The Progressive Poem 2014 Is Here!


Happy Poetry Month!

For those who don’t know what the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem is, it is a yearly event conceived and hosted by poet Irene Latham. Each day, the poem travels to a different blog, and the blogger adds his or her line. You never know where the poem will end up, but it’s always a magical experience. At the end of the month, Irene polishes the poem and adds a title and – ta-da! – we have a collective poem written by thirty poets!

So here I was, minding my own business, watching the 2014 Progressive Poem winging its way toward me, when it finally landed at Buffy Silverman’s blog yesterday. Julie Larios had just extended her a wonderful invitation the day before, and I couldn’t wait to hear the answer, sure that Buffy would put wise and beautiful words in the mouths of all those beasts and birds…


Buffy didn’t answer! And I’m not much in the wisdom department, so I’m feeling the pressure. Poetry can be so cruel. Regardless, I’m so pleased that this year’s poem has developed as rhyming couplets. I also noted that it has recently evolved into lines of iambic heptameter, and I wanted to keep that consistent.

Hm. I keep coming back to Deborah Bussewitz’s “inner sage” – the idea that this narrator has to listen to her own voice and find her own way toward the dreams that Linda Kulp introduced. And then Janet Fagal had mentioned a voyage with “tattered maps” in her wonderful line, a journey that both Margaret Simon and Robyn Hood Black subsequently mentioned, so it must be important. And although beasts and birds are wonderful company, I believe we are all traveling alone. So in the end, the critters decided to issue …

… a refusal!


Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams —
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s
“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”
The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close – still warm – then take my first step toward the coast
This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be
like luminescent jellyfish, awash in mystery.
I turn and whisper, “Won’t you come?” to all the beasts and birds,
and listen while they scamper, their answers winging words:
“Take these steps alone to start; each journey is an art


And now I hand the poem over to Laura Shovan, who will no doubt set this narrator on the right path toward that coast of dreams. She may even tell us what those eggs are and why the hen is so merry, two burning questions that linger.

This is where the poem has been and where it’s going still…

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show–Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life


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