Day 30 of the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

Whee! It’s Day 30 of Irene Latham’s wonderful Progressive Poem (read more about this April tradition here).

I will admit to being a bit nervous about being the last line. But last year, I got to be the first line, so…I figured turnabout was fair play. Plus, just like when I write group poems with students, I never know whether they’ll turn out amazing or wonky, and it doesn’t really matter. Just the process of creation is worthwhile.

I love National Poetry Month. My only complaint is that there is SO much wonderful poetry being shared, and yet I’m so busy with my own poetry project that I miss 90% of the cool things all my poet friends are doing. I have stopped in every few days to check on the Progressive Poem, though I haven’t read it every single day. In fact, I felt myself getting a little anxious as I wondered what story would evolve and whether there would be a clear path to an ending. That’s ridiculous, I know, as poetry is often about avoiding the clear path and following the more surprising one or the hidden one. But you know what I mean. Would I be able to unearth an ending that worked?

This year’s Progressive Poem is full of wonderful, sensual language. Concrete nouns that I can see. Textures I can feel. Words I can smell and hear and taste. We have a lot of rhyme, but it’s a jumbled treasure chest: some perfect rhyme, some near rhyme, some internal rhyme…and the rhyme scheme varies from stanza to stanza. So, where to go? When I reread the poem so far on Day 28, I decided that since we had all four-line stanzas up to that point, I would try to make my Day 30 line into a couplet with Charles Waters’ Day 29 line. Easy to vow that before the Day 29 line was written:>)

And now, here is our Progressive Poem!

The Secret Inside the Book

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges–
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges, sometimes, need sandpaper…
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,

I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?
By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!

I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book.

But wait! I’ll share the lines I know by heart.
Mythicalhowls, fierytones slip from my lips
Blue scales flash, claws rip, the prophecy begins
Dragonworld weaves webs that grip. I take a trip…

“Anchors aweigh!” Steadfast at helm on clipper ship
a topsail schooner, with sails unfurled, speeds away
As, true-hearted dragon pirate, I sashay
with my wise parrot, Robyn, through the spray.

“Land Ho!” (“Land Ho!”) We’ve hooked the whole crowd.
So it’s true what they say: the play IS the thing.
Stepping back from my blocking, theatre grows loud…
I draw my sword, while shielding the BOOK–the house din dies.

With rhythmical wordplay, I unleash a surprise…

I leap into my book, bid my readers “Goodbye!” (“Goodbye!”)

I mean for those last two lines to be a couplet, but I can’t make the spacing right.

Because of a lunkhead move on my part, I thought Charles’ line still wasn’t posted at 6 pm. I had been nervously watching for it all day. When I finally messaged him to check on it, I found it had been there all along, just with an unexpected date on it. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were on their way over to play games, so there was no time to focus on it. Now it’s just past midnight, the games are finished, and while taking Jack on his last walk of the night, I decided the surprise would be that our narrator (and parrot) would dive back into the book, their true home, and breathe a fiery goodbye to the audience. I wasn’t really able to convey all that in one line, but…well, that’s what I’ve got. I have a feeling I’m going to read this when I wake up tomorrow and think, What the heck was I thinking?

But for now, I’m just thinking, thank you, Irene, and thank you, poets! It’s fun to share this story with you:>)




38 Responses

    1. Aw, thank you, Connie! I was nervous about this line, and your Comment was so reassuring first thing this morning!

  1. I’m in ! I love it. A terrific ending and a surprise. Back in the book to our fidgety, freckled friend. I love participating in this and enjoy everything about NaPoMo in the Kidlitosphere blog.

  2. What a fabulous collective effort and a wonderful ending, Laura! It’s been wonderful to follow the creation of this poem and I admire everyone who participated. Kudos to all!!!

    1. Yay–thank you, Donna, for your shouting enthusiasm. I was worried about my line!

  3. Of course our character lives in the book! Love that you figured that out.

  4. Aw, Laura, you nailed it! I couldn’t think how you were going to unleash a surprise AND conclude the poem, but this works great and somehow is NOT the equivalent of “And then I woke up.” It actually seems like a fair and true ending for the character I introduced in Line 1, who shimmied out of their armour in Line 7, came to the stage webbed in strands of story in Line 11, and rode both stage and waves with fiery wild sashays to the appreciative roar of an audience. So it is that books come to life, through the voices of characters!

    Yay Us!

    1. Thanks, Heidi. Loved your opening line and all the wonderful-sounding lines in between. Last night, I just kept thinking, “Well, I’ll follow whatever resolution Charles introduces, so it won’t be that hard.” And then I saw his line. Panic attack. But this ending felt right to me, even I wished I had room for more wonderful words/sounds in it. But still–yes! Proud to have been part of this!

  5. Laura, I love that you brought the character back into the storybook, chapter and verse, read, written and done! And I love that ““Goodbye!” (“Goodbye!”)”, echoing that he(she) is not alone, a wonderful wrap!

    1. Thanks, Linda–I’m glad you noticed that because it felt important to be clear that the parrot was with our character:>)

  6. Laura, I love how you gave us a satisfying ending! And like others, I love the echoing goodbye. Do you have a title in mind?? Does anyone? We need a title! Thank you! xo

    1. Ooh, I forgot about that. I threw a possible one at the top, but let’s brainstorm!

  7. Your thinking was brilliant–so cool that the narrator and parrot slip into the book. You’ve brought our journey to a magical end. And the title fits. (Thanks also for replacing my lost s!)

    1. Well, it was maybe more panic than brilliance, but I’ll take it. And you’re welcome. (Something similar happened to one of my lines and it drove me nuts, too:>)

    1. Thanks, Amy:>) Loved the ending of your rainbow poems. So heartfelt but real!

  8. BRAVO, Laura (tosses flowers on stage for the newly disappeared narrator & parrot) — and to all the creators.
    I look forward to this crazy collaboration every year. (Thanks, Irene.)
    This was one of the best, don’t you think? :0)

    1. Thanks, Robyn. The language this year was aMAZing. Wish I could have worked more of into the last line.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,516 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."