Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 10 of the Progressive Poem, plus a surprise clerihew!

For me, one of the best parts of National Poetry Month is taking part in Irene Latham's annual Progressive Poem.  It's exciting, spontaneous, fun, and because it's a community writing experience, it takes on a life of its own. From April 1-30, a poem travels from blog to blog, each host adding a new line daily. The results are always richly layered, with a piece of every poet who takes part and the collected anticipation of everyone who has been following its journey. It's a beautiful thing.

So today it's my turn. But before I dive in, I hope you'll indulge me as I take a moment to share a surprise clerihew I received this week: 

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes loves children's poetry
at Today's Little Ditty you can read it for free.
It's where she posts challenges, and if you hustle
you'll be able to stretch your poetry muscle.

© 2015 Joy Acey. All rights reserved.

Hello! This totally made my day!

In case you missed my interview with Kwame Alexander last Friday, the DMC challenge he's chosen for April is to choose a celebrity and write a clerihew.

Besides this fine example (Thank you, Joy!), I've featured ditties this week from Linda Baie, Charles Waters, and Angie Karcher. Hope I get to read yours!

Now, speaking of stretching my poetry muscle...

What to do with a delta girl who strokes her grandmother's turquoise bracelet and magically transforms into a mermaid?!!  I'm not sure. But I will tell you that with our departure into mermaid sensibility, I'm loving Jone MacCulloch's opening phrase, "she lives without a net," more than ever.

What kind of magic is this?
No clue. 
 Where did it come from?
Aha! Here we go....

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica. 

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag, 

pulls out her grandmother's oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide... splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother's words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Next stop: Flukeprints.  Carry on, Kim....

2015 Kidlitosphere
Progressive Poem

1 Jone at Check it Out
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 MaryLee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
17 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
23 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids. Laura has been providing helpful tips for teachers each day during National Poetry Month.

If you're looking for other creative ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, Jama Rattigan is your go-to for NPM festivites at Alphabet Soup.


  1. Perfect! Love "windswept memory."

  2. You ARE a celebrity, and Joy's poem is wonderful!! And your line! I love the echo of Grandmother's words... whatever they are... thank you, Michelle!! xo

  3. Ah...."windswept memory" is sweeping me away too. And what a fun poem to celebrate the warm and welcoming space you have created here for all of us. Happy Poetry Friday, Michelle!

  4. Wow! You have been immortalized! I'm enjoying the traveling poem and look forward to the further adventures of our mermaid.

  5. Nice. What were her grandmother's words?!

  6. Lovely line, Michelle, connecting 'grandmother's words' with those ibises, & I love the fun of Joy's poem for you, too. That mermaid, still mysterious, is getting more interesting!

  7. What a great Clerihew! How fun to have one about you. :-) Fabulous mermaid emerging.

  8. A grandmother's words! And a windswept memory! Love this line, and can't wait to see where this goes next.

  9. Nice clerihew! Of course only the most famous people are featured in them. :)

    What a fanciful poem. Love seeing how it's unfolding -- a mermaid and a magic bracelet. Intrigued by grandmother's words . . .

  10. Nice! Whoever this "Joy" person is, she knows you well! ;)

    1. And I love how the poem's developing...with grandma's memory in the picture, a world of possibilities opens up for what happens next.

    2. You ornery stinker! You just wait, I'm going to have to think of a good rhyme to get you back--poetic justice.

  11. Michelle, you have been given celebrity status with Joy's clerihew. How splendid to reward the giver. The progressive poem is shaping up to be quite the tale. Windswept memory-is the sea calling her back?

  12. Oh fun...both the surprise clerihew and the progressive poem. :)

    Have an awesome weekend!

  13. Oh, what could her grandmother possibly have had to tell her that she would remember at a time like this? Curiouser and curiouser!
    Lovely clerihew for you, too!

  14. This progressive poem is taking the most interesting, beautiful turns...and Joy's clerihew is a lot of fun.

  15. Now that is a FINE line, Michelle - thank you! (Windswept=swoon...)

    And that Joy is always living up to her name, isn't she?

  16. I love that windswept memory! And Joy's fun (and true) poem:>)

  17. How fun to have a clerihew written for you. And windswept memory...what an image.

  18. Both Joy's clerihew and your addition to the progressive poem are fabulous! =)

  19. Joy's clerihew is fantastic, Michelle, and so is your progressive poem line! It is amazing to me how this poem has taken on a life of its own. It is absolutely beautiful!

  20. I'm enjoying the clerihews. Joy's is wonderful.

    I'm so glad you brought the grandma back! I kept thinking of her.