Thursday, August 25, 2016

August DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway


José María Pérez Nuñuz

“We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. 
We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. 
It just depends on the day.”
                    — Brad Meltzer

At the beginning of this month, Diana Murray challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero. What was not at all unlikely was the wide variety of poems in response— something I've come to expect and look forward to with each new challenge! From amusing to poignant, courageous to zany, each poem told a surprising story that opened our eyes to an alternative view of the world. And isn't that what poetry's all about?


José María Pérez Nuñez

Many thanks to all the poetry heroes who participated or accompanied us along the way, and especially to Diana Murray 
for helping us reach new heights.


On a practical note, this was the first month we used a padlet to collect our poems. If you struggled with the process, please don't hesitate to email me at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com. I might be able to offer some pointers. What I don't want is for the padlet to get in the way of your participation, so please do contact me if you have any questions.

Scroll through the poems below, or for best viewing, CLICK HERE.




Inspired to write one of your own?

You have until Wednesday, August 31st, to join in with your poem about an unlikely hero. Post it on our August 2016 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation.





Participants in this month's challenge will automatically be entered to win a personalized copy of NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, by Diana Murray and illustrated by Leslie Lammle (Roaring Brook Press, 2016). One entry per participant, not per poem.

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below. Comments must also be received no later than Wednesday, August 31st. If you contribute a poem and comment below, you will receive two entries in total.

The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, September 2nd, when we reveal our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge. Good luck!


Heidi Mordhorst is rounding up this week's Poetry Friday offerings. Join her at my juicy little universe.








DMC: "A Man with a Cart" by Kathleen Mazurowski




A MAN WITH A CART

He travels the streets 
Pushing his cart
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling 
 
Summer celebration 
Calling to children
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling 
 
A break in the day
Stopping the workers
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling 
 
Neighbors gather
Smiling and laughing 
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling 
 
On to the next block
Pushing his cart
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling 
 
Sweet relief from the heat
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling.
 
© 2016 Kathleen Mazurowski. All rights reserved.
 
 
Diana Murray has challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our August 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration TOMORROW, Friday, August 26th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fun new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:
 
 
 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DMC: "Rosa Parks" by Mindy Gars Dolandis




ROSA PARKS

A woman of color in ‘55
A Montgomery crowded bus 
Told by the driver to move from her seat
She wouldn’t give in or stand up
An arrest, a boycott, a ten dollar fine
A lawsuit defeating Jim Crow
Fueled by a woman of quiet strength
Who simply sat and said no
 
© 2016 Mindy Gars Dolandis. All rights reserved.
 
 
Diana Murray has challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our August 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, August 26th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fun new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DMC: "The Escape" by Janie Lazo





THE ESCAPE

An empty cage- a door agape
One hamster gone- a great escape
A frantic search- no clues in sight
No fond farewell - a senseless plight
For safe and sound- one hamster sat
Guarded closely - by our cat


© 2016 Janie Lazo. All rights reserved.


Diana Murray has challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our August 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, August 26th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fun new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:





Monday, August 22, 2016

DMC: "AMBUSH!" by Renée M. LaTulippe





AMBUSH!

Beneath the cotton-checkered skies,
the hilltop blazed with fiery cries:

“Friends, you know we must arise.
if we’re to win the battle prize.
Open up your compound eyes.
We’re better than those gnats and flies.
Gather up your war supplies.
Bifurcate those tunnels, guys!
A sneak attack! Send in the spies!
Let’s fight as one! Let’s colonize!”

The soldiers seized the apple pies.
They marched off with the chicken thighs.
The hilltop rang with hungry cries.

The rest is history — ant-size.


© 2013 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.


Diana Murray has challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our August 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, August 26th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fun new picture book from Roaring Brook Press:





Thursday, August 18, 2016

DMC: "Cher Ami" by Michelle H. Barnes


Homing Pigeons (public domain)

Diana Murray's challenge this month, to write a poem about an unlikely hero, has been more of a struggle than I thought it would be. Eventually I narrowed in on the story of Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon employed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War 1, but couldn't figure out how to tell Cher Ami's heroic story. Nothing felt right. After several attempts, I finally just sat down with Cher Ami and said what was on my mind.




Cher Ami, on display at the Smithsonian
 
                                                   CHER AMI

                                                 If you were exchanged
                                                 for an ordinary pigeon
                                                 who fattens on white bread
                                                 and small bits of French fry,
                                                 if your iridescence was hidden
                                                 in the shade of an easy life,
                                                 then no one would know
                                                 your name, Cher Ami.

                                                 And somewhere in the world,
                                                 soldiers’ lives would be lost
                                                 because you were not there
                                                 to carry their hopes—
                                                 the weight dangling
                                                 on a bullet-shattered leg.

                                                 No one would know
                                                 your name, Cher Ami,
                                                 the burden you carried,
                                                 the pain that you bore,
                                                 as you rose like a Phoenix
                                                 though this wasn’t your war,
                                                 because you, like them,
                                                 just wanted to go home.


                                                 © 2016 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. 
                                       All rights reserved.



The story of Cher Ami and the Lost Battalion

Of the more than 100,000 carrier pigeons used during World War I, Cher Ami (which means "Dear Friend" in French) is probably the most well known. Delivering twelve important messages for the Americans stationed at Verdun, France, it was Cher Ami's final mission that secured a place in the history books.

The message was from Major Whittlesey, who led the "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Infantry Division. In early October 1918, more than 500 American soldiers became trapped in the Argonne Forest on the side of a hill behind enemy lines. Surrounded by Germans and cut off from reinforcements and supplies, things went from bad to worse. They were bombarded by heavy friendly fire overhead since American forces didn't know their location. Major Whittlesey made attempts to inform the American forces of their whereabouts, but carrier pigeon after carrier pigeon was shot to the ground. Cher Ami was their last pigeon and their last hope.

National Archives Catalog 

"We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it."

Croix de Guerre
Cher Ami was hit in the chest soon after taking off, but miraculously, the brave and determined pigeon rose again. After a 25 mile flight that took roughly 25 minutes, Cher Ami arrived bloody and exhausted, blinded in one eye, a message capsule dangling from a leg that was scarcely attached.

One hundred ninety-four lives were saved thanks to this bird's noble efforts; and thanks to dedicated Army medics, Cher Ami survived, as well. Cher Ami was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for heroic service.  

An interesting postscript to this story is that when Cher Ami died on June 13, 1919 and was preserved by a taxidermist, it was discovered that this pigeon was not a Black Check cock as registered, but a Blue Check hen. Yes, according to the Army Defense Department's publication: A History of Army Communications and Electronics at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, 1917-2007, Cher Ami would have been more appropriately named Chère Amie. Why am I not surprised? But apparently the National Museum of American History and many other educational and military history information sources have not yet received that memo. Perhaps if it was sent by carrier pigeon, they would have.


Monument to the Lost Battalion in the Argonne Forest, France (public domain)


I am loving the unlikely hero poems we've received so far! You can read them (and post yours) HERE. This week's featured poems were by Gayle C. Krause and George Heidenrich. Stay tuned for more daily ditties next week and our end-of-month wrap-up on Friday!





Doraine Bennett is our Poetry Friday hero today! Join her for the roundup at Dori Reads.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DMC: "Unsung Hero" by George Heidenrich




UNSUNG HERO

Things that make a hero:
Something you are
Something you have
Something you do
Being in the right place at the right time
Or something you don't even know about.

In the last group is Henrietta Lacks.
When she had cancer,
The doctors took it out.
Eventually she died.
The doctors discovered her cancer did not die.
They never told her.
They never asked her permission.
They experimented.

Her cancer is still alive more than 60 years later.
It has been the basis for discovering:
Many new drugs,
Cloning, polio vaccine,
Gene mapping, in vitro fertilization.
It even has its own name: HeLa.
All biology researchers the world over know about it . . .

But hardly anyone knows her name.

© 2016 George Heidenrich. All rights reserved.
 

Read more about the subject in Rebecca Skloot’s book:  
THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS.


Diana Murray has challenged us to write a poem about an unlikely hero this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our August 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, August 26th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her fun new picture book from Roaring Brook Press: