Where to from here?

Hello everyone,

Now that October’s “dirt” poems are behind us, let’s see some November “thanks” poems. Remember, cutoff for posting your poems is November 21.

To accomodate an anticapted growth in submissions by young poets, we have created two divisions. If you’ll look above the daily blog (immediately below the book covers), you’ll see two bars: ADULT WORD OF THE MONTH POEMS and YOUNG POETS’ WORD OF THE MONTH POEMS. This way we can continue to showcase poems posted by our adult writers but also make room for aspiring young writers to see their own work on the blog.

When you are ready to share your poem, go to the appropriate bar, click on it and post your poem there. This way we’ll always have a place where everyone can see the growing list of poems without the need to scroll all over the place looking for them.

Again, my thanks to Kathy Temean for creating my blog and suggesting the contest; to our eleven poets whose dirt poems demonstrated how many ways a single word can inspire poetry; and to our October Hall of Fame Poet Mimi Cross and our October Hall of Fame Young Poet Alyssa Kirch. Congratulations to all!

Check out Kathy’s blog today (http://kathytemean.wordpress.com) for a great review of Mimi and her poem. Also, go to YAAGroup (www.yaagroup.wordpress.com) to see Alyssa and her poem featured.

We haven’t had many people fill in the survey box to help me learn more about the regular viewers of the blog, but enough did to give me a good idea. In general, here’s what I saw. So far we have a number of writers, some of whom have been published and some who are hot on the trail of seeing that first publication with their name on it. We are also being followed by teachers, parents, and a few students. Your interests vary among poetry, picture books, fiction, and nonfiction and preferences ranks pretty much in that order.

This helps me think ahead and make a few more plans for the blog. For one thing, I’ve begun inviting special guests to make occasional appearances here to speak on subjects that you should find interesting. These guest essays will normally run between 500 – 750 words and our first guest may appear in the next week or so.

If you have subjects of special interest to you, I hope you’ll post them to help us keep the site useful to you.

Here we are in Wednesday already. Yesterday I got down a few words toward my thanks poem. Today I’ll finish the first rough draft.

Good writing!


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!


Quick report and new contest!

Sorry for the late posting today; been off playing with friends.

Sunday is the last day of October, which means the following:

1) The final day of the contest to see who leaves the most notes on my blog during October.

2) The final day of the contest for a drawing among those who have signed my website guest book.

3) The final day before I give you a new poem-starter word for November.

4) The final day before I present the results of the poll to help me develop a better profile of visitors to my blog.


ANNOUNCING a popularity poll between now and Sunday night to determine the favorite dirt poem for the month of October.

You can vote for your own poem or for someone’s elses (excluding mine). All of the dirt poems received so far appear on the October 23 post. Read them again and cast your ballot by Sunday night. (Helpful hint: It’s fine for family, friends, and even total strangers to vote too!) TO VOTE, CLICK ON COMMENTS UNDER THIS POST AND LEAVE A NOTE SAYING, “I VOTE FOR ______ BY _____.”
And what will our winner receive?

1) He or she will be listed in our Monthly Hall of Fame, a list of high honor reserved for poets whose winning work was inspired by a single word.
2) The obvious end result of this will be the first Annual Hall of Fame winner, to be chosen by popular vote among our twelve monthly winners.

So get with it everyone!! November will be here before you know it!

Of contests and dirt poems

votesmThanks to everyone who has completed the PollDaddy survey to help me get a better idea
of who you are and how my blog can serve you better. If you haven’t done so yet, I hope you will.  Just click the “Vote Box” on the left to vote.  It takes less than a minute to click a few buttons and like I said, it will help me focus on the right content.


My thanks to everyone who is participating in this month’s contests. At the end of October I’ll draw a winning name from those who have signed my website guest book. The winner will receive his or her choice of an autographed book or a critique of some poetry or a picture book.Also at the end of October I’ll send an autographed copy of Partner Poems to the person who has left the most comments on my blog site during this month.

I’ve been delighted by all the poems you’re shared this month! It’s amazing how many ways the word dirt has inspired us. The first of November I’ll announce a new word so I hope you’ll participate again and spread the word to others who might like to join the fun.

I expect to see more dirt poems come in but here’s what we have so far. I thought you might enjoy seeing them all in one place. Let me know if I’ve overlooked anyone.


I liked you the first time we met,
at least I thought I would like you
if I got to know you,
except for your nails.
I couldn’t help noticing
the foul moon-rims of grime
clutching at your cuticles.
The thought occurred that dirt,
which you like enough
to pack at your fingertips,
might have a poem buried in it.
Honestly, I had little hope for my subject.
It’s hard to hold something in high esteem
that one tracks in on one’s shoes.
Only my respect for you kept me going.
Turns out there’s more
than meets the eye with dirt.
Roots slow-motionly wriggling down
like moles in the dark after water
prize off tiny flecks of bedrock.
Mix enough rock parts with humus
and you’re getting somewhere, dirt-wise.
Humus is a dry gumbo,
the handiwork of dentrivores,
a multiracial gang of ruffians, mostly
fungi, worms, bacteria, mites, and insects –
mercenary goblins that dine on decay,
slurping dead plants and animals
till you could easily mistake diner for dinner.
Thanks to dentrivores, not all dirt
tastes the same. But considering
the supply you keep on hand,
I may not be telling you something
you don’t know.
When you think about dirt,
and I can’t seem to stop,
dirt provides lodging for a zoo
of creatures that grub, grope, and burrow
through its gritty underworld.
Mixed with water dirt fortifies bird nests and
helps mud daubers stick their homes
in annoying places such as
above my garage door.
By contrast, dust courts the corporate crowd.
Swirling like a truant genie,
dust grants wishes to carwash owners
and supports entire industries
of polish, soap, and facial tissue makers,
but I digress. The thing is, I was right
about liking you in spite of your nails
crammed with limestone powder, worm goo,
and the odd molecule of bee leg or roach
(all in a day’s work for humus).
But I can’t resist suggesting that dirt
should stick with dirt and you might consider
returning your private stash to the garden
or perhaps to a trash sack headed to
the dump. Then, I believe,
at least I hope very much, that
I can put down this thing about dirt
and wipe it off of my worry list.
— David L Harrison


Just sitting here a thousand years – not doing much it seems,
But without me you wouldn’t see that field of flowing green.
There wouldn’t be a hilltop there and vessels made of clay,
No spot for seeds to hide and grow, no place for mice to play
Or other creatures great and small – from moles to bears in caves.
Some things would not know where to stop – like rivers, lakes and waves.
Just sitting here a thousand years – if you dig deep, than more!
I’d let you know so many things – if I had lips like yours.
I’d tell you if the dinosaurs were green or blue or grey,
What ancient people liked to do and what they had to say.
And how the Moon in eons past drew near, was giant-size!
I’d share with you the wonder of that very first sunrise.
I wish that you had all the time that I have sitting here
To slowly watch the changes taking place each million years.
And oh, the things that happen, if you have more time than this.
I’m sorry for those things you haven’t seen and all you’ll miss!
The earth, it moves! And mountains form! New creatures come and go.
Whole cities rise and fall and then will once more start to grow.
Just sitting here thousands of years I’ve watched a lot go by.
I know you cannot live this way, but sometimes, won’t you try
To think about the things I’ve seen and all that I might see.
Remember that I look to you and when you walk on me
The silent dirt that’s all around – the soil, sand and clay
Imagine all you’d be and share if you were me one day.
— Liz Korba


Young Bobby went outside to play
In a black-muddy, spring-sloppy way.
He took off his shoes
As he danced in the ooze
And gave thanks for the glorious day!
– Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved


concrete rivers hide
hungering, slumbering clay
sleeping gardens wait
– Susan Taylor Brown, all rights reserved


Did I hear you say,
“Eeeuuu, worm poop”?
Well, let me tell
you something, Missy–
worm poop is just
another name for dirt.
Dirt may be an odd
way of saying life, but
for me that’s exactly
what it is. So, if you
want me predicting
your love life, you’d
better be showing
those worms a little
more respect. Got it?
– Diane Mayr


The opposite of clean is dirt
Like ketchup dribbled on your shirt
Or grass stains on your favorite jeans
Or brown stuff stuck to fresh plucked beans
It’s bunnies made of dust and hair
And specks and flecks found everywhere!
— Tricia Stohr-Hunt


Dirt, Oh boy. mud pies!
I’ll make up lots and lots
and set them here to dry
When that kid down the road comes by
I’ll make him eat them pie by pie.
— Jan Gallagher


Pies for sale!
Mud pies for sale!
The finest mud pies
In the world for sale!
Mud pie cherry,
Mud pie peach,
Mud pie apple,
One dollar each,
Mud pie chocolate,
Mud pie lime,
Mud pie gooseberry,
Two for a dime!
How about you, Sir?
Give a pie a try?
Step right up
For a nice mud pie!
If you don’t like
How my pies are made,
Try a nice glass
Of my mud lemonade.
— David L Harrison


Mud is like Silly Putty
it is for playing.
Mud puddles after rain
a slpash delight.
Mud is for mud pies,
but who eats them.
To a cow,
mud is cool.
To a pig,
a beautiful thing.
Toe prints are nice.
Mud fights are not.
— Mary Nida Smith


When you talk about dirt,
You gotta talk about dig.
When you talk about mud,
You gotta talk about a pig.
Oh baby . . .
How do I make my way?
When I start with common dirt – I naturally head straight for a cliche.
My Grandma said, “You eat a peck
Of dirt before you die.”
But I say, “What the heck?!”
I can avoid that if I try!
Oh Grandma . . .
What can you tell me now?
I gotta write this dirty poem, but I cannot – figure out how.
I guess I’ll start from scratch.
With a wordy mud pie.
That way I’ll use a bit of dirt
And mix it with these tears
I cry . . .
Out of frustration and fear.
I’ve got a grimy little blues song – that no one else will ever hear.
— Mimi Cross


Yummy, yummy mud pie,
I eat it all the time.
It’s brown, watery, and smells real bad,
But I’d rather eat it with a lime.
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
It looks just like brown mush.
It’s getting weirder everyday,
Don’t step in it! Eww (Squish).
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
Now it’s on your shoe.
It’s getting green and ugly,
I wish I had some too!
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
Now it’s almost gone.
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
I guess I’ll make another one!
— Alyssa Kirch, 5th Grade


The dirt of earth is often thought
to be a thing not pretty.
It may be black or tan or red
and rocky, smooth or gritty.
But dirt is probably the most
important thing we’ve got.
Without it where would orchards grow
or clay to make a pot?
Or what would bricks to build a house
be made from without dirt?
Or sandbags to protect a town
and people from flood-hurt?
A mound of dirt piled up real high
could be a climbing hill;
a tiny rose might spring from soil
upon a window sill.
God even formed the first man from
the dirt of earth, you see.
So when we stop to think of it,
without dirt where’d we be?
— Reta Stewart Allen


The earthworm knows no books.
He chews, instead, hard news
That gravels through his crooks.
He grinds each borer’s bit
Of literary grit
And feeds wildflower’s muse.
— Steven Withrow