A Simple Gift

She stoops only to gather fragrant bunches

While gurgling voices spill over slippery rocks,

Splashing cool sprays on

Delicate saffron buds.

Tall wavy grasses

Tickle brown berry feet

That float like daisy-cutters

Beyond the song-filled meadow.


Throwing open the door,

She spies him, patient and level-headed,

Wondering and waiting and wishing

That she did not have to be so busy.

But eyes smile to match

The slow grin spreading

Across his face like

Morning sunshine fills the kitchen.


Her gift accepted…

Message understood.

Her Name

Her name tells of how it was with her,

The truth was that she loved to be with children.

Everyone knew she would let the children

              show the way…

Deciding to do a dinosaur museum,

Creating poetry performances and plays,

Writing skits for Reader’s Theater,

And basking in their parents’ praises

              during portfolio celebrations.

She looked forward to the summers

with mixed emotions,

Hating to watch the children leave

                     on the last day,

Brushing tears from her cheeks as

                     she said goodbye.

But in September she again felt

                     the quiet excitement

And told us it was fine for her

                     that way

Each year a new family to nurture

Each year watching the children learn

              and grow in wonder…

Her name was Teacher.


A poem using the scaffold of a Cree Indian naming poem, “Quiet Until the Thaw.” 

Peace for the World: A Poem About Sadako

Blue ghosts lingering above Hiroshima’s dome

While hideously scarred faces wander below.

White doves circling a lone statue –

Sadako, arms stretching outward to release

A crane that joins the flock of peace birds,

While thousands of origami cranes litter the ground.


Silent onlookers remember loved ones lost

As lanterns, fragile warm-yellow swans,

Glide across the cold, black waters.

Families placing rice cakes on altars for spirits…

For the blue ghosts, for Oba Chan –

And now, for Sadako, too.


Atom bomb bringing mushroom-shaped cloud,

Bringing sickness and taking children

Oh, so slowly…oh, so slowly.

Hoping the gods would grant her wish, she labors,

Thick, swollen fingers making fold after fold.

Exquisite paper cranes hang from hospital’s ceiling.


Her family waiting, watching, wondering

Who will be the next to join Oba Chan.

It should not be the children…

It must not be the children…

It will not be the children…

Struggling with clumsy fingers to make one more crane.


          Remembering Sadako

                   She lives in our hearts,

                    She triumphs over Death.

                All over the world


            Making paper cranes…

                      Blue ghosts



I have stopped vowing to do something on New Year’s Day because I just don’t keep the momentum going.  I ask myself, “What is preventing me from…?” and “What can I do to….?”  Questions like these are important. I am thinking about a list of words that would make the biggest difference in my personal and professional life:

  • Exercise
  • Eat (well)
  • Delegate
  • Relax
  • Balance
  • Refuse
  • Breathe
  • Limit

     Maybe I don’t limit myself – I always say “yes” to everything. Is it because I am afraid I am going to miss out on something?  Clearly, I need to limit what I do so that I can take care of some largely neglected areas in my life – like my weight and the chance to relax, have some down time, and just breathe!  My choice of the word “limit” has a direct impact on all the other words I chose as well.

I suppose I have to come to terms with the idea of limiting my workload so I can have time to grow and expand in other ways.  It will give me more opportunities to write, read, travel, plant flowers, enjoys friends and family (especially my goddaughters!).  Long walks, time at the beach –  this balance will make me more efficient in the long run.  Maybe the word really isn’t “limit” – it’s “balance.”  I think I like the sound of that much better!


 Procrastination mops the kitchen floor and dusts the shelves,

Even though she truly hates to do any kind of housework.

Procrastination finds a cozy nook to read a good book

And only stops to write poetry, or take the dogs out.

She calls all her friends, answers e-mails, and even

Decides she should pay bills and shred junk mail.

Procrastination finds weeds to pull, perennials to plant,

And the indoor flowers in need of a bigger pot.

