The Sun and the Moon Gripe a Little [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! I am at the ITEM conference today chatting with media specialists and instructional technology folks (and seeing some writer friends, too). Hopefully, we will not be squabbling like the moon and sun are in my poems today! Last month, we Poetry 7 wrote found poems. This month, we tried a form I was unfamiliar with–the etheree. It’s an unrhymed poem with lines of ascending syllable counts from 1–10. Confession time. I was super excited to learn about this form, and I wrote a first draft of a pair of etheree, one regular, and one reverse (counting down from 10 to 1 syllable). And then September blew by.

Book illustration from Azoth ou le moyen de faire l'oder Cache des Philosophes (Paris) 1659 by Basil Valentine (public domain)

So…here you have my first draft. Because I love space stuff and am working on picture book revisions about the moon, the moon and sun came to me right away and started griping about each other:>) I’m really happy with them, for a first draft. Oh, I’m lying. I did change something–the line “Stealing my light to glow through the night” started out as “Stealing Sun’s light to glow brightly at night.” But, ahem, that’s 10 syllables. Oops! Plus, I realized that Sun, as a character/narrator, should be saying “my” instead of “Sun’s.” Because the Sun, while irritable, is NOT an annoying character on a reality show talking about herself in third person.


The Sun and Moon Gripe a Little
(a pair of etherees)


I. Moon Says…

“Look at me!
Dance, planets! Spin!”
Live at her mercy.
Center of attention,
brightest star in the sky. Sigh.
Day’s drama queen of dawn and dusk.
So necessary. So exhausting.
Never hides her light under a bushel.

II. Sun Says…

“Ooooh, look at me, so pale and cool and calm.”
Stealing my light to glow through the night.
Thief of the silver stream, wearing
my hand-me-down gleaming gown.
Just a chunk of grey rock.
Rough chalky craters.
No star power.
No fierceness.
No fire.

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved


I’ll be linking to the rest of the Poetry 7’s etherees as they go live. 


  Here are the previous Poetry Sisters collaborations:

September 2015 Found poems
August 2015 Classified haiku
July 2015 Inspired by e.e. cummings’ poems
Jun 2015 Odes
May 2015 Pantoums
Apr 2015 Raccontinos
Mar 2015 Sestinas (Lord have mercy)
Feb 2015 Villanelles on hidden things
Jan 2015 Triolets on beginnings (And I posted an extra one here.)
Pre-2015 Villanelles, a crown sonnet, rondeau redoubles, and pantoums

And for more Poetry Friday fun, visit Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday Roundup!


45 Responses

  1. Wowie! What personalities these two have! Well done, you! I love the hand-me-down gleaming gown!

  2. I can’t get enough of sun and moon poems, Laura, “Never hides her light under a bushel.” These are wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Kate. Having grown up with three older sisters, I do seem to have an affinity for bickering poems:>)

  3. “my hand-me-down gleaming gown”
    These are great, Laura! I look forward to the picture book someday too…

    1. Thanks, Amy–they were really fun to write! I want to write some more…trying to figure out what project they might fit into or even inspire. :>)

  4. I like having opposite topics and reverse etherees — great idea! It seems the poor Moon gets the worst of it here…

  5. These are just brilliant, Laura — I love the way your brain works. The sun and the moon seem like teen sisters, complaining about borrowed clothing (oh, that hand-me-down glowing gown is JUST perfect) and copping an attitude (No fierceness!) — I love these!

  6. I love the way you laid these out, centered — they are so nice to look at, and to read. They go perfectly with Tricia’s Cat/Dog poems! I’m wholly charmed.

    1. Thanks, Liz. I wanted to leave it kind of crescent-shaped, because I like the way that looks, but that felt kinda unfair to the sun…so I went with the sorta circle:>)

  7. Etherees. New to me! Thank you for introducing/modeling. I, too, loved “hand-me-down gleaming gown” from stanza 2; loved–even more–“Day’s drama queen…” from stanza 1. Loved every word image, really. Brilliant. You’ve definitely inspired me to play with this poem form. …One point of interest, I agree that the celestial beings sound like sibling-rival sisters, even though we refer to the “man in the moon,” the moon strikes me as more feminine than masculine, particularly in her sun’s light receiving mode. …Thanks so much for a lively discourse! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    1. Loved hearing your thoughts about this and the feedback–interesting about the masculine/feminine, too. Etherees are brand new to me, and I really like the form. I hope to play some more with this sometime soon.

