For Sale, Fixer-Upper by Orin Zebest at flickr

I wear this house
Like my favorite t-shirt,
The one you dig through the drawer for,
The one gone soft with wearings and washings,
The one you long to put on
On Saturdays
When you just want to be
It used to be my favorite color blue,
Like the ocean in the sun at noon.
It’s faded now,
Ragged around the collar,
Dribbled with little kid ice creams and
Either it’s shrunk or I’ve grown
Because it feels tight when I stretch.
But I don’t care
Because this t-shirt is my home.
How can you ask me
To give it up
And find another?

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Pie by RachelEllen at flickr

What if our colossal sun,
which every single thing goes ’round,
all the planets,
all the trees,
all the you’s,
all the me’s,
was nothing
but the glimmer of pie
in some mischievous
fairy’s eye.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

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
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.

Alexey Goral, Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Step right up! Take a peek!

Spy the Striking Circus Fly!

Above the crowd she spins, she streaks.

There isn’t a ring she won’t fly.

With daring feet, she cruises your cheek,

Gathering crumbs before they fly.

No matter how well your swatter sneaks,

No act can beat the Circus Fly! 

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Today’s poem was inspired by Laura Purdie Salas’ 15 words-or-less photo of two fencers who looked to me like flies. I then took up Miss Rumphius’ challenge to write a kyrielle, a set of couplets that end with the same word.
So there you have it–a kyrielle about a fly. Thank you to both Laura and Miss Rumphius for putting out their weekly inspirational challenges.

round, white
severed connection
useless remnant of the blasted
of all

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

I just returned from Poetry for All, a children’s poetry workshop, at the Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mill, PA. It was such a pleasure to spend all my waking hours thinking about poetry. Our wonderful faculty included David L. Harrison, Eileen Spinelli, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Marjorie Maddox, author of  A Crossing of Zebras and Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems came one night and walked us through an exercise about extended metaphor. I wrote this that night back in my quiet, little cabin.

Full Moon from Creative Commons by gnuckx
I know I can’t wear them one more day.
They pinch my toes. It hurts when I play.
My mom says it’s time to give them away,
But I’m not ready. I want them to stay.
I remember the day I got these shoes.
I remember the way they looked brand new.
The white was so white; the blue, so blue.
They were meant to be mine. I swear it’s true.
When I first put them on, I wanted to roar.
I felt so springy, I leapt to the floor.
I felt so fast, I ran through the store. 
I needed more room, so I dashed out the door.
I’ve worn these shoes for weeks and weeks.
I’ve worn them to hide. I’ve worn them to seek.
I’ve worn them to sneak and peek and streak.
On rainy days I can make them squeak.
If I give them away, where will they go?
Will their feelings be hurt? How will I know?
Could anyone else love them so?
Someone should invent shoes that grow.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved