Thursday, March 27, 2014

This just in: SPRING!

Balloons in the Sky, by Sammie Jeanne on Deviant Art

I DO believe in spring!
I DO believe in spring!
I DO believe in spring!

Perhaps if you say it enough, it will come true.  

        It worked for me!

                   Okay, so I live in Florida.  What's your point? 

But before we get to our poetic celebration of the season,  A NOTE OF THANKS:

Even though I didn't make it past the first round in the March Madness tournament I wrote about last week (and even though I only lost by one classroom vote), I feel like a winner for having received so many wonderful votes of confidence from family, friends, fans, and peers.  THANK YOU for believing in me!  With Round 3 currently up for vote, the competition is heating up, and I hope you will continue to show your support of this wonderful spotlight on children's poetry!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

When folks say "e. e. cummings" and "spring" in the same breath, it often precedes the poem, "Spring is like a perhaps hand."  Beautiful poem, I agree.  But today I would like to share another:

[in Just-] 

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee
You can read the rest here.

And as a special treat, from The Voice of the Poet, here's e. e. cummings reading his own work:

Happy Spring!  

Sky Balloon, by Danielle on Deviant Art

With National Poetry Month just around the corner, get ready to hang on to your hats for a whirlwind of fun festivities.  Yours truly will be hosting in two weeks with some exciting new features to announce, but in the meantime, enjoy today's Poetry Friday roundup party being hosted by Mary Lee at A Reading Year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Line Tuesday: Frances Hodgson Burnett

First Spring Rain, Nevena Uzuroz, via Wikimedia Commons

"Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine..."

–Frances Hodgson Burnett 
from The Secret Garden

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness

Spring has arrived! 

The calendar says so, 
           the azalea bushes concur, 
                         and then there's this:

"What is this lunacy that has so thoroughly distracted you from writing this blog post?"  Ah, yes... well, I suppose you have a point.

Now in its third year, the March Madness Poetry Tournament was designed by Ed Decaria to bring the excitement of the NCAA March Madness tournament to the world of kids’ poetry. 64 poets from around the world participate in the event; together, these poets write 126 new kids’ poems in just 21 days.

For me, it's my second year as an enthusiast, my first as a participant.  I lapped up the wonderful poetry that came out of this deliciously insane event last year, and even though I wasn't an authlete, I still got my butt kicked.  Well, sort of.  When I think back on it, March Madness was the kick in the pants I needed to start Today's Little Ditty.  And here we are, nearly one year later, happy as a mad hatter to look back on how far we've come.

Here is my #MMPoetry first round poem, currently up for vote (until Friday night, 10:40pm EST):


Kids of the jury, believe me,
if you had a sister like mine,
you, too, might be bucking authority—
her conduct was way out of line.
She kidnapped my Captain America
and threw him in Barbie’s pink jail!
So it seemed like a sensible sequitur
to place the ad: “SISTER FOR SALE.”

© 2014 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.  All rights reserved.

I'm up against a worthy competitor, but win or lose, it's all good.  I'm proud of myself for coming this far!

I'm also excited about my secret plans for continuing to grow and develop Today's Little Ditty into an even more active and vibrant community.  Look for an announcement next month, but in the meantime, let's enjoy the sweet anticipation for a few more weeks, shall we?

Oh, and by the way, did you know I'm only 10 likes away from 100 on my Facebook writer's page?  Today's Little Ditty sure would appreciate a birthday present like that.  And hey, look!  There's a link on the right side of this web page... just sayin'.  <wink>

For those, like me, who like Poetry Friday, you'll find today's roundup at The Drift Record.  Thanks Julie!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Musing: St. Patrick's Day

1907 Portrait of William Butler Yeats, by John Butler Yeats

A Drinking Song
          by William Butler Yeats
Wine comes in at the mouth  
And love comes in at the eye;  
That’s all we shall know for truth  
Before we grow old and die.  
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Limerick Alley: Buffy Silverman

With St. Patrick's Day a mere three sleeps away, what better time to visit Limerick Alley?  I may not be Irish, but I do feel lucky to have Buffy Silverman here to share today's little ditty!

Much of Buffy's writing is inspired by her curiosity and intimate observations of nature.  From an early age, Buffy could be found watching the world from her maple tree perch or combing tall grass for grasshoppers and other critters.  Not only did she collect worms and insects for the sheer joy of discovering their secrets, but she also adopted the same practice with words.  Buffy's current "word collection" includes over 60 children's books and over 100 magazine articles, mostly telling non-fiction stories of the natural world outside her window.  Although she does not post every week, Buffy's Blog, is also a treasure.

Buffy won't be donning her leprechaun top hat and booties today, but she will be wearing her evergreen and diamonds:

Photo: Liz West

An ice storm embraced Mr. Pine Tree
who trembled and glistened, all shiny.
But the hug was so hard
he was strewn on the yard
and now Mr. Pine Tree is tiny.

          © 2014 Buffy Silverman.  All rights reserved.

Sad pine trees in Old Man Winter's grip, courtesy of The Little GSP

Thank you, Buffy, for your (somewhat more gentle) poetic embrace here at Limerick Alley!

Now grab a cup of Irish breakfast tea and a slice of Irish soda bread, and head over to the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted today by Kara at Rogue Anthropologist.

Earl Bales Park following an ice storm in Toronto December 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)

If you would like to be featured in a future Limerick Alley post, please contact me at Michelle (at) MichelleHBarnes (dot) com, or let me know by commenting below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Doodle Day 2014

Zentangle Heart Coloring Page, available on

Okay class, take out your pencils and paper...

          or your banana...
Monkeys on a banana, by Matt Reinbold


Today, my friends, is National Doodle Day.  Haven't heard of it?  Not surprising if you're from this side of the pond.  But if you're reading this in England, you probably already know that National Doodle Day is a fundraising event which is owned by, and raises money for, Epilepsy Action.

This year's celebrity doodlers include Margaret Atwood, Sir Alan Ayckbourne, the 6th Doctor Colin Baker, Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, and even Prime Minister David Cameron.  You can find their doodles (plus many others) on auction via eBay until March 16th.

According to Ruth Rostron, a professional handwriting analyst, "doodles are like fragments of a map that show how someone's mind works."  On the National Doodle Day website, you can discover the meaning of your own doodles.  After analyzing mine, however, I've concluded that I am a hodge podge doodler, a little bit of everything.

This comes as no surprise.  I doodle a LOT.  Apparently, it's in my blood since my mother is a doodler and my daughter, as well.  Today's little ditty is a gift to my mother and a tribute to that doodlicious lineage.


At the kitchen               table, the color
of sunshine and the       centerpiece of  my
childhood, Mother sat doodling our names in
a steno book, over and over, a puffy cloud of
squiggles on the page, tossed this way and
that.  You could read her possession of
us in every direction, and we were
safe on that page, cast in ink,
belonging to her forever.  
In an idle moment, I
think about my
mother and

 © 2014 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.

Please join Margaret, another fine mother (and inspired poet as well), for the Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche.

Heart Zentangle NO. 7, by smileyface001

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Line Tuesday: Audre Lorde

Car decorated for Mardi Gras Carnival parade in Apalachicola, Florida, 1915

I forgot what we were celebrating ... we were always celebrating something, a new job, a new poem, a new love, a new dream.
-Audre Lorde 
from Zami: A New Spelling of My Name