Rising over the garden,
A helium sun on a string.
Parading above the lilies,
A crown fit for a king.

An eye with golden lashes,
A bonnet around a face,
A sprinter sporting a medal
For winning a backyard race.

A paintbrush dipped in lemon,
A splash of juicy light,
A toothless, sunny smile
Without a shadow in sight.

A nodding head grown weary,
A platter of snacks on a string,
A sprinkle of secret promises
To rise again next spring.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved


I wrote this last summer but I was reminded of it when this year’s sunflowers opened their bright, shiny faces.

For more Poetry Friday visit Semicolon.
















Every night my lizard slithers
Down from his plastic tree.
He crawls in his log and rests
His head and goes to bed like me.

(c) 2013, Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved


This week my favorite book of children’s poetry is Surprises, an early reader, poetry anthology edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. The poems included are perfect examples of the kind of children’s poems I love. The subject matter is kid-friendly and kid-interesting. The language is simple and easy to understand, while also being rhythmic, rhyming and surprising. Only some of the poems are funny, but they all have a punch-line that makes you laugh or sigh or tilt your head to reconsider something from a different angle. I also love that the book is small, easy to hold, easy to afford, and easy to read and reread.

The first poem in the collection is “Plans,” a poem about a child’s someday cats by Maxine Kumin. What really struck me about this poem was the enjambment. Yes, the enjambment. It’s a four-line poem and at the end of each line the content just keeps going, giving the poem a lovely flow and momentum. The enjambment also provides a refreshing contrast to the many children’s poems that have end stops at the end of every line.

After reading and rereading Surprises and “Plans” all week, I gave myself an assignment—to write a kid-friendly, original animal poem using enjambment. Thus the poem above.

For more Poetry Friday, visit MsMac at Check It Out.










for sale
a sparrow slips into the attic
trailing toilet paper


watching fireworks
from the car


screen door
song of the birds
cry of the cat


a sudden fall
of acorns—

chipmunk looks
at me


I’ve been focusing on haiku again, preparing submissions for Modern Haiku (deadline July 15) and Frogpond (deadline August 1). (Hint, hint…) I set these aside to post here because they were the most kid-friendly.

Haiku are sometimes called “wordless” poems. The idea is that the reader connects directly with the experience being depicted, not with the words of the poem. For me wordless also refers to all the words that might have been included but weren’t–words that the reader constructs for herself. We know from the words in the second haiku that somewhere there is a screen door, birds singing, and a cat crying but there are no words explaining that the cat is crying because she is on one side of the screen door and unable to hunt the birds happily singing on the other. According to Cor van den Heuvel, the poet Ogiwara Seisensui once described haiku as a circle–half provided by the poet and half provided by the reader. This is just the kind of active reading I hope to inspire in kids.

For more Poetry Friday visit Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty.


The Tin Woodman as illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1900) in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum














I’m back after end-of-the-school-year madness, an awful stomach virus, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy. I hadn’t intended to take such a long break from writing, but one thing after another made it difficult to focus. I don’t know about you, but after breaks like these I find it hard to get back to work. I feel like the Tin Woodman rusted and stranded in the forest. Where’s Dorothy with that can of oil? I was going to write that there is no Dorothy. I have only myself to get these rusty joints in motion. But that’s not entirely true. There are quite a few Dorothy’s out there. The two I turn to most often are Laura Purdie Salas and Miss Rumphius. When I’m stiff and need to get moving, I go to them for a squirt of oil.

This week Miss Rumphius prompted her readers to write a list poem. Her model was a list of all the reasons she hasn’t been able to write lately. Here’s my reply:


Things to do with Poems

Read them.
Read them out loud.
Read them when you should be reading something else.
Read them to remind yourself you’re not alone.
Copy them out, in your own hand, fold them into little squares, and stuff them
in your shoe.
Tape them to the mirror, the wall, the dashboard, your forehead.
Write them when the spring breaks ground.
Write them when you fear your chest will burst with all you stuff there.
Etch them on your brain.
Ink them on your arm following your veins.
Write them on the sidewalk in thick pink chalk.
Watch them dissolve and run off in the rain.
Pick their cotton shreds from your lint screen.
Recite them so the clock on the back wall can hear you.
Hide them in books and backpacks and pillowcases so someone else can find them.
Whisper them in the dark.


Yesterday, Laura Salas posted a mysterious blue image on her 15 words or less blog. Here’s my response:

blue blood flows
through sweeping skies
delivering life
to weary eyes


Ah, much better. I think I can move my arm again.
So, fellow poets, what do you do to get back to work after a break?
For more Poetry Friday visit Keri Recommends.
See you next week.

(c) 2013, Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved