Help chose our two November winners.  Notice there are two separate Voting Boxes to use.

November numbers are up significantly from October. Adults posting poems rose from 10 to 14 and student poems increased from 1 to 11. My thanks to everyone who wrote and shared their work. The number of people visiting the site to read poems inspired by one word is increasing sharply too.

Starting today you can vote for the adult poem and the student poem of your choice. You can only vote once in each category but voting continues through November 30. Please make sure you vote and send word to friends and colleagues to do the same. Over the next few days a lot of people will come to the site to see how their champions are faring!

Mimi Cross was our October Hall of Fame Poet. You can vote for her but she can’t win a second time in a twelve-month period. Mimi wrote a great poem in October but she also entered into the spirit of the event and appealed to her network of friends and family to support her effort. Alyssa Kirch, our Hall of Fame Young Poet in October, did the same thing. Her family, friends, and classmates made sure that Alyssa got the votes she deserved. I met Alyssa in her classroom the other day and her classmates cheered for her.

I think the important thing we’re doing is to provide a monthly exercise for poets who choose to participate. Like yoga for the imagination, making up a poem from one word is a challenging but rewarding way to exercise our creativity and develop a writing habit that flows from confidence and experience. We make no critical judgments but applaud each poet’s work on the basis that he or she has demonstrated yet another way that one word can tell a story.

The voting, therefore, is approached in a spirit of good humor and celebration. A high vote count means that we are doing what we set out to do, attract a lot of readers to enjoy what our poets have created over the past month.

Poems of special merit may or may not always receive the votes they would if a panel of judges were reading critically. If I attempted to establish that kind of system, I’m afraid it would turn into a task that would slow down the whole process and limit the number of poems that could be handled in a given month. Thanks to all of you for understanding.

Now, let the voting begin! It’s time for all aunts and uncles and parents and children and third cousins and best pals and distant relations and classmates and colleagues and family and total strangers to vote and enjoy the fun!


Word Poem Contest Entries for November

Here are the contest entries for you to read.  Come back to tomorrow to place your vote.

1.      Thanks for Nothing

Thanks for not being there,
when I needed you most.
Thanks for not answering me,
when I had questions.
Thanks for not helping me,
when I needed a hand.
Thanks for not understanding,
when I needed to be understood.
Thanks for not believing in me,
when I needed to beleive.
Thanks for not loving me,
when I needed warmth and care.
Thanks for everything
that you haven’t done.
Thanks for nothing.

By Claire – 7th grade

2.    Thank You

The poor girl,
Runs across the street
She has no money
No new clothes
No fancy house
And some days
She comes out
With a few dollars
And raggedy clothes
She buys a loaf of bread
And says
“Thank you”
She says
Loudly, clearly and proudly
Then walks to the market
To buy meet and carrots
“Thank you”
she says again
Loudly, clearly an proudly
Every once in a while
The baker
Will give her a cookie
“No charge”
He says
“Thank you”
She says
Loudly,clearly and proudly
She has nothing
But is thankful
For everything
She says thanks
When no one else does
She has taught me
To say
“Thank you”
To everything
So I say
“Thank you”
To her
Loudly, clearly and proudly

By Tasha – 7th grade

3.    The Pencil

I sat at my desk,
listening to the clock.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.
The test was nerve wracking.
I was stressed.

So stressed,
that I broke my pencil
I looked around
what was I going to do?

Pst! Someone said.
I looked behind me,
and found the
person calling.

Here, the girl whispered
Take mine, she said
holding out a brand
new pencil

Thanks, I said,
letting out the breath
I was holding
and started to work.

By Maisha – 7th grade

4.    Thanks
Thankful for God above
Hope for eternal life
Anointed with his love
Never alone
King of all kings
Savior of mine

Thanks God for my life

Kelsey Winfrey – 5th grade

5.      No Thanks

Zeus swore he wouldn’t have another child
he swore upon the river styx.
Yet here I am standing
all alone, son of a god.
My powers are really cool –
I’m fighting monsters all the
time yet I have no
need for thanks.
I am Perseus

by Peres Reed – 5th grade

6.      Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of cheer,
it only happens once a year.
When you pig out, dig in or eat
all of those wonderful holiday treats
and watch them fall,
those pretty leaves
be thankful for Thanksgiving.

