Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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Archive for the tag “snow”

The necessity of splashing in puddles

My 5-year-old son and his 19-month-old sister couldn’t stand being inside the other day. (truth be told, I couldn’t stand them being inside, either) Temps have been getting a bit warmer lately – even though tonight’s overnight temp is expected to be in the single digits F – and I really can’t blame them for wanting to go outside.

The problem is, there’s not much to DO, this time of year. When we had tons of snow during the winter, it was usually so bitterly cold I didn’t dare bring them out for more than a few minutes. Now that temps have moderated, all we have is hard, frozen snow that will break your back if you fall on it and pathways of grassy mud.

Can’t play on the snow, can’t play in the mud.

Boring.

But I dressed them in their snow pants and coats and boots and such and let them go outside, anyway, figuring they’d at least get some fresh air for a little while. They ended up (once again) teaching me a valuable lesson.

It’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal

That’s a rule of thumb I learned back when I was first learning about promotions, particularly radio promotions. You can take the simplest, blandest concept and, with enough excitement and hype, turn it into a big deal.

In this case, the kids taught me that what I thought was a big deal…really wasn’t.

Kids being kids, they are adept at finding all sorts of things to play with that aren’t toys – sticks, stones, snow shovels – and the one thing little Babycakes discovered was a puddle on the edge of our dirt driveway.

To her, it was the most amazing, awesomest thing, ever.

And I almost killed her joy.

Letting go of “grown-up” mentality

Grey & Phoebe - puddleWe grown-ups really have a knack for putting the kibosh on our kids’ fun. It’s something I try to counter by using childlike perspective when I write…but actually putting it into practice isn’t always as easy as I’d like it to be.

You see, my first reaction was to tell her “no,” pick her up out of the puddle, and set her onto our gravel walkway. Which is what I did.

Grey & Phoebe - puddle 2Independent-minded little lady that she is, she immediately turned around and walked right back into the puddle, splashing her feet and flailing her arms in a chaotic, quasi-dance I can only describe as Fred-Astaire-meets-the-Ministry-of-Silly-Walks.

I was just about to tell her no again when I stopped myself. What was I doing? She had winter boots, snow pants, a coat, and mittens. Who cared if she splashed in the puddle???

It was fun, after all – there was no harm being done to anything or anyone – and I could think of no good reason to not let her have her fun.

If one gets to do it, they all have to do it

Her 5-year-old brother, upon seeing what was going on, had to jump in the fray. I watched the two of them, their faces lit up with smiles and love and streaks of wet earth – and couldn’t help but join in.

So there we were, on the edge of the driveway, splashing away…and I can only imagine what the folks driving past our house were thinking:

“Ridiculous waste of time.”

“Such silly, immature behaviour.”

“I wish I could do that.”

They soon tired of it, though, and moved on to other areas around the house – but I was glad I had the opportunity to splash in the mud with them. It got me thinking how often I, or even we as a society, make a big deal out of small things.

It’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal

My son likes to play with kitchen utensils like the spatulas, whisks, and ladles. I once started to get upset with him because he was just making more dirty dishes for me – but then it occurred to me, who cares? Is it that big a deal? No.

My daughter doesn’t eat sandwiches like normal human beings (granted, she’s not yet 2), and instead prefers to separate each piece of bread and then eat them face-forward, like eating a pizza top-down, starting with the toppings and working your way down to the crust. I’ve attempted to stop her – but again, who cares? Is it that big a deal? No! Heck, at least she’s eating it.

And how many times have we stopped what we were doing to leave a comment on a Facebook wall or online news story, when we really didn’t need to? I’ve come to the realization that my opinion about most things doesn’t matter to anyone, so I’m not going to waste my time sharing it.

I’ve mentioned before here that, when you’re an adult, it’s difficult to not be a grown-up. But I’m trying. So I have to throw a few extra clothes in the washing machine, or load a few extra utensils in the dishwasher. None of it is a big deal, unless I make it a big deal.

Oh, and it look like the kids are finally asleep now. I need to go.

There’s a puddle outside with my name on it.

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Snow Blowing”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllSharing my newest poem today – something a little bit autobiographical that I plan on including in my winter-themed collection:

Snow Blowing

Dad likes to clear snow at night.
He says there’s something special about
being outside, by yourself
in the dark and cold
with nothing but the vrum, vrum, vrum
of the snow-blower
chewing up everything in its path
and shooting it skyward
like a winter volcano
erupting in a graceful arch
of snow and ice.

“You get a lot of thinkin’ done,”
Dad says.
“Just you and the machine
and one job to do.”

“It’s a certain kind of peaceful,”
he says.
“Clears your mind.”

I don’t really understand
how working so hard
in the dark and cold,
pushing, pulling,
angling, arching,
a lone light leading his way,
can be peaceful.
It seems like such…

…work.

But maybe I’ll learn
what Dad means
next winter,
when we get the snow-blower
and both go outside
together
to clear snow at night.

© 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Linda Baie is hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Teacher Dance, so head on over and check out all the links and poetry!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “What the Snow Clouds Know” / Rod McKuen / PFA

Before I get to today’s poem, first let me take a moment to offer my condolences for the family of Rod McKuen, poet, songwriter, and “accidental hipster,” as he was sometimes referred to.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMcKuen came to prominence in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and although critics generally had a negative view of his work, the populace had a different opinion. An honest, earnest writer, he captured the attention of many folks who didn’t even think they liked poetry – and that popularity helped him become one of the top-selling poets of our time.

In addition to releasing many poetry collections, he also had a hand in writing hit songs for Frank Sinatra (“Love’s Been Good to Me” and Terry Jacks (“Seasons in the Sun,” a reworking of a French song) and was nominated for two Academy Awards for his musical work on the film, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and the animated feature, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”

In his poem, “Age is Better,” McKuen compares his life as a young man to his life as an older fellow – and touches a few nerves:

I have been young,
…………..a fresh faced sprout,
with agile legs, a muscled arm and smile
to charm the world I went through
……..in a rush to get a little older, sooner.

Catching my reflection while passing past
………………….a looking glass not long ago
I discovered I was older, even old. There was
no sudden melancholy or regret, and yet
some sadness in the wonder that it happened
…………………………..while I wasn’t watching…

(read the poem in its entirety HERE)

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PFAC-front-cover-Nov-30-WEB-jpeg-705x1030

115 poets, 156 poems – in English AND Spanish – and somehow I was selected to be a part of it: it’s the latest Poetry Friday Anthology! Writers and educators Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell have once again put together an amazing collection of poems for students, teachers, and anyone who appreciates children’s poetry. Be watching for it in late March-early April! (for more info, just click the graphic)

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Cybils-Logo-2014I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks – revising a picture book manuscript, completing a new picture book manuscript, working on poems for yet another manuscript, and reading all the poetry collections nominated for this year’s CYBILS Awards.

As a 2nd-round judge, it’s a joy to be able to catch up on all the tremendous writing that has been published over the past year – but it’s a lot of work!  I’ll be updating you on the status of the awards as we get closer to making the final announcement.

Somehow, in the midst of all this – and while taking care of my wife, who’s getting over the flu – I managed to accept Michelle H. Barnes’ poetry challenge to write a “Deeper Wisdom” poem at her blog, Today’s Little Ditty. Being the shrewd kind of multi-tasker that I am, I used her challenge as an opportunity to write another poem for the collection I’m working on! (Kill two birds, right?)

So I invite you to head on over to her blog and check out TODAY’S POST, where she wraps up the challenge! You can see my take on Joyce Sidman’s “Deeper Wisdom” form along with many others. And for all of today’s Poetry Friday offerings, check out Paul W. Hankins’ blog, These 4 Corners!

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Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd2Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Good night”

It’s been a crazy week around here. We lost power and water on Sunday, and although we have both of them finally back as of today, we’re still without heat. Fortunately, we rely on the wood stove more than the oil furnace, so we’re doing ok.

Poetry_Friday logoThe reason I bring this up is because I’ve barely had any time – or even ability – to get any work done this week, let alone write. But as a writer, I’m always ‘working’, so I wanted to share this short little vignette which I wrote while thinking about the snow that was in the forecast for last night. As always, I hope you enjoy it…and be sure to visit Keri at Keri Recommends for today’s Poetry Friday celebration and a touching tribute to her dad from Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Good night

Like Mother’s whisper,
soft and low –
the gentle touch
of Autumn snow.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd2Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Lost Spring”

I hope you’re enjoying National Poetry Month! Since it’s been about 6 weeks or so since poetryfridaybutton-fulllI posted a poem that was not a children’s poem, I thought I’d share this. I wrote this almost two years ago, but like most poems, it has undergone numerous edits and revisions since that time. I’m pretty sure this is the final version…but then again, I can never be sure of that sort of thing. I should just be quiet.

I decided to record a reading of the poem, but I’ve been fighting allergies all week, so it almost sounds like me.  Of course, if you’re looking for more poetry, there’s plenty of it to go around; Diane Mayr at Random Noodling is hosting today’s  Poetry Friday festivities!

“Lost Spring”

Winter has been hanging on.

