Community Collection 4: ODES with JaNay Brown-Wood

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!


Today’s Guest…

is an up-and-coming picture book writer whose beautiful debut tale IMANI’S MOON inspires us all to reach high for our dreams. Please welcome the exuberant storyteller and educator …







Is there a person or an animal you love? Or maybe an object that does not get the credit it deserves? Try writing an ode, a poem praising something like an animal, object, or person. OR, try writing a poem in a shape related to the subject of the poem. And here’s an even bigger challenge: can you write your ode in a shape poem?



1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!


Ode to My Blanket

Every day we’re together
from wake-up ‘til sleep
You are my snuggles
and buddy for keeps.
You’re soft on my lip
but strong as a shield.
You are my circus tent
and picnics out in the field
If I put you down
or forget where you are
I look everywhere, EVERYWHERE
near and far
If Mama washes
and dries you
I even wait by the
laundry room door!
You’re my best cuddles
and very favorite present–
My sidekick and best friend
my own sweet blanket.
(c) Linda Mitchell

Creative Lady
Creating with words,
A sense of place,
A touch of beauty,
inner grace.
Filling our senses,
Sight and sound
Adirondack scents
Forests surround.
Highs and lows
Will come and go
Look on the bright side
Chase away woe.
Words full of life,
Encouraging others,
Strive for the positive,
We’re sisters and brothers.
You taught us so much
Helping writers grow,
Your spirit remains
We miss you so.
©Yvona Fast

Afternoon Apology

Every morning of every day
You ring me,
Or sing to me
Songs when I wake.
I look to your face for the bad
Or good news.
Reliable friend,
You tell me the truth.
Steady, predictable hands
Move with care;
Arms that mark time,
I know you’re always there.
Alarm clock, you’re likely the best
Friend of all.
I’m sorry
I threw you
Against the wall.
c. PJ Henry 2018

Ode to Journal

Dear Journal,
You hug my fears, tears, joys!
with your cover,
enduring the press of my pen,
the endless words spilling over your lines.
Your spine straightens…
and strengthens.
Your pages never fail to listen.
©Kirstine Call 2018

Ode to a Stir-Fry Spatula

First among utensils in the kitchen-counter canister
you stand tallest, Stir-Fry Spatula.
My go-to tool. My can’t-do-without.
You stir and scrape
spoon and strain
your perfect shape saves me
again and again.
© 2018 Heather Kinser

Ode to the G2

Dear Pen, I thank you for your ink.
And even though my thoughts might stink
(or tend to vanish in a blink),
you help to capture what I think
when with my paper you’re in sync.
©  2018 Colleen Murphy

Ode to Earthworms

Worms tunnel through soil,
help the plants grow,
feed the red robins.
Thanks, worms!

Worms lure fish in the pond
to my hook, line, and pole—
soon, my bobber is bobbing!
Yay, worms!

© Linda Jean Thomas

Ode to Sound
Before I knew it,
you spoke my name.
You traveled to me
on waves of love and sadness.
At night, you arrived
uninvited, billowing curtains,
clattering over lamps.
Now I can beckon you
at will—call forth your
clang, your clatter, your purr.
Invisible force, as long
as I live, I’ll call you forth.

I’ll let you in. I’ll let you out.

© 2018 Gabi Snyder




























Ode to Sound

Before I knew it,
you spoke my name.
You traveled to me
on waves of love and sadness.
At night, you arrived
uninvited, billowing curtains,
clattering over lamps.
Now I can beckon you
at will—call forth your
clang, your clatter, your purr.
Invisible force, as long
as I live, I’ll call you forth.
I’ll let you in. I’ll let you out.
© 2018 Gabi Snyder




Ode to a Pimple

So, you chose my nose to impose
a seething volcano
on me?
Well, it’s time to erupt, to disrupt
this breathing red mountain
of puss . . .
(c) Ann Magee 2018

