Friday, January 3, 2014

A Michigan Inspired Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is here. I am delighted to share poetry with my PF friends and celebrate my state. It is the first Friday of the newest of years, 2014. I hope you enjoyed a spirit filled New Year's Eve and an even better beginning on New Year's Day. Celebrate Michigan with me as I take you on a tiny tour.

For Christmas I received the book, POETRY IN MICHIGAN IN POETRY, edited by William Olsen and Jack Ridl. It is a beautiful book of poems and artwork. The first poem is so striking to me I had to include it here today as I celebrate the way I see my home, Michigan.

At Burt Lake
           Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings. . .

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.

Read the rest here.

This poem speaks to me in a way I cannot describe any better than Andrews describes it here. The language of Michigan's beauty is a wonder and happens to you. Michigan is speaking. When you enter a forest in Michigan, the trees happen to you. When you gaze on the waters, they happen to you. When you trod on the trails and climb the ladderous roots of trees, they happen to you. It is the world in my eye and it happens to me. I see the poetry in Michigan at every turn. Everyone takes the views and interprets them for themselves. You take it in and it fills you like a dried up well overflowing with words, images, happens. When you smell a coneflowered field it never ends. It happens to you. Close your eyes, breathe in and let it happen.

We recently had an ice storm in Michigan. I was further north when the ice began to accumulate on every surface available including power lines surrounding my home. Many were left without power on Christmas and forced to wrap presents by candlelight. I was fortunate and did not come home to frozen pipes or the sounds of generators in my neighborhood. Instead I saw twinkling ice that appeared to preserve moments. The sleds in neighboring yards glued to front hills. The teetering tree branches and downed trees in our woods. The branch littered yard and splintered wood. Bushes held still with layers of lacquered ice glistening.

This photo was taken by a friend and I thought it went perfectly with my poem below. Forgive me for the poem's shape. It just felt right, like a melting icicle into a mirror of a melting icicle. Sometimes a poem happens the way it is suppose to. I won't question it, too much.
Photo by Mistelle Hollister


Listening. I hear the ice trickle
spirit of the glittering veil
the sparkle and clink
as the melt is
by snow.
moments preserved
until thaw, a quenching
drip for a deer’s tongue as
he sips refreshment of winter.

I had hoped to go snowshoeing in December but following the ice we had warmer temperatures making it impossible. I would have to settle for a walk in my boots. However, in my fantasy of snowshoeing through the woods of pine and birch, this is how I imagined it. Not a true diamante poem, but again, it felt right.

floating on
powdery trail’s
fresh fallen snow
with my eyes casting up
I see skyscraping branches paint
brushing the clouds of puffy white snow
that clatter together in a forest song
I sing along in a hum of nature
as flakes melt on my
tongue tasting
flurries of

Spring cannot come too soon when you've entered a March snow storm. However, the melting, though slushy below, is beautiful above as branches are finally relieved of their weight.

Springing back
branches bounce
as the forgotten sun
sprinkles its light
onto the brown
bringing greens and hues of pink
in the sky on morning's
back to work.

Summer sunsets in Michigan are perhaps the most beautiful sight on a Michigan lake. Here is an old poem revisited from a summer sunset on an evening in July. 

Photo by Betsy Hubbard

Lake Michigan
A blinding glare
paints squints and smiles.
The sunlit waves
and sand for miles.

Estates of 
Dukes and Yorks abound.
Then washed away,
the sun goes down.

Orange and pink
strokes of bliss.
Soothing sprays 
of happiness.

stares into my eyes.
My toes sink in,
my paradise.

If you have ever taken a color tour in Michigan you know that every hue is present. Crayola couldn't come up with a name for every color that Michigan provides. It is truly a breath taking sight to drive over a hill revealing a colorful bed below.

Fire like colors,
breezes that blow
confetti of 
to my toe

I hope I was able to transport you through each season of Michigan. I am so proud to live here and take in all the scenes as they happen to me.

Enjoy more poetry offerings as I round-up the day's poems below.

