Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poems as Celebrations

     Happy May!  I know it is a reflection of my age, but, holy cow...this year has gone by quickly!  We are already in the season of dance recitals and communions.  As I prepare for two first communions this weekend, I encourage you all to think about poetry as a celebration.  So many events are celebrated with family and friends...baptisms, birthdays, proms, honor rolls, weddings and even deaths.  These are all perfect opportunities to put pencil to notebook and commemorate the event with a poem.
     Recently a friend and colleague of mine received the "Educator of the Year" award.  Many congratulations to Mrs. June Marsowicz!  I am moved by the knowledge that many former students nominated this teacher.  I am impressed with Mrs. Marsowicz's humbleness in receiving the award.  I was so touched by her whole story that a poem just dribbled out the other morning...

You have made many
a worker
a thinker
a kid who could tinker
a reader
a writer
 a reacher

You have been
a mother
a pusher
sometimes a gusher
but most of all
an outstanding

     I barged into June's classroom and interrupted her math instruction to read the poem.  It was an emotional treat to honor June with my little poem.  She was thrilled with the gift; her students were delighted with the distraction and donuts I delivered!  This experience propelled me to write a poem for my Goddaughter's and my neice's  First Communions...

Age of reason, State of Grace
Wearing your faith
on your face

At the table, drink some wine
Taste the bread for
the first time

Let His body start to nourish
In His love
you will flourish

With your family, celebrate
Their beliefs you

Live your life with His respect
Always looking
to connect

Bow your veiled head, say a prayer
A love for you
we all share

Wearing your faith on your face
Age of reason
State of Grace

     Congratulations,Neleah and Hannah!  I really wanted to fit the word transubstantiation in there some place, but I couldn't do it! 
     I hope you'll consider poetry as a fitting gift to remember the special happenings in your loved one's lives!

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Fib at month's end

     Have you heard of Fibonacci?  If not, check him out here.  If you have, then you know that there is a pattern of numbers based on the philosopher's mathematical work.  The sequence starts with 0 and 1.  Then you add the two numbers to get the next...0 + 1 = 1, 1 +1= 2, 1 + 2 =3....keep following this pattern and you end up with these numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.  It seems simple at the early stages.  To really challenge yourself, play the Online Fibonacci game.
     Wondering what all of this has to do with poetry?  Well, as you might have guessed, some clever lad figured out a poetry form using the Fibonacci sequence.  Seeing that today is the last day of National Poetry Month, I figured I would give this relatively new form a try.  As I understand it, Greg Pincus first wrote Fibs on his clever blog, Gottabook.  Katie Davis recently spoke about Greg's Fibish work at her blog,  I am grateful to Janet F. who pointed me in this direction.  Without further pomp, I share with you my fib in honor of National Poetry Month...

Empty Fib
By Melinda Harvey

end of
month, an emptiness
creeps in like sprawling, golden thyme, 
spreading it's robust memory of a fun-filled past.  

     I am very grateful for the handful of you who have visited my blog this month.  It has been a challenge to write a daily poem (except for that one day!) Thank you for the comments and the encouragement.  I am not sure where I will go from here, but I will most definitely be blogging around!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wondering, "How to?"

     I enjoy a good "how to" poem.  You have probably seen them before...a list of steps that explain the very mundane with a new clever perspective.  They seem so simple, but I bet they're not.  Even as I sit here and ponder a topic for today's poem, a how-to topic is not coming to me.
     A few minutes with my (almost full!) writer's notebook has left with me with a list of possible ideas.  Because I am looking forward to dessert tonight, I will go with "How to eat a cookie!"

Dunk it
By Melinda Harvey

Pick up two cookies
Pass one to a friend
Nibble just a little
from the bottom end

Hold the tender cookie
as if it were brown silk
Dunk your tasty morsel
into a glass of milk

Count the time in seconds
smile at your buddy
Pull your cookie out
'fore the milk gets all muddy

Put the cookie in your mouth
feel the cream and chocolate blend
Then pick up two more cookies
and pass one to a friend

     Look around you, right now.  Make a quick list of the things you do on a daily basis.  Now, turn one of those tasks into a "how to" poem!  Share it with me in the comments when you're done!

