Friday, September 1, 2023

Listening to Sounds

Spruce Trees
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Each season of the year brings us different feasts for our senses, and today's poem celebrates two preparation moments of fall. At this time of year in Western New York, animals are readying for the long winter ahead, and red squirrels are tossing cones from trees to their small stashes below. These stashes are called middens, and I will take a photo of one up in our woods and will add it here later this weekend. You watch a (very still) video that I took yesterday, listening for spruce cones falling, here on my YouTube channel.

Today's free verse poem has two parts: the squirrel part and the mom part. Each part describes a small scene of preparing food for winter, and each includes a sound. And then the ending speaks of what is to come, tying these two preparers (one four legged, one two legged) together.

Originally I was only going to write about the red squirrel tossing cones, but then I got to thinking how we all ready ourselves for winter in these parts, piling blankets, wearing thick socks, drinking mugs of hot tea, freezing containers of chicken soup. And so, in this way, the red squirrel and the cooking mother are quite alike.

Which sounds do you notice in this season where you live? In what ways do you, your family, and animals near you prepare for changing seasons? Consider making lists of these things, and you may find a writing idea along the way. If you like, try choosing two items from one of your lists and bringing them together as I have in today's two-part poem.

I have been readying for winter all summer long, canning all kinds (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry peach, and fig) of jam. This week was fig, and it may be my new favorite. I always say that I feel like a squirrel and even wrote an essay about this for our local NPR station back in 2007. It is titled Once a Squirrel, Always a Squirrel.

I Am a Squirrel Too
Photo by Amy LV

Teacher Friends - Happy New School Year! Please know that Magination Press is giving away 10 copies of my new book, THE SOUND OF KINDNESS. You may enter at GoodReads through Sunday, September 3. This book is also about sounds! 

Ramona is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup today at Pleasures from the Page. Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.



Please share a comment below if you wish.
Know that your comment will only appear after I approve it.
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment 
with a parent or as part of a group with your teacher.


  1. Most of what I'm hearing now are evening crickets. I love the idea of the squirrel's "stash of December meals." Happy weekend, Amy!

  2. Wonderful Amy!
    Y O U are kindness personified with this inventive 2-list seasons shift prompt. And sensuous squirrel & soup examples so silky from your pencil. Or typewriter. Or pen. Here in post H. Idalia FL it’s you bring a twin treat : to think about creature that never flits across our path, Red Squirrels. I think they must be Vikings!
    And so comfy in our heated humidity to feel the thought of a winter chill.
    Happy Labor Day weekend!

  3. Amy, your post is wonderful. I often think of fall coming round the corner but your two-poem format says it all in such a simplistic way as I start falling in love with fall preparations (not food but decorations to adorn the house). I want you to know that I have been sharing books from Magination for years now since I know one of the marketing officials. This week your book came in a delivery with two other books. I can't wait to read it and share it with teachers. It looks fabulous. Congratulations for working with this company. I love the focus of their books.

  4. Cooking music! But, of course...and it is so often the sound of kindness. How wonderful

  5. Yesterday when I walked, I saw cones and stripped-clean cones and stray seeds under a pine tree...and I thought of your poem! Also, THE SOUND OF KINDNESS is my first read aloud of the year with my after-school kiddos. They are LOVING it! A special shoutout to Teresa Martinez for her illustrations. Such perfect little stories in each one, and the map at the end is so. much. fun. We will be going back to read and look again in week two!

  6. I recently bought my first-ever jar of fig jam and it was delightful. I imagine your homemade version is even tastier. I can envision a steamy kitchen filled with wonderful sugary-fruit smells with a squirrel watching you from its tree as you make your winter preparations!

  7. As a lover of seasonal transitions, your poem is a delight. I received a copy of The Sound of Kindness. Congratulations! What a special book!