for awhile, and when uber reader Tamara Jaimes gave it five stars, I moved it to the top of the pile. I totally agree with her evaluation, I loved this book! And I'm reviewing it on Poetry Friday because it's a novel with a main character that writes a whole lot of poetry.

Nora Tucker and Lizzie Bruno have lived in Wolf Creek, New York, their entire lives. Wolf Creek is a small town, only 3,261 people. Two thirds of the population are inmates at the prison. Many of the Wolf Creek's inhabitants work at the prison, Nora's dad is the warden there, and Lizzie's grandmother is the cook. Most of the townspeople are Anglo, with the exception being 53% of the prison population, who is African American.

At the beginning of the book, Elidee Jones and her mother, LaTanya, move to Wolf Creek, to be closer to Elidee's brother, who is an inmate at the prison. Shortly after the Jones family moves to the town, there is a prison break, and two inmates, both convicted murderers, escape and are on the run for about two weeks. The book uses a variety of mediums- journal entries, text messages, pie charts, signs, etc, to tell the story of those two weeks. I think my sixth graders, huge fans of graphic novels, will love this format.

And, as you have probably guessed, one of those mediums is poetry. Elidee's English teacher guides her to the work of William Carlos Williams; Elidee goes the library and seeks out poets like Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Grimes and Jacqueline Woodson. Elidee uses these poets' work as mentors for her own poems. Here are a couple I loved:

August 24, 2004
by Elidee Jones

(Inspired by February 12, 1963 in BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson)

I am born on a Tuesday at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital
New York,

While the rest of the country was still gushing over
Michael Phelps, and all his gold medals,
Mama was in labor,
watching the TV over her round belly and
cheering the Kenyans in the steeplechase
(They swept all three medals, oh yeah).
Then I showed up
And there was even more to celebrate,
six pounds, 15 ounces,

Daughter of LaTanya and Joe,
They're leaning into one another in a blurry photo
With me all wrinkle-faced and hungry in the middle,
Troy squeezed into the corner by the nightstand,
Daddy's arm around him.

Daddy's cancer is there, too--
Growing quietly in his belly
Couldn't see it in the picture
But it was already bigger than all of us.
Took him eleven months later
Right after I learned to walk.

I was too little to understand,
Too new to have a hole left in my heart.
I didn't remember the hospice bed in our apartment
Or the weeks of saying goodbye,
But Troy did.
Mama always said that messed him up.
When you've lived seven years with a
Big strong hand on your shoulder,
You sure must miss it when it's gone.

Another Story
by Elidee Jones
(inspired by "Through the Eyes of Artists" in ONE LAST WORD by Nikki Grimes. Her poem was already a golden shovel poem, based on a line from, "To a Dark Girl" by Gwendolyn Bennett. So I guess mine is a double golden shovel poem.)

Striking line: Your life's story is a tale worth telling."

Mama used to tell Troy and me, "Follow your 
Dreams and you can be anything. Anything at all." But life's
Not fair sometimes. Sometimes your story
changes. Your plot twists and whirls and the wind
Blowing you in five different directions. That dream gets lost and its a
wonder you're even still here to tell the tale.
But you are. So you find a new dream worth 
Following.  Another hope. Another story worth telling. 

Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Miss Rumphius Effect.

Friday, June 21, 2019


Photo from New York Daily News

It seems only right to honor our new Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, this week. You can read the New York Times article about Joy here.

"The Eagle"
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon,
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear;
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
circles of motion.

Read the rest of the poem here

"Perhaps the World Ends Here"

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at  the corners.  They scrape their knees on it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it. We make women.

At this table, we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Linda Mitchell is hosting today's Poetry Friday Roundup. 

Friday, May 31, 2019


Image from Creative Commons
I wasn't planning on participating this week. It's the last week of school, and it's been a doozy. But then when I went to Mary Lee's blog, I discovered that this week is a tribute to Naomi Shihab Nye. And Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. A million years ago, ok, actually in the early 1990's, I was in San Antonio for the International Reading Association's annual conference. My friend, Lisa, who is a poet and actually did her dissertation the role of poetry in the elementary classroom, saw a sign for a poetry reading and wanted to go. I tagged along with her. 