Laughing Out Loud

     Today I hope to attempt a metaphor poem.  With this form, you take a topic and then write three lines.  Each line should say something different about the subject.  The last line wraps it all up with a metaphor.

By Melinda Harvey

head back, mouth wide open
fearless, careless
absolute connected-ness
Laughter is a hungry baby being fed by the mama bird.

     Even with a light topic like laughter, I don't feel comfortable with metaphor.  When I see writer's use metaphors in their stories or poems, I am always blown away with the obvious, but fresh comparison.  I don't seem to have a knack for that quite yet.  Perhaps with time.  I am off to laugh with family and friends tonight.  Perhaps I will find some metaphors with them!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy PIP Day!

PIP, PIP Horray!
By Melinda Harvey

It's Poem in Pocket day today!
 Hooray! Hooray! 
So pick a poem and read away!  
Hooray! Hooray!
Eat your lunch at the rhyme buffet! 
Hooray! Hooray!
Stuff yourself with rich word play!  
Hooray! Hooray! 

     I didn't mean to, but I wrote two poems today!  (I think that's a good thing as I was one poem behind!)  It's a special day today...Poem in Pocket day!  Today is the day that everyone, not just wacky teachers and passionate bloggers, but everyone, is encouraged to carry in their pocket a favorite poem.  That poem should then be shared randomly with friends, loved ones, or strangers.  Read more about this "holiday" at this NPR link.
    In respect of PIP day, I abandoned my commitment to a new form each day.  I could stretch it and call the above poem a repeating poem.  The poem below could probably count as a list poem.  So for all of you keeping track, I have kept my challenge.  However, it was a treat today to simply write down the ditty that was humming through my head!  Below, you will see the poem that will be in my pocket today. If I am lucky enough to see you, I will share it with you.  If not, I share it with you here!

What's in your Pocket
By Melinda Harvey

Some dryer lint, 
a ticket stub
A comb to fix your hair

A piece of gum
a paper clip
A trinket from the fair

A dirty spoon
a ball point pen
a paper with a prayer

The best thing for your pocket 
is a poem that you can share.

     Today is also "Pay it Forward" day...a day where we are all encouraged to do a random act of kindness.  Beyond sharing a poem, consider surprising someone you don't know well with a kind deed, word or action!  I hope I see enough good today to inspire my poem tomorrow!  Join me in creating a positive ripple of poems and kindness today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A rhyme royale

     Aha!  I have found a poem form created, not recently, but years ago by one of the greats...Chaucer created the rhyme royal.  (I like to pronounce it rhyme roy-el!)  It is a seven line poem that follows the rhyme scheme of a-b-a-b-b-c-c.  Apparently it is up to the writer to make that a quatrain followed by a tercet or a tercet followed by a quatrain!  Okay, maybe I am trying to show off my newly acquired poem-speak.  I will try to be more humble!
     The crisis in our house today, besides the spilled jug of orange juice and the mild car accident that I endured this morning, is a lost lego mini-figure.  Mattie, age 8, was nearly despondent at dinner because she can't find her very special Statue of Liberty mini-figure.  This got me thinking about all of the things I have lost over the years.  The rhyme royal seems a perfect place to "find" these treasures again.

I've lost it
By Melinda Harvey

One would think I've lost my mind
when I stop to take a look
At all the things I cannot find
my rabbit's foot, my library book...

So just this once, let me off the hook
I can not bear to take the blame
I am truly sorry that I lost the championship game.

     It isn't very Chaucer-esque, but I like it.  I hope you do too!  If you try the rhyme royal, let me know by posting it in the comments!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love that poem!

     I am nearing the end of the month and I feel like I am drying up!  There are plenty of poetry forms left for me to choose from, but sadly, I feel that I am losing stamina.  I have new respect for the writers who have been blogging daily for years!
     Today, in my parched mood, I turned to a great resource for children and teachers.  The Poem Generator shows a model of a poem and provides a fill in the blank form.  Once you fill in the blank, you click "create my poem" and voila, your poem is created, modeled after a specific form or mentor poem.  I feel a little bit like a cheater using this for my NaPoMo challenge, but it is a great tool to get beginning writers started.
     I chose to do a "Love that" poem.  I am tempted to say that the mentor text for this poem is Sharon Creech's Love that Dog.  But, then I remembered that Sharon's character in this clever chapter book written in poems, uses popular poetry as mentors for his writing.  Sharon's "Love that Dog" poem was really inspired by Walter Dean Myers.  

Love That Boy
By Walter Dean Myers
Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
“Hey there, son!”
He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he’s happy,
When he sad, he grins again.
His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I’ll get him by and by
He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done

     After using the poetry generator, I came up with this:

Love her
By Melinda Harvey

Love that daughter,
like a camel loves its water
I said I love that daughter
like a camel loves its water
Love to call her in the morning
love to call her
“Hey there, daughter!”

     I am sure you notice that my version is much shorter than the mentor text.  This is more proof that the generator is a great tool for beginning poets.  Take a look at this website today and you'll be generating poems for dinner!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Backwards but wishful thinking

     I have been intrigued by the reverso poetry form for a few years now.  I first saw this clever type of poetry during the original game of poetry tag hosted by Sylvia Vardell.  The reverso poem is actually two poems.  Written in the original direction, the poem expresses one point of view or opinion.  Written in reverse, the opposite opinion is often expressed.  I am amazed by Marilyn Singer's  collection of reversos in her book titled "Mirror, Mirror."  If you have not read these brilliant poems, get your hand on her book today!
  Today, many people in Western New York are bracing themselves for a late spring storm.  We are expecting heavy, wet snow and serious winds.  Like many children, as soon as I saw the storm warning come across the tv's ticker I thought, "SNOW DAY!"  I don't think we'll have the day off, but the storm  did inspire my first ever reverso poem!

Wishful thinking
By Melinda Harvey

Get ready for school!
Put your backwards pajamas 
and white crayons "away."
This late in the season
it is unheard of 
to have snow and sleet and blinding winds
It could happen...
A snow day in late April!

A snow day in late April?
Like THAT could happen...
It is unheard of
to have snow and sleet and blinding winds
this late in the season.
Don't count on it.
Put your backwards pajamas
and white crayons away
Get ready for school!

     I have been intimidated by this style of poetry for a while, but you know what?  It's kind of fun!  Think of a topic that often has two sides to it...playing video games comes to mind.  Wearing a coat or hat during colder weather, doing homework before playing, the things parents and kids argue about.  Try writing a reverso poem to illustrate both sides of the issue.  Better yet, grab your parent (or your kid!) and write a reverso with him!  Let me know if you try it!

Learning about Lento

     I don't know why I am still surprised.  It happens more often than not now; I am browsing through my google search looking for a different, new-to-me poetry form and it happens.  I find yet another poetry form that yet again, someone just made up.  I think at the beginning of this challenge, I believed that all of the poetry forms were created centuries ago by the great and powerful poets.  Now I realize that we all have the power to create a form, give it a name and work to make it popular!
     Today's surprise form is called the lento.  That's right it rhymes with cento, but I don't see the similarities.  Lento was created by a man named Lencio.  You can read his post about his creation here.  I really appreciate the lento he wrote that describes how to write a lento.  Take a look:

A Lento
written by Lencio Rodrigues

                     Composed in winter of Two Thousand Five,
                     Proposed by my dreams, this entire theme,
                     Exposed now for all to write and have fun,
                   Supposed to be easy though it doesn't seem.

                    Two verses of four lines each you will write,
                    Do rhyme the beginning word in every line,
                     Pursue to keep last rhymes in line 2 and 4,
                    Chew your brain a little, you'll do just fine!

     Here is my educational attempt:

Fading Away to Nothing
By Melinda Harvey

Weathering is the slow "wearing away"
Feathering of rock and land
Sweltering heat and harsh blowing winds
Sheltering our earth as rock turns to sand

Implosions are ways it sometimes begins
Corrosion can oft add to it
Explosions of nature do their fair share
Erosion is the washing away of grit.

     I am not exactly in love with it, but I have created a lento just the same.  Perhaps you'll try one now?

