Monday, April 19, 2021

Kidlit Progressive Poem 2021-Day 19

It's the Annual Progressive Poem 2021 time of year. 

April has been a whiz of unpacking, organizing, and becoming familiar with my new house in Virginia so writing has been my special treat when the house is quiet at night. I sit at my new desk and swivel in my new chair pondering my choices for the Kidlit Progressive Poem. On April 1st, Kat Apel  launched this year's Progressive Poem with the theme of kindness. She passed on two potential lines to the next poet, following a practice initiated by Donna Smith last year. Each poet chooses one line offered by the previous poet and writes two options to pass on to the next person until the last poet concludes the poem. 

Below is the Progressive Poem 2021 with the line I chose from my Denver poet friend, Linda Baie:

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

Easily contagious - sharing smiles is my plan.

I'll spread my joy both far and wide

As a force of nature, I'll be undenied. 

Words like, "how can I help? will bloom in the street.

A new girl along on the playground - let's meet, let's meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round. 

Over, under,  jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.

Side by side, let's walk through, there's a world to explore.

We'll hike through a forest of towering trees.

Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water.

When you're with friends, there's not have to our oughter.

What could we make with leaves and litter?

Let's find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

We'll lie on our back and find shapes in the sky.

We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly?

=>Thinking about a recent family nature walk I took, I imagined my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter and I walking by the creek listening to the sounds. Now, after repeated revisions, I send off my two choices for Robyn Hood Black to bring our characters further on their adventure. 

Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.


We flitter with our wings of vine diving to touch ground.

Below is a list of Progressive Poem poets who composed their lines prior to mine, followed by the poets who will bring the poem toward a conclusion. I pass the writing pen on to my colleague, Robyn, who will spin her dewdrop magic. 

Thank you Irene Latham who started the idea of an annual progressive poem in 2012 and Margaret Simon who became the new roundup organizer last year. 

1      Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2     Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3     Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4    Donna Smith at Mainely Write
5     Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
6    Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio
7    Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities   
8    Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9    Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche 
10  Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11    Buffy Silverman     
12   Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche 
13   Jone Rush MacCulloch
14  Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15   Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16   Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17   Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18   Linda Baie at TeacherDance
19    Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink
20  Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21   Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22  Ruth Hersey at There I No Such Thing as a God-fosaken Town 
23  Janice Scully at Salt City Verse 
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference  
25  Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26  Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27  Rebecca Newman
28  Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering 
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All  

Friday, April 16, 2021

April Showers

It is springtime in Virginia with flowing cherry and blossoming white pear trees lining highways to make a splashy debut. Nature is blooming with pride but sudden angry outbursts occur noting that April is full of surprises. 

Again the blackbirds sing;
the streams Wake,
laughing from their winter dreams
And tremble in the April showers.
The tassels of the maple flowers.
-John Greenleaf Whittier

Petunias after the rainstorm

I am in my new house among many unopened boxes and look out at this cold spring day. Springtime seems confused. Before Spring's official opening, the weather was springlike. Now, some days are warm, some are chilled by showers. The old saying, April showers bring May flowers, is appropriate for this season. Oddly enough, nurseries are filled with bright colors of springtime so with great delight, I add flowers to my patio. Will they last? Not sure. On Long Island the rule of thumb is, "Don't plant until Mother's Day".

Taking the strike line, "And tremble in the April showers," from John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, I would like to share a golden shovel poem describing some nights and afternoons. 

Spring in Virginia has a penchant for mischief and
Enjoys its own merrymaking, causing me to tremble:
Quick, thunderous, nighttime sounds shout out in
Unison with shocks of light. Without warning, the
Rainwater splashes across patio pavement as April
Laughs, watching flowers tousle about amongst its showers.

©CV, 2021, draft

Today is another cool, cloudy day starting at 56 degrees. It is chilled enough for me to flip a switch for the dual fireplace to warm the house and my hands. Then, a sweet surprise happens. The sun shines and the rainwater disappears. 

spring chill
fireplace roars
plants thrive
©CV, 2021

This week I also created an equation poem, an anchored tercet, and a personification poem.

Join me for today's Poetry Friday Roundup. It is hosted by the ever-gracious Jama Rattigan at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup. Jama shares a poem by the former UK Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. One line in her poem talking about the words of poems seems magical: 
They're sparklers
scrawling their silver loops and hoops
on the night...

On April 19th, I will join my poetry colleagues at the 2021 Progressive Poem where I will add my line choices to the poem that began on April 1st with Kat Apel. Check out the first day lines and a list of poets who are contributing this year at Kat's blog here.

Thanks to Irene Latham, I have another beautiful Live your poem postcard to display for National Poetry Month 2021 and a lovely welcome to my new home note.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Conversation Cafe

What fun it is during National Poetry Month than sharing poetry with friends. Margaret Simon, poet teacher from Louisiana, hosts This Photo Wants to be a Poem on Wednesdays. For this week's prompt, she captured a photo of children sitting on top of an old oak tree in New Orleans City Park then, used the Waterlogue app to digitize the photo. For the challenge, I created a  personification poem from the old tree.

Conversation Cafe

I am a gatherer of talk.
Come sit at my table.
I listen with intent,
Hugging every word
With overreaching arms.
Waving goodby, 
I welcome your return.
©CV, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Finding Calmness

In an attempt to find calmness amidst the continued turmoil of a life move, I sneak a few moments to recall a beautiful day with my family. Lately, it is not often that I have time just to write. I forgot the feeling of free-floating with thoughts, the gentle swish of word weaving, and the sound of fingers tapping on a keyboard. It is soothing to be alone with my thoughts so I drift off into the world of quiet writing.

What happens when I digitize one photo and begin the word weaving process? I slip into a zone that I have not been able to enter for several days. I find a spark to ignite my "return to nature" thoughts. The end product is an image poem with three different versions and three different poetic forms.

two ducks + one lake = placidity
ripples on the lake
swirl with lustrous movements
reflection in peace
©CVarsalona, 2021
One photo taken + same photo digitized + one equation poem + one haiku + one anchored tercet = five artistic expressions for National Poetry Month.
Springtime Tranquility

At word weaving's end,
sparks light the way
for peaceful rest!
©CV, 2021

It is a wonderful feeling to steal one hour of quiet time to turn one memorable afternoon walk with the family (especially my two little granddaughters) into a slice of life with the Two Writing Teachers' community.

Thank you, Laura Purdie Salas for the equation poem format, Robyn Hood Black for your absolutely wonderful online haiku workshop, and Northern Poetry Library for the anchored tercet form. 

Friday, April 9, 2021


Sometimes, nature takes an unexpected turn. We saw that many times this year. I decided to take two seasonal images and place them side by side to analyze the changes and write a comparison through poetry for National Poetry Month. Follow my thinking as I honor the whimsical nature of nature during March and April. 

I have seen the Lady April bringing the daffodils, bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain. -John Mansfield

surprise storm shock earth
dainty daffodils droop
perky ones pose
©CV, 2021

Photos by Barbara VanIderstine (PA)
& Carol Varsalona (VA)

This year, nature played an April Fool's joke? The photo to the left was taken on April Fool's Day while the one to the right was shot in March.  Winter switched places with spring but the daffodils draped in golden robes stood their ground. 

Then, my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth

In 1665, Robert Herrick wrote a poem, To Daffodils.
You can listen to it by clicking on the image.

This week, Tabatha Yeatts is the host of Poetry Friday. She shares her National Poetry Month project of a bilingual poem collection and invites all to join the Annual Summer Poem Swap.

