Poetry Friday: The 2016 Progressive Poem is here!

national-poetry-month 2016

Poet/blogger Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem has been rolling through
the kidlitosphere all month, and it has finally arrived at my little corner o’ the web! Each day, a different writer adds a line, and on April 30 we’ll see how it ends when Donna at Mainely Writes adds the final line!

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemA structure began to take shape early on, and by and large the folks who have added to the poem have been keeping that form in place. When Jone MacCulloch added her line yesterday, she referenced a “divining seer” – which was the second mention of a person who is not the speaker.

So now we have the speaker, a child, and now a seer…for a wistful, dreamy sort of nature poem, there’s suddenly a lot of people around! So what is this seer doing? Who is he or she? Let’s find out…

Here is the poem, including my line:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life— seen and unseen.

Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams;

So the seer is…?? Could be the child, could be someone else, could be an animal – who knows? I’m betting Violet Nesdoly can fill us in when she adds her line tomorrow! 

(Side note: I originally ended my line with the word ‘smiles,’ but then realized that Violet’s word choices would be very limited for a rhyme. So I changed it to ‘beams’ not only because it allows for more rhyming words, but the noun version can be used as a ‘perch’! Get it?? I love poetry!)

Want to follow along? Care to see the thought process of the lines that have come before? The 2016 Progressive Poem is making a stop at the following blogs:


1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write


Poetry_Friday logoBy the way, if you have not had a chance to check out my post from this Tuesday, it’s a poem written by a teenage girl who falls under the autism spectrum, and it’s quite moving and insightful…I do hope you’ll take a look at it!

And for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup – along with a surprising poem about water and echoes – please visit Michelle H. Barnes’ blog, Today’s Little Ditty!


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36 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The 2016 Progressive Poem is here!

  1. margaretsmn

    perch and beams, who or what could this be? I didn’t get the double meaning of beams until you said it. Yes, poetry is so fun like that!


  2. Irene Latham

    Matt, I love how you’ve helping define the seer…without defining the seer, only giving clues! And how thoughtful of you to think of Violet and give her “beams” instead of “smiles”… rhyme does present it’s own particular challenges, doesn’t it?? Thank you!


    1. Thank you, Irene! One of the incredible things about poetry is that it’s open to interpretation, so I wanted to instill some of that ambiguity into the poem. As I mentioned, the seer might be a person or animal – but even the reference to “perch” is hopefully thought-provoking, as it doesn’t necessarily pertain to birds.


  3. Well, Violet has her work cut out for her! I’d thought the seer might be an owl, but I can’t picture them beaming… so, what will it be??? I’m staying tuned! Very nice poetic weaving!


  4. Wonderful to bring more to the seer, and I also thought the end word should be a helpful one for rhyming, Matt, and love that double “beams”, too.. It feels as if you’ve freed the seer to do something bigger now., my imagination’s going wild from your line!


  5. Janet F.

    I love this divining seer and wonder who or what or wear they will take the poem. Yes the beams….clever!! Nicely done and I am grateful I could end a stanza and not have to worry about the rhyme…..very thoughtful of you!! Perched, ready, wondering, eager……a seer…..hmmmmm.


    1. Thanks, Janet – and as I mentioned to Irene, even the word “perch” has more than one meaning – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bird! And whether or not Violet sheds light on this, is anyone’s guess…….


  6. Matt, I am intrigued by your line and love the word perch. I am thinking that the seer is the child or the narrator who is filled with the wonder of nature (hence the beaming smile is seen).


  7. It’s been fascinating to follow the progression of this poem and its unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed hearing a bit about your process as well. Love the double meaning of beams. Ahh….words!


  8. amyludwigvanderwater

    You are a generous passer-of-poems. So kind of you to think of that rhyming line. And I adore the mystery you left to the next writer too. But concrete at the same time. Well played!


  9. I’m catching up today, Matt, and here we are with perch and “beams”–so much the better choice than smiles, even without the rhymic challenge and the double meaning, because beam is just more *interesting* than smile, more specific and full. Now, if you had chosen “perch” and “bream,” we would have been headed somewhere fishy instead…


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