Cherry Tomato, take one

the pop of skin–

a rush of sweet and sour
to your tongue

like when you bite
your ripe lip


Cherry Tomato, take two

the bite of sudden thunder
a skyful of rain—
sweet relief
tinged with the sour end
of blue skies


I love growing cherry tomatoes. I buy small plants in May, transfer them to large patio pots, and water them every day. For this small amount of work, the pay-off is huge. We get bite-sized red and yellow tomatoes for months. They never even make it into the salad because we eat them straight from the vine.

Before I wrote these poems, I went out to the yard and harvested all the cherry tomatoes I could find. I put them in a bowl next to my computer. I ate them one at a time, thinking: how do I describe the experience of eating one? How do I put a taste into words? I tried a bunch of different metaphors, including the two above. In the second version, I kept going back and forth between skyful and mouthful. Which version of the poem do you prefer? Which word–skyful or mouthful?

I’m happy to be back this week. I’ve missed celebrating Poetry Friday with all of you. Life and parenting has been a little too complicated and time consuming lately for me to blog as much as I’d like. While I was away I had a thought about the poems I post here. I think they’re kind of like sketches–they aren’t first drafts and they aren’t fully fleshed out and polished poems. They’re like the doodles you might find in the margins of someone’s biology notes. I’m not saying whose.

For more Poetry Friday fun, visit Amy at The Poem Farm.

Did you notice my new look? It’s all thanks to Gabe Seiden at Connect4Consulting. Thanks, Gabe!















Magic Seeds

Seeds for sale!
Magic seeds for sale!
A dozen for a dollar
or a tired old cow.
Each striped sliver
small enough
to fit on the end
of your finger
ten feet of stem,
a dozen leaves,
and a flower
the size of a pie.
But that’s not all,
you also get
a buzz of bees,
a visiting of goldfinch,
a season of “wow!”s,
and a thousand more
magic seeds.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved













I lose my pen
among the petals…
cherry blossoms


How foolish it is to try to write a haiku about cherry blossoms, but how can one resist?

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved














Who was here?
Who came by
last night
and did all this?
Who ordered
the spring green carpet
littered with
yellow polka dots?
Who rolled it out
as far as I can see?
Who carpeted
the forest floor
all along the corridor
between the stream
and the wall of trees?


© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved














Among the common blades of grass
a wink of purple
a tease
to draw you towards
the violet’s
bearded monkey face
gaping at the sun.
They grew by my grandmother’s front door
which even strangers never thought to use.
My grandmother died.
They sold her house.
But here beneath my feet
a violet winks
and I am back
beside her canvas shoes
for a closer look.


Happy 11th Day of National Poetry Month! That means it is also day 11 of my backyard treasures project. This week I wrote about: a wall, hyacinth crumbs, the rain, a sweet gum ball, half an empty hickory shell, the color green, and violets.

For more Poetry Friday visit Michelle’s blog birthday bash at Today’s Little Ditty.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved









Green is grass.
Green is leaves.
Green is growing
under the sun
elbowing the earth,
pushing it aside
stretching, reaching
with open hands.
Green is calling you
to lie in the grass
under a firmament of leaves
and breathe.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved

photo-243 - Version 2













Sweet Gum Balls

There on the ground,
abundant and free,
small spiky balls,
gifts of the tree.

Like porcupine eggs,
or a wee knight’s flail,
they’re perfect for making
your enemies wail!

They’re not really gum,
but they are a sweet find.
I stuff them in my pocket,
then change my mind.


I did actually put one in my pocket to bring home. That’s how I got the idea for this poem. Usually I write the first line first, but this time I started at the end.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved

photo 2-5












Message on a Log

Someone’s left a message here,
a swirling, curling missive, clear
in the flesh of this log.

They’ve stripped away the gnarled bark.
They’ve used a blade to leave their mark
in letters I can’t read.

Like hieroglyphs from ancient lands,
or characters by distant hands.
I wonder what it says.

Perhaps it tells where treasure lies.
Perhaps it warns that someone dies.
Or maybe all it says is:
                                     “I was here.”


They are probably not so good for the tree, but I do love the beautiful squiggles that beetle larvae leave on wood as they eat their way underneath the bark.

Happy Day 2 of National Poetry Month.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved.

photo 2-4















This year I will be celebrating National Poetry Month by writing a poem a day about a “Backyard Treasure.” Every day I will go for a walk, take a picture of a treasure I find, and then, write a poem about it. These won’t be polished poems. They will be the day’s best draft.

Today’s poem is about the daffodils blooming in my yard.


Dear Daffodil

Thank you for raising
your head in the rain.
Thank you for sounding
your silent fanfare.
Thank you for daring
to wear your bright yellow bonnet
to this endless gathering of mourners.
Thank you for huddling
in clumps like ducklings
chirruping in chorus—
 “Soon we can swim!”
  “Soon we can swim!”
Thank you, dear daffodil,
for coming every spring.


Happy first day of National Poetry Month!

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved











Dear Officer,
I apologize.
I know I was going slow.
I was stunned
by the morning sun
shining a perfect spotlight
on the small maple
in the clearing,
so proud in her
new red dress.
Then I caught a glimpse
of the red cap
on a woodpecker’s head
as he flew by
on undulating waves.
I followed his path
to the fallen pine
along the stream.
I’m sorry.
I didn’t mean
to cause an accident.
I just wanted to slow down
enough to see.
I know you’re in a hurry
to check my registration and insurance,
but now that you’re here,
if you look over there,
along that first thick branch
of the accommodating oak
you can see the woodpecker
listening for larvae
under the bark.


No, I didn’t really get a ticket. But I imagine I will.

For more Poetry Friday, visit Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved.