Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Bittersweet Mother's Day Poem

When you reach for my hand,
I pull it away.

I shrug my shoulders,
when you ask about my day. 

I refuse your hugs
when my friends might see,

and I won’t let you walk
too close to me.

But no matter where I am,
or how tall I grow,
I will always love you—

Even when
I don’t let it show.

-Linda Kulp Trout

I hadn't planned to post anything today, but something has been on my mind.  A couple of weeks ago, while crossing a parking lot, I reached for my seven year old grandson's hand.  For the first time, he pushed my hand away.  A clear sign he's becoming more independent.

It brought back memories of my own sons.  I still remember standing outside my son's first grade classroom.  I reached to hug him, and he pulled away. I tried to hide the sting in my heart as he walked through the door.

Watching my sons grow up was bittersweet. I was proud of their independence, and yet, it was so hard to let them go. My sons are grown, and although I miss my little boys, I love the men they have become.  And I've come to realize that they have never really let go. They just hold on in a different way now.

My grandchildren are becoming more and more independent. I know how hard this is for my daughter-in-law so this poem is for her.

Be sure to visit Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass for this week's Roundup.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Progressive Poem is Here! - Day 26

There's a lot of personal stuff that can go into songwriting, but there's also a lot of dramatization and fictionalization. You have to do that to make a good song.  - Nora Jones

As our poem moves from blog to blog, I've been enjoying reading the backstory of how contributors chose their line. Songs are very personal. They not only connect us to our past but also to each other. Song lyrics have the power to speak to all of us no matter who we are or where we come from. 

Growing up, we had maybe one or two book (Little Golden Books) in our house. The stories I grew up on came from songs. Every afternoon, my mother would put a big stack of 45s on the stereo.  She loved all types of popular music: The Supremes, Elvis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, The Statler Brothers, and many others.  We would sing along and dance across the living room floor.  We didn't have a lot of material possessions, but our house was always filled with music.  

Songs have always been a huge part of my life.  They bring back happy memories and sometimes sad ones too. They remind that I'm not alone and keep me singing even in hard times.

For my line today, I wanted to honor one of my teenage crushes, David Cassidy.  I never missed an episode of THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY.  David was not only dreamy, he was very talented.  It breaks my heart that his life was so tragic.  He brought so much joy to lonely young girls like me while he struggled to find happiness in his own life.  I chose a line from "Summer Days".

Hold my hand and we'll be free

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today.

Gonna get me a piece o’ the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there’s a tiger in my veins Oh,
won’t you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?
It’s not easy to know
less than one minute old
we’re closer now than light years to go
To the land where the honey runs
…we can be anyone we want to be…
There’s no stopping curiosity.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
Looking for a sign of life
You’re simply the best
Hold my hand and we’ll be free
Up next,  our poem moves on to Sheila@Sheila Renfro
Here is a list of line sources:

L1 The Who, 'I Can See for Miles'/The Beach Boys, 'Endless Summer'
L2 The Beach Boys, 'Fun, Fun, Fun'/Dean Martin, 'When You're Smiling'
L3 The Jamies, 'Summertime, Summertime'
L4 The Doors, Summer's Almost Gone'/Led Zeppelin 'Good Times, Bad Times'
L5 Ray Bradbury, "Dandelion Wine"
L6 Joni Mitchell, "Chelsea Morning"
L7 Paul Simon, "Kodachrome," "Dazzling Blue"
L8 Dan Fogelberg, "Run for the Roses"
L9 Spice Girls, "Wannabe"/Will Smith, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"
L10 The Beatles, "Good Day Sunshine"
L11 The Carpenters, "Top of the World"
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Underneath the Lovely London Sky" from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carole King, "Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)"
L14 Steve Miller, "Fly Like An Eagle"
L15 Don Felder, "Wild Life"L16 Nowleen Leeroy, "Song of the Sea" (lullaby)
L 16 Nowleen Leeroy, "Song of the Sea" (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, "She Used to Be Mine" from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"
L19 R.E.M., "Find the River"
L20 Carole King, "Way Over Yonder"
L21 Mint Juleps, "Groovin" by the Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, "Upside Down"
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) "Rainbow Connection" from the Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, "Learning to Fly"
L25 Tina Turner, "The Best"
L26 The Partridge Family "Summer Days"

A big thank you to Carol for hosting today's Poetry Friday!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

NPM: Hello, Spring!

It's finally beginning to look like spring around here!  Today, as I walked around our neighborhood, I noticed tiny buds dotting the trees. They looked so happy reaching for the sun.  I wrote this haiku a while ago, but it seemed right to share it today.

A big thank you to Karen for hosting today's Poetry Friday. Be sure to stop by her place and check out all the wonderful offerings for this first week of National Poetry Month!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

New Books to Love!

I buy a lot of picture books, especially those written by poet friends.  Today, I want to share three new books and why I love them.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Angela Matteson is gorgeous! The poems are imaginative and full of wonder.  The illustrations of the characters are adorable. I especially love the expression on the faces of the objects and the cute little dog.  Laura's poems will inspire young readers to look around their bedrooms and create their own "night' poems!

TEENSY MEENSY MICE written by Donna Marie Merritt and illustrated by Ed Heck will have young readers laughing out loud. From tying up the cat to playing tricks and hiding things, you never know what mischief these teensy mice will do!  The playful rhyming text and cute illustrations will make this book a favorite bedtime story.

YOU AND ME written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Susan Reagan is the perfect gift for a sibling of a new baby.  In just a few lines, the rhyming text captures the need for each child to feel special and have his/her own "you and me" time.  My grand-nephew just became a big brother, and I can't wait to give him a copy of YOU AND ME. 

If you've read any new books by our Poetry Friday friends, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.  

A big thank you to Rebecca at Sloth Reads for hosting today's Poetry Friday.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE by Janet Wong- And the Winner is...

Laura Purdie Salas!


Thank you to everyone who left comments about Janet's new book.  

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


I have been a fan of Janet's poetry since 1994 when I bought my first copy of GOOD LUCK GOLD. I loved it. My students loved it.  The voice of each poem was so warm and real, it felt like we were sitting around a kitchen table listening to the Janet tell us stories. Some writers are like that. Even though you've never spoken in person, you are connected by their words. They feel like friends, and you want to know more.
(1994 cover and 2012 cover )

Two years later, browsing in a bookstore, I was excited to find  A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED.  I couldn't wait to share it with my fifth graders.  The next day, I brought in a jar of kimchi (which I had to go to three different grocery stores to find), and read aloud "Burial" which tells the story of burying kimchi in the ground until spring. Then we all had a taste of the kimchi. All I can say is that I'm glad I had a water fountain in my classroom! We read poem after poem.  Their favorite poem was "Leeches."  I can still hear their , "Ewww! Read it again!"  A few days later, a boy who usually avoided writing, shared his own "leech" poem.

Over the years, I watched for Janet's new books and added each collection and picture book to my school library.  They made wonderful mentor texts for teaching (and learning about) voice, writing about family experiences, and using sensory language. Check out Janet's website to learn more about her books.

So even though I'm retired from teaching, when I read about A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE, I ordered it right away!  Here is the description from Janet's website:

The entire text of the original book is presented here in A Suitcase of Seaweed & More, along with 50 brand new pages—where you’ll find snippets of story about the inspiration behind the poems, extensions of the themes, and writing prompts to get teens thinking, talking, and writing about their own identities. Wong’s “Advice for Writers” might even inspire them to write their own books, too.

My copy arrived yesterday. Of course I love the poems, and now I know the inspiration behind the poems. This book demonstrates how writers can use their own memories to write memoir, poetry, and stories. Janet not only provides writing prompts, she gives lots of encouragement and permission to "just try." Writers will also discover how one memory or topic can be written about in different forms. I wish I had this book when I was teaching, but I'm grateful to have it now to inspire my own writing.

Back in 1994, I never thought that I would someday meet the poet I had admired for so many years, but twenty years later, I did.  Janet is every bit as warm and real as my students and I imagined her to be.  Teachers, writers, and poetry lovers,  A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE is a resource you'll turn to often. If I were still teaching, I'd want to have multiple copies to use in my writer's workshop. It's that good!

A special thank you to Catherine for hosting this week's Poetry Friday at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The poem I'm sharing today is one I wrote last February when I participated in Laura Shovan's poetry and art challenge. We took turns posting pictures of a piece of art for the group to write about.  When it was my turn, I knew right away that I wanted to share the rock art gift my sister made for me. The picture below inspired many wonderful poems including one by my very talented friend, Buffy Silverman that will appear in a forthcoming children's magazine!  Yay!

I haven't looked at my poem since last year. I still need to think of a title and do a bit more revising, but I thought I'd share what I have so far.

                                                             My friends have gone.
                                                             No one is home.
                                                             A perfect time
                                                             to spend alone.
                                                             To think.
                                                             To dream.
                                                             Beneath this tree—
                                                             to read a book
                                                             of poetry.

                                                             ©Linda Kulp Trout

The beautiful, multi-talent, Laura Purdie Salas is hosting this week. Be sure to stop by her place and check out her three gorgeous new books!  I'm excited to add all three of these gems to my collection!