For National Poetry Month, I am writing poetry as many days as I can while I am unpacking boxes and organizing my new home. I hope to unveil Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery of Artistic Expressions also.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

On the Bunny Trail

Pre-Easter Fun

I sit here at the end of another long day thankful for being able to celebrate Easter with my little granddaughters and family. In the midst of half-opened boxes and unopened ones, laundry, and lots of clutter, I decide to bake. Baking is a tradition started by my Nonnie so today I honor her and my mother who followed in her footsteps. I pull out the beautifully preserved breadboard and pause to breathe in the aromatic smells of spices and dough from my past. As I pull 'out the flour canister, eggs, and butter, I start the hunt for the Easter cookie cutouts. They're in one of the unopened boxes. My son finds the cutouts and we are ready to roll out the dough as I did as a child. The second round is decorating with chocolate frosting, sprinkles, and coconut. Off to sleep because we have to be ready for the Easter egg hunt at my two granddaugthers' house tomorrow morning. 

We hippity-hop,
getting ready
for little bunnies
to take a bit.
©CV, 2021

Easter Morning

The house awakens to a bright Easter morning. Sounds of "Alleluia" float out from the virtual church service. In the hustle-bustle of getting ready for the Easter egg hunt, I forget my iPhone, Quick return to the house. With the speed of a bunny rabbit, we arrive on time. "Happy Easter, everyone." No return greeting but then, my granddaughter comes down the stairs with news. "Baby got paint all over her dress and her body." We wait patiently. Down the stairs comes the little one with her a muted-colored dress spotted with what looks like a tie dye pattern. Hands are blue and smile is sweet. The Easter Egg hunt begins with a new generation of siblings.

Egg Hunt

little Girl
Giggles as she

Under bushes for colored eggs -
Tripping this year

©CV, 2021


Surprise. I wake to see my beautiful fern plants a strange shade of brown. Oh, no, it's the change of temperature. Back to unpacking and organizing.  Evening run back to the nursery for an exchange for a vibrant and thriving pair of ferns. Head is spinning from the to-do list that never lessens, only grows in stature.

Easter joy
warmly received,
Slightly dimmed by life's tasks.
Be glad for blessings!
©CV, 2021

It's National Poetry Month. Thank you for joining me as I continue the saga of my life move.

Offering this slice of life to Two Writing Teachers.

Friday, April 2, 2021

A Message of Hope

Today is Good Friday and I am reminded of the trials of the past year. Not just my long life move journey but the travails of so many others are reflected upon. While watching the Good Friday service from the Vatican, certain themes become apparent during the homily. Words were lifted to create a micropoem series.

photo by Jon Tyson
on Unsplash

solemnity stirs
hearts beckon to listen
quiet reflection

melodic voices
rise in unison
gather in trust
it is accomplished
find  grace at the altar
hope for all
©CV, 2021

It's National Poetry Month. Thank you for joining me for a Good Friday-inspired poem.

All Things New

There is a newness to life. I pause admiring the splendor of earth as I walk alongside my little granddaughters. There is much to be thankful for: a newly built home during COVID time, the arrival to Virginia after an arduous move, a new life journey, two little granddaughters whose smiles and laughter brighten the times I am with them, and faith. Although during the life move, I worried too much and brought on more stress than I should have, I held on to faith that all knots would be untied. 

Tonight, I pause to reflect on all things new and create a sijo of two stanzas ending with a haiku.

March springlike weather in Virginia
the cacophany of springtime chatter floods morning air
we pause to listen to the lilting music of frogs and birds 
toddler's curious inquiry stirs my imagination

the rapid swooshing of nighttime rain awakens my sleep
I listen to incessant pounding of nature's lament
quick weather changes bring on instantaneous mood swings

I pause to reflect
as nature stirs my thoughts
Easter hope rises
©CV, 2021

This has been a month of change. I longed for the positivity of all things new while trying to sort my feelings among the many stressors of a life move. Were there too many notions of newness amidst the multiple to-do lists? I often thought that I would not be able to make it through the rough patches of my life move. Everytime I tried to take care of one task others crept in making my efforts not reachable. 

