Poetry Friday

This weather has gotten me seasonally confused, in part because of all the rain and in part because our daffodils have clearly forgotten it’s January. I don’t mind winter and I love snow, so I’m sure I’ll go back to winter thoughts any day now but for now, my mind is on the rain.

One of my favorite rain poems is Sherman Alexie’s Summer of the Black Widows. I had my students read this poem when I taught creative writing and presented authors who wrote both poetry and short stories. (For an exercise, I had them take one of their short stories and turn it into a poem. Interesting exercise, if you’re looking for a writing prompt for today.)

The poem begins:

The spiders appeared suddenly
after that summer rainstorm.

Some people still insist the spiders fell with the rain
while others believe the spiders grew from the damp soil like weeds
with eight thin roots.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Rain makes me think of spring and spring makes me think of hardware, so here’s a poem I wrote about a hardware store here in Arlington.


The man says, “I am convinced I can find the holy grail in here
if I look hard enough.”
But he is neither religious
nor an archeologist
and he finds instead
an egg timer
Molly bolts, copper pipes
a batique scarf that would never be mistaken
for a shroud
Plaster of Paris, mouse traps, baseball bats
a mason jar that will store brandied peaches
too fermented to eat
at some anonymous supper.
He leaves with seeds
and a vow to dig.

And finally: a poem I love for all seasons is Ole Risom’s “I am a Bunny.” (Perhaps it’s a story, too, but I think of it as a poem. It begins:

I am a bunny.
My name is Nicholas.
I live in a hollow tree.

It’s been a Golden Book and a board book, but for me I’m not sure it can exist outside of my childhood copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Story Book Ever. Go grab yours to read the rest!

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Liz in Ink, the blog run by Liz Scanlon, author of All the World, another book that is a poem itself.

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8 Responses to Poetry Friday

  1. admin says:

    It’s the greatest!!! (And Anita, I love your workspace Monday idea. Will be seeking you out again then!)

  2. Anita Miller says:

    Oh my gosh! I have that RICHARD SCARRY book. The kids looove it.

  3. cecebell says:

    I love your poem, Madelyn. And of course, I have had a desire to actually BE Nicholas the bunny since I was 3 or 4. That really is a perfect book in every way.

  4. admin says:

    Liz, thanks so much! And Sara, I love that poem. I’m glad the spider’s staying a little longer, even if he eventually scurries out the door.

  5. Sara says:

    How strange. I adore Alexie’s work, but I’ve never read that poem. But…there’s a spider and a story in the MG novel idea I’m playing with this afternoon. I was about to sweep it out, but now I’m not.


  6. Liz in Ink says:

    Oh, your poem reminds me of my granddad! These are all lovely — thanks for sharing, nevermind the season…

  7. admin says:

    Thanks, Jama. I’m hesitant to use a poem of my own, but I figure as long as I’m putting myself out there, I should put myself out there… I wonder why the deer don’t like daffodils? There’s a poem in there somewhere, too, no? M

  8. jama says:

    Love this, especially the “vow to dig.” I’m looking forward to seeing the first robins return, and the daffodils, of course (the only flower the deer won’t eat).

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