Burrowing Owl by Squeezyboy at flickr


Never disturb a sleeping owl.
Their waking thoughts are always fowl.
Want to pet a porcupine?
You can be the first in line!
If you try to question a horse,
She will answer neigh, of course.
Think you can be a strong as an ant?
Think again. You can’t.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

My poet-friend Sharon Barry shared a brilliant couplet in our poetry critique group this week. It reminded me of Ogden Nash’s wonderful couplets about cows and mules. I wanted to try, too. I wrote them all week. These are my favorites.

photo by kapustin at imagesfrombulgaria.com
daisies drop their heads
I hop across the concrete
spraying cool rainbows

bee buzzes home
I sway in the hammock
going nowhere

between the rows of lettuces
plastic corn snakes wait

cracked earth at my feet
rushing streams of sweet pink juice
drip from my elbows

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

My younger kids have been home this week, so I thought I’d return to haiku, imagining, foolishly, that they would take less time. Instead I’ve spent stolen hours on poems of just three (or two) lines, thinking about syllables, resonating images, verb tenses, personal pronouns, punctuation, nature, human nature, summer, and childhood. The more I read haiku and read about haiku the more I am awed by all they can do in just seventeen (or fewer) syllables. 

photo by Howzey

Cool me.
Soothe me.
Paint me blue and lose me.
Hold me.
Enclose me.
Show me how to flow.
My crashing,
Into splashing,
Collapse in waves
Of laughing.
When I’ve gone,
Sit still.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

School by Elizabeth Albert

The math books have melted

Into puddles of numbers.
Illegible questions drip
Down the white board.
Desks fry paper. Books lie
All over the rug, unable to stand
On their shelves. Everywhere,
Heads droop like daisies
After days and days without any rain.
And our teacher, usually so cool,
Wilts in the shade of our papier mache,
Fanning herself with poetry.
They close school early for snow,
Why won’t they do it for summer?

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Hens by Obilac at Photopin
Mama, my sister, and me,
Just us three,
Went to the Saturday matinee.
Five minutes in, Mama hissed, “Let’s go!”
When the show
Didn’t seem too good. 
She grabbed our hands with dazzling cool
To slip the rules,
Into the forbidden, next door.
Back in our car, we cackled like hens,
Pecking “Again!”
When this time, she said, “Maybe, we can.”
Mama, my sister, and me,
Just us three,
Spread out and scoured that car,
Like chickens picking for seeds,
We stalked the weeds,
Scratching and pecking until
We found on the floor,
Just enough more
For a one time only treat.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

I spent the week reading and rereading Eloise Greenfield’s Honey, I Love. I love her simple, beautiful language, subtle rhymes, musical rhythms, and child-friendly voice.