Then, came the smile of an almost four-year-old and the laughter of one year old. In their presence, troubles were removed from my thoughts and happiness brought on a new feeling of joy. The newness of being only a half-hour away and being able to Grandma-sit when the baby had a rising fever bout and grandparents-sit when the girls' school was closed. These times melted away the angst of facing the same routine of unpacking boxes and organizing our new home each day. 

Romans 12:2 brought a new thought and a new hope that even in the darkest moments there is a bright light opening a passageway. We only need to look and have faith.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I am awakened to the call of renewal this Holy Thursday after a period of testing. I am ready to move closer to the Spiritual Guide who brings the peace of Easter joy, making all things new and beautiful. In gratitude for this journey of renewal in a new life, I sought a song to express this feeling of newness and what it means. I found "All Things New" and turned the poetic goodness of one line of the lyrics into a Golden Shovel poem of hope using the strike line: "Hope is found, you are here." 

It is time for hope
to be renewed. It is
the sweetness of goodness found,
the essence of You
who knows where we are
in relation to our past and our presence here.
©CV, 2021

Thank you to Karen Eastlund, our Spiritual Journey host this month for suggesting the prompt
"All Is New" and building a themed blog post around the concept of springtime newness. 

"New life is at our door. It blesses us. We have been given the chance to start over, and start with fresh slate. Anything is possible." -Karen Eastlund

This theme, All is New,  transitions me into a new state of being as I start a brand new life in Virginia. Unfortunately, the past months have weighted me down but the season of Lent has been the right time leading me to a new change of heart, mind, spirit, and location. Join me this month as I once again attempt to write poetry daily for National Poetry Month

Thank you also to Mary Lee Hahn for hosting Poetry Friday this week as she begins her National Poetry Month project of a haiku a day. I am blessed to be part of two fine writing communities that are filled with like-minded poets and bloggers who understand the potential of writing for peace and transformation.

Poetry Friday Roundups

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I Stayed the Course

It is almost 11:00 PM. I hoped that I would be able to write in a quiet space but two different games are being watched in two separate rooms. The blare of the fast-paced sporting events is loud and clear but then, a thud, a pouring of rain, and a loud whooshing wind overrides any other noise until all cease at the same time. The quiet is relished during this reflective time. 

I STAYED the COURSE but it has been a tough one, writing for 31 days and responding to other slicers' writing. I am happy to say that I did finish the March SOLSC! #SOL21 challenge as did many of my slicer friends. Some days, I snuck in just before the midnight hour with a sigh of relief. Most days, I promised myself I would write earlier in the day. At any rate, I am proud to say I documented my life move to Virginia from Long Island, New York each day. It will be fun to look back and see what I had to say about the stressors, strains, and excitement of making a transition to a new place and lifestyle. 

Throughout this month of writing, I read, commented, and corresponded with so many educators from around the states and as far away as Estonia. Among the different types of writing, I learned how to say Bon Apetit in Estonian from Terje Akke and also learned a new form of poetry from Arjeha, the sijo

With this March Musing 2021, I stand in awe of all my slicer friends who also withstood a month of writing while balancing many balls. I thank each and every person who visited my blog and took the time to write a comment. I read all the comments but many times, mostly towards the end of the challenge, I did not have enough time to write individual thank yous in the comments.

I stayed the course!
Through thick and thin times
Moving from Long Island
To a new home in Virginia.
Celebrated joyous moments.
Gingerly transversed many rough trails
On my way to this destination-
The final stop of the slicers' March journey.
In faith, I wrote daily,
opening my heart
to the whispers of my soul.

With a new commitment to writing poetry for the month of April, I'm off to join a community of poets for National Poetry Month. I will start the month off with a poem at Spiritual Journey Thursday.

Day 31 March SOLSC! #SOL21 at Two Writing Teachers
I appreciate the space Two Writing Teachers opened to all writers. 

TWT, thank you for the badge!