Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days

so much depends upon
a strong brown hand
raised above the crowd

-Andromeda Jazmon

Not my photo today, but in honor of his first 100 days in office my haiku is for our President Barack Obama. God Bless him and our country.

From the white house flickr stream: "While speaking at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center, Los Angeles, President Barack Obama's gestures 3/19/09.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza "

See a slide show of the set

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

playground duty

may 25 003

spring time
kindergarten recess;
caterpillar tickle

-Andromeda Jazmon

Monday, April 27, 2009

when it feels like summer

apr 26 020

showing off
for the hammock audience -
handstands on the grass

Sunday, April 26, 2009

afternoon soccer

april 27 021

cold purple grapes
on the soccer field sidelines;
the whistle blows

-Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 25, 2009



she spills the sun
tipping over the wet grass -

Andromeda Jazmon

Friday, April 24, 2009

New leaves; spring haiku

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hours ago
winter's dry sticks;
now green and hungry

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leaves so fresh
no bug has drawn juice;
praise be!

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damp from birth
and fuzzed with wonder;
April leaves

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday Poetry is hosted by Lisa Chellman today. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Review: Cycle of Rice

Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming by Jan Reynolds. Review copy. This is the story of sustainable rice farming on the island of Bali, a part of Indonesia that has been a major rice producer for thousands of years. The whole island is networked with a complex system of irrigation canals and channels that move fresh water from the top of volcanic mountains to each farmer's fields in time for rice planting. Working together, and organized by the local priests and water temples, the people were able to coordinate an intricate, reoccurring pattern of planting, harvesting, and rejuvenating their fields. From planning the annual flooding of the fields for planting to grazing ducks in the fallow fields after harvest, all aspects of the cycle ensured a good harvest. Modernization put a few bumps in the system, but Reynolds shows us how the people have reinvigorated their community ways and are now rebuilding their traditional networks.

Beautifully illustrated with full color, full page photographs by Jan Reynolds, this book is a fabulous resource for middle grade and above students looking into sustainability, cooperative economics, and environmental development. Use Cycle of Rice: Cycle of Life to teach the Quaker SPICES testimonies of Integrity, Community and Equality. Free downloadable ebooks, videos and teaching guide can be found at Reynold's site here.

Visit other blogs in this book tour:
Apr 22- PaperTigers
April 30- Lori Calabrese Writes!
May 8- Into the Wardrobe

Author chat with Jan Reynolds at Lee & Low (publisher).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poem for Earth Day

new maple leaves

My window opens on the world
where all things green have room to grow.
My gaze looks out on flags unfurled;
my window opens on the world.
Jade hands that once in fists were curled
now joyful resurrection show.
My window opens on the world
where all things green have room to grow.

-Andromeda Jazmon

Miss Rumphius has challenged us this week to write a poem about what we see outside our window. My window looks out on this maple tree just bursting into leaf. The day the maple leaves emerge is always like the true heart of spring for me; this year it happened right next to Earth day! My poem is a triolet. Check out the comments on Trisha's challenge post to see some awesome window poems by other poets, and check back later in the week at Miss Rumphius for her round up post.

If you haven't been reading Trisha's Poetry Makers series you have a treat in store. She is interviewing and highlighting the poetry of children's poets every day this month. Go see!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

wisteria buds

wisteria buds

cold rain falling;
extravagant buds

-Andromeda Jazmon

A couple years ago I realized the weed on the side of the porch was actually wisteria. I bought a trellis and started training it. This is the first time I've seen bud appear. In a couple weeks it's going to be covered in gorgeous purple hanging flowers. I'm so excited!

Monday, April 20, 2009



playground clown
losing his nose paint:
love or fear?

-Andromeda Jazmon

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wildflower haiku

spring beauties

sudden little stars
strewn along our every path -
spring beauties

-Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spice Bush

spice bush

spice bush girls
bloom along the bottom lands -
aromatic breezes!

