Thursday, October 2, 2008

J Patrick Lewis

It's been almost twenty years since I bought a book of poetry by J Patrick Lewis called, Earth Verses and Water Rhymes. My students loved those poems. It instantly became one of the most popular books to read during D.E.A.R. time. I bought a second copy so that I'd have one for my personal collection.

Over the years I've added many of J Patrick Lewis' books to my collection including his latest, which I absolutely love, Birds on a Wire: A Renga 'Round Town written with the great Paul Janeczko.

You can imagine my excitement when I received an email from J Patrick Lewis! J Patrick Lewis! Wow!

The first thing I did was to print out that email for my memory book!

When I told Pat (I'm not sure I should be referring to someone so esteemed by his first name.) that my students are currently studying narrative poetry, he generously offered me one of his wonderful poems to share with my students and on my blog. The poem has appeared in several anthologies. After reading it, you'll see why it's been so popular.


Circling by the fire,
My dog, my rough champion,
Coaxes winter out of her fur.
She hears old stories
Leaping in the flames:
The hissing names of cats,
Neighbors' dogs snapping
Like these gone logs,
The cracking of ice . . .
Once, romping through the park,
We dared the creaking pond.
It took the dare and half
Of me into the dark below.
She never let go.

We watch orange tongues
Wagging in the fire
Hush to blue whispers.
Her tail buffs my shoe.
She has one winter left.

Maybe two.

If haven't visitied J Patrick Lewis' website, , you really should take a look at the terrific resources for kids, teachers and writers.


  1. I am definitely looking for ths book now! Lewis continues to amaze and delight.

  2. You'll love the book. The illustrations are beautiful, and the poetry is excellent!

  3. Oh, this one catches the heart...