Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Day 12 of the 2016 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program of daily ditties to take part in one of my favorite activities of National Poetry Month— 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.

When I saw my turn coming down the pike, I thought, this won't be too hard– the first two lines of each stanza are about things in nature the narrator sees, the third line presents an imaginary setting, and the fourth line celebrates the imagination.  I'm a fourth line– easy peasy.  Here are the first ten lines, following that pattern:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky
A hummingbird holds and then hies
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand
If I could breathe under the sea
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee

A clump of crocuses crave the sun
Kites soar while joyful dogs run

But then... leave it to Buffy to present me with a transition. Actually, to be fair, I agree with her decision. I felt it was time for a change. And she's presented the transition masterfully since the change is very subtle. Here's Buffy's line:

I sing to spring, to budding green

By using "I" instead of "if," Buffy places the narrator in the here and now, yet she doesn't abandon the imagination altogether. The "budding green" is something we can see in nature, yes, but the magic seems to happen spontaneously. It's not as obvious as spying a bird or a crab, or even a clump of crocuses.

My job is to complete Buffy's transition. I want to give the narrator an awareness of the difference between reality and imagination while carrying over that same sense of wonder and celebration. So here's what we've got so far with my line added at the end:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee.

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life— seen and unseen.

Who knows where Linda Baie is going to take this poem next, but I do know she's up to the challenge! It's all yours, Linda.

Follow along with the 2016 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem:

2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles at Poetry Time
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write

See you here this Friday for the Poetry Friday roundup!


  1. Perfect! Love the flow of it, and how the poem seems to have a life of its own now! It just knows what it's about and what it has to say. Exciting!

  2. I love the shift to first person and the dreaminess of your line. It feels like a finished poem here, so I am curious which direction it will take next.

  3. Oh, I love it! Now it sounds like an ode to life... and still 18 lines to go! Thank you, Michelle. xo

  4. Oh Michelle, and I too have planned, and thought it was going to be "a walk in the park", ha! What a marvelous bend in the poem you've added. I will try to live up to these new things "unseen".

  5. Perfect follow-up line, Michelle...opens the door to all kinds of possibilities for Linda!

  6. What? No spleen!

    Okay, what I meant to say was lovely transition--can't wait to see where Linda takes it.

  7. i haven't stopped by for a few days. I love the way you looked at what was actually happening in the poem. I'm hoping it doesn't stray too far. I like having a scaffold. Love Irene's comment - an ode to life! Looking forward to Linda's addition!

  8. Nice! I love the addition of the unseen.

  9. This stanza is a tribute to life, Michelle as you added this inspirational line. I am really feeling the positivity and energy of this poem. What a team!

  10. I really like your line Michelle!. It always intrigues me how the poems flow and where they go. I think you have added a lovely touch and can't wait to see what Linda adds. Janet F. (Janet Clare)

  11. Very, very nice, Michelle. I can't wait to see where this roams and finishes! Such fun this progressive poem!

  12. A little bit of mystery there. Your line fits nicely with the one before it. Good job, Michelle.

  13. Nice analysis and execution, Michelle. I like that your choice of unseen, adding a new dimension to the poem. That's a masterstroke with so few words.

  14. Perfectly done, Michelle. Such fun to be involved in that.

  15. Oooh, yes - a bit of mystery and reverence. Lovely, and I can't wait to see where Linda leads us...

  16. Thank you all for the comments! It's so nice to be a part of this wonderful poetry community. :)

  17. I love how this line wraps its arms around the whole world...

  18. Here I am catching up, Michelle, line by line--I enjoyed hearing your thought process and yes, the "I" is now in a position to call us towards both real and imagined. Will we stick with nature or venture inward?