Andromeda Jazmon

Read about the Northern Spice Bush here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Barn Wall

barn wall

I stopped a while
beside the wall, gathering
blossom petals

-Andromeda Jazmon

Cherry Blossom Poetry

fifty springs

It's that time of year, when the cherry trees burst into bloom. My drive to school is one lovely vision after another. I've been thinking of this poem by A. E. Housman:

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

The top photo there, with the last stanza of Housman's poem, I submitted to the Free Verse Project at

Of course, I have also been reading haiku. Traditional Japanese haiku always contain a season word and cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring. I have been reading my well-worn copy of Harold G. Henderson's An Introduction to Haiku. Here are some of my favorites:

To cherry blooms I come,
and under the blossoms go to sleep -
no duties to be done!

They blossom, and then
we gaze, and then the blooms
scatter, and then...

On the plum tree
one blossom, one blossom-worth
of warmth.

As bell tones fade,
blossom scents take up the ringing -
evening shade!

blossom branch

Today's Friday Poetry round up is being hosted at Becky's Book Reviews. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

moon watching

moon in staff

lift your eyes -
above the gas station
moon music

-Andromeda Jazmon

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Being Green

new green

ruby buds
open into emeralds;
a new day

-Andromeda Jazmon

I go back to work after more than two months medical leave. It feels like starting all over in a new year. Green is good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter baskets

Easter baskets

the turning of the year;
new watches

-Andromeda Jazmon

In their Easter baskets I put chocolate, bunnies, books... and new watches for the little boys. Guess what was the favorite thing?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter haiku


icy wind
twirling skirts
daffodils ablaze!

-Andromeda Jazmon

Yesterday was a beautiful day of blue skies and blooming spring flowers.... and freezing wind. Our Easter egg hunts were done joyfully but with shivers, clutching our light jackets and sweaters and exclaiming at the wind. Hope you had a joyous day full of gratitude, as I did.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Looking at a stink bug

apr 11 027

bugs and boys
have this in common:
speed and stillness

-Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Golden Hour

honey sunlight

evening light
lingers on the forsythia -
not finished dancing

-Andromeda Jazmon

Baby books with transracial families?

I have a friend who has just adopted an African American baby. She and her husband are white. I want to give them some baby board books where the families are multiracial. So far I have chosen:

Global Babies, by Global Fund for Children. Babies of all ethnicities from around the world. Not multiracial families but diverse nonetheless.

More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams. Three different cute kiddos in a variety of ethnicities and family mixtures. A classic!

Diddle, Diddle Dumpling, by Tracey Campbell Pearson. One of my all time favorite nursery rhymes, illustrated here with a brown-toned family.

Whose Toes are Those? by Jabari Asim. I reviewed this one an a couple others last year. It's one of our family favorites.

I was standing in my favorite indie bookstore with a gift certificate in hand and my mind was a blank as to what to request. Any suggestions? Help me out here please!

Edited to Add: Check out this recent post at Booklights, the PBS parent's blog about inspiring a love of reading in your children. Susan Kusel (Wizards Wireless) has a great list of suggestions.

Easter Basket Books 2009

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For the last three years I have posted a list of what's in our Easter Baskets. Along with the chocolate and stuffed bunnies I like to include a bunch of good books. Here are the posts from 2006, 2007, and 2008. We've got everything from baby board books to beginning readers and chapter books to adult titles. It's interesting to me to see the way my boys have grown over the last four years through the books we've bought.

This year I have:

For Punkin (4 years old)

Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
Stories Huey Tells by Ann Cameron
Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie (DVD)

For Buddy (6 years old)

The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron
More Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron
Veggie Tales: The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (DVD)

