Community Collection 8: LIFE CYCLES with David L. Harrison

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 a busy author and presenter who has published over ninety books for young people and teachers alike. He’s also a generous and supportive friend to poets new and old, a prolific blogger famous for his poetic blog parties, and just one funny guy. Please welcome beloved poet …






Seek to capture the life cycle of a small creature. Rhyme scheme is open but challenge yourself beyond abcb stanzas.



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)!




A brown slug

Is an ugly bug.

Shell-less snail,

Slithery trail,

In my kale.

Leaves are a feast

For this slimy beast.

© Yvona Fast



Your drones and workers flit and fade,
a life too short to fathom,
but you, my queen, my madam,
oh, how many eggs you’ve laid!
You’ve earned the right to reign supreme
pampered, fed, and licked by your team,
you might get years to rule your regime.

© Sherry Howard


Buzz. Zip! Whiz! Wham! Bang!
Fly smashes my window. Ow!
Bug hospital, here I come!

© 2018 Kirstine Call


I had a little polliwog,
but it has disappeared.
He grew four legs,
his tail’s gone,
and now…
a frog’s appeared!

© 2018 Dianne Moritz

Ode to a Nest of Starlings

Spring paints her perfume as Mama rustlesrustlesrustles,
then settles over her eggs.
Like stones birthed from the sky they wait,
still and silent.
All too soon the nest feels crowded with beaksbeaksbeaks,
and finally winging,
back home to the sky,

Mama’s murmuration to the world.

© Ann Magee 2018


His Short Happy Life

May guy,
Day’s life;
Find sky,

© PJ Henry

Chicken Primer

An oval package, home three weeks,
until the hatching into chick
until I chipped away the shell.
Thank you for your patient self.
Mama chicken hatched me fast
her cuddle would not, could not last,
Too many chicks were hard to fit
in the nest where Mama sits.
In fifteen days we hatchlings move
into a nest to call our own.
It’s dangerous when I venture out;
I still am just a little sprout.
I eat and grow, and grow and eat.
My name is “pullet” for a year.
I’ve learned to be a proper hen–
to lay and hatch, then start again.
As I grew, twas foodie fun.
worms and bugs and juicy rinds,
after seven years, tis time to go
I’ve shortened what you need to know.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Parasitic Blues

Small mosquito, pesky one,
you wait until the setting sun
to come and suck the blood you need,
and greedily you overfeed.
Until you feel the fateful SWAT
that ends your life — it’s clearly not
the fancy feast you had in mind,

when you dined on humankind!

© Judy Sobanski


Pill Bug

You crawl around the ground like ants.
You dine on decomposing plants.
You breathe with small aquatic gills
and roll up into little pills.
They call you “pill bug” but you’re not
a bug at all. I’ve just been taught
you’re actually a land crustacean.
Here’s a gem of information:
shrimp and lobsters (exclamation!)
are your closest known relation.

© 2018 Heather Kinser



David L. Harrison’s first book for children (The Boy with a Drum), was released in 1969 and sold over two million copies. The first of his long list of awards came in 1972 when he received the Christopher Award for The Book of Giant Stories. Since then David has published ninety original titles that have sold millions of copies.

His work has been anthologized in more than one hundred eighty-five books, appeared in dozens of magazines, professional journals, and interviews in print and online, translated into twelve languages, and presented on television, radio, cassette, and CD-ROM.

David’s SKY HIGH ON READING program was the International Reading Association’s nationwide winner in 2001. The Missouri Librarian Association presented him with its 2007 Literacy Award for the body of his work.

David has given keynote talks and presentations at more than 300 national, regional, state, and local conferences across the country plus innumerable school visits and parent nights. He holds science degrees from Drury and Emory universities and honorary doctorate of letters degrees from Missouri State University and Drury University. David Harrison Elementary school is named for him and he is poet laureate of Drury. He lives in Springfield, Missouri with his wife Sandy.

Discover more about the author and his books at
(from the author’s website)


A poetry collection introducing animal architects that build remarkable structures in order to attract a mate and have babies.

Many animals build something — a nest, tunnel, or web — in order to pair up, lay eggs, give birth, and otherwise perpetuate their species. Organized based on where creatures live — underground, in the water, on land, or in the air — twelve poems bring fish, insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds to life. Back matter includes more information about each animal.

“A fine synthesis of poetry and science” — Kirkus Reviews

A natural for classroom use, with eye-catching art that will lure little ones in” — Booklist
(from the

Nineteen different animals, placed in five animal categories, are represented first by artwork and poetry and finally by brief paragraphs and references for further reading. The poems are graceful and often humorous, giving good introductions to the reasons behind each animal’s protective coloration. The illustrations, which involve “drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing,” likewise effectively convey how camouflage works, without pretense of photorealism.

The categories—sea life, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, insects and spiders, and birds—reveal a wide variety of animals, from ghost crab to Bengal tiger, walking stick to hawk. The text educates young readers about useful camouflage for predators and for prey, without resorting to anything truly disturbing. Other than a “buzzy fly” becoming “fast food” for a spider and some tiny fish disappearing, predators are shown as merely threatening, and prey are shown as successfully hiding. Endnotes, cover, and layout all add to a thoughtful, well-executed book. An attractive, informative blend of science and the arts. (from Kirkus, starred review)

Free-verse cowpoke ruminations on the trail to Abilene, with paintings of long-horned doggies and grizzled riders beneath big skies. Saddle up, pardner, leave the bunkhouse (where “bug gnaw plugs right outta your hide”) behind and look fer dusty days, freezing nights, rattlers, storms and meal after meal of beef and beans from Cookie.

Harking back to cattle drives of yesteryear, Burr portrays leather-skinned figures with nearphotographic realism. “You need sand in your gizzard / to wrangle wild cows, / chaps for fendin’ off thorns / or horses with a taste / for cowpoke leg.” . . . So git along, there, anyone with a mind to share cowboy dreams in romanticized, Old West style. (from Kirkus)

Don’t miss a prompt! Save this calendar to your desktop.


Check out the poetry video library!
“Yellow Garden Spider” and prompts copyright © by David L. Harrison, from A PLACE TO START A FAMILY (Charlesbridge, 2018)
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Cicada by Michael Kropiewnicki via Pexels (no attribution required)

You may also like...


  1. Wow! David L. Harrison…90 books?! I knew it was a lot but that’s more than I imagined. You seem like an old friend here. I see you on facebook and on your blog and mentioned in Jane Yolen’s daily poems. What a generous soul to the writer community you are. Thanks for the life cycle poem–and the fantastic prompt!

  2. Renee, thank you again for creating this event. I’m impressed by the quality of the poems posted so far using my prompt for today. Congratulations, all you poets! Thank you for playing with me today!

  3. I’ve known David’s books before I knew him in Highlights workshops, with my own children (and giants), then my students (so many nf mentor poems). Now my grandchildren lately are learning to love A Place To Start A Family and those “spiderlings the size of dust”. They (I) just won a copy of this book! Thanks for the challenge, David, and Renee for this community every day.

  4. Ah, David, what a lovely poem. How can you make a spider so fun. I do love your latest book. Thanks for this post and this challenge. I will do my best to come up with something. Nice to see you here.

  5. Thanks David, loved your poem prompt and your reading of “Cookie,”and the many, many poetry books you continue to nourish us with!Thanks Renée for the rich blog posting with David!

    1. Greetings, Michelle!

      I’m glad you approve of my rendering of “Cookie.” And thank you for your support of my efforts. Renee is a special sort of friend. I’m always grateful to her for making these occasions possible.

  6. Renee, please post my poem when you have a chance:

    Pill Bug

    You crawl around the ground like ants.
    You dine on decomposing plants.
    You breathe with small aquatic gills
    and roll up into little pills.
    They call you “pill bug” but you’re not
    a bug at all. I’ve just been taught
    you’re actually a land crustacean.
    Here’s a gem of information:
    shrimp and lobsters (exclamation!)
    are your closest known relation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *