Welcome to Poetry Friday!
I recently finished reading Braiding Sweetgrass, by botanist and poetic writer Robin Wall Kimmerer. It is an amazing and beautiful book and will be providing me inspiration for years to come. (I gushed more about the book here, and shared more quotes, too.)
Here is a quote from the book:
“Someone once said that sometimes a fact alone is a poem. … The very facts of the world are a poem. Light is turned to sugar. Salamanders find their way to ancestral ponds following magnetic lines radiating from the earth. The saliva of grazing buffalo causes the grass to grow taller. Tobacco seeds germinate when they smell smoke. Microbes in industrial waste can destroy mercury. Aren’t these stories we should all know?”
If you are willing, when you leave your post in a comment for me to round up the old-fashioned way (or even if you're not leaving a post but just passing by), leave a FACT that in your opinion is also a POEM. Write your FACT in the form of a line of a poem. When I do the rounding up, I'll also put all the lines together to create a group poem I'm going to call "Facts are Poems." The lines that make up the first stanza were given to me by William Carlos Williams (though, admittedly, he doesn't know he gave them to me) and Robin Wall Kimmerer (ditto). The last line comes from Robin Wall Kimmerer, too.
I signed up for today because it was in Carnival week, and I was thinking I'd have the day off. Um, should have checked the calendar. This year we only got Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off, so I'll be at work on Friday. No problem! I'll just round up when I can. Don't worry if your comment doesn't appear instantly; I've enabled Comment Moderation, and I'll post your comment as soon as I possibly can. Roundup will follow as breaks come in my day.
The poetry extravaganza starts every week for me on Thursday with Margaret's feature "This Photo Wants to Be a Poem." Today's photo is appropriately icy for the wintry weather in the United States right now.
Jan Godown Annino is all about connections this week, connections among artists, connections between visual art and poetry. She shares her lovely poem "Fish Fandangle," from the book Fresh Fish, and talks wordpools. She also invites us to a reading!
I can relate so much to the story and poem that Bridget is sharing. It's a tale of laundry and Smidgey the dog and seeking comfort and security.
Alan J. Wright has been researching the grim lives of child laborers in Victorian England. He shares a poem about piecers, who had to fix machines immediately so that the production could continue. The ten-year-old in his poem lives that life.
Michelle Kogan is definitely a polymath, and today she is reflecting on that in a poem that's both words and images. What a treat to see her creative brain at work!
At Alphabet Soup, Jama is sharing two poems by Pat Schneider, plus videos, plus information about Pat's life and work. Jama's post is full of treasures, as her posts always are.
Kay McGriff has a seasonal how-to poem for us today, "How to Be a Snowman." One of her words of advice, "Shiver," is what I do every time I read anything about the weather up north of me right now!
A creepy photo got Janice Scully started on her poem "The Strange Beauty of the Oscomycetous Fungus." (I checked that a few times to make sure I spelled it right.) Talk about facts being a poem! Here's an example!
Linda Mitchell is celebrating the landing of Perseverance on Mars. "Today's poem is Perseverance." Indeed it is!
Molly Hogan is in the depth of winter, but looking forward to spring in her lovely sonnet.
The February Poetry Project at Laura Shovan's blog continues with a new batch of amazing prompts on this year's subject of Bodies.
Little Willow is embracing winter with "Cat" by Marilyn Singer. That's one way to keep warm!
Jone Rush MacCulloch has been writing on Laura's prompts on Bodies, and she shares several of her poems with us today. Each is unique, and each is illustrated!
Some second graders in Vermont were inspired to write riddle-ku poems after reading Laura Salas' book Lion of the Sky. Laura shares some of their poems with us, and a link to the rest, along with the illustrations done by another class. Laura says, "Second graders, you now know the scary feeling of turning over your words to an artist and hoping they capture what was in your heart."
Carol Varsalona has also been writing to Laura Shovan's Body prompts, plus dealing with the winter storm, the news, and getting the vaccine. She shares some of the results of all of this turmoil with us in her post "The Creative Mind is Restless."
Tabatha Yeatts shares a couple of intriguing poems that I'm going to go back and read more closely later. One is called "Saint Rosalie," and the other, "Against Endings." Wonderful finds, as always, Tabatha!
Tim Gels knows that "Self-Sufficiency is a Myth" and has just discovered more evidence for that fact by observing the situation in Texas.
Wendy Taleo tells us ways that "Writers are Like Seaweed." Mmmm, nori! Sounds yummy!
Linda Baie is celebrating Random Act of Kindness week with a poem about giving by Albert Rios. "Giving has many faces," he tells us.