And as you can probably guess, the poet who was reading was Naomi Shihab Nye. She read in a little tiny bookstore close to the Riverwalk. Probably twenty or so people attended the reading. Her son played with trucks on the floor in the back of the room. I fell in love with Naomi's work that night and have loved it ever since. Here are the last two stanzas of a poem I love. You can read the whole thing here

"Different Ways to Pray"

...There were those who didn’t care about praying.
The young ones. The ones who had been to America.   
They told the old ones, you are wasting your time.
      Time?—The old ones prayed for the young ones.   
They prayed for Allah to mend their brains,
for the twig, the round moon,
to speak suddenly in a commanding tone.

And occasionally there would be one
who did none of this,
the old man Fowzi, for example, Fowzi the fool,   
who beat everyone at dominoes,
insisted he spoke with God as he spoke with goats,   
and was famous for his laugh.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Visit Year of Reading for the Roundup. 

Friday, May 3, 2019


Some random yellow lab puppies I found on the internet
My National Poetry month series was "Dog Days," in which I wrote thirty poems, all about dogs. At the end of the month, I announced that soon, sometime in the next month or so, I will become a puppy mom for Canine Partners of the Rockies. The yellow lab I will be raising was born in California, and will be coming to Colorado sometime after May 22nd. I'm excited and more than a little nervous, I haven't had a puppy in my life for about ten years, and this will be a very special puppy, that will take lots of extra time and energy. I came across the Linda Pastan poem, which seems perfect for the occasion.

"The New Dog"

Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities--

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen.

Linda Pastan

Jama Rattigan is hosting Poetry Friday today. Stop over there and read two delicious Spring poems.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Poem #30/30- "Dog Days"

Poetry Month is over,  but I couldn't stand that I had written 29 poems instead of 30, 
so I wrote two poems today.  I'm ending with a tanka.

"Dog Days Are Ending"

every dog has his day
but I am dog gone happy,
Poetry Month's done, 
writer's notebook is dog-eared
and this poet's dog tired.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Dog Days #29/30- "You Won't Be Mine"

This is just a yellow lab I found on line, not the puppy I will actually be raising. 
The end of the month seems like a perfect time to announce some big news. For a couple of years, I have been volunteering with Canine Partners of the Rockies, an organization that raises mobility dogs for people with physical challenges. I've decided to take the plunge, and sometime after May 22, I'm going to become a puppy mom. For the next two years, I'll be raising a yellow lab, who was born in California, and will be arriving in Denver whenever they can get him here. I'm excited, and more than a little nervous, about this new adventure. This poem is for him.

"You Won't Be Mine"

I'll potty train you,
wake up when you whimper,
teach you to walk on a leash.

I will love you,
but you won't be mine.

I'll teach you sit and down and stay,
buy toys and treats,
take you to the vet.

I will love you,
but you won't be mine.

I'll cuddle with you,
know where you like to be scratched,
let you give me doggy kisses.

I will love you,
but you won't be mine.

And then someday,
I will hand your leash
to someone else.

I will love you,
but you won't be mine.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019

Dog Days- 28/30

April, and National Poetry Month, are almost over. My theme this year has been "Dog Days." I'm writing thirty poems about dogs, and I missed a day, so if I'm actually going to pull it off, I have to write two poems tomorrow. Not sure that will happen. Anyway, this week I have been writing poems about dog tails, and dog teeth, today is about a dog's sense of smell. I found two really interesting articles, here,  and here. At first I was going to try to embed more facts into the poem, but yesterday's effort was pretty much a disaster, and so I decided  to keep it simple tonight

"Splendidly Stinky"


(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Poem #27/30- Dog Days

Saturday, April 27, 2019


April is National Poetry Month. I've always been intrigued by poets who manage to create poems from nonfiction. Today I decided I would try it. It was really, really hard and took a really, really long time! I got the information for this poem from a Psychology Today article.

"Tale of  a Tail"
A wagging tail is a doggy-phone.
That action's not happening when the dog is alone
Puppies' tails  wag at about six weeks,
Little guys learn, "Hey, my tail speaks!"

A tail that hangs means life is quiet,
Frantic wagging shows, "Life's a riot."
Flat and out says, "Let's explore,"
A tail held under shouts,  "Fear galore."

Broad swishing says, "Hello, please pet!"
High-sitting tail might signal, "Threat!"
Tail that's happy pulls to the right.
Left-placed tail might mean, "Let's fight."