Friday, April 20, 2012

A late night tritina

Driving Late Night
By Melinda Harvey

Instead of flying, does the black bat wish he could be driving?
Would he like to be up early, instead of waking up so Late?
Has he snuck out during the day, only to be caught when his batty mom called , "Good night!"

Instead of rising each morn, does the sun dream of rising at night?
Would she keep careful watch of all the blurry-eyed truckers driving?
Has she hoped to not start the day early, but end the day late?

Instead of being punctual, what if the bird was late?
Would he skip looking for worms by day and look for them at night?
Has he pondered purchasing an umbrella to avoid rain that is driving?

Are the bats driving the sun crazy, looking like birds late at night?

Today's form is a tritina. This represents yet another recently created poetry form that is brand new to me! It also depicts how you can start with one seed idea and end up someplace completely different!
A tritina is a 10 line poem, composed of three tercets and one ending line. The added trick is to choose three words that consistently finish each line in the stanzas. These words rotate in each line. Look back at my you see late, night and driving at the end of the lines in the first stanza? Now find them in the second and third stanzas...they have been shifted around. Finally, you see those same words in their original order in the last line.
I am grateful to Skylar Spring for the description of tritina at I am also grateful to the clever Teaching Authors who are holding a raffle at their site. Take a look at to get yourself entered!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wandering through a writer's notebook

 This morning I have a new appreciation for my writer's notebook.  I was stuck for what to write today's poem about so I followed some writerly advice and wandered through my writer's notebook, reliving the old entries that I have been collecting.  It was a delightful treat to read the list I had made at the end of our February vacation.  I paused at the gritty post it note that I rescued from my classroom floor.  I tried to decide if a list I had started in December could become a Christmas poem.  The only problem with reading my notebook is that it has seriously cut into my time to write!
     At the same time I was harvesting a poem topic, I had in my head that I wanted to write a persona poem.  These poems have also been called mask poems.  With either name, when you write this type of poem, you write from the perspective of someone or something else.  I began understanding this poetry form by reading this page.   After further research, I found Elaine Magliaro who keeps a blog at  Lastly, I revisited Amy Vanderwater's Poem Farm.  She keeps a great catalog of her poems; there is a whole section of mask poems.
     After much deliberation, I went back to the surprisingly shiny penny from the year 2000.  It was taped into my notebook with a caption that said, "Found on 1/1/12 on my New Year's walk.  If my penny could talk, this is what it would say...

See me, kid, pick me up
All year long, you'll have good luck.
I've been around, that much is true
but now I'm counting all on you.
My last owner was a sloppy soul
let me fall from her jacket hole.
Before that, I lived in a car
which was slightly better than my old jar.
I never did have time to thank
that guy who sprang me from the bank.
I've seen the mall, gas station and more.
I bobbled 'round from store to store.
Now I'm laying on the street
Wishing that I could grow feet.
So see me, kid, pick me up
All year long, you'll have good luck.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby Bro!

     Senryu is the first cousin to the Japanese haiku. The pattern is the same 5-7-5 syllables over the course of three lines. The big difference is in topic. Where a haiku traditionally deals with a topic grounded in nature, the senryu focuses on a person, usually in a humorous way.
My little brother, Matt, turns 35 today. I thought I would "honor" him with a senryu poem in honor of his birth!
Still Glad
By Melinda Harvey

You came after me
But you have caused more trouble
Still glad that you're here.

     I have learned a lot about haiku by watching Laura Salas work through her NaPoMo challenge.  She is writing a haiku each day this month.  The thing with haiku or senryu is that it seems so easy; we have to really challenge ourselves to say a lot using only a little!  (That might be true in life also!)
     If you have a little brother, a big sister, a mother, father, friend or teacher, consider honoring them with a senryu today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PRAP time

     Today's a big day for many students throughout New York State...the ELA test begins today.  I know that at our school, the students have been amply prepared by reading a lot of great books, learning about essays and practicing sample questions.  I hope these skills stick with my students long beyond this week's test.  I know many teachers pull out all of the stops when preparing students for the test; we sing, dance, even hop on the desks to draw the children into these lessons. One clever colleague invented a rap to help her children remember some important strategies for test-taking success.  She calls it the P-rap.