Sally Murphy, on the other side of the world, is experiencing different weather from many of our contributors today. She writes about a beach adventure, and even shares video. I only had time to watch a little of it, but I'll be back later to see the rest! I'm jealous, Sally!
Mary Lee has been swamped lately, too swamped to write. But that's changing. She's writing something every day now, and she shares a golden shovel about important moments with her students.
Irene wrote about a Van Gogh poem, and February, her favorite month. So many people are down on February, but Irene, like me, has a birthday this month, so she appreciates February fully. (By the way, did you know that Irene's book The Cat Man of Aleppo got a Caldecott Honor this year?)
Heidi has paired Robert Frost and Ralph Fletcher today. She's shared a Frost poem I haven't read before - that's always happening to me. He wrote so many poems. This one is great for teachers. And the Fletcher one is great for kids.
Christie has some winter photography and haiku. Lovely!
Syvia Vardell makes the best lists. Today's is called "Celebrate Black Poetry for Young People 2021."
Rose Cappelli loves winter storms, and she's written two haiku about them: one before, and one after. I'm enjoying all these observations of snow!
Matt Forrest Essenwine has a video on found poetry and an update on what's going on in his life. He's been writing a lot, but also homeschooling!
MSheehan shares "Undiscovered," inspired by facts about the planet Mars.
Carol Labuzzetta has a poem about her favorite plant, a prickly pear.
Ramona is all about the berries today, those "berries strutting their stuff." I love it that she looked for the poem hiding in her photos.
Susan Bruck is another person sharing a poem about snow. Hers brings out lessons from the snow on "clinging, letting go, and belonging."
The Group Poem
Facts are Poems
by the Poetry Friday Poets
It is difficult to get the news from poems,
yet men die miserably every year for lack of what is found there.
Facts are poems.
The human brain generates 12 -25 watts of electricity,
enough to power a light bulb.
If I could, like a giant guitarfish,
make my eyeballs disappear
inside my own head,
my eyebrows would be lonely.
Corals are animals
but are sessile
meaning they are permanently attached
to the sea floor
or each other.
Dogs continue to amaze with their abilities,
now being trained to identify the Covid-Virus.
A small dandelion flower channels three giant celestial beauties:
our sun in yellow bloom,
our moon in white puff fluff
and the shooting stars, when dandelion's tipsy wispy seeds disperse.
Mother trees colonize their kin
with bigger mycorrhizal networks.
Trees talk—and listen—to each other
through their root systems.
The red-eyed tree frog
sleeps peacefully during the day
stuck to a leaf bottom.
But watch out!
He'll reveal bulging red eyes,
huge orange feet,
and bright blue and yellow flanks
Antiseptic and strong,
spiderwebs were used
by ancient Greeks and Romans as bandages
Your skin is an organ in its own right,
21 unsquare feet of feeling.
The temperature at which Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same
is -40 degrees.
Snow forms when crystals in clouds
to become snowflakes.
Snow falls at 1 to 6 feet per second
at least in the case of snowflakes
with broad structures,
which act as a parachutes
If you could find an ocean big enough,
the planet of Saturn would float.
Landing on the Red Planet,
Mars, brings you to
the home of the tallest volcano
in our entire Solar System,
A year on Mars is almost twice
as a year on Earth
Salt is the one rock
After two weeks, caterpillar finishes metamorphosis
and emerges as a fully formed,
adult monarch butterfly.
Colorful striped caterpillars become iconic symbols
once they take flight with wings.
If you grow milkweed,
before long you'll furnish a small forest of milkweed
for monarchs and other pollinators…
Polar bears ask permission for things
(such as sharing food)
by gently touching noses.
The ringed tails of red pandas
function as wraparound blankets
in their chilly mountain homes
of Nepal, Myanmar, and Central China.
Honduran tent bats nibble and gnaw
along a large leaf's midrib,
which collapses around them
as a shelter from jungle rain and teeth.
Male hummingbirds perform
dazzling courtship dives
that combine high speed,
buzzing tail feathers
and a flash of color.
flee sticky situations
ahead or behind.
To take flight,
run across the surface of water
and furiously flap their wings
before they lift off.
Fringe on the leading edge
of their primary flight feathers
is why owls can fly silently.
The collective noun for starlings is a murmuration,
for swans, a lamentation,
and then we have
a confusion of warblers, and
a shimmer of hummingbirds.
Butcher birds need no daylight
as their call rings out pre-dawn.
Carolina Wrens defend their territories
with constant singing.
Aren't these stories we should all know?
Thanks for participating, Poetry Friday friends! You make my life so much richer!
Come back next week, when Karen Edmisten will have the roundup.