Whitetail Fawn courtesy of Forest Wander

Dear little deer,
Curl up and nest.
Mama must eat,
And you must rest.
Dear little deer,
Lie still, right here.
In this nook you’ve
Nothing to fear.
Among the flowers
That dot the field,
Your spots will bloom
And form a shield.
Among the bees
That dart and drone,
You’ve many friends.
You’re not alone.
Dear little deer,
Stay here and wait.
I’ll be right back.
I won’t be late.
Before the sky
Becomes bright blue,
I will be here
To nuzzle you.

As I was reading more of the poetry in the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, I noticed a few peaceful poems with the same form–quatrains of four syllables. I think there is something about the perfect symmetry and balance of these lines that makes them so stable and reassuring. I tried it in the poem above, which gave me plenty of grief this week. Sometimes, I wonder if a poem just doesn’t want to be.

For more Poetry Friday, go to Think Kid, Think!

(c) 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Anableps from wikipedia

Above I see what’s clear and dry,
The birds that swim the sea blue sky,
The crabs that drift and come to die,
The roots that rise above my eye.
I also know a world that flows—
Where sunlight sways and algae grows
On roots that hide the friends and foes
Who ride the rocking dim below.

The Four-Eyed Fish actually has two eyes but each eye has two parts–the top part is adapted to seeing above the water and the bottom part is adapted to seeing below the water. They swim along the surface looking at both worlds simultaneously.

For more Poetry Friday go to Mainely Write.

(c) 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

In the window Cat sits and stares,
Watching with all of her, every last hair,
Striving to kill with wanting and glares.
Chipmunk loiters in the dewy grass,
Nibbling an acorn, making it last,
Knowing, for certain, that cat’s behind glass.

All week I’ve been reading from the gorgeous Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis and published by National Geographic. I’ve been strangely drawn to the poems structured in tercets. I’m not sure if this has deep psychological significance or if I’m just attracted to a form I haven’t used much. In any case I have been experimenting all week and today I have posted my own animal poem in tercets.

For more Poetry Friday see Linda at TeacherDance.

(c) 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Tumbling through sunlight

Like a leaf in the wind,
The kite of a fairy
That’s broken its string,
The butterfly waltzes
To the echoes of spring,
Without ever wondering

What’s lifting her wings.

I’ve been watching the swallowtails gather at the butterfly bush. I caught a picture of this one last week. For the poem I thought spring worked better than autumn, so of course I used “poetic license.” Why limit yourself to what actually happened?

For more Poetry Friday go to No Water River.

(c) 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.

Red Squirrel by Eric Begin

I met a squirrel—
A chippy chap.
He wore his tail
Like a baseball cap.
When I threw
A nut his way
He hit it home
And ran away.
© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

One day when I was out walking I saw a squirrel with his tail curled over his head like a cap. He seemed to be saying, “Like my hat?” This poem is for him. Or her. What funny things did you see today?

I have a cat. Her name is Kate.
She likes to sleep in an old pie plate.
Kate’s best friend is our dog Clair.
She likes to sleep with her feet in the air.
When I sleep, I like to lie in bed
With a nice, soft pillow beneath my head.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

We’re back from our vacation in London where I kept mumbling the old song about London Bridge. Maybe that’s what got me wanting to write something for a younger audience. Back at home I spent the morning reading old Baby Bug magazines. Poems for preschoolers are so simple and fun and so much about sound, which is what makes them so hard to write.

If the cat’s a stranger

Begin by bowing low.
Extend a single paw,
Respectfully and slow.
Allow the cat a sniff
And a turn in the sun,
So she can be the judge
Of all that you have done.
If she lies before you,
You may stroke her fur.
But do not be confused.
She is still superior.
If she slips away,
Like a silent wisp of fog,
Do not try to follow.  
Go and find a dog.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Darling, for you!

I’ve built this nest.

For you, my starling,

Deserve the best.

I started with mud

To mortar the sticks

To make it strong

Like a house of bricks.

I’ve shaped it round

To comfort your end

As you sit and sit and

Our chicks you tend.

To soften your seat,

I’ve lined it with fur

From our neighbor the cat

With the deafening purr.

But that’s not all.

For you, there’s more.

I’ve added front steps

And a solid oak door.

I’ve found blue ribbons.

And woven them in

To match the feathers

Beneath your chin.

Darling, for you,

I’ve built this nest.

I hope you’ll agree

It’s by far the best.

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

In the dark they sing
For the folded crocus
In the dark they sing
For the dim daffodil
In the dark they sing
For the somnolent tulip
In the dark they sing
For the imminent crowd
In the dark they sing
For they cannot wait
In the dark they sing

For the lingering sun

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved