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Life on the Deckle Edge

The Kidlit Progressive Poem Parks HERE Today!

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  I know it's just Wednesday, but it's my day to host the traveling "KidLit Progressive Poem," which I've participated in since its humble beginnings as the brainchild of Irene Latham, quite a few moons ago.  Margaret Simon took over the duties a couple of years back, and it's as lively as ever.  


You can find a list of participants and links to their websites here, as part of Jama Kim Rattigan's welcome and fulsome Roundup of Poetry Month happenings in the Kidlitosphere.


Here's the list without the hyperlinks:


1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen's Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing


Irene started us off with a "borrowed" line, and the trend stuck with found poetry, or tidbits of it, in each contribution since. Our protagonists are immersing themselves in the magic of nature, and perhaps, at line 20 today, it's time for them to start journeying back? 


Heidi added a subtle beam of "climate-conscious light" to the poem on Day 16, and I know that she, and Mary Lee, and several other Poetry-Friday-ers, are focusing on environmental or nature themes for poetry projects this month. 


For my addition, I decided to dip into a nonficiton book, Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv.  First published in 2005, its message is as important as ever. 


Did you have the good fortune to run wild in the natural world growing up?  In Orlando, Florida, in the 70s, I frequently set off by myself for hours to explore the woods and lakes near our home. No cell phones, no supervision.  I did a lot of Doolittle-ish talking to animals then (and still do, actually).  Lizards, birds, snakes... the only creatures that I was really afraid of were alligators. Several years ago, on a trip back home, I discovered that what I thought of as my own personal hundred-acre wood had become a walled and gated development called "Lake Colony Estates."  But I'll always have my memories of rough and rooted dirt trails, mourning doves, pine bark and pine needles, and forested adventures.


Our poem seemed to start off in two voices, though I'm not certain that has held through the middle.  I'll format it as it makes sense to me, but future contributors, do what you will! Here is the poem, with my line underlined at the end (just to feature it - Kevin, don't keep the underline! ;0)  ):



Where they were going, there were no maps.


   Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today.


Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!


   We have to go back. I forgot something.


But it's spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful, 

so we'll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you'll be in a land of pure imagination.


Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren't the only ones singing.


Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let's smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we'll watch it all spread out before us.
The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.
Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 
 and they stepped out into the middle of it.


Their minds' libraries and lightning bugs led them on.


The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.


The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.


Mud and dusk, nettles and sky - time to cycle home in the dark. 



Here is a list of the sources for lines:


1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
5. inspired by "[in Just-]" by E. E. Cummings
6. "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
9. inspired by Disney songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

18. Kate DiCamillo's The Beatryce Prophecy

19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith

20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv


(I got a little confused along the way with lines/sources - someone let me know if I need to make a correction!)


Take it away, Kevin!

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