First Snow — Triolets with the Poetry Princesses [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

So, this month, our Poetry Princess challenge was triolets using two of five words chosen by Liz (orange, fall, chill, light, change). I love triolets. They lend themselves to reflection because of the repetition, but I wanted to try to keep things at least somewhat concrete! I was sitting at Taco Bell last Friday, writing this as the first snow of the season fell here in Minnesota.

First Snow Triolet

Here are the three pages in my little notebook from that morning, and then the typed-in version, which I tweaked some as I typed. I shared that with the Poetry Princesses as my first typed-in complete draft. And then I let it sit for 5 or 6 days without looking at it. Finally, I tweaked it some more to be the version I shared above.

I was trying to be more kid-friendly and conversational in this triolet than in some of my recent poems. Trying to find poetic language that also feels natural and kid-like is tough. I didn’t really accomplish it fully here, but as I wrote it, I was very aware of the difference in feeling about snow between kids and adults. The year Randy and I moved up here to Minnesota from Florida, when the first snow fell, we got in our car and drove to a big empty parking lot at a mall nearby. We were giddy with the beauty of it, and astonished at how everyone else was just going about their normal day. Every time snow falls, I am still filled with awe at the wonder of it.

The main change from 1st to 2nd handwritten draft was that I had more rhyming words that rhymed with “fall” than with “changed,” so I reversed the order of the first two lines, because the first line gets two additional rhyme words used, but the second line only gets one additional rhyming word.

Poetic forms are fun!

I’m out on school visits and speaking gigs this week, and I haven’t seen many of the poems my amazing Poetry Sisters did this month. I’ll add more links over the weekend, and don’t miss the interview I did with Sara last week about her wonderful new novel, The Wolf Hour.


Non-poetry demands are keeping Andi away this month, but she’ll return :>)

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

And don’t miss this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, either, hosted by wonderful teacher/poet Linda at Teacher Dance.













25 Responses

  1. You make this look so effortless, yet I know how hard this form is. I love the movement in this poem. It works so well with the repetition and the subject. Well done!

  2. rying to find poetic language that also feels natural and kid-like is tough. TRUTH, sister. I think if we ever really taxed ourselves to write strictly for children, we would weep a great deal more over these projects!! Again, you somehow curve your topic around a single, central theme enough to make it easily coherent… I really like it, and it reflects the wonder I felt upon discovering you had snow so soon! It works, and I love it.

    1. Thanks, tanita. Some of you guys are really good at it twisting the triolet to let it encompass more. Almost like a Mobius strip that’s been opened up. But my triolets always feel very simple and compact. I like them, but they have a different feel.

  3. It will be a bit before I start it, but I did find Wolf Hour at the library, Laura! I like your triolet, understood before you told us about the snow excitement & others going about their regular lives. I had neighbors a while ago from Arizona who were cold for a while, but then so excited with the snow. I connect most to “my bony fir wears a glittery shawl”. The evergreens do look wonderful after a snowfall. Thanks for sharing the process, too.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I love that line so much. It’s my favorite. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, even though it is not all that kid friendly. I mean, kids could certainly understand it, but it doesn’t really sound like a childlike voice.

  4. Poetry Princess Fridays are my favorite Poetry Fridays of all!

    And posts that share process come in a close second.

    I agree with what Tricia said — your final draft seems so natural, so effortless.

  5. Reading all the Poetry Princess triolets, I’m falling in love with the form. You all make it look so effortless! Thanks for sharing your process. It’s always fascinating for me to spy on the birth of a poem.

    1. Thanks, Molly. It’s kind of a pain, and it’s always nice to know someone actually looked at it:) Triolets are just so beautiful.

  6. I always enjoy reading the different responses to the same prompt from you Poetry Princesses. Yours addresses so well the various aspects of a first sow. Thanks for describing and showing your process.

    Also, congratulations on all the books you are producing. The TLD blog’s interview with your editor, Carol Hinz involved about three of your titles, several still to be released. You are one busy, productive lady!

    1. Thank you, Violet! I agree, that is one of the best things about our poetry princess project. We often don’t have time to really share and discuss our poems ahead of time, but even just seeing how each poet takes the challenge and shapes it and runs with it teaches me something each month. And, thank you also for the kind words on my books. That was a very nice interview with Carol, wasn’t it? I love making children’s books, and feel very lucky that there are a steady stream making their way out to the world now.

    1. Thanks, Catherine. I think you will like triolets. Very simple and can be very elegant.

  7. We will not have snow here, but a friend of mine in Montana is sending me videos. She is also enamored of snow. Your triolet has just right rhyme and a feeling of wistfulness.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Wistfulness is exactly the right word. That is the tone I was feeling:)

  8. I LOVE seeing your notebooks. I often “erase” my process by typing and then changing and typing and changing so quickly that previous drafts slip away before my eyes.… Also, I LOVE this poem and feel the same way you do about snow…

    1. Thanks, Liz. I tend to write poems that way too. Just typing and retyping and changing as I write. Actual separate drafts tend to happen only if I’m writing longhand, which is rare. Or if I think ahead of time, maybe I will share my writing process on this one. 🙂

  9. The triolet is a new form for me, but one I want to try. I like the reflective nature from the repetition. Thank you for sharing your process. I learn so much from seeing how others think. And as a Southerner from NC who moved to the Midwest Indiana, I am still amazed at how life keeps going through the snow. I still think snow is an excuse to stay home and curl up with a good book by a fire!

    1. Thanks, Kay. I do too, and I wish everybody else felt the same. Here in Minnesota, life definitely just goes on as usual!

  10. We had our first snow fall of the year — thankfully it’s all melted away, but we NEVER get snow this early, so it’s a bit alarming! I’m predicting a flurry of snow-themed poems on my blog this winter. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I think everybody else wrote about fall, and fall was one of the five words we had to choose from. But since it was snowing, I had to go with the snow:) Here’s to a cozy winter!

  11. Beautiful. I loved snow best before I moved for a few years to NC, and I lived without it. I didn’t miss it. I miss loving it all winter long. That feeling is gone like snow in summer.

  12. Ah, that first snowfall of the season…better you than me, Laura! We’ve barely had autumn here — daytime highs have just gotten down to the low 60s/50s over the past couple weeks, and we’ve only had frost 3, maybe 4 nights now — which is incredible. I have to tell you, I enjoy seeing your process as well as the process of others, as mine is so different when it comes to writing poetry. I rarely start with any sorts of lists whatsoever — I come up with a line or two I like, then start working it from there: will this rhyme work? No? What other rhyme might? Is this metrical? Can it be? Do I need to change the rhyme again? And so on. So it’s very interesting to see how others create!

  13. Fun poem Laura! I like the movement, and change you created between “nothing’s changed” and “the earth rearranged.” And you have such an open and welcoming spirit towards snow. It gets very cold where you are too, I’ve been that way many times for my sister lives there.Thanks for sharing your process.

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