There are tails in the garden
That sway in the air
Like the tips of fine cats
Who expect you to stare.

Gently, I pet them.
Their fur starts to shed.
These cats spread themselves
All over the bed!

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved


Just a poem today.

For more Poetry Friday visit Betsy at I Think in Poems.








Stick-on tattoos,
Hours at the zoo,
Baths without shampoo—
Mama says one,
Grandma says two!


Guess where we are this week?

For more Poetry Friday visit Steps and Staircases.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved.










There once was a girl who loved trees.
She swung from their limbs with great ease.
When asked to come in,
The girl made a grin,
Then hung upside down by her knees.


My mother once gave me a date.
I snuck the old yuck off my plate.
My mother found out
When she saw the dog’s snout
In a strangely gelatinous state.


Earlier in the summer Michelle Barnes asked me if I’d be willing to send her a poem for Limerick Alley. I was so honored and inspired by her request that I wrote and sent three. She posted one earlier this week with a fabulous illustration by her daughter. Above are the two others written for Michelle.

For more Poetry Friday, visit Renee at No Water River.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved












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.










Tomorrow is a blank piece of paper
For me to color
However I want.
After a long sleep,
And a long stretch,
And a long, long daydream,
I can draw whatever I want.
I can use whatever color I choose.
Maybe I’ll make the sky pink and the trees blue
Just because I want to.
I’ll take my time drawing sun and sky and earth and me in the middle.
I might take all day to draw my world.
And no one will be there to tell me time is running out
Because tomorrow is a blank piece of paper
Just for me.

For more Poetry Friday visit Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved












I found
on the ground
a little blue egg.

On the egg
I found
a hole.

There is no bird
in the little blue egg.

I wonder
it’s gone.


In my favorite Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin digs a hole. He finds rocks, a root, and some grubs, announcing with delight, “There’s treasure everywhere!” I love that he thinks of these things as treasures, in part because I do too. These are exactly the kinds of treasures I look for when I go for walks. And every time I go out and look for them, I find them because Calvin’s right–there’s treasure everywhere.

When I was in Boyds Mill, PA for the Highlights Foundation workshop last week, I found this egg outside the door of my cabin.

I’ve broken some poetry “rules” with this poem. I’ve set up a bit of a pattern in the first two stanzas, but I don’t follow the pattern throughout. Also, though it’s a poem for young readers and has a strong meter, it doesn’t rhyme. I tried many drafts of this poem, following the usual rules, but I kept coming back to this version, which seems to sing the right song for this slightly sad and mysterious egg.

What treasures are outside your door?

For more Poetry Friday visit Betsy at Teaching Young Writers.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved











pay dirt—
under the roses
a soccer ball


late at night—
a cricket sings
in the lizard’s cage


© Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved


Ever since I started this blog, I’ve had two recurrent questions: Who is my audience? And why do I do it? It’s been a year and a half now, and I’m still not sure I have any good answers. Am I writing for poets, teachers, kids, friends? Is my goal to write more, share more, promote more, connect more?

I’m the kind of person who likes to talk through questions like these. So, fellow poet bloggers, I ask you:

1. Who is the audience for your blog?

2. Why do you blog?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.










Garden Party

Weeping willow wears a gown
Of leafy lace that sweeps the ground.
Under her skirt we blow grass horns
And watch the daisies dance a round.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved


Welcome Poetry Friday visitors. Please join the party
by leaving your links in the comments. I’ll come by later
and add them to my post.

Happy Poetry Friday!


Here’s today’s round-up:

Looking for something rhyming and funny? See Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff whose colleague Wayne Leonard made a short video in response to a student challenge.

During National Poetry Month Laura Salas was so busy with her poem starter videos and other commitments, she missed out on other blogs. This Friday she’s heading over to Jama Rattigan’s list of Poetry Month celebrations. She’s also wondering what Poetry Month blogs we particularly enjoyed visiting.

At Random Noodling Diane is taking a breath after National Poetry Month and sharing a favorite cat poem by Denise Levertov.

At Kurious Kitty Diane shares “I Left My Head” by Lilian Moore, a poem which may speak both to the younger and the older crowd, and probably quite a few in the middle.

Diane has an explosive quote by Lilian Moore at at KK’s Kwotes.

Author Amok, Laura Shovan has been working with third graders writing scientific Fibonacci poems. Today she shares a couple of her students’ poems and her lesson plans.

Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones has an original foggy day, dog walking poem.

At Crackles of Speech Steven Withrow has an original poem about the lion who guards “The Library Steps.”

Robyn Hood Black has some laugh-out-loud student limericks from the Fair Street School at Life on the Deckle Edge.

In the mood for something odd? Myra has Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy at Gathering Books.

Congratulations to Linda who is celebrating her 500th post at TeacherDance! This week she’s taking time to reflect on the important things about blogging. She also shares “The Seven of Pentacles” by Marge Piercy.

Charles Gingha, aka Father Goose, is celebrating May with his original poem “Happy Birthday, May!”

Renee LaTulippe at No Water River has two posts to share this morning:

The first stars Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who comes out of her enchanted forest to share “Puff,” a poem from her new book Forest Has a Song.

The second is a poetry video and a video interview with the beloved poet and anthologist, Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme seems to have a touch of spring fever. This morning he shares an original poem, “Wildflowers, for Jane.” Who’s Jane? Jane Yolen, of course!

Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference shares poems from Poetry Out Loud, the amazing Nation Recitation Contest.

Mary Lee Hahn is also sharing poems about cats and has a link to even more cat poems at A Year of Reading.

Heidi Mordhorst has some really lovely poems by her kindergarten students, the Mighty Minnows, at My Juicy Little Universe.

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche has been reading I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse with her students and working with them to write Mother’s Day poems. I know some moms who are going to get really special gifts this year.

Now that National Poetry Month is over, it’s time for Get Caught Reading! Kick off this next celebration At Reading to the Core with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Picture-books in Winter.”

Before heading to the ocean on the 8th grade retreat, Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town posted Jack Spicer’s “Any fool can get into an ocean…”

At Used Books in Class you will find a touching post about the impossibility of repaying mothers and Billy Collins’s poem, “The Lanyard.”

This week Irene Latham shares answers to questions such as “Why is poetry important?” and “Where do poems come from?

Irene has also posted the complete 2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. It’s quite a ride.

Betsy at Teaching Young Writers shares an original poem, “Winter Memories,” and a link to #chalkabration celebrations from the week. If you have a moment and can visit it was a dusty good time.

At Inside the Dog Steve Peterson shares an original haibun about fly fishing that was inspired by Mary Lee’s April poetry challenge.

Capping off National Poetry Month, Penny Klosterman, a teacher for 26 years, shares an extensive Poetry Resource page for teachers.

Donna at Mainely Write has four different versions of her poem, “Robin’s Proclamation.” Which do you prefer?

Doraine Bennett explores sestinas at DoriReads.

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are already thinking about summer. Today at the Poetry Friday Anthology blog they are sharing Debbie Levy’s poem “My Best Friend is Leaving.” And at the Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School blog they have a poem movie by Phyllis Yarbro, featuring Marilyn Singer’s poem, “Body Art.”

Amy Merrill at Mrs. Merrill’s Book Break pairs poetry and origami (thanks to Kristine O’Connell George!).

Today at The Writer’s Whimsy Tamera Will Wissinger is  celebrating poets and National Poetry Month with a tercet epigram and also recapping her April Poetry activities.

At Wild Rose Reader Elaine has an original poem titled “Puddle Muddle” and announces the winner of “Puddle Wonderful: Poems to Welcome Spring.”

Becky Shillington discusses ekphrastic poetry and shares an original poem “Hope.”

Though it’s still snowing in Minnesota, Jill at Orange Marmalade is thinking spring and shares a hopeful poem about seeds from The Book of The Seasons: An Anthology by Eve Garnett.

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow shares the opening of Eva of the Farm, a verse novel by Dia Calhoun.

Today’s Little Ditty features “Tuesday’s Miracle” a celebration of spring and babies by Michelle H. Barnes.

Ms. Mac has more than 98 reasons to celebrate student work at Check it Out!

Readertotz has a wonderful rhyming board book “Tea Time” by Karen Rostoker-Gruber.

At On Point Lorie Ann Grover has a haiku entitled “Triangle Dresses.” Where have you seen ladies in triangle dresses?

David Elzey is in with his 30th and final Pulitzer Remix post. To celebrate National Poetry Month, he’s been extracting poems from “The Stories of John Cheever.” This week he has a stunning poem from the story “The Enormous Radio.”

Janet Squires at All About the Books shares Dogku by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Tim Bowers.