      1. Just double-checked my remembrance from 3 yrs. Latin (:), moon/“luna” is a feminine noun. Honestly never thought about that discrepancy w/“man” in the moon until I “spontaneously” wrote that in response to your Etherees. I definitely want to try that poem form –and every poem form that I possibly can…Hoping to see if there’s a niche/match in poetry for me. Signed up for the WordPress 2 wk. poetry “course.” Just as it was good for me to be challenged by your 15-word poem/prompt (which I soooooooooo enjoyed!), I hope to be challenged by other “assignments.” Take care and thanks again so much! God bless!

        1. Poetry Friday and my 15 WOL poems and the entire poetry kidlitosphere is so welcoming–I’m glad you found us, and hope you enjoy the poetry course–not sure what it is, but I learn something from every poetry activity I do, so I’m sure you’ll grow from it!

          1. Amen! I have been very humbled & grateful. The reception and affirmation has been very healing and very inspiring. Thank you, once again, for taking time to share your thoughts with me.…Growing: really important to me. Thanks for your well wishes, and thanks for prompting & modeling 15 WOL poems!

  8. Oh, Sun. Oh, Moon. How you bicker, and yet, we who (literally) look up to you see you both as beautiful. Isn’t that just how it is? Wonderful work, Laura—-totally conversational and brash and fun. I can see this as Reader’s Theater, somehow.

    P.S. I didn’t catch the shaping being a crescent in your first draft, but Sun sure would’ve! Good call.

  9. These are SO COOL!! You have got the voice down absolutely. I could see (hear) it as a one act play or something…

    1. Thanks, Andi–it WOULD be fun to have two kids perform this…maybe alternating lines to each other…

  10. I love learning new forms. I’ll certainly pass this on to my students. Especially the idea of an argument. We will be reading The Day the Crayons Quit next week. A great tie in to that argument between yellow and orange. And like others, I love the hand-me-down-glowing gown.

    1. I need to read that one. Arguments certainly seem like a natural fit for lots of kids:>) If we lure them in with the promise of arguments, and then get them to argue in wonderful, vivid language, it’s win-win! I got Shapes of Our Singing recently (recommended by Trisha Stohr-Hunt (I think rec to her by J. Patrick Lewis originally) and am excited to try some forms out of it!

  11. Love the squabbling. And I’m also enamored of the sun and moon image you posted, too. Wonderful work!

  12. Wonderful job, Laura. Love that “drama queen of dawn and dusk” — !! And I love how even the forms are opposites (moon from small to big, then sun from big to small.) I’m going to give the etheree a try — thanks for posting this.

    1. Can’t wait to see what you do with it, Julie. I think it’s a really fun form–so MUCH possibility, with just a couple of constraints to give me cage bars to beat against!

  13. Such fun! Love your choice of “gripe.” So many other quarreling words, but that one seems just perfect. As if either of them can do anything about it at this point anyway!!!

    1. I love that last comment, Mary Lee. I think that’s why gripe resonates? Because it’s so dang pointless! And, thanks:>) Hey…I think you and I and Janet are supposed to be collaborating on a poem very, very soon. We should touch base!

      1. ??? News to me! Tell me more…maybe in private so I don’t look like more than a dork than I already might be looking!

  14. I’m crazy about the back-and-forth in these poems. I like this so much better than the cat and dog, in part because your voices seem so much more mature and I the reverse etheree actually seems a much better model.

    My favorite parts are “Never hides her light under a bushel” and “No star power./No fierceness./No fire.”

    These are so great. Well done!

  15. Wow. Love these, Laura, especially Sun’s gripes about Moon. I think etherees will be good for 2nd graders–straight up count, no need for rhyme, and a nice shape. And it’s always fun to make someone speak!

    1. Thanks, Heidi–if they’re good syllable counters, that’ll be fun. I was thinking of different twists (maybe for older students), like line 6 must have a metaphor. Use alliteration in line 8. Etc. no enhanced lines–I wish I had given myself that last one:) Have fun!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Join 2,523 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."