A time for break
when relatives come,
and all you do is just have fun.
Sit on the sofa and watch the game
be thankful for Thanksgiving.

And in the end,
the very best part
is eating that big dinner
that we all made
and before we pray
we all hold hands and say…
We’re thankful for Thanksgiving.

By Serena Berrey –  5th grade class

7.    No Title
I thank my mom for being fun
I thank my dad, he’s number one
I thank my grandma for living here
and tucking me in when the day is done

Beau Coffie – grade 4

8.    No Title
You say thanks
But do you know what it really means?
It means to say grace
I see grace in family, in parents,
In the people I care about

Naresh Moudgil – grade

9.      No Title

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time
Having friends around is worth more than a dime
A beautiful evening with everyone there
Not just a time for lonely despair
Kindly reach out and grab everyone’s hands
It’s not just a time to happy for our lands

Cassidy Redding – grade 4

10.    No Title

Thank you for presents
cars and school

Thank you so much
about what you do

Thank you for snow
Thanks a lot

Thank you so much
You can’t resist
Thanks from me

“Thank you,” I said

Clio – grade 4

11.  No Title

Thanks for kisses but they were gross.
You can try the wet ones but no, stop with
the kisses, Fluffball. Oh, did I mention
my dog was giving the kisses? Ewwww,
the wet ones.

Sophie – grade 3

Adult Poetry Contest Entries Below:

By Steven Withrow

Under the right whale bones
breaching the blue ceiling
of the New England Aquarium,
a waddle of rockhopper penguins,
tufted punks from the South Pole,
skrawks in a raucous chorus
as a feeder wades in wetsuited,
floating a bucket of tiny fish
for their lunch. And Marin,
who is four, watches them
through the low glass partition
with an aquarist’s rigor,
her mirrored mouth mimicking each grab
and gulp of open orange beak. She
presses against me, daughter
of my grateful heart, and asks,
“Why don’t they say thank you?”
I tell her, “I don’t know.
Penguins can’t speak like we do.”
But inside I think of how
they drop from rock to rock,
clumsy on their bird-feet,
until one, and then another, slips
without a splash into the cool pool
that passes here for home,
their cold and southern sea.
I name them Water-glider,
Tidal-feather, Torpedo,
and Swims-as-peregrine-falcons-fly.
We trace their loops and interlaces
and laugh as a pudgy male
pops his bottle-body up
onto the lip of a slick stone slab,
upending an unsuspecting hen,
before barging in line
for a chance at seconds.
After, Marin tugs my hand,
her patience for penguins at its end,
and we wander toward tanks
that hold cuttlefish, anemones,
lampreys, leafy sea dragons
practicing camouflage
among the fluorescent fronds.
Behind us, the hoppers chatter on,
clap their wings against their sides.
I want to turn and applaud,
but Marin has spied some mollusk shells,
and we give thanks to them.

2.    An Amazing Word

By Mary Nida Smith

I love the word “thanks.”
It makes me feel special.
When I say, thanks,
I hope that person, feels special.

Thanks be to God in heaven,
for the thoughtfulness of others.
For families that stay in touch,
that cry and laugh together.

Thanks for the freedom
to play and speak freely.

Thanks for the miracles of seasons.
Numerous thanks to be given,
only God can promptly record.

3.    Thanks

by Mimi Cross

The leaves are still falling,
I guess there is time.
To try to give thanks
I will write a small rhyme.

Tonight my mind’s empty,
I’m tired and stressed.
I want to relax.
I’ll get fully undressed.

Step into the shower.
I’m under the spray.
Grateful for quiet,
I go over my day.

As I twist my shoulders
My back warm, then hot,
I start to give thanks
For the riches I’ve got.

I put my sweet son first,
The love of my life.
Then count my husband
I’m his saltwater wife.

I think of my parents,
I’m their close daughter.
I get my hair wet
With hot, steaming water.

Skin soaked now, I soap up.
I live a good life. . .
My tense body melts,
I let go of all strife.

The water is streaming
On my upturned face.
My prayer simply, “Thanks.”
For my home, for my place.

With old, cracked plaster walls,
Sloped, crooked wood floor,
Our view: the ocean!
Do we dare ask for more?

White boats in the harbor,
Wild waves in the bay,
New York the backdrop –
Then the music I play

Comes clear into my head.
I dissolve in steam.
Singing my thanks to
The Dreamer of this dream.

4.    You’re Welcome

by Liz Korba

A gift.
And free
Set free.
(That’s why.)
Need met.
(No debt.)
How powerful!
How unlike prose!
At times
Is a poem.


by Beth Carter

There’s a one syllable word
That begins with a “t”
And ends with an “s”
Now, what could it be?

I’ll give you a clue
It’s meaningful and true
And will mean something special
To each and every one of you.

Whether you’re an adult or child
If you’re very rich or even poor
This small, simple word
You simply cannot ignore.

Now, don’t forget to say thanks
It’s good manners, you know.
Saying this simple word
Will cause good feelings to sow.

6.    Antarctic Dad

by Tricia Stohr-Hunt

It’s a thankless job,
incubating an egg
in the midst of winter.

Through darkness,
biting winds and bitter cold,
I balance this
promise of new life
on my feet.

Huddled with other dads,
no food or sun in sight,
I wait for this
shell to crack,
egg to hatch,
baby chick to show.

I praise the day that
mom returns,
and off to sea I go.

7.    THANKS

by Jan Gallagher

Thanks, Dear God for creating the wonderful earth.
The miracle of birth.
Mountains so high.
Sometimes they reach right through the clouds in the sky.
The ocean, with waves you can ride.
The ebb and flow of the tide.
Day and night.
Both giving us light.
Thanks for you son.
Our hearts he has won.
Thanks for your joy, love and peace.
May they never cease.
Thanks, God for creating everything!

8.    THANKS

by Jennifer Harrison

Thanks for family
Thanks for bread
Thanks for holidays
And all that’s red

Thanks for music,
Poetry and fun
Thanks for life
Thanks a ton

Thanks for friends
Thanks for books
Thanks for pets
And all good cooks

Thanks for love
And our house
Thanks for caring
For your spouse

Thanks for a job
With good pay
Thanks for our health
This Thanksgiving Day

9.    THE CAT

by Diane Mayr

The cat rubs against
the beggar’s leg seeing
not the rags, but only
the out-stretched hand.

She soaks up his warmth.
And he hers. And, since
he does not grab, nor shoo
her away, she starts to purr.

He laughs and thanks her
with a gentle pat. She
circles his legs one last time
then continues on her way

up the avenue. He brushes
away the fur that has stuck
to his leg, then leans back
opening his palm once more.


by Barbara Turner

Thanks, she says.
as ugly as
flowers in
a Wedgewood vase.

You’re welcome,
I smile,
and all the
I’m wishing
she’d just go away.

The world has
come to be
too politically correct
for me.
I remember when
truth was a virtue.

11. A Wedding Toast

by Marjie DeWilde

Dear Auntie Karen,
Thanks for the thank-you note.
But it’s clear you didn’t
Open the box.

Did you really imagine
Your own brother (and his girls)
Would give his only sister
A toaster
On her wedding day?

Before you rushed to return it,
We wish that you had discovered
Our gift cards and childish notes of love in each
Bread slot.

12.    My Life in Thanks

by Becky Kruger

Orange leaves falling,
the voices of those I love calling.
Clean sheets when I go to bed,
all the wonderful books I have read.
Twinkling stars in a warm, summer sky,
memories of happy times passing by.
Quiet time in a busy day,
listening to old country music play.
The warmth of a campfire on a chilly night,
my house aglow with twinkling lights.
An awe inspiring, red sunrise,
golden, sweet pecan pies.
Growing old with the one I love,
watching clouds move in the sky above.
Seeing the sun after many rainy days,
watching my very old cat as she lays.
Old cowboy boots and faded jeans,
thinking of what living means.
All that I have to be thankful for,
and knowing that there
is so much more.

13.    T. Hanks

by Patricia Woodward

Tom Hanks is a talented actor.
Two Oscars attest to that.
He’s made three dozen movies,
Made millions each time he’s at bat.

My favorites I’ve seen several times,
Especially “Seattle” and “Mail.”
Whether romantic, funny or dark drama,
Tom’s flicks captivate without fail.

In “Gump,” “Cast Away” and “Mile”
Tom riveted in ‘most every frame.
Then his voice brought to life Cowboy Woody
In “Toy Story” to far-flung acclaim.

As much as I value his skill,
I admire Tom’s personal life more.
He and wife Reta stay private,
No tabloids or scandals to bore.

Oh, wait! You say I’m off target?
That Gratitude is the title’s clear plan?
I’m thankful for Mister Tom Hanks,
Exemplary actor and man.

14.    What He Lost

by Linda Kulp

the winning quarterback,
of our high school
football team—

My brother
barely eighteen
was drafted
to the big league–

He didn’t want to go
but his country needed him
always a team player—
he did what he had to do.

Two years later
he came home
an outcast
disdained by the town
that once loved him.

No thanks
No welcome home
No ticker tape parade
Just a permanent limp
and scars so deep
no one could see—
constant reminders
of what he lost
in Vietnam.

15. Night Thoughts
David L Harrison

Once he took me caving,
Maybe I was three,
Small enough
That he could carry me.
He didn’t have to do it –
Let me tag along –
But oh my daddy
Felt so big and strong.

He loved to take me fishing
No matter what the weather,
Dad and me,
Two guys out together.
He chose the wiggliest worm
So I could get my wish
And promised me
I’d catch the biggest fish.

On trips he told us stories,
Sang in silly rhymes,
Said my homemade
Jokes were good — sometimes.
I always meant to thank him,
But years crowd quickly on.
I hope he knew,
Because, now he’s gone.

Have you voted yet?

Hi everyone. I hope you’ve been following the balloting in the dirt poem race. As of this moment Mimi has edged ahead of Alyssa in a contest that has changed leads several times. The time is about 7:40 A.M. here so you have 4 hours and 20 minutes remaining before the poll closes at 12:00 noon. If you haven’t voted yet, you’d better hurry!

This afternoon I’ll make a second post to announce our first Monthly Hall of Fame Poets. Be sure to check back for that.

I’ll also sum up the results of the poll on Who You Are. If you haven’t clicked on that box yet, I hope you will.

I’m working out the ground rules to establish a Young Poets Contest so that we can maintain our adult division while encouraging students to play along with the monthly challege. I hope to give you all the informaton very soon.

Have you started your “thanks” poems yet? The first one in came from Steven Withrow. Today I’m working on mine.

Don’t forget this month’s important dates. You need to get your thanks poem in by the 21st. We’ll post all the poems on the 23rd. Voting will be from the 25th through the 30th and the winners will be announced on the 31st.

Have fun!


Important Reminders and the New Word!!!

I can’t believe the activity we’ve had from voters and visitors expressing pleasure in October’s dirt poems! We’ve been so busy that I hated to break in with a Saturday post so we have some things to cover now.

1) My poem of the week will go up on Monday instead of Sunday.

2) There is still plenty of time to vote. We won’t cut off the October balloting until twelve o’clock noon on Tuesday, November 3. Alyssa is ahead on votes at the moment but that could change by Tuesday!

3) On Tuesday afternoon I’ll declare our winner(s) for October. Be sure to check back for that announcement.

4) We’re establishing two divisions: an adult and a juvenile. Everyone is cheering for Alyssa and we hope that many other students will take the challenge to send us their poems too. But to keep the voting field even, let’s face it, most adults don’t have the same opportunities to campaign for votes that students do! What has happened here is that a heads up teacher, Nancy Raider, saw to it that her talented young poet had a chance to show us what she can do. And this has demonstrated the great potential for using ths blog poetry challenge not only for the benefit and amusement of adults but for encouraging who knows how many students to join the fun. I’m grateful to you all for helping us break ground and see the future more clearly.

5) Are you ready for the word for November? Here it is: thanks.

6) Here are important dates for the November challenge.
November 21: Cutoff date for thanks poem postings
November 23: Posting of all poems submitted
November 25: Voting begins on November’s thanks poems
November 30: Voting ends
December 1: Winners announced

Got all that? We had so many wonderful poems shared during our first month and I’m looking forward to reading our poets’ efforts in November!

With best wishes,