P- preview the questions
R- read carefully
A- answer the questions
P- prove it

   Today, I will attempt a controversial style of poem- a rap.  I think Mrs.Winiecki's rap (above) is just fine, but at her request, I will embellish it.  Rap as poetry is highly debatable.  Some feel that as an artistic expression, with rhythm and rhyme, rap is absolutely a viable form of poetry.  Other people believe that this type of music isn't sophisticated enough to count as a poetic device.  I'll leave the debate to the essayists...right now, I must rap!

Kickin' It!
By Melinda Harvey

C'mon gather round for today's the day
We're gonna kick it on the ELA
We've written papers, read lots of books
We know all about effective hooks!

One more time, 'fore the test comes out
Do the P-rap with me, let me hear you shout!
P is for preview, we're gonna read
all the questions first so we focus where we need
R is for reading, we'll do it with care
underlining, branding, highlighting here and there
A is for answer, we'll slash the trash
Getting every one correct, we will not abash*
P is for prove it, that's what we'll do
I'll go back to the text to show I know it's true

So c'mon teacher, bring it...give us the test
It's the ELA and we're gonna do our best
You showed us the way, we'll walk the path
And after ELA, we'll do the same with Math!

*abash means to cause to be embarassed

     There you have it, Mrs.Winiecki, and everyone else...chant it one more time and then pass out those tests.  They're ready for it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

     I woke up this morning with the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" prancing through my head.  I knew immediately that today would be the day that I would write a parody.   A parody, as defined by Paul B. Janecko in his book "How to Write Poetry, is an exaggerated, usually humorous imitation.   You have probably heard many parodies before.  It's the kind of poem/song where someone takes an original song and rewrites the words.  Weird Al Yankovic is an artist who has made a living by doing parodies of popular songs and their music videos.                                                                                               
     I would be remiss if I didn't mention my children's favorite author of parody...Alan Katz.  If you don't know Alan's very funny work with turning songs into silly dilly songs, check him out here.  If you enjoy parody, you won't be disappointed.
    Today, I am heading back to school after a week-long vacation.  If you are too, you might enjoy my parody today!

Not Ready
By Melinda Harvey

I'm not ready to go back
I need just one more day.
I loved my time on va-ca-a-tion
Going back now would just be a sin
Don't forget your new
pencils. Please make them
nu-um-ber two
For it's E L A
right away
Back to school for you!

     Now that I have that tune running through YOUR head, go try to write a parody  of your own.  Have a great day back to school!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sewing a cento poem

     Today, I have chosen to write a cento poem.  A cento poem is a patchwork of poetry lines borrowed from other poets.  Each line has to be from a different poem.  There is a lot of freedom within in a cento.  It can be as long as you want.  It can come from one poet or many.  The important thing is to give credit to the original sewer of the words you stitch together into a new quilted poem. I have been reading a lot of poetry this week as I have been on vacation from school.  I figured this type of poem would be a breeze...pulling lines from favorite funny poems to build a new original thought?  How easy is that?  Let me tell you...not very!  I have been sitting in my writer's chair for more than an hour and still I don't love my creation.  Here is what I came up with...

Rich Stitch
sewn by Melinda Harvey

Reach in your pocket.  You may find a secret
of sweetness tucked within
sweet and sour, tender, blue
In one freezing ocean two icebergs collide.


Amy Ludwig Vanderwater “Road Taken”
Michele Krueger “Marshmallow Survey”
Julie Krantz “Peaches, pears…and egos too”
Marina Sim “Icebergs”

     You see that I gave credit to the original poets underneath my cento.  All of these poets contributed to the March Madness Poetry Tournament over at  These poems were all written during round one of the competition.  If you haven't read any of the tournament poems, for poetry sake, get over there and do that now!  If you have enjoyed those poems, consider borrowing some lines from your favorite entries and try a cento poem of your own!