Procrastination finds a way to avoid “the office”

Filled with presentations that span twenty years or more.

She avoids categorizing articles, recycling piles of magazines,

And finding homes for books to make room for new ones.

She passes by “the office” in a hurried walk,

Trying best not to look inside, to keep her mind on other things;

Ready to take up any passing fancy or follow any flitting butterfly

Because Procrastination is, first and foremost,

A procrastinator to the very core!


I eat these baked beans

and think about my grandfather

who ate them burned and cold.

Anything my grandma prepared –

He enjoyed with great gusto

just the way he enjoyed the out-of-doors,

the swims in cold lakes,

the picnics bathed in summer sunshine,

the sled rides under winter’s cold moonbeams.

He enjoyed his granddaughters, too,

and a dog lying near the hearth,

and rides on the Ferris wheel at Dorney Park.

He had an insatiable appetite for life,

my grandfather,

who ate beans, burned and cold.



How to Be Me

Dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Go to school for years and years and years.

Gobble your lunch in less than ten minutes flat!

Eat dinner on the run.

Be crazy about dogs, horses, whales, and children.

Dream of going to New England to see the humpback whales.

Write in a writer’s notebook everyday.

Be careful not to break things while walking around in a store that has narrow aisles.

Own Welsh Corgi dogs like the Queen of England.

Teach horseback riding to children and adults.

Love your twin goddaughters with all your heart.

Delight in your part in the wedding plans of Karen and Walt!

Love to receive flowers, especially daisies and roses.

Despise house cleaning and avoid doing it at all costs.

Wear turtlenecks as often as possible.

Vacation at Long Beach Island with family and pets.

Spend a wonderful two weeks in Italy and in Portugal.

Look forward to a weekend in Chicago and a trip to Ireland.

Dream of writing a children’s book.

Constantly consider a diet but never lose weight.

Dye your hair red to hide the incoming gray.

Never stop teaching adults and kids about writing.

Be a workaholic.

Dream of vacations in Greece, Australia, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Drive a little too fast and too much.

Know the route to West Chester University blindfolded.

Be a cheer leader and encourager.

Imagine the possibilities.

Write a book about mentor texts, grammar, and now formative assessment.

Have fun creating Easter baskets for grand nieces and nephew

(Please, please, don’t eat the candy – maybe just a peanut butter egg).

Keep believing you CAN make a difference!

Dream of peace and a better world for both people and animals.

Dream and keep your dreams close to you…always.

Never stop dreaming

A Tribute to My Mom

Betty: Tribute to Mom


When I grow up

I want to be like Betty







great parent

great friend

great listener

great teacher


fun to draw with

fun to read with

fun to shop with

fun to sing with


love of poetry runs deep

beautiful love letters to Dad

diary writer (private thoughts)

same curly penmanship as Grandma


a wonderful daughter

a career woman

a nurse and caretaker

a neighborhood clinic


When I grow up

I want to be like Betty


Haiku and An Autumn Poem

 Haiku: Five Poems in Five Lines Each

Leaves as delicate

as silk fans, the ginkgo tree

shades me – an old friend.


Painting the landscape,

leaves flutter through the crisp air,

changing the known world.


Smoke trees grow leaves like

paddles, row through crisp currents,

sink in pools of air.


Vibrant shades in fall:

Leaf-peeper’s paradise but

Home owner’s nightmare!


Yellow poplar drops

her leaves on the wet sidewalk…

Silhouettes of frogs!


Autumn Colors

 Autumn leaves fall in

A frenzy of jazzy colors,

Like shiny notes plucked

From a cello or violin.


Scarlet and pumpkin,

Some the color of summer straw,

While others are already

The color of cinnamon toast.

The colors of Autumn:

Crunch under October feet,

Dance like jitterbuggers in the air,

Create a collage of rainbow pieces.


And so I am always waiting

For this artist to return,

Her palette filled with vibrant colors,

The colors of Autumn.