My Baby Grew Up

When you were one
filled with laughter and play,
there were firsts every day,
fun was never outdone.
Squeeze me so tight,
cottony feel,
exquisite zeal,
such sweet delight.
Now you’ve got a son
who sends you that light
dazzling and bright
Son, you are his one.
Singing a song,
two warm loving guys,
both breathe happy sighs,
two hearts who belong.
Wish you’d recall
past days long ago,
didn’t think you’d outgrow,
loving Mom most of all.
© 2018 Robyn Campbell

Tribute to My Friend

With heavy heart
And with a sigh
I bid Godspeed and goodbye
To you, my true friend.
Some called you ‘a difficult person.’
Others said you were just a bit odd.
Maybe, like Albert Einstein,
You were an Aspie, autism spectrum.
You preferred canine companions
To humankind.
You loved the woods
And trekked woodland trails
Fred, Your faithful friend,
Always at your side.
Like Andy Rooney, you said,
“Dogs are nicer than people.”
Your goal in life:
To be as good of a person your dog already thinks you are.
You loved the solitary woods
You loved your garden
To taste fresh veggies,
To smell the flowers,
To listen to birdsong.
Grassy Pond,
Sheep’s Meadow,
Little Clear and Little Green,
We romped there together
Canine companions prancing with us,
Playing war of the stick.
Watch out – here they come!
Don’t get mowed down!
In all seasons, we frolicked
Snowshoes and skis in winter,
Walking spring, summer and fall.
All the while
You made me smile
With witty jokes
and playful puns.
“Neither Jan, Trekker or Freddie can come to the phone right now…”
You were my good friend,
Tried and true.
I’ll remember you.
I loved the twinkle in your eye,
Now replaced by stare and sigh.
With peace and grace
Travel from this place
Until we meet again.
©Yvona Fast


JaNay Brown-Wood has been a performer, preschool teacher, camp counselor, poet, silly-song singer, youth specialist, designer of curriculum, Harry Potter lover, college professor, reader, jellybean eater, and someone who truly cares about our future generations. 

Not only does JaNay have a passion for writing and performing, but she has a strong calling for educating as well.  Her interests led her to UCLA where she graduated with her BA in Psychology and Applied Developmental Psychology, and then on to CSU Sacramento where she earned her MA in Child Development. 

Currently, she works as an Early Childhood Education professor at American River College and is married to her fantastic husband Catrayel, who was also her high school sweetheart (they were the first black couple to be crowned Sunnyside’s Homecoming King and Queen back in high school). 

Her first picture book, Imani’s Moon, won the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award, is a Northern CA ACL 2014 Distinguished Book, and was a Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Multicultural Book pick for 2015. JaNay’s poetry has been featured in Highlights for Kids and Highlights High Five. Her second book, Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story, has received starred reviews and praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and others.

Janay lives in Sacramento, CA. Discover more about the author and her books at
(from the author’s website)



This sweet, rhyming counting book introduces young readers to numbers one through fifteen as Grandma’s family and friends fill her tiny house on Brown Street. Neighbors, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandkids crowd into the house and pile it high with treats for a family fe

But when the walls begin to bulge and no-body has space enough to eat, one clever grandchild knows exactly what to do.

Where there’s a will there’s a way when families grow and come together. (from





“A challenge is only impossible until someone accomplishes it.”

Little Imani is the smallest one in her village. The other children make fun of her and tell her she’s too tiny, that she’s an ant, that a meerkat might stomp her, and that she’ll never amount to anything. Imani begins to believe them.

At bedtime, Imani’s mama tells her stories of the Maasai mythologies: about Olapa, the moon goddess and about Anansi the spider. They accomplished what would seem impossible. Imani’s mama tells her that she is the one who needs to believe if she wants to achieve great things. So, Imani sets out to touch the moon.

This beautiful story of a little girl who believed will inspire young readers to reach for their own moons.  (from the Charlesbridge website)

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Copyright on poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Author photo by Tatsu.
Fish photo by Chevanon Photography via Pexels (no attribution required).