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.

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. http://laurasalas.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/fencin/ I then took up Miss Rumphius’ challenge to write a kyrielle, a set of couplets that end with the same word.    http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2012/05/monday-poetry-stretch-kyrielle.html
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

On my way to the desk
I tripped on the rug.
When I looked to see why
I found my lost bug!

I tucked the blue cockroach
In my box of cool rocks,
And that’s where I found
My best holey socks.

Lying there, crumpled
They looked like a cat.
Except without ears.
I had to fix that.

I grabbed an old t-shirt
I started to cut.
I noticed the shirt had
A hole in the gut.

I got a red marker.
I started to sing.
I hit the right note
To make my walls ring.

That’s when my mom
Knocked on the door.
I put on the shirt.
I dropped to the floor.

“Where is your homework?”
She asked without blinking.
To my desk I waved weakly.  
My poor heart was sinking.

“Then why are you there?”
She sounded unsure.
I answered her truly:
“I took a detour.”

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

I wrote this in response to David L. Harrison’s April word-of-the-month challenge http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/adult-word-of-the-month-poem/. Unfortunately, I never got to post it there because I didn’t finish until May. I took a detour.

Poke that pea.
Don’t stop at one.
Spear a pair.
Peas are fun.
Stab two more.
Fill the tips. 
Four green corks
Guard your lips.
Keep on jabbing.
Pack the tines.
String more beads.
Cram the lines. 
When your fork is
Fully loaded,
When your steel is
Fully coated,
Pull the spines
Between your teeth.
Slip the blade
From its sheath.
Like Ali Baba
And the Forty Thieves,
Swipe the silver and
Finish the peas!