There's an app for that

     We live in an amazing world of technology.  Depending on your favorite mobile device, you can get an app for just about anything. My family is currently involved in many games of "Words with Friends."  You might know this's Scrabble without the face to face interaction.  In case you are social, like me, you can send messages through the app where you can trash-talk or question your opponent on the reliability of their word choice.  It is through this app, that I have become aware that many combinations of letters are actually words!  Cool words, surprising words, words that I have had to look up multiple times to internalize their meaning.  Did you know that qat is a word?  No, I didn't spell that wrong...there are words in our language that do NOT require a U immediately after the Q.  (I wish I could tell that to my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Smith!)  Qi is one of these!  Wort, hiller and tartufe are all real words too.  Ironically, rune is a word that I recently learned. So with my ipad open to previous games of Words with Friends and a dictionary on my lap, I attempt this poem RUNE using some of my newly learned vocabulary.

An Invitation to Play
By Melinda Harvey

Words with Friends-
What's that you say?
Invitation accepted
I'd like to play.

He started with Narthex
Now my brain hurts
Who knew it was
a porch on a church?

She played the word nodi
Meaning problem, in plural
I didn't expect this
game to be neural!

Over the course of the game
Ixia, wort and qat
all scored large points
but left me with "What?"

I opened a book,
It was quite a thriller
Found me a great word...
I scored big with "hiller"

I was on a roll
My word choice was foolproof
Until she played
the religious word tartufe!

His qi threw me off
Too many points too soon
I gave up that game
and I finished this rune!

     Okay, it's rough...the pattern is inconsistent and the rhymes aren't spot on, but how about that word choice!?  Thinking now about what type of poem this is, I am stuck.  There are so many poem forms out there that it seems like this must fit into one type or another.  At first I was thinking blank verse, but I see that blank verse does not rhyme.  I was about to throw in the towel when I realized that this is a collection of QUATRAINS!  Problem solved, words, back to my "Lexemes with Chums!"
     Feel like trying a quatrain?  It's not too hard-just four lines and you get to choose the meter and the rhyme pattern.  You can use a dictionary, a word game or your favorite app for inspiration.  Leave your quatrain in the comments; I'd love to hear your work!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spot the Superstitions

Stevie Wonder performing "Superstitious" on Sesame Street

     Happy Friday the 13th!  Does that seem like an oxymoron to you?  I am really not superstitious, but I have been intrigued for a long time by old wives tales and good luck charms.  For a fun list of superstitions that inspired today's poem, click on the previous link.
     Today, I will attempt a trimerick.  I learned of this form yesterday while researching trimeric.  (Do you notice the difference?)  A trimerick is a poem consisiting of three limericks.  You can learn more about this unique form here: Trimerick creator.

Spot the Superstitions
By Melinda Harvey

There once was a man named Lee
who was visited at home by a bee.
The next thing he could tell
was the ringing doorbell
that announced the appearance of me!

I said, "Lee, I am here with a tip."
You best choose a plane, train or ship.
For that spider right there,
has made one thing clear.
It means that you're taking a trip!

Lee put down his reading on Seth*
drew in a long, patient breath.
Pointed to the moth at the door
and said "Leave before
that insect there predicts YOUR death."

*Seth is the Eygyptian god pictured at the left.

     Your challenge is to spot the insect in each stanza and then to identify what event the insect causes.  Once you have done this, leave a comment below to show your knowledge.
     I purposely chose the name Lee because today is the birthday of Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Lee's newest anthology is titled "Nasty Bugs."  It was this title that inspired me to choose superstitions related to bugs of some sort.  To learn more about Lee and his new poetry book, check out Amy's tribute at The Poem Farm.
     I hope I have given you a few things to think about...superstitions, Egyptian gods and three stanza-ed limericks.  Hopefully, you found a seed idea for a new poem in there!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A trimeric is NOT like a limerick!

     In choosing today's form, I figured...a trimeric; it rhymes with limerick, they must be similar.  After further investigation, I realized that I couldn't be more wrong!  A trimeric is a four stanza poem with the first stanza containing four lines.  The remaining stanzas have three lines.  Each subsequent stanza begins with a line from the first stanza.  The second stanza begins with the same line as the second line in the first stanza.  The third stanza begins with the same line as the third line in the first stanza and so on.  For a more clear explanation of the trimeric, click here.  No rhyme, no humor, just deep, thoughtful   expression.  Not exactly my kind of poetry.  This is my attempt...

Good Morning
By Melinda Harvey

The bright sunshine
peeking through my window shade
stirring me awake
I start my day earlier

Peeking through my window shade
I consider the possibilities
of this new dawn

Stirring me awake
are the birds and critters
begging me to join them

I start my day earlier
each day, filling today
more full than yesterday

     One thing about this NaPoMo challenge of writing in a different form each day is it has really stretched me as a poet.  It also make me miss the playful whimsy of my sing-song rhyme-y poems.  As an aside, while googling today's form, I misspelled it as seems that there is someone out there who created a three stanza-ed limerick.  I will consider this as a viable poetry form in the near future!  I dubbed this blog "Thinking in Rhyme," but I have written very few rhyming poems.  Stay tuned, you can't hold one who thinks in rhyme to random patterns for long!  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I am to confused to stay hear

Write or Right or Reed or Read
By Melinda Harvey

Whose or who's
to, too or two

Do these homophones trick you?

Cell or sell?
Plumb or plum?

These tricky words make me feel dumb.

Board, not board
Leach, not leech

What on earth do those schools teach?

Aisle, I'll
you'll, yule

Not one of these follows the rule.

Carat, carrot
We'll, wheel

Now my writer's block is real!

Their, there and they're
read and red

I think I'll READ a book instead

     I can't help it...I am a teacher!  When I sit and ponder, looking for a topic, my brain always takes me to some idea that I can teach my fourth graders.  This poem actually came from a conversation with an adult friend.  After editing her text message, (see can edit EVERYTHING!)  my friend confided in me that too, to and two still confuse her.    I know that she is not alone.  Whether it is hard for you to remember which homophone to use or you just forget to use the correct form, these words can trip up the most advanced writer.  Check out the game at to get more practice in using the correct homophone.  In researching today's topic (see can research EVERYTHING!) I learned of other tricky words...oronyms.  I don't know if I can pull it off, but I hope to use some oronyms in a future post!
     As far as today's type of poem...I am tempted to call it free verse.  It doesn't follow a very specific pattern, but the rhyming words are consistent. After some more research, I classify today's form as a "rhyming  poem."  Who knew new noo knew!?

No Time to Rhyme

     I don't know how it happened, but the other day, my daughter started belting out the chorus to a could-be Broadway show tune.  She continued to refrain, "No time to rhyme." until I answered her Green Eggs and Ham style..."If I gave you a dime?  If I commit a crime?"  We went back and forth with rigor for quite some time.  I reached for my phone to record the serendipitous song, but to your good fortune, my battery was dead!  It is this experience and my appreciation for the couplet that inspire today's poem.

 No Time to Rhyme
By Melinda Harvey
Excuse me sir,
do you have the time?
The time to sit and read a rhyme?

                                                                           Don't be absurd,
                                                                           What a crime!
                                                                            I have no time, no time to rhyme.

Pardon me, ma'am,
do you have the time?
The time to chat and share a rhyme?

                                                                          Get away, now!
                                                                           You filthy slime!
                                                                           I have no time, no time to rhyme.

Hi there, teacher.
Can you spare some time?
Some time to help me write a rhyme?

                                                                         Sorry, kid, but
                                                                          this minute is prime.
                                                                          I have no time, no time to rhyme.

Mommy, it's me
if it's not too much time,
could you ride with me and sing a rhyme?

                                                                        Daughter, my love
                                                                        that would be sublime
                                                                        For you I have time, much time to rhyme.

      Before I knew it, my list of couplets grew into something quite different.  I have created another poem for two voices.  (If you missed my first poem of this type,click here.)  As for my couplets, they look like a couplet, plus an extra line.  I like to think of the last line in each stanza as a couplet squished into one line.  This project has made me realize that I don't have a lot of knowledge about poetry forms. If you are reading this and you have some knowledge to share...feel free.  If you have some couplets to share, post those as well!  Happy Poetrying!

