King of the Pond and My Poetry Month Project

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

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

Whew, it’s been a week!

This month, we wrote pantoums. There’s so much repetition! I think I like reading them more than I like writing them! I do love Rush’s “The Larger Bowl,” and play it on my kalimba and sing. Here’s a link to the lyrics if you want to see a skillful pantoum :>)

Our townhome backs up to a tiny retention pond, and we have a muskrat (and recently–two muskrats)! We’ve been calling him Marko, and whenever one of us spots him, we call out to the house, “It’s Marko!” And whoever’s home runs to the nearest window to watch him swim around the pond, his snout above water, trailing a V behind him. Mostly we see him when ducks or geese land on the pond. Boom. Marko beelines over and follows them closely until they get annoyed and fly away! He’s quite entertaining :>)

Here’s my pantoum. Most of the phrases I liked best in my brainstorming ended up getting cut as I stitched this together. Sigh. But I’m relatively okay with this draft of an ode to our muskrat neighbor.

I have once again missed our live write (I am unable to manage most social obligations right now), but I’m sure my Poetry Sisters worked some magic!

Mary Lee

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.

And from Tanita:

Poetry Peeps! You’re invited to our challenge for the month of April! Here’s the scoop: As a final celebration for National Poetry Month, we’re exploring the work of Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard’s Welcome to the Wonder House, and noodling through answers to what we consider to be “unanswerable questions.” What do ants sound like? How do stars sing? Let’s wonder as we wander through the natural world — and ask and answer those wonderings in whatever way which appeals to you. Are you game? Good! Whatever way of seeing that you choose, you have a month to craft your creation and share it on April 26 in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

PS Major congratulations to Welcome to the Wonder House and all its creators! The book was just awarded the 2024 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award! So happy for this fabulous news!

Oh, I also want to mention my National Poetry Month project.


Each day that I’m able to, I’m going to look at something very closely. (I’ll be using a Private Eye loupe or a magnifying stand most days.) I’ll study it for a minute. One whole, long minute. Then I’ll write a short poem about it. That’s it. Here’s an example, and I’d love it if you join in! Also, I might (or might not) share some writing process images :>D

Finally, Tricia is our Poetry Friday host this week! Happy Friday and happy reading, y’all.




22 Responses

  1. Yay for magnipoems, I like your heart revealing who you are–makes me smile 😌 Fab poem on Marko your muskrat, loving that last stanza, and his “nibble, gnaw, patrol duty!” I changed my pw so I’m hoping to be surprised and have this comment materialize, fingers crossed! 🤞🏽 Lovely post Laura, thanks!

  2. “He loathes those ducks down in his soul.” BEST. LINE. EVER!
    Thanks for making me smile.

  3. BTW, that anonymous comment is me! I’m looking foward to reading your April project.

  4. I love the idea for poetry month, Laura, those “magnipoems”. My students and I used Private Eye Loupes often. They are wonderful! As for your pantoum, I love that “nibble, gnaw, patrol.” the idea that Marko loathes them “down in his soul”. It must be such fun to watch him! Have fun in April. I’ll look forward to seeing your ‘wee’ poems!

  5. Marko is the muskrat king! It’s clear you’ve studied him closely — nibble, gnaw, patrol. Looking forward to reading more from your poetry project — fascinating. Thanks, Laura.

  6. I love that you have named Marko and studied his behavior enough to write a pantoum for him!

    This April, I decide I’m finally going to do what I’ve said I needed to do for awhile — I’m going to Audience this year. So I’m looking forward to watching your poems and process evolve!

  7. This cracked me up, Laura. I pity the ducks, but all hail Marko!

  8. Oh, Marko! so grumpy and so playful, too. You’ve really made him come alive, and I adore the way you rhymed patrol with soul, which only emphasized his exterior actions and his inner emotions. So clever. (And I love the story of your family calling out his appearances.)

    Your Poetry Month challenge is an excellent one, too. I have a loupe (given to me by my former editor upon the publication of Operation Yes because the teacher in it has one) so maybe I should join you.

  9. Marko needs his own PB! What fun! –And your #magnipoem is going to take off ‑a la #poetryaction! Thank you for your creative spirit, Laura!

  10. Hi Laura! How nice to meet Marko through your pantoum–with tight rhyme and rhythm too! No wonder you had to toss some favorite lines. But there are sure some good ones still present. I love “teeny, reedy pond” and laughed aloud at the depth of Marko’s loathing for ducks.

  11. Your muskrats sound adorable. Hope that it turns out that you have a mated pair and Marko gains a few princes/princesses and a queen. Your Poetry Month project sounds fun! I hope it brings you joy in this busy time.

  12. Laura, so much fun here. I enjoyed reading the lyrics of “The Larger Bowl.” It makes me think the pantoum has good potential. Marko is fun! I love his self-proclaimed kingship. The last stanza turned out well, reads perfectly, and ends with him in his burrow and a last declaration of his being king. I don’t know if you planned it (that seems impossible), but I really like it.

  13. Love the challenge around The Wonder House. It was such a privilege to be a small part of this prize. I read lots of poetry books! I have jewel loupes in my classroom, so perhaps one of these weeks I can get my students to join your project. But now we are on spring break. It was delightful to learn about Marko and your place in this world. I imagine him chasing the ducks. How funny!

    1. How lovely to be part of that prize selection, Margaret! And yes, hope you and your students join in. Hope you enjoy/ed your Spring Break!

  14. I used Private Eye loupes just this week with my spring break camp kids, and my 7th grade assistant had the brilliant idea of photographing THROUGH the loupes with his extra fancy phone. Do it! I’m in love with Marko and also the rhyme of thorough and burrow!

  15. Laura, excuse me for not placing my comment last week. I read your poem several times and enjoyed your pantoum and your NPM project.

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