Friday, July 29, 2022

If Cows Were Red or Yellow (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Marcie Atkins for Roundup.

A bit of a rough week here in LathamLand, traveling to help my mom through round of chemo, only to have those plans foiled by covid—which has delayed her treatment until next week. In the meantime a series of other unfortunate events, but nothing that can't be overcome. Thanks for your prayers and well mom is a trooper!

I decided to write about cows, because my mom LOVES cows. She has a long history with them, not the least of which was her 4-H Grand Champion dairy cow, Penny.

Mary Hedden (16) & Penny

The art I found invites imagination, so I was able to bring in some thoughts/ideas/imaginings I've had lately about the word "someday."

I've always loved the promise of "someday," but recently I read/heard (somewhere) that "someday" is a meaningless word, because there's no real date/time associated with it. It's all pie in the sky, as any future could happen—or not. Which begs the question, what in the world is certain anyway? Not that got my cows making the long walk home!

What are your thoughts/feelings on the word "someday"? 

Here's my poem. Thank you so much for reading.


cows will be red or yellow
we'll fill our pails with orange milk

escape the swelter, take shelter in a barn
where cool dirt curls between our toes—

remember brown cows, sweet milk?
our together-breath will purple the air

such joy a secret delicious thing
in the land of what may or may not be

- Irene Latham

Friday, July 22, 2022

Camel poem

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit marvelous Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading for Roundup. 

I'm at a doctor's office this morning—bleh! (Just yearly check-up time, so no worries.) Hope all of you are doing well and surviving the heat. (Another 'bleh!')

This week's ArtSpeak: Animals poem features a camel.

For a long time, I thought camels carried water in their humps. Not true! Also, I didn't know that camels are born without a hump. The hump develops as soon as the came begins to eat solid food. Here's a great list of other camel facts.

I'm drawn to camels for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the camel ride our family enjoyed (when I was a child) in front of the Great Pyramids in Egypt. "Our" camel was named "Florida"... at least until the next tourist-family came along and told the camel handler where THEY were from. :)

If you'd like a great dive into the mind of a camel, check out ONCE UPON A CAMEL by Kathi Appelt. 

And now here's my poem. I wanted to include facts about the purpose of a camel's hump(s), but in a roundabout apply-it-to-humans way. Thanks so much for reading.

Be a camel when you travel

carry inside you
        a suitcase
packed with provisions—

that way you'll weather
any delays with grace

you won't be distracted
by grit of hunger

your teeth won't chitter
no matter how bitter
the sandswept night

wherever you wander,
whatever your adventure

          you will be filled

- Irene Latham

Friday, July 15, 2022

Daffodil, Crow...and a Poem Grows

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections for Roundup.

You're invited to read my brand new post over at Highlights blog on How to Revise Poetry: 20 Questions to Ask. Hope you find it useful!

I've got my head down this week, closing in on a revision of a BIG historical novel, so my mind is full of the puzzle pieces that must fit together just so...

No wonder I wanted to write something short for this week's ArtSpeak: Animals poem.

 Well. You know how challenging the short form can be, right? And with my brain a bowl full of mush, I've had difficulty deciding which effort is the best I decided to include ALL my efforts here today. :)

Maybe this gives you a bit of a picture of the poetic pathways in my brain, the imaginative leaps, the way I like to play with sounds and images...I think this kind of sharing can be useful for any poet studying the craft—how do we get from idea to poem? For better or for worse, here's this week's path.

Please let me know which version you prefer! (I formatted the last one, since that's where I stopped.) Thanks so much for reading. 

Here's the art I selected:

untitled by Sohrab Sepehri 
(who was also a poet!)


Hope is a crow
finding a daffodil
in the snow

snow-dusted daffodil
smiles at a passing crow—
hello! hello!

eager daffodil
throws off blanket of snow—
hello crow

daffodil lifts head
from pillow of snow—
hello crow

crow doesn't know
to call it daffodil—
another sudden sun

what we call
crow calls hope

Daffodil in Love

She throws off
blanket of snow—
hello crow

trembling daffodil
throws off blanket of snow
hello crow

crow is first
to notice daffodil rising
from snow

crow is first
to notice new sun
climbing out of snow

crow is first
to notice daffodil rising—
snow queen

crow is first
to notice bold bloom
breaking free of snow

crow is first to notice
yellow petals burning
through late winter snow

crow folds its wings
before yellow snow queen—
hello spring

Friday, July 8, 2022

Goldfish Party (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit beautiful Jan at bookseedstudio for Roundup.

Today's ArtSpeak: ANIMALS poem features fish! I wasn't sure if the fish in the art were goldfish or koi—or something else! But the information I found here made me go with "goldfish." 

I've always loved fish ponds and aquariums...this art is my kind of party! Thank you so much for reading.

summer wind

stirs a party of goldfish—

orange confetti

-Irene Latham

Friday, July 1, 2022

Flamingo School of Dance (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Janice at Salt City Verse for Roundup.

I'm traveling today, but I do have an ArtSpeak: Animals poem to share with you. 

This art screams two things to me: "Florida!" And, "summer." 

I had a lot of fun playing with words to write a flamingo-dance poem. Thank you so much for reading!

Flamingo School of Dance

It may take
two to tango

but flamingo
prefers a tangle—

six legs
three long necks
one pool full
of fluffy
feathered skirts—


- Irene Latham