Friday, March 27, 2015

March DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway

"Seasons" by SpecterCody

At the beginning of the month, Margarita Engle challenged us to write a tanka. She asked us to think of it as a travel diary in five lines (short, long, short, long, long), using fewer than 30 syllables.  Even if we chose to stay close to home, Margarita encouraged us to "seek the resonance that enters a poem only when it is touched by the stillness of nature."

It's my distinct pleasure to share with you the marvelous garden of poetry I received over the past four weeks.  For ease of reading, I've divided the tanka into groupings based on the four seasons. Admittedly, not all of the poems were conveniently compartmentalized – those found soil wherever I chose to plant them.

I hope you enjoy this celebration of the natural world around us. Thank you, Margarita, for the opportunity to gather so much beauty in one place.

All poems are copyright 2015, and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.


Yellow jacket warn.
Prickly pear bloom fruity barb.
Will me still.
Bird sing behind red wing.
I am listening.

~ NoNieqa Ramos


                                                  Chiming crickets
                                                  Chatter after natures
                                                  Crying jag, earths perfumed
                                                  Scent drifts from saturated clay
                                                  Into my spirit.

                                                  ~ Charles Waters

                                                                                                         Fireflies hover in
                                                                                                         Summer, mirroring Obon’s
                                                                                                         Boats with lanterns on
                                                                                                         Their sterns, carrying the light
                                                                                                         Of ancestors to heaven.

                                                                                                         ~ Jayne Moraski
Fluctuating Flight

Legs and wings flailing,
the crane fly hovers spasticly
​in my air space.
Its erratic flight pattern
causes me turbulence.

~ Bridget Magee

                                                  Relocation Service

                                                  Wiggling through dirt
                                                  squiggling past roots and rocks
                                                  seeking the best rot
                                                  captured by small hands caressed
                                                  and carried to distant berms.

                                                  ~ Maria Marshall

                                                                                                       Embrace puppy face.
                                                                                                       Wet kiss, soft snuggly warm snout.
                                                                                                       World an adventure –
                                                                                                       First sip from a bowl – play time.
                                                                                                       Dunks face, paw, and then all in!

                                                                                                       ~ Leane Gill
At the water’s edge
gulls screech at my invasion,
skitter-scatter ;
only the waves, dauntless,
whisper closer in welcome.

~ Keri Collins Lewis

                                                  Wet mounds form turrets.
                                                  Set back from incoming waves.​​
                                                  Sand castle haven –​​​
                                                  Waves wash our troubles–playtime.​​
                                                  Driftwood drawbridge connects us.​

                                                  ~ Leane Gill

                                                                                                         Orange and red sky,
                                                                                                         Ball of gold sun horizon.
                                                                                                         I watch from window.
                                                                                                         Day’s end brings comfort to me.
                                                                                                         Time to eat, relax, and sleep.

                                                                                                         ~ Leane Gill 

Autumn Tanka

chilled winds chase summer
horsetail clouds etch azure skies
showy leaves float free
chevrons of geese sail above
winter knocks at the window

~ Rosi Hollinbeck

                                                  Still as a statue
                                                  keen eyes scan the field below,
                                                  spot a flash of gray.
                                                  Swooping down on silent wings,
                                                  red-tailed hawk scoops up breakfast.

                                                  ~ Catherine Flynn


                                                                                                     "TINK" on the fireplace
                                                                                                     lured me to the living room
                                                                                                     glass vase overturned
                                                                                                     horrified to spy possum
                                                                                                     boldly invading my space

                                                                                                     made a barricade
                                                                                                     broom thrust into hissing face
                                                                                                     frightful bared teeth
                                                                                                     no room here for both of us
                                                                                                     trespasser ushered outside

                                                                                                     ~ Kristi Dee Veitenheimer
Kicking flakes of soil
Startled by a stirring noise
A black horse swished by
On his way out of the barn
Kitten munching on some grain

~ Robyn Campbell

                                                                 Patchwork of verdant
                                                                 fields speckled with cows and sheep,
                                                                 Ancients stones whisper
                                                                 legends behind castle walls,
                                                                 Winds etch cliffs covered in time.

                                                                 ~ Kathleen Mazurowski


Snow day, a home day.
Facebook travels fail
my bucket list dreamings
of treks through mountain forests,
Swims through blue green waters.

~ Linda Mitchell

                                                  City Snowfall

                                                  Loud, yellow plow trucks
                                                  push new snow aside, away,
                                                  for slow-moving cars
                                                  that carefully watch us slide
                                                  cheering, down the dirty mounds.

                                                  ~ Matt Forrest Esenwine

                                                                                                    By the Christmas tree
                                                                                                    a shiny yellow dump truck
                                                                                                    with wheels the size of
                                                                                                    saucers, wrapped in a huge red bow,
                                                                                                    waits for the boy’s shouts of joy.

                                                                                                    ~ Catherine Flynn

robin lingers
-feathers tremble in the breeze-
soaks in sun’s rays,
holds tight the winter-dried stalk.
flies home, carpentry needed

~ Linda Baie

                                                  her ashes in a box
                                                  on the passenger seat
                                                  late winter sun
                                                  the ground and I will thaw
                                                  when the time is right

                                                  ~ Diane Mayr

The chill says "morning,"
says "alive" as layers of light
unfurl for crows overhead
they call, respond --
they know where they're going.

~ Tabatha Yeatts

                                                  Sun overlooks
                                                  blessing a lonely smoke stack.
                                                  Coulee wildflowers
                                                  preach yellow sonnets
                                                  while moon graces morning clouds.

                                                  ~ Margaret Simon

                                                                                                             Amidst a dry March,
                                                                                                             this misty California
                                                                                                             morning turned rainy.
                                                                                                             I turn around to find a
                                                                                                             rainbow, smiling upside-down.