What's in your Easter Baskets?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Traffic haiku

apr 9 002

waiting in traffic;
snatching at the bold blue sky
under magnolias

-Andromeda Jazmon

Review: The Cuckoo's Haiku

and Other Birding Poems by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows. Candlewick Press, 2009. Review copy. These thoughtful and descriptive haiku poems are delightfully illustrated with watercolor illustrations of the birds by Stan Fellows. Rosen takes particular features of the individual birds, such as their song, flight patterns, or eating habits, and crafts flowing images for us with spare, colorful words. He pulls the bluebird's plumage from the sky and plays with his song of spring's announcement. He compares the shape and long feeding preferences of the cardinal to quotations marks at dawn and dusk, and shows us sparrows as "a mitten-warmed fist". the haiku are organized by season, focusing on birds that are active and present in North America as the world turns. One of my favorites is for the Dark Eyed Junco, a bird that frequents my yard all winter. In the back of the book Rosen has a short paragraph about each bird that highlights the markings and habits which spoke to him in the writing of his haiku. About juncos he said: "most have very white underbellies. In traditional haiku poetry, the poet often looks for a sign of time passing. As juncos hop across the snow, they look like phases of the moon: bird-shaped half moon, quarter moon, crescent moon: a lunar calendar."

phased like tilted moons
half shadow, half reflection
juncos across the snow

Fellow's illustrations on every page are reflect the features Rosen has woven into his haiku. The birds are well drawn and their habitats are natural and realistic. I particularly enjoyed the way the American Crow illustrations shows an apple tree in white bloom with dark crows roosting up the center branches to match the haiku that calls the tree "one peeled fruit" and the birds "crow-seeds at its core". Perfect!

Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry, traditionally with 17 syllables in three lines. In English the syllabule count has some flexibility. Usually the poems have to do with nature and mark the seasons. They should show sharp, clear images of one moment in time, bringing the reader present to that experience. The best haiku give us an "Aha!" revelation by contrasting two images.

In an interview with the Zanesville Times Rosen explains his writing of the birding haiku: "Birding and writing poetry have been a part of my life for decades," he said by e-mail. "When I began writing haiku, rather than other forms that are more familiar, they sort of take over. So many observations suddenly had an opportunity to try to become a poem. My head percolated with alternative versions of poems. Haiku is a way of culling things from the stream of things that rush past the senses."

"Haiku is a way of culling things from the stream of things that rush past the senses." Yes - Exactly!!

This book will make a wonderful edition to every library or home. Children will enjoy finding the birds around their home environment after reading the haiku and noting the markings and feeding routines shown in the book. Birding adults who have spent many cold mornings out in the wild will relish the chance to celebrate old friends from the comfort of a warm chair. I've got this book on my gifts-to-be -given list this spring and you should too!

I was asked in the comments last week if I could recommend some other haiku books. Here's a post from a while ago where I listed some of my favorites, with links to other blogger's lists.

There's a Friday Poetry round up going on at Carol's Corner. Go enjoy some great poetry! And since it's still National Poetry Month, be sure to keep checking in with all the bloggers doing special features and daily poetry in this link list. Please come back here later in the day for my daily haiga (photo & haiku) posting. I'm doing haiku every day this month.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Multiflora Rose Haiku

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this emerald
flashing all along the ditch
guarded by thorn

-Andromeda Jazmon

Multiflora rose is an invasive species, crowding out native species and forming impenetrable thickets. It is opportunistic in putting out leaves first in spring, grabbing as much sunshine as possible before the trees leaf out. As harsh as the thorns appear I can't deny that the tender leaves are lovely.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hen and chicks plant haiku

hen and chicks plant

morning's chilled mist
glows over the newly green;
church bells peal

-Andromeda Jazmon

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Baby Quilts

aunt j's baby quilt

her child all grown
she treasures the baby quilt;
too precious to use

I spent the afternoon sewing a baby quilt for a friend. It made me think of this quilt, made for me by an aunt. I loved it so much I never let the baby use it at all. It's folded up in my closet, a treasure never snuggled. My baby is 21 years old now. I hope my friend lets her baby use the quilt I made and she loves it to tatters.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lilac Bud Watch

lilac buds

raised purple fist
or blessed Easter challis?
lilac buds emerge

-Andromeda Jazmon

I am posting a haiku a day for National Poetry Month. Check out what other blogging poets are doing here.

Review: Sprout Your Own Leafy Wonders

Complete mini garden kit with seeds, peat pellets, planters and instruction booklet. Text by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Robert Shadbolt. Chronicle books, 2009. Review copy. This is the perfect time of year to start a gardening project with kids. Everything sprouts with joy in the spring! My boys and I had so much fun trying out this gardening kit called Sprout Your Own Leafy Wonders (click that link to read a sample of the instruction book and learn about the lamb's ear plant included in the kit). The kit includes seeds for the sensitive plant, whose leaves curl up and play dead when touched, the lamb's ear plant, whose leaves are super soft and fuzzy, and the polka dot plant, whose leaves look splashed with paint.

The booklet has easy to understand directions and descriptive text that tells about each plant. Step by step you will prepare your pots, seeds and growing location and then sit back to enjoy the magic. All the necessary growing conditions are explained and gardeners are encouraged to take notes on the journal pages in the back of the book. It's a science project that is easy and fun for everyone. The book is illustrated with simple, instructive drawings showing the insides of plants and seeds, as well as photographs of the project and the growing plants. Kids from 3 to 10 will have lots of fun while learning some of the mysteries of the plant world.

This is how it worked for me and my two sons, age 4 and 6. We prepared the included peat pellets by soaking them in water for 15 minutes. My little guys were fascinated to watch the flat peat pellets slowly expand as they absorbed the water and grew into fist-sized balls. Then we put the peat into the cute little brightly colored plastic pots, which we had decorated with the included face stickers. The boys sprinkled the seeds over the peat and covered them up snugly. They watched eagerly every day for sprouts and sure enough after about five days we saw our first shoots pushing up. It has been so exciting every day to watch the progress of our little sprouts! We look forward to transplanting our new plants into pots or out in the garden. This is such a fun project for kids and parents.

We also tried Chronicle's Sprout Your Own Sweet Scents mini garden kit. This kit includes seeds for Spearmint, Cinnamon Basil, and Lemon Balm. I am so excited about these addition to our herb garden. The boys are thrilled to be able to grow such fragrant plants that they can actually add to salads or cold drinks.

These kits are easy to use, include everything you need to really start your indoor garden, and are very rewarding an activity for kids and families. I think they would make a great birthday party present or addition to your Easter Baskets. A real hands-on project that teaches kids some of the wonders of nature.

There is a nonfiction roundup of children's books over at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub today so go take a peek!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

April Weather Haiku

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rain drops
cling to trembling petals
till the sun breaks

- Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rainy morning haiku

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watching the rain
from morning's brightest window;
change in plans

- Andromeda Jazmon

Friday, April 03, 2009

Daffodil Haiku

daffodils at the fence

all along the fence
narcissus nodding, watching -
what will the wind bring?

-Andromeda Jazmon

I am posting a haiku a day for National Poetry Month. Check out what other blogging poets are doing here.

The Friday Poetry round up is hosted at ayuddha today. Enjoy!

National Poetry Month Links

April being National Poetry Month in the US, I thought I would do a round up here of all the blogs I know of that are doing Poetry every day this month. I know there are lists other places as well, but this is what I've found. If you are doing something and want to be added just leave a comment and let me know. Please grab a comfy chair and something to sip, click around and enjoy some extra poetry every day!

Read, Write, Poem is a community of writers all doing poetry this month. You can join to fun by writing, posting and linking, or you can just go read. Daily prompts offered as well.

Susan is one of the poets participating at Read, Write, Poem by posting her work each day. Her blog is called Black Eyed Susan. It's one of my favorite places to visit.

Mary Lee says, " here at A Year of Reading, we will be spotlighting a book of poetry every day this month -- some new books, but lots of old favorites."

Franki told us about Bud the Teacher, who is offering writing prompts for poetry this month. If you are looking for inspiration check out his photos.

Liz in Ink is doing a haiku a day, just like me!

Jem, at the sound of splinters, posts really wowza haiku often, if not every day. This is not to miss!

Trisha, at The Miss Rumphius Effect, is posting interviews with children's poets every day. She has a great line-up here!

Gregory K. is doing 30 Days/30 Poets. He is sharing new original poems from children's poets that will knock your socks off.