Here we go!
Robyn, at Life on the Deckle Edge is in with a poem about "Home" from a new/old treasure, a hefty and original 1888 book from a friend. 
Buffy's Blog joins in with a spidery moonlight poem she recently had published in Spider Magazine! 
Myra from Gathering Books continues to feature poet, Nerisa Guevara. The poem Tremors will have you trembling at forgotten memories of lost love. 
Violet Nesdoly brings us a New Year's Resolution gone bad. I'm sure you can relate!
Julie Larios from The Drift Record has broken her new year's resolution already and posted a poem by Hailey Leiithauser, winner of this year's Emily Dickinson First Book Award. 
Greg Pincus gives us a preview of his year ahead at Gottabook.
Charles Ghigna shares a poem called Moon Tree over at the Bald Ego
Jone from Check it Out share the diverse selection of poets nominated for the CYBILS.
Tabatha Yeatts joins in from The Opposite of Indifference with a winter poetry swap. 
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes welcomes in the new year with a lofty goals and a poem by Tabatha Yeatts from the Winter Poem Swap on Today's Little Ditty
Liana shares her thoughts about the new year at Commas Have Wings.
Amy takes us back in time with her poem and a few announcements! Go visit her on The Poem Farm.
Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff joins us with a Robert Frost poem about a seeking a sunset bird in winter. 
Reading to the Core comes with a poem from the Irish poet, Eavan Boland. Be sure to visit This Moment
Laura Purdie Salas jumps in with an orchestra of winter noise on this cold Poetry Friday. 
Linda at Write Time shares a birthday poem and her outlook on a new year!
Linda at Teacherdance shares a beautiful poem by Edith Sodergran. 
Becky at Tapestry of Words shares an antonym diamante poem and shares a bit about her secret love for January.
Mrs. Nosal of Read For Your Life brings us a poem about a Snow Day by Billy Collins. 
You will appreciate the humor in Mary Lee's post at A Year of Reading. She shares a series of Agnes comics on writing poetry. 
Margaret Simon from Reflections on the Teche shares a poem about egrets in Mississippi. 
Steven Withrow from Crackles of Speech takes us on a Morning Walk after a fresh snow fall. 
Irene Latham shares her One Little Word of 2014 at Live Your Poem
Ruth at There's No Such Thing As A God-Forsaken Town shares a poem about God's garden. 
Diane Mayr brings us three offerings today: A post card exchange at Random Noodling A poem for a snow day at Kurious Kitty And last, a haiku quote at KK's Kwotes
Cathy from Merely Day By Day joins in with a poem about the mighty evergreen who in any other season might get lost among the trees. Mrs. Bennett shares a snow day celebration with Billy Collins at Used Books in Class
Tara at A Teaching Life brings us a poem that celebrates the silence of snow. Anastasia Suen shares a haiku in celebration of the CYBILS at Poet! Poet!
Bridget Magee shares a loose tooth poem at Wee Words for Wee Ones.
This week at Slayground we get a dose of Mary Oliver. Love her. 

Keri from Keri Recommends brings us a story of her grandmother and a song they shared for a brief moment on a recent visit. 
Mainely Write brings us a Static Cat full of alliteration. 
Robin from Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders comes with a OLW post and shines brightly. 
Joy from Poetry for Kids Joy is joining us with a poem about opening doors.
Kelly comes to us with a poem celebrating football season! Check her out at Writing and Ruminating
Dia Calhoun joins in with a poem from her book Eva of the Farm. 


  1. Happy New Year, Betsy, and thanks for hosting the first Roundup of 2014! Your post certainly makes me want to visit your beautiful state. Thanks for the tour through the seasons - I didn't know Michigan was so colorful!

    I'm in with a poem about "Home" from a new/old treasure - a hefty original 1888 book given to me by a savvy and thoughtful friend.

  2. Thanks for hosting, Betsy, and for the wonderful Michigan poems. We are away from Michigan until June, and I enjoyed glimpsing home through your poems.
    I'm in with "In the Moonlight" a winter poem of mine (inspired by a Michigan view!) at

  3. Hi there Betsy, thank you so much for hosting and having this up extra early. I am in awe of your editing and layout skills. I am unable to do this kind of layout in Wordpress. It looks gorgeous as are the words. The diamante poem made me sigh. Beautiful.

    My Poetry Friday Contribution this week is "Tremors" from our featured poet, Nerisa Guevara. It speaks of quake-shaped forgotten memories that linger. Here's the link:

  4. Happy New Year, Betsy! Thanks for hosting. I love your enthusiasm for the beauty of your home state. It makes me want to visit! It sounds like your winter break has been enriched with poetry! Enjoyed all your lyrical poems.

    My PF contribution today is a little ditty on resolutions. "January, February" is here:

    Violet N.

  5. What a wonderful collection of wintry poems, Betsy! If that's what Michigan is like, I need to visit it (have I really only landed at the Detroit airport and never wandered out into Michigan's countryside?) Love what you said about the crayons not being able to measure up! Thank you for posting the poems you wrote, and for Tom Andrew's lovely poem, too.

    Over at The Drift Record ( I've broken a resolution already and posted a poem by Hailey Leiithauser, winner of this year's Emily Dickinson First Book Award.

    Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

  6. You've painted a great picture of Michigan... and while I'd love to visit, you also made me happy to be in sunny LA right now.

    I'm up with an original for the new year - The Year in Preview.

    Thanks for hosting!

  7. Thanks, Betsy. We're watching the "Moon Tree" spread her magic today at the BALD EGO blog

    Art by my son, Chip Ghigna

  8. So wintry. Maybe some of winter will head my way. Thank you for hosting. I wrote a fib in honor of the CYBILS Poetry finalist announcement.

  9. You are the best poetic tour guide, Betsy! I particularly liked the "Springing back" poem and the image of encapsulated moments from "Ice." Thank you for hosting!
    I have a Winter Swap poem by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes today:
    Happy 2014!

  10. Happy New Year, Betsy! And thank you for hosting PF today. :)

    I have never been to Michigan, but now that I've caught a glimpse through your magical poetry, I'm sure that I must visit. I'm not certain why you seem to "apologize" for your shape poems-- I think they're beautiful! (Especially drawn to Ice.) And I agree, poems "happen" in whatever way they deem best... evidently, much like your beloved home state!

    On Today's Little Ditty, I welcome the new year with a lofty goal and a lovely poem by Tabatha Yeatts from the Winter Poem Swap.

  11. Beautiful poetry, Betsy! I live in rural upstate New York, and experienced the beauty of that same ice storm. Amazing that even in destruction, there is beauty. Thanks for sharing, and for hosting the round-up today. At Commas Have Wings, I share my thoughts about the New Year.

  12. What a delightful "tiny tour" of a state I have never visited but now dearly wish to! I love that icy pinecone just waiting to treat a deer to a drink. Thank you for hosting Poetry Friday and for beginning the year so beautifully... Over at The Poem Farm, I am back with a poem inspired by a family scrapbook that recently came into my hands.

  13. These are lovely! Especially the sparkle and clink of that icicle. I'm not posting today--just stopped by to check out the roundup. Happy 2014!

  14. Hail to the Michigan poems! Your poems are terrific. Thank you for hosting this week. At NC Teacher Stuff, I have posted a Robert Frost poem titled Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter:

  15. Your Michigan poems are lovely, Betsy. I especially like the lines "Springing back/branches bounce/as the forgotten sun/sprinkles its light..." There is no sprinkling sunlight in Connecticut this morning, just gusty, blowing snow!
    Today I'm sharing "This Moment" by Irish poet Eavan Boland:
    Thanks for hosting today, and Happy New Year!

  16. OK, I lied. Your icicles and image you shared inspired my daily poem: Song of the Ice Storm. I posted it at Thanks, Betsy!

  17. Your wintry poems make me want to visit Michigan! We had a snowstorm here yesterday so we have lots of the white stuff around here too. I'm in today at with some thoughts about the new year and a birthday poem!

  18. Wow, Betsy, the book you received sounds lovely, and then your poems are terrific, too. I love the melting one with branches springing. Hope this latest storm doesn't take your electricity either! Thanks for hosting! I am sharing a poem to start the year from an old anthology I love.

