Thursday, July 19, 2012


Dear Poetry Friday friends,

Tara's in a workshop all day Friday, but that hasn't stopped her from posting a timely poem and hosting Roundup at A Teaching Life. (She's awesome like that.) Go see!

As for me, I'm in the midst of "appointment week." That' what we're calling it -- kids have had eye exams  and teeth cleaning and other stuff we've needed to get out of the way before the madness of the school year schedule. All that waiting-room time has got me thinking about the poetry workshop for kids I'm teaching in August at Gadsden Public Library. We'll be reading and writing persona poems.

Now I have a number of go-to volumes that contain animal persona poems, and that's great, but what I'd really like to do is share with the kids some of YOUR work!

So. If you have a poem in the voice of an animal, and you'd like it read aloud for inspiration and entertainment to a great group of elementary age kids, would you pretty please send me an email (irene at irenelatham dot com) OR leave in comments!

To get the ball rolling, I will share one of mine. I wrote it when I was writing a series of ocean-life poems this time last year. It needs to be shortened, but I haven't gotten to that yet. Here it is in all its excessive glory:

Lionfish Can’t Sleep Tonight

I didn’t ask to hatch.
I would have picked

a green-er patch
with pancake sun

and butter moon,
s t r e t c h e d – o u t

naps in the afternoon.

 I get lonely rocks
and cell block of water.

I can’t grrrr
or even purr.

Life is just a bubbly blur
 of endless hunger.

Pardon me
while I hide my eyes.

Excuse me
while I dream.

there’s a herd of gazelle

 grazing grass so tall
 it gleams.

copyright 2012 by Irene Latham

The poem was inspired, of course, by a bit of THE LION KING:

Happy weekend, all!


  1. Hi Irene! What fun! Great idea! The Gadsden kids are going to love you and your poetry. Thanks for inviting us to play along. Here's my new animal persona poem for you about a persnickety Tom Cat!


    I won’t pretend
    To be your friend.
    I won’t sit-up or beg.

    I won’t lie down
    Or turn around
    Or heel beside your leg.

    I won’t chase trucks
    Or rubber ducks
    Thrown into the air.

    I won’t bark
    After dark
    At things that aren’t there.

    I won’t growl
    Or try to howl
    Just to get my way.

    I won’t poop
    Out on the stoop
    Every other day.

    I won’t care
    If you’re not there
    Or if you want to play.

    I come and go
    Because I know
    A Tom Cat gets his way!

    --Charles Ghigna

    1. Oh yes, I know this Tom Cat! :) Thanks for sharing... several of your books are in my go-to stack already! I am thrilled to include this one as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Oh, Irene, I loved your poem - "cell block of water" is great for an aquarium! I just wrote a poem from my dog's perspective. It'll be up at midnight1 Maybe it will work for you.

    1. To be trapped in an aquarium just seems AWFUL to me. Grrr, indeed! Thanks for reading!

  3. Ah the joys of Poetry much talent to enjoy! I love those last two stanzas Irene....and am too much in awe , Irene, to attempt ( at the moment anyway) anything of my own.

    1. Yes, Tara, so much talent among this PF group. I am in perpetual awe. If you write one or dust one off, please send to me! Workshop is not till Aug. 10. Happy day to you!

  4. Ok, didn't read the directions. Here it is, but it's on my blog too:

    I Don't Scream

    I’d like a treat
    If you don’t mind;
    I’d like the kind
    That you would eat.
    Not just a bone,
    Though that is good,
    I think I would
    Like a cone.

    So, if you please,
    Another ride
    Where you have buyed
    Cold sweets for these
    Big teeth of mine.
    I’ll lick it up;
    Not in a cup
    A cone is fine!

    I know last time
    I got brain freeze
    And had to sneeze
    And left some grime;
    This time I’ll eat
    Very neatly
    And completely
    In the back seat.

    You’ll have no mess
    I’ll eat with flair
    No wear and tear,
    Nor drippy-ness.
    My tongue will wrap
    Around my jaws,
    and then my paws
    I'll quickly lap.

    Slurp steering wheel
    Lick floor and door
    Could I do more
    To seal the deal?
    I've heard it said
    That you would scream
    For this I-scream;
    I'll bark instead!

    ©2012, Donna JT Smith

    1. Donna, I love the build and build and ah, reveal at the end! Thank you for sharing. I can certainly use it. Happy day to you!

    2. Oooh, one edit though...I changed "Big teeth of mine" to "Sweet tooths of mine"...make that little change and I'll be bigly and sweetly pleased! You will have to have your kids find the two "dog words" in the poem..."tooths" and "buyed".