Gregory told us about this fun link: "at Lynn Hazen's Imaginary Blog, they're talking bad poetry." Hmmmm.

Elaine Magliaro says, "Every week during April, I’ll be giving away children’s poetry books at Wild Rose Reader and books of light verse at Political Verses." She's also compiled this list: Resources for National Poetry Month 2009

Sylvia Vardell, at Poetry For Children, says, "This year, I'm planning a poetry-book-review-a-day on new 2009 poetry books for kids, with sample poems, activities for kids, and poet interview tidbits."

Anastasia Suen has a new blog called Pencil Talk where she is posting original poems written by school children. If you have a child poet in your circle pass this on! She says, "For Poetry Month 2009 I invite K-12 students to write their own school poems and send them to me so I can post them on this blog."

MsMac is encouraging her students to send poetry postcards this month. She says, "My goal: 30 poems in 30 days. Students will be invited to “Write a Poem Send a Postcard” Do you want to have a poem postcard delivered in your mailbox? Let me know."

Have I missed anyone? If you are doing poetry this month leave a comment and I'll add you to the list. And I almost forgot to mention - I am writing and posting photos with a haiku a day here on this blog. Stop by often!

And OF COURSE don't forget Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 30, 2009) :)

Edited to add:

Zetta Elliott, author of Bird and A Wish After Midnight, has taken up my challenge to post an original haiku every day on her blog Fledgling. Kuddos!

Susan Taylor Brown is trying something new. She says: "in addition to my native garden inspired Haiku per day I asked my publisher if I could have permission to do a few audio recordings of some poems from Hugging the Rock." You go girl!

Sara Lewis Holmes is giving us a poetry quote a day. What is poetry? go see!

David Elzey is tweeting his poetry every day. He's rounding up his tweets on Fridays. Boy that was fun to say! ;)

Kristy Dempsey says, "I'm having Poetry Conversations with not-the-usual-suspects, i.e. people I don't usually talk about poetry with!" She chosen some of her favorite poems and has fascinating discussions with some wonderful-regular people.

Kelly R. Fineman says, "I'm going to post at least one poem a day - all out of copyright, so expect stuff from dead poets - and I'm going to try to make some connection from one day to the next." It's like a very cool poetry chain over there at Writing and Ruminating!

11 year old poet Maya Ganesan is writing a posting a poem a day at Allegro. She is knocking my socks off!

Today's Poetry Friday round up is hosted by Amy Planchak Graves at ayuddha. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Haiku from the porch swing

bee at the catkin

before spring sunshine
draws open many blossoms;
bees find the catkins

-Andromeda Jazmon

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Let the Poetry Begin!

lenten rose

Fingers of sun
find the Lenten Rose this dawn -
nodding with dew.

- Andromeda Jazmon

April is National Poetry Month in the US. The site Read Write Poem is hosting a NaWriPoMo project for anyone who wants to commit to write a poem of some sort every day. Details here.

I plan to celebrate the month by writing and posting a haiku a day. I hope you will join me in enjoying a little extra poetry in your life this month. Check out what Trisha is doing at Miss Rumphius Effect: she's interviewing children's poets every day of the month and featuring some of their work. Today she's got Kenn Nesbitt!

Here is her introductory post with her schedule of poets. She also rounds up other bloggers in the kidlitosphere that are celebrating:

Greg K. at GottaBook is celebrating the first annual 30 Poets/30 Days, where every day in April he'll be posting a previously unpublished poem by a different poet!!

Sylvia Vardell at Poetry For Children will be reviewing a new children's poetry book every day.

Elaine Magliaro will be giving away children's poetry books at Wild Rose Reader and books of light verse at Political Verses in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Anastasia Suen at her new Pencil Talk blog will be collecting school poems written by children throughout April and posting one every day.

Jone, at Check it Out, will be doing a variety of poetry projects with students in her school, including a “Write a Poem-Send a Postcard” event with her students. Contact Jone if you would like to receive an original poem from one of her students.