Like a corpse
refusing the grave
or bloody barbs deep
in the fish’s gullet
unrelenting
until
irresistible force
pulls life and flesh away,

yes, winter has been hanging on.

Ugly clouds crawl across
late April sky
slow as war machines;
snow again, soon.
Ashen drifts high
to the windows,
beg
for release.

Frigid air breathes heavy
across a landscape sacred
and desolate,
locked in rigor mortis
while barren trees hold frost
covered infants
swaddled
at their tips.

Summer,
they say,
will be here soon.

But winter…

winter has been hanging on.

© 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Prog poem 2013 graphicBy the way, Irene Latham’s 2013 ‘Progressive Poem’ (at Live Your Poem) is going strong! It’s a poem that started with one blogger April 1 and is travelling from blog to blog each day, with each blogger adding a new line to the poem. (By the end of the month, we’ll have a completed poem!) Yours Truly added his line back on April 3, but I provide a complete list of all the participating bloggers at the bottom of this post.

Here’s the list of all the participating bloggers in the 2013 Progressive Poem, so you can follow along.

April Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterJoy AceyMatt Forrest EsenwineJone MacCullochDoraine BennettGayle KrauseJanet FagalJulie LariosCarrie Finison 10  Linda Baie 11  Margaret Simon 12  Linda Kulp 13  Catherine Johnson 14  Heidi Mordhorst 15  Mary Lee Hahn 16  Liz Steinglass 17  Renee LaTulippe 18  Penny Klostermann 19  Irene Latham 20  Buffy Silverman 21  Tabatha Yeatts 22  Laura Shovan 23  Joanna Marple 24  Katya Czaja 25  Diane Mayr 26  Robyn Hood Black 27  Ruth Hersey 28  Laura Purdie Salas 29  Denise Mortensen 30  April Halprin Wayland

 

Poetry Friday: “Crocus”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI’m guessing this will be the last poem I feature from my winter-themed collection of children’s poetry; with April (National Poetry Month!) just around the corner, winter is definitely behind us.

I wrote this last year, specifically because I wanted a poem that would serve as an appropriate end to my manuscript.  Aside from the fact that the collection is all about winter, I organized the poems chronologically, starting with one about trees losing their leaves, moving on to the holidays, through January and February, and finally concluding with the promise of spring. I thought a crocus would be the perfect image for the two competing seasons, considering it often grows through snow…so I hope you like it!

Mary Lee and Franki at A Year of Reading are today’s Poetry Friday hostesses – so pop on over and see what else is happening in the kidlitosphere!

“Crocus”

When winter’s winds are on the wane
And sunshine warms young April days,
When snow gives way to slushy rain
The crocus springs anew.

While crouching ‘neath the frosty crust,
On tender bended stem it prays
To fend off one more crushing gust
And melt the frozen dew.

© 2013 Matt Forrest Esenwine

crocus-in-the-snow-spring--thumb1294868

By the way, speaking of National Poetry Month, I’ll be participating in Irene Latham’s 2013 ‘Progressive Poem’ at Live Your Poem.  No, it has nothing to do with politics – it’s a poem that will start with one blogger on April 1 (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater) and travel from blog to blog each day, with each blogger adding a new line to the poem. By the end of the month, we’ll have a completed poem!  (I’ll be adding the third line to the poem on April 3 – so please check back, and follow along with all the bloggers!)

I’ll also be featuring poetry in all of my April blog posts (each Tue. and Fri.), so I hope you’ll join me.  Remember, if you subscribe to this blog you’ll always be notified when a new post has made made!

“The Next Big Thing!”

Back at the beginning of the year, I talked about how excited I was to be wrapping up my first 5 months of this blog.  Then just a couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Liebster Award that had been passed along to me. Now, I’m excited to be part of something new:

Many thanks to my friend, children’s author and poet Joyce Ray, for inviting me to participate in the online literary blog called THE NEXT BIG THING!

the-next-big-thingIf you’ve not heard of THE NEXT BIG THING, it’s a sort of “chain blog” consisting of a series of questions about works-in-progress and not-yet-published titles. Many national and international writers have participated in it; Joyce did last week, and now it’s my turn!

The nice thing about THE NEXT BIG THING is that it not only provides some extra visibility for the bloggers taking part, but more importantly, it gives readers a glimpse into the working life of a writer. Part of the fun is tagging someone else, so stay tuned to learn who I’ll be tagging at the end of this post!  Some of these questions require some deep thought, so I’ll do my best to answer them…

What is the working title of your book?

“Anticipation: Poems for a Winter’s Night”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As someone who writes a lot of children’s poetry, one day I noticed I had written 5 or 6 poems about winter…so it occurred to me they should probably be organized into their own collection.  This was in May 2012.  So I decided to try to get the manuscript completed (written, edited, revised, finalized) by September. As it turned out, I was done by Oct. – so I wasn’t too far off!

What genre does your book fall under?

Children’s poetry.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ha! Not sure this question fits, since the book is comprised of 23 poems…but since many are written in first-person, I’d say we could get Sofia Vergara to portray the school bus driver, Adriana Lima to portray the teacher, and Miranda Lambert to portray the person I ask to keep me warm outside.  Of course, this is all assuming my wife won’t mind…so I’m really going out on a limb here.

But hey, it’s Hollywood!

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“A funny, touching, and magical look at the coldest – yet warmest – season of all.”

Y’know, I just thought that up this minute. I kinda like it!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hard to say, as I edit poems as I go along; I revisit them, revise them, place them in the manuscript, rearrange them in the manuscript, edit them again, rearrange them again, blah, blah.  The first draft was probably done by late September, then it was just a matter of tweaking a few things here and there.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s very difficult – if not extremely egotistical – for me to compare a manuscript by an unpublished author to books written by some of the best children’s poets in America. So I do this hesitantly and with a great amount humility…but as it’s a winter-themed poetry collection, I’d say it’s similar in tone to Jack Prelutsky’s It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing (2006, Greenwillow) and Douglas Florian’s Winter Eyes (1999, Greenwillow), although the number of silly or funny poems in mine outnumbers theirs.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wish I knew! I always tell people how much I hate winter – the shovelling, the snow-blowing, the slickness of roads, the ice on your driveway, the cold temperatures, etc., etc. – and yet, it was not a difficult manuscript to put together. I’ve already come up with another two or three winter poems since I finished it, and I haven’t even been trying!  Perhaps I like winter more than I realized. I absolutely love Christmas, so that might have something to do with it.

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

I think the diversity of poems. Not only is there a good balance of funny-to-quiet poems, but I used a number of various forms: there’s a villanelle, cinquain, triolet, haiku, tanka, and a couple others, in addition to more conventional forms. One minute you’re laughing about my Valentine’s Day dilemma with Beulah Buford, and the next, you’re sitting quietly by yourself in a school bus on a winter morning, scratching at the frosty window.  I really like the fact that each poem sort of has its own ‘feel.’

When and how will it be published?

Funny, I ask m yself that same question all…the…time.  Being an as-yet-unpublished author (other than having various adult poems published in independent journals over the years), it’s been an uphill climb trying to get my other manuscripts accepted. I’ve only sent this manuscript to one editor so far, who I want to give first-refusal. If she decides to pass, then I’ll let all the other publishing houses and literary agencies fight over the rights and I’ll eventually sign a six-book deal and movie rights with the highest bidder.  At least, that’s how I imagine things will happen.

WHO’S NEXT?

It is my honor to tag and introduce to you Catherine Johnson, who is also currently working on a manuscript…

Catherine is a British ex-pat living in Canada with her family. She writes picture books and poetry and has several poems published, and was a British champion twice in Tae Kwon-Do.  (How cool is that??)  She blogs at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com…so be sure to stop by, and learn about herNEXT BIG THING!”

Poetry Friday: “Naked”

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and I’m still trying to work off my turkey coma.  You’d think the energy from the sugar in the tarte tatin I made would counteract the effects of the L-tryptophan in the turkey,  but you’d be mistaken.  Instead of it being a zero-sum situation where the chemical effects simply negate themselves, each of the effects tries to out-do the other.  Sort of like a game of walleyball with your brain as the ball.

Nevertheless, I had a blog post to put together, and no amount of soaring and crashing was going to deter me from my mission.  I wanted to post something seasonal for today…so I decided upon this:  a poem I thought perfect for this time of year.

It is the first of 22 poems I’m including in the manuscript for my winter-themed collection; once you read it, you’ll understand why I thought it best to start the book with this particular one!  Enjoy…and please be sure to check out all the Poetry Friday happenings with Mary Lee & Franki at A Year of Reading!

Naked

The wind blew off their clothes, oh my!
One minute they were fully dressed,
And then before we knew it
They had lost their tops and Sunday best.

The wind blew off their clothes, good grief!
It seemed to happen in a flash.
Now, there they stand quite naked –
Poor old elm and maple, oak and ash.

The wind blew off their clothes, it’s true;
It took away their pants and shirts.
But soon they will be looking fine
In snowy hats and snowy skirts.

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine

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