Pussy Willows and Squirt Guns

     Happy Dyngus Day!  If you knew from the title that this post would be about a special Easter Monday celebration, then you must be from either Buffalo or Poland.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, then go immediately to The Official Dyngus Day Description Page to learn more.  While I am not Polish, I am from western New York and I have been schooled in this special post-Lenten celebration for years.  I thought the silly tone of the day was a perfect time for me to write a limerick.  Limericks are more common than Dyngus day, but if you need a refresher on this form, check out Wikipedia.
 Dyngus Day
by Melinda Harvey

On the day after Easter, my young son
was looking to have Dyngus day fun
with pussy willow in hand
and a good Polish band
He met a sweet girl with a squirt gun!

   Clearly, I am no Edward Lear, but hopefully you get the point.  Both points actually...a limerick is a light, silly poem that follows a specific pattern.  Dyngus day is a celebration including polka music, pussy willows and hopefully finding your true love!  This is a poetic marriage made in Polish heaven!

An Easter for Two Voices

     Today's poetry form is the poem for two voices.  Above, you saw a video of two girls performing Paul Fleischman's poem "Water Striders."  Poems for two voices are just that....poems for two people to perform together.  When you see the poem, you see different columns.  One column is for speaker one to read, another column contains the words for speaker two to read.  The middle column has the words that both readers say together.  If you haven't read this type of poetry before, check out Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman.  My children have also enjoyed the "You read to me" books by Mary Ann Hoberman.    
     These poems seem perfect for comparing and contrasting two different items.  They are also a clever way of showing two different perspectives.  I chose to write about a popular Easter tradition.

Easter Seek and Find

I am an egg.                                                                                  I am a child.

I am plain, fragile                                                                          I am bold, strong.

                                                    I can't wait for Easter

First, I have to bob around                                                          First, I have to clean my room,
a large pot, sweating as the bubbles                                             get a hair cut and find my 
spill over.                                                                                   striped tie.

                                                  The wait is killing me.

I get dipped, dunked and cracked.                                              I get kissed, hugged and pinched.

                                                  Everyone is so happy
                                                        to see me.

Now, they stick me under there,                                                  Here I am, stuck at the small wobbly table
behind that and out of the way.                                                    away from the chatty adults and stinky                                   

                                                   It would be okay
                                                    if no one every 
                                                    found me.

     This is my first ever poem for two voices.  I used this clever site to learn How to write a poem for two voices.  You might want to check it out.  After considering a few topics that easily have similarities and differences, try your own poem.  Remember, the fun of this type of poetry is reading it with someone else.  Now, I must find someone to be my egg!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Music is...

Music is the poetry of the air.  ~Richter

Music is what feelings sound like.  ~Author Unknown

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.  ~Alphonse de Lamartine

Music is love in search of a word.  ~Sidney Lanier

You will probably think I am making this up, but yesterday as we rode around doing errands, my 8 year old and I wrote and performed a broadway style musical. The sad, recurring theme song carried the words, "no time to rhyme.". (Look for this tragedy coming to a stage near you!) Last night my kids and I just had to hear "Hallelujah" from the first Shrek movie. Thanks to our smart phone, we were able to bring it up before we reached the front door. This morning, I started my day by listening to my husband skimming through his iTunes account, adding some new favorite songs to his playlist. Even now, as we barrel down the thruway heading toward an Easter weekend with family, three voices harmonize along with the original artists on various tunes. I guess you could say that music is important to my family.
Which brings me to today's poetry style. The intravista poem was created by Avis Harley during the 2010 game of Poetry Tag. (I am posting via a mobile device today, so I can't link to this site directly, but google Poetry Tag and you will not be disappointed!) The intravista form has words arranged vertically within the poem, creating two poems in one. I have mentioned before that I love quotes. I was inspired by a variety of "Music is" quotes to write this intravista...

When I hear the MUSIC
From the days of my youth
Today IS yesterday
And I am learning about LOVE.
When he takes his hand IN mine,
I know that my SEARCH is over.
The memory OF first love
Plays like A song in my heart.
And I remember every WORD.

What makes this an intravista is the quote by Sidney Lanier running down the poem. Don't see it yet? Look for the words all in capitals. I know this is a bit mushy for some kids. I apologize, but now you know that sometimes poetry is lovey-dovey!
With Easter tomorrow, many will be inspired and renewed by Music and time with family. Be on the look out for expressions and quotes that you could use in your own intravista!