                                                                                                             ~ Karin Fisher-Golton

deep, sleepy snow banks
melt beneath buttery rays
happy harbingers
stretch upward with verdant arms
daffodils awakening

~ Mindy Gars Dolandis

rain again last night
temperatures above freezing
two cocoons wait

it's been a long, dark winter
the right moment is coming

~ Mary Lee Hahn

Feeling inspired?

You have until Tuesday, March 31st, to send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of Margarita Engle's delightful picture book, ORANGUTANKA. (One entry per participant, not per poem.)

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below.  If you contribute a poem and comment below you will earn two entries in total. Comments must also be received by Tuesday, March 31st.

The winner will be determined by and announced next Friday, April 3rd, when we reveal our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge. Good luck!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THANK YOU to all of you who voted for my third round poem, "The Cloud Weavers" in March Madness. Alas, it did not survive Medusa's stony glare, but the good news is TLD contributors Renée LaTulippe and Buffy Silverman are still in the running!  We're down to the "Final Four" poets now, all of whom are excellent, so be sure to follow along at Think Kid Think and cast your votes for your favorite poems in the final two rounds.

I can't tell you what a joy it's been leafing through my copy of the PFA for CELEBRATIONS and how PROUD I am to be a part of it! (I have poems for World Thinking Day and World Red Cross Day.) This baby is not only sweet, but smart too – fully bilingual in fact. And have you checked out all the fun monthly activities on the "Poetry Celebrations" website?  Both the Teacher/Librarian and Student editions are now available for purchase. Teacher/Librarian Edition: on Amazon or QEP Books. Student Edition: on Amazon or call QEP at 800-323-6787.

The talented Jone Rush MacCulloch is our host this week for the Poetry Friday roundup.  I suggest you Check It Out!


  1. It is quite a lovely collection, isn't it, Michelle. I think you're on your way to an anthology yourself! Thanks for these wonderful challenges.

    1. My pleasure is watching these challenges come to life, thanks to poets like yourself, Linda. :)

  2. I fully concur with Linda! What's in store for April?

    1. Ah, but you'll find out soon enough, won't you! I am very excited about my guest for National Poetry Month, so stay tuned.... :)

  3. I like the way you divided the tanka, Michelle. Great collection! :-)

  4. Stellar collection Michelle! I love it! I'm excited for April's challenge. Thank-you!

  5. What a wonderful collection of seasonal poems has grown, like a garden, within just a few weeks! Thanks to Michelle, and to all who contributed poems, and to all who commented.

  6. Absolutely wonderful collection! Love how you grouped them seasonally. Congrats on having your poems in the new PF anthology!

  7. Beautiful entries. And that's great about PFA for Celebrations, Michelle!

  8. You've pulled together quite an array of contributors! Some nice poems here.

  9. LOVE the way you designed the tankas. Beautiful. The poems are wonderful. I kind of slid down in my chair as I read the tankas which were all better than the one I wrote. Thank you for including mine, Michelle. I loved your poem and wanted you to win. I have a poem in Celebrations too. You are amazing to do these challenges. I had fun.

    1. I disagree, Robyn– your tanka fit right in! You did a beautiful job of painting a moment in time. Thanks for your kind words about my Cloud Weavers. I'm delighted we're sharing our first anthology together!

    2. <3 You made me feel less embarrassed. I liked it when I was writing it. But was nervous to send it to you and then when I saw all these other tankas...well, I wondered if I should have sent one in to you. Thank you for your kind words. xo

  10. I enjoyed all the tankas this month. It's always fun at your site!

  11. I think this is my favorite collection of ditties. So many beautiful lines. I can imagine stealing a few and writing a found tanka. Thanks for pushing us to write and showcasing the talented writers of PF!

    1. I hope someday one of the DMC Spotlight authors will challenge us to write found poems. That would be fun!

  12. These are lovely--so many vivid images. Catherine Flynn's truck, waiting for the boy's shouts of joy, and Diane Mayr's ending: "the ground and I will thaw/when the time is right." were strong emotional images. I felt them both in my chest.

    I love how you arranged these. I so enjoyed looking for a tanka subject this month, and then finding one and writing about it. Thank you!

  13. Wonderful tankas, artfully displayed. Kudos to the tanka poets and to you, Michelle!

  14. I especially loved Bridget's summer tanka today. I like the playful suggestion of airplanes, though they are never mentioned in the poem.

  15. I'm too late for the roundup, but I'm still going to try to write one! Thank you, Margarita, for the challenge, and Michelle, for curating the poems!

  16. What a lovely bunch of poems! Thanks for gathering and sharing them all and for allowing me to participate.

  17. Wow these are beautiful. I just love chevrons of geese.

  18. This is an amazing collection of poems. So many gorgeous images! Thank you, Michelle and Margarita, for the inspiration!

  19. What a wonderful array of poems, Michelle! Thanks so much for gathering and sharing them!

  20. Nice to travel through these seasons in poems, Michelle - thanks to you and to all!

    I also love Rosi's "chevrons of geese." Diane Mayr's poem (like so many of hers) hit me deeply.

  21. Amazing collection, Michelle! I am proud to be a part of it!

  22. Under the wire -- here is mine:

  23. Lovely poems, Michelle! I wished I had had the time to participate, but I definitely enjoyed reading them. Thanks for sharing!!

  24. Michelle really rich collection of Tanka's! A cornucopia of sites, sounds, textures, movement, and scents! Thanks to all here, to you Michelle for inviting Margarita, and to Margarita for the Tanka challenge!

  25. This has been such an honor, and such a pleasure! I love all your tanka

  26. Michelle, thanks for your wonderful challenge and for showcasing my work. It is always a pleasure to be TLD contributor.