Friday, November 26, 2021

Bring Personification to Nature


Students - You may have heard the word personification before. And you may have noticed that it holds the word person inside of it. Well, personification is the giving of human qualities to things that are not human, including animals, plants, and inanimate objects.

Today I was excited to see the new snow on the ground. I knew that I would go outside to admire the dustings of powdered sugar everywhere. But before I walked into the yard in my slippers and nightgown, I read a few poems, including one by Laura Purdie Salas. In "Ode to Bare Branches," the speaker says that they want to be like a tree, to "open my arms/drop everything/and just stand there."

Perhaps her words drew me to the little oak you see in the photo above, clinging tight to its orange in this world of white. And listening to Oak's brittle leaves tinkling like windchimes, I imagined that she just doesn't feel ready to let her leaves go yet. And that is ok. We each know the right time, OUR right time.

Now, does a tree think like a person does? I don't think so. But I gave the tree the quality of human thinking, and this is personification.

Try it. Go outside or if you cannot do so now, look out of a window or gaze at some nature photographs. Choose a natural object and ask yourself, "If this were a person, what might it think/do/wonder/believe/fear/wish? Let your poem start there.

As for the title, did you notice that the last line leads you to the title?

"then we always know/The Right Time."

There are many ways to title a piece. When you write your next piece, try out a few titles. You do not need to choose the first title that comes to your mind.

And of course this letting go is not only about leaves and oaks and melting snowflakes. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and as our family has lost two beloved grandfathers within the past many months, we deeply felt their loss at our table, just as we do each day. We are letting parts of them go, and yet we hold onto, will always hold onto so much.

I wish you the knowing.

Snowy Slipper Toes
Photo by Amy LV

Ruth is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town with a Gratiku (gratitude haiku), a thoughtful ode to "Ode to Autumn in Haiti, 2021 and a bit of thinking about odes. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.


  1. Snow on the ground this morning, and our big oaks are still holding on to their brown leather leaves.

    As I said on Laura PS' post, I'm much more like your little oak right now, but I do aspire to be like the trees in the ending of her poem.

  2. Loved the video of that small oak full of leaves as the wind and show whips through. It really helped establish, showed, the little tree's character brought out in the poem.

  3. We don't have many oaks but I notice as I drive. No snow, incredibly warm & dry - weather news daily! Learning from trees is something for humans to do, but even more, for adults to show the children, as you have here, Amy. Enjoy the 'after' weekend!

  4. I love when poems we read perhaps turn our attention in a certain direction, and then our own experiences and creativity takes it from there. The letting go AND the holding on...yes.

  5. I realized this week that I'd somehow forgotten about the possibility of snow in real life. There are so many odd blips in memory and experience now, and I feel your difficult knowing about when to let go so strongly, Amy. Peace and flannel and cozy leaving to you this weekend.

  6. Amy, I love how your poems that speak to children speak to us, too. Missing loved ones at holiday time is something we all think about and placing the "letting go" in a poem can be soothing.

  7. Such a lovely example of personification. Thank you.

  8. Yes, we need to listen more especially to nature—thanks for your lovely lyrical poem Amy and the cold, blowing, lone little oak.