Friday, May 19, 2017

Birds and Words and Play and Spring!

Sparrow Sighting
by Amy LV

Students - This poem grew from a few words and an experience.

The Words - The other week, as I spoke to a group of kindergarten children in Buffalo, NY, I taught them the difference between a bluebird and a blue jay.  A teacher in the room said, "Oh!  Bluebirds are rare."  And they are a bit rare.  Our family feels lucky to have bluebirds in our pasture as they love nesting in the boxes my husband has mounted on a couple of fence posts. But bluebirds are, indeed, a little bit rare.  This got me thinking about how important it is to appreciate things that are not rare...the daily things.  Our daily birds.

The Experience -  When I walked our dogs around the pasture the other day, a flash of blue darted from one of those fence post birdhouses.  This always happens, and it is magical to see that flash of blue flitting above the grass.  It is a moment I love living over and over again.

Sometimes words and experiences come together in a poem.  And this poem is a list poem because it simply lists many birds (over and over!) and a concrete poem because the names of the birds are each written in a color from each bird. This was fun, something I have not much played with with writing.  Years ago, I did this in a poem about playing solitaire, and that popped up again here.  Color play.

Allow words and experience and play to come together in your poems. We are each at our best when we let sparks of joy and surprise peek through us!

If ever you're stuck as to what to also might try beginning with the words, "I have taught myself...." and see where they take you.  You don't have to keep those words in your poem, but they might bring you to an interesting set of thoughts.

Speaking of joy and words and I am superhappy to welcome Poet Ella Bender from Sheila Cocilovia's second grade at Jefferson Ave Elementary in Fairport, NY. Ella's poem is modeled after my Revision is..., and I am honored.

Here are Ella's words...and her poem:

When Amy came in and gave us the gift of her poem, Revision is..., we read it every day in class and it inspired me to write Spring is... I liked how it sort of rhymed and that it had repeating lines...The scary part was because in the spring, sometimes there are bees that chase you, and that can be scary!

Click to Enlarge

Thank you, Ella, for sharing your spring celebration list poem with us here today!  

Mrs. Wyman is the winner of last week's giveaway of Kwame Alexander's new book, OUT OF WONDER!  Congratulations!  (I will bring it to you when I see you next week!)  If you missed last week's post, featuring young poet Ben, please do take a peek HERE to read his work.

Kiesha is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Whispers from the Ridge with a lovely book share and invitation to write.  All are always welcome at these weekly gatherings of poetry and friendship.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Oh, that is a delightful poem, Amy--love the chant of it and the colors, and then that so-true message at the end. Fabulous!

  2. We have mountain bluebirds that I love to see "when" I get into the mountains, but I miss what are probably your bluebirds that we had in Missouri. And yes, a rare gift. Your poem makes me grateful for those sparrows, chipping around for what they can find, celebrations in the every day! And Ella's poem is wonderful, the parts she celebrated and her ending, too. Thanks, Amy!

  3. How many times have my poetic ornithologists peered out the window calling the names of birds visiting our classroom feeder? It's like "Trainspotting" for birds. We can't wait to have you join us at the window! Thrilled to win Kwame's masterpiece. I've lingered over it's pages in a bookstore, but hadn't purchased it yet. Many thanks, Amy! -- Christie @

  4. Ha! That box of crayons is such a part of you now. I love it! And, I don't often give concrete poetry a try. You make me think I ought to. Hmmmmm.

  5. Last weekend I had some time to just sit outside on my deck with a class of wine. I looked up into our cypress tree and saw a bluebird. I thought to myself, "We should put up a bluebird house." I didn't tell my husband, but when I woke up on Mother's Day, guess what he had bought me? A bluebird house. It's now mounted outside my kitchen window waiting. Will I ever see one again?
    Love your poem. I love how you show me that sometimes the most simple things can be a poem.

  6. So clever you are with the visual cues! Thanks for teaching me a new way into a poem, Amy. xo

  7. So many wonderful invitations to write in your post, Amy! I am in love with all of our daily birds as well. The bluebirds are a joy to see and then there's the phoebe, painted bunting, purple martin, barn swallow, and my newest bird friend the summer taninger. All birds are a welcome sight!

  8. Love the rhythm of your poem, Amy - and your gift for noticing birds and their song.

  9. Love the recognition of the rare, and the joy of the ordinary.

  10. Visiting late to say: Great poem, Ella! I loved the rhythm and the playfulness of your words.

    We get bluebirds in Maryland, but blue jays are more common. My uncle very rudely called "ordinary" birds like sparrows and wrens "junk birds."

  11. A wonderful poem.....I think I will save 'An Apology' for Poem in Your Pocket Day.