[poetry friday] Mice on Skates (by me)

This week, I had mice on the brain. I recently shared Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s wonderful “Winter Home,” from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ Sharing the Seasons, with a group of librarians. And I read one of my favorite Billy Collins poems, “The Country,” which is hysterical. So when I was putting away patio furniture and noticed that our tabletop had ice and leaves frozen into it, it made me think of a tiny ice rink. Which made me think (of course) of mice ice skating on it at night. Here’s my poem.

A backyard ice rink?

Mice on Skates

On the empty back deck
on a black autumn night,
the paper plate moon
sheds a soft, hollow light.

Chimneys and pine trees
spread deep, smoky spice,
and the patio table
is glazed with thin ice.

Two little brown mice
discover the rink,
and do figure eights
in perfect mouse-sync.

With tiny sharp skates
bearing gum wrapper blades,
they spin away shadows
and emptiness fades.

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Live Your Poem today. Go see what the thoughtful and creative Irene Latham has to offer:>) Enjoy!

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72 Responses

  1. Oh Laura,
    This is a delightful poem. I love your rhyming. What fun. Seems strange though. We haven’t turned off our air conditioning yet. It was high 80’s yesterday, so thinking of little field mice skating on your mice rink was fun.

  2. Oh Laura,
    This is a delightful poem. I love your rhyming. What fun. Seems strange though. We haven’t turned off our air conditioning yet. It was high 80’s yesterday, so thinking of little field mice skating on your mice rink was fun.

    1. Too funny! That would make a great addition. I’m thinking rhyming pb now, but I think there’s a Mice on Ice kind of book already…must go check.

    1. Too funny! That would make a great addition. I’m thinking rhyming pb now, but I think there’s a Mice on Ice kind of book already…must go check.

    1. Thanks, Buffy. It’s a little cutesy compared to my usual thoughts, but the image in my head did charm me! I didn’t quite capture it in the poem, but if it stays with me, I’ll come back to it! I struggled coming up with something metallic to make their skate blades from!

    1. Thanks, Buffy. It’s a little cutesy compared to my usual thoughts, but the image in my head did charm me! I didn’t quite capture it in the poem, but if it stays with me, I’ll come back to it! I struggled coming up with something metallic to make their skate blades from!

  3. So much cleverness here. A poet sees the icy table top and writes a poem about it. The children’s poet writes about skating mice. Love the rhymes and gum wrapper skates, too. I’m with Joy. No sign of ice in the south yet. The mornings do require a sweater, finally.

    1. Thanks, Margaret! When my husband informed me it was 24 degrees out the other morning, I was surprised! And surprised and delighted to see our tabletop looking like the January lake, with all the leaves frozen right to the surface.

  4. So much cleverness here. A poet sees the icy table top and writes a poem about it. The children’s poet writes about skating mice. Love the rhymes and gum wrapper skates, too. I’m with Joy. No sign of ice in the south yet. The mornings do require a sweater, finally.

    1. Thanks, Margaret! When my husband informed me it was 24 degrees out the other morning, I was surprised! And surprised and delighted to see our tabletop looking like the January lake, with all the leaves frozen right to the surface.

    1. Thanks, Kate. I love those nights where the sky seems especially flat for some reason and the moon looks like a cutout in a kid’s construction paper collage. I want to know what makes the light different. Less humidity? Position of sun/stars?

    1. Thanks, Kate. I love those nights where the sky seems especially flat for some reason and the moon looks like a cutout in a kid’s construction paper collage. I want to know what makes the light different. Less humidity? Position of sun/stars?

  5. Oh, Laura… you make me smile. Your “(of course!)” is so YOU, and what a great poem. The leaf-flocked table makes ME think of monarchs at the end of migration. Oh, the places we go! Thank you for sharing!

    1. THank you, Irene. Oh, yes! That’s a terrific connection. When I see images of those butterfly trees…it’s so alien and amazing!

  6. Oh, Laura… you make me smile. Your “(of course!)” is so YOU, and what a great poem. The leaf-flocked table makes ME think of monarchs at the end of migration. Oh, the places we go! Thank you for sharing!

    1. THank you, Irene. Oh, yes! That’s a terrific connection. When I see images of those butterfly trees…it’s so alien and amazing!

  7. So fun and lovely. I love the paper plate moon, the mouse-sync, the gum wrapper blades, and the very last line which, for me, makes the poem not just fun but also emotional.

  8. So fun and lovely. I love the paper plate moon, the mouse-sync, the gum wrapper blades, and the very last line which, for me, makes the poem not just fun but also emotional.

  9. Lovely Laura! One of my favorite poems has been –I think the title was “Mice Are Nice” or “I Think Mice are Nice.” I used to have my first graders memorize it and act it out. Your poem is really sweet as well.
    Great image mice ice skating!

  10. Lovely Laura! One of my favorite poems has been –I think the title was “Mice Are Nice” or “I Think Mice are Nice.” I used to have my first graders memorize it and act it out. Your poem is really sweet as well.
    Great image mice ice skating!

  11. This is so cute! Love the image of little mice skating on a frozen table. Where I live, they are skittering across the road in my headlights night after night. Thanks so much for sharing your darling poem!

  12. This is so cute! Love the image of little mice skating on a frozen table. Where I live, they are skittering across the road in my headlights night after night. Thanks so much for sharing your darling poem!

  13. We haven’t had ice yet either, but snow is forecast for Monday. I often wonder how the squirrels and rabbits are doing when it gets cold. Love your imagination here, Laura, especially that paper plate moon and the gum wrapper skate blades. I just talked with a student today about a how-to speech & he said he was going to teach how to make a blow-dart from a gum wrapper. So then everyone had something new to add about what they could make from one. You are right on target with the kids! Why do we dislike the mice so much when so many write sweet little pieces about them?

    1. Hehehe–I think mice in theory tend to be more appealing than mice in reality. Although mice are awfully cute outside! Blow-dart from a gum wrapper–cool!

  14. We haven’t had ice yet either, but snow is forecast for Monday. I often wonder how the squirrels and rabbits are doing when it gets cold. Love your imagination here, Laura, especially that paper plate moon and the gum wrapper skate blades. I just talked with a student today about a how-to speech & he said he was going to teach how to make a blow-dart from a gum wrapper. So then everyone had something new to add about what they could make from one. You are right on target with the kids! Why do we dislike the mice so much when so many write sweet little pieces about them?

    1. Hehehe–I think mice in theory tend to be more appealing than mice in reality. Although mice are awfully cute outside! Blow-dart from a gum wrapper–cool!

  15. LOVE it! I vote rhyming PB!! (Unless there’s no Mice on Ice collections yet, in which case, I can’t wait to read the zamboni poem!!)

  16. LOVE it! I vote rhyming PB!! (Unless there’s no Mice on Ice collections yet, in which case, I can’t wait to read the zamboni poem!!)

  17. I love how inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. And only a poet would think of something as beautiful as this from something so random, mundane, commonplace. Magic! 🙂

  18. I love how inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. And only a poet would think of something as beautiful as this from something so random, mundane, commonplace. Magic! 🙂

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