  19. Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday today, Betsy, and for the tour of Michigan! It sounds like a truly beautiful place. I love the poetry you shared, and your original poems! In my Poetry Friday post today I'm welcoming January with a diamante poem.

    1. It won't let me post a comment for some reason, so I am leaving one here.
      I too like the calm of January and hope you find it lasts for you all the way through winter.

  20. Thank you for hosting. These are beautiful poems, and I also love the images you included. I will check out the book! I posted my poem at

  21. Oops! I almost forgot to link in! This week, I've got a series of Agnes comics on writing poetry.

  22. I've never been to Michigan. Thanks for taking me there is poetry.
    My post features a new poem about egrets in the lake near my parents' home in Mississippi.

  23. Thanks for hosting, Betsy. Excellent post. Today I have an original poem -- "Morning Walk" -- inspired by the January weather outside my window:

  24. Betsy, your post is like a love poem to Michigan! I especially love our paragraph about letting Michigan happen to you. Lovely! Also the first two lines of the Tom Andrews Poem. Oh, I FEEL that. Thank your sharing your shape poems and for hosting PF today. I'm in with my One Little Word for 2014.

    1. I have to agree with Irene. Though this paragraph didn't have the shape of a poem, it sure had its rhythms and beautiful language.

  25. Thanks for hosting! Here's my post for today:

  26. Wow, I've never been to Michigan, but I surely must go now! Your love for it sparkles!

    Today, at Random Noodling, I share my 2014 New Year's postcard exchange experience.

    Kurious Kitty has "Constant North" by J. F. Hendry.

    And at KK's Kwotes, there is a quote about my favorite form, haiku.

  27. Betsy,
    You make me want to visit Michigan. Beautiful words.

    I'm so excited you are hosting today's event --- and that I managed to get a poem ready. I too am enjoying the wintery beauty, but in Ohio. Today's poem is an original about the evergreen. The evergreen goes unnoticed much of the year in my backyard. However, it finds its moment in the contrast of the blue sky and wintery white ground.

    Today's Poem, Winter Royalty:

  28. Snow Day celebration with Billy Collin's aptly named poem "Snow Day"...
    You probably are used to this "holiday" as well!
    Thank you for hosting this week.

  29. Thanks for hosting today, Betsy, and for gifting us with these beautiful poems - each lovely and evocative of your state in its wintry wonder. I'm thinking snow, too, with this poem:

  30. Thanks for hosting, Betsy! I love the icicle mirror shape -- very clever!

    Today @ Poet! Poet! I am sharing a haiku about the CYBILS poetry shortlist.

  31. Happy New Year and Poetry Friday, Betsy! Thank you for hosting today and sharing your frigid poetry.
    My poem for today is an original poem entitled "Loose Tooth":

  32. Thanks for hosting the roundup today! Happy new year, everyone!

    I posted I Want to Write Something So Simply by Mary Oliver at my blog, Bildungsroman:

  33. Hi Betsy! Thanks for hosting our first gathering of 2014! I'm feeling late to the party, but I'm in at Keri Recommends with the lyrics to Bridge Over Troubled Water after a visit to see my 93-year-old grandmother.

  34. Happy New Year, Betsy! Thanks for hosting #1 in 2014!
    I just celebrated Christmas this week when family was able to get together. The cat celebrated, too!

  35. Betsy, this is such a fantastic trip through Michigan's beauty. I loved every little bit of it!

    Today I am sharing a poem that began as a little unshakable phrase and grew into no only this poem, but also my OLW for 2014.

  36. Betsy,
    Thanks for the pictures of the cold and the snow. I'm in Tucson and enjoying our warm weather. It has been an exciting week for me. I just passed my 1,000 blog post. So I've posted over 1,000 poems. And I've tried many forms in the last year.
    I have a little poem about opportunity posted today with a writing challenge for the New Year.
    I'm at

    Happy 2014

  37. Love your poem choices for today. I'm in with an original poem called "Football Season" in honor of playoff season. Here's the link: Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

  38. I love your poem shapes! My offering is The Apple Witch by 12-year-old Eva from my middle grade verse novel EVA OF THE FARM.