Yep, the doggie's tail has lots to say,
And it helps the dog in other ways. 

The tail provides stability
It's part of dog's mobility
Helps with running, leaping, turning
Loss of tail would be concerning.

The tail also helps when dog's in water
that long appendage is a perfect rudder.
When a dog wants to signal he's alpha guy,
A wag spreads scent both far and wide.

Some might think the tail's just pretty,
It's function is actually way more than beauty.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

Poem #25/30- Dog Days

April Poetry Month. My theme, "Dog Days." Every day, this feels harder. A golden shovel poem tonight. 

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."  Rodger A. Caras.

People who have had dogs 
can tell you they are
hairy and slobbery and demanding and not
always willing to adapt to our
schedules or appreciate our pristine yards, and basically they are a whole
lot of work, and yes, life
is more complicated when you to run home to let the dog out but
when we come home and dogs leap and wag their tails they
definitely cause us to smile and make
us feel as if we are the sun and the moon and the stars and our
tedious frustrating broken lives
suddenly feel much more whole.
(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Poem #24/30- Dog Days

Not sure what happened . This was posted last night (Ramona can attest to this because she commented), then I had a typo and pulled it back to correct it. I thought I re-published it, but then when I went back to check it was gone. Yesterday, when I was driving to school, I saw the world's cutest Golden Retriever puppy, out for a morning potty break. Then, 12 hours later, on the way to Spanish class, I saw a super cute black lab puppy.

Bookends from a dog watcher's day....

six am
golden retriever 
sits placidly
exact cebbter
of sidewalk square
while twenty something owner
clad in flannel bathrobe
does potty dance
on chilly April morning

six pm
two men chat across picket fence
while black lab pup
sporting new red collar
wriggles in owner's arms
anxious to share puppy kisses
with his new neighbor

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Poem #23- Dog Days- Jack Black

Jack Black, with his ever present gallon jug
April is National Poetry Month. The theme I've chosen this year is "Dog Days."Almost every day, for the entire month, I am trying to write a poem about dogs. I'm kind of getting to that time of the month when it's hard going. I'm not sure whether I'm really writing poems or telling stories. I am having a terrible time with endings. Anyway, for tonight, this is all I've got.

"Jack Black"

before we went into the animal shelter
I sternly told my son
that we were not bringing home a dog
and most definitely not a puppy.
I am not sure then,
how we ended up with you
an eight-week-old
black and brown
lab rottweiler mix

you adored me
from that first day
you followed me joyfully
from room to room to room
you cried if I shut the bathroom door
each morning I woke
with you pressed against my back
not a centimeter separated us

you adored Star
followed that Houdini on many a trek
out the back gate, down the alley,
around the block to the middle school
there was that one rainy day
when I got a phone call
that someone had found you.
I retrieved the two of you
out of the back
of a gleaming black BMW
the very kind owner assured me
that a good cleaning
would get rid of all of the mud
the two of you had tracked into her car

you adored toys
especially balls and stuffies,
you knew exactly how to
find the squeakers
and tear them out
you could destroy a fifteen dollar dog toy
in about ten minutes, it's lucky then
that you were just as happy
old gallon milk jugs
and those were a little more indestructible
I'd throw them and you'd bring them back
again and again and again
"Please mom, just one more time."

you adored socks and dish towels and underwear
and ate them with unabandoned relish
only to wake hours later
groaning in pain
the first surgery, the one
to remove a .99 Walmart washrag from your belly
cost me $5000
I couldn't come up with $8000
for another surgery six months later

Jack, sweet Jack,
no one would accuse you
of being the world's smartest dog
but you sure knew how to love

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Poem #22- Hot Dogging It

April is National Poetry Month. My theme this month is "Dog Days." I'm trying to write approximately thirty poems about dogs, or in the case of this poem, loosely related to dogs. I love baseball almost as much as I love dogs. Tonight, I went to my first Rockies game of the season. While the outcome wasn't great (the Rockies lost 6-3), it's always fun to be at Coors Field, on a beautiful spring night. It's not so fun, though, to get home at 11:00 and realize you have not written your poem for the day! Whoops! A quick almost tanka will have to do!

"Hot Dogging It"

Unwrapped at ball game,
Charred black over campfire,
Barbeque skewered,
Mustard, onion, pickle relish,
Could anything taste better?

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019