  5. Poor lionfish who can't grrr or even purr! Love this, Irene, and thanks for inviting us to share. I have a crocodile poem from my book LIZARD LOU that you might be able to use:

    Coward Crocodile

    My snout is long,
    my teeth are sharp,
    my bite is hard and strong.
    But when I see
    a slimy eel,
    I squeal and scream “So long!”

    I run with speed,
    my claws can scratch,
    my tail can crush a stone.
    So why do I
    cry in the dark
    when I am left alone?

    I don’t like bugs
    or snakes or storms,
    nor my cousins in the Nile!
    Sometimes I even
    scare myself—
    I’m just a coward crocodile.

    “Coward Crocodile” by Renée LaTulippe. Licensed by All About Learning Press, Inc. Copyright © 2010, 2012 All About Learning Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

    1. Renee, I love the unexpectedness of the cowardly crocodile! Thank you so much for sharing. The kids will enjoy it too.

  6. The Dragonfly's Song

    Could there be anyone
    as beautiful and dangerous, as I?
    I dash and sweep
    through sky;
    pausing on cattails, upward sweep
    and land on grass,
    without a shake.

    I rush, I dive, midair I stand.
    I hold the world at my command.

    1. Katya, I love this! Lovely. "I hold the world at my command." The kids will love it too! Thanks for sharing

  7. No time to write a poem right now, sadly, but I just wanted to say how much I love everyone else's!!

    1. Thank you, Julie... to everything there is a season... appreciate you stopping by1

  8. Ha, I just wrote a 5-minute poem as the response to a writing prompt at Susanna Hill's blog today. So here's another dragonfly ditty to go with Katya's ...

    I am the dragonfly
    cerulean as sky
    with delicate mesh wings
    dizzying, flittering
    amid sunbathing water lilies
    dipping into rich nectar
    winging on wispy breezes
    dancing on golden sunbeams
    like a flicker of fire
    I am the dragonfly

  9. These are great! (And I'd just come from Donna's doggie blog post today.) Irene, I could have stopped with yours at "pancake sun and butter moon" - gorgeous and fun!

    I'll see if I can dig something up if the day allows.... Thanks for sharing, and have a great time with the kids. They'll love it, and I'll bet they will come up with some great poems.

    1. Got your poem! Yay for sharks. Will share!! xo

  10. Update: a shark poem I had handy is swimming to an inbox near you. ;0)

  11. Love these. Let me think on this. I am inspired by the ones left on the comments.

    1. Write, Jone, write! I'd love to see what you come up with. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Lovely poem! Such an inspired idea to develop a poem from an animal's perspective. Would take an enormous amount of empathy to be able to write from another creature's vantage - a task that only celebrated poets such as yourselves can do. Loved it!

    1. Thank you, Myra! Isn't all writing an exercise in empathy? I appreciate you stopping by. xo

  13. What fun! Those library children are lucky to have you. Here is one...from not too long ago -


    My friends say I should not believe
    in things that can’t be true.
    But my heart believes one must exist
    as real as me or you.
    So I don’t listen to those who swear
    that things they cannot see aren’t there.
    I am a unicorn, free and wild,
    and someday I will find a child.

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

    1. Oooh, I remember this one from your blog! Perfect. Thank you so much!

  14. Remember poetry isn't my strong genre but here goes


    My eyes reflect your world
    But doesn't show my heart

    My trust is earned
    But doesn't win my heart

    My back will carry you
    But doesn't bare my heart

    Gentle words, soft hand
    Opens up my heart

    Kindred spirits facing the wind
    Hear the beat of my heart

    Free to race, free to be
    You are my heart

    1. Yes! I love this one... all that HEART. Thanks, friend! xo

  15. Irene- this is such a fun idea! I love your poem and the "with pancake sun/and butter moon" are such wonderful images! I wrote a dinosaur poem a while back that was published in DIZZY DINOSAURS. I don't know if it will fit your needs, but here goes!


    I am Saltopus.
    I am nasty and I'm mean.
    My teeth are sharp as daggers.
    My legs are strong and lean.

    I dine on luscious lizards,
    bugs are tasty snacks.
    I am a mighty hunter--
    and I'm ready to attack.

    I am Saltopus.
    My brain is rather small.
    I could be a Dino King--
    But I'm just one foot tall!

    © Linda Kulp

    1. Linda, this is wonderful! I will definitely use it. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Hi Irene, here's another croc!


    My skin is as gnarled as a knobbly tree
    but my bite is much worse than my bark.
    Come snooping too close to my watering hole
    and I’ll smuggle you into the dark -

    where I’ll wrestle the breath
    from your chest in the depths
    and soften you under a rock.

    Cold-blooded killer
    a flesh-tearing thriller -
    I’m merciless, murderous

  17. Thanks, Matt! The kids will love it!


Your thoughts?