Friday, April 15, 2016

Myra Cohn Livingston

"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 15 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Today is also Poetry Friday. Michelle hosts the roundup, so stop by Today's Little Ditty and enjoy the poetry.

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is Myra Cohn Livingston. Take a moment and read Renee LaTulippe's excellent post with Lee Bennett Hopkins on Myra and her work.

Illustrations by Leonard Everett Fisher, © 1985.

from Celebrations

Mardi Gras
by Myra Cohn Livingston

Throw me
something, Mister,
I shout to the crews on
their floats, rolling down Bourbon Street.
Throw me

from behind your
mask, a string of glass beads,
purple beads for justice, beads of green
for faith,

of bright gold for
power. Throw me something
now that its Fat Tuesday and its
time for

dancing, singing,
and you, Mister, on your
float reaching for something you can
throw me.

© Myra Cohn Livingston, 1985.

My Intention: Write a poem with multiple cinquains as stanzas. Include a repeating phrase to tie them together. 

stretch your great blue
wings out to catch the sun.
Cast a shadow on the surface
so that

you can
see beyond the
glistening reflection
into the moving shade beneath.

stretch your
great blue neck so
you might see a meal swim
by near the surface of the creek.
Pick up

one leg,
move it slowly,
slowly, slowly, until
with calculated speed your great
blue beak

fish for lunch at the creek.
Then heron lift your great blue wings
and fly.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold


  1. Lovely! Like how the last line beautifully propels the entire poem.

  2. This is fabulous, Dori! It couldn't have been easy to write, that's for sure. Somehow you managed to capture the heron's portrait without sounding at all stilted or constrained by form.

    I've got some catching up to do on your blog. After my hosting duties are over, I'm looking forward to coming back and visiting some of the days I missed this week.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I've loved this poem by Myra for a long time. Even though I've played with cinquains often, I've always wanted to find the smooth rhythm she achieves with her lovely repeated words.

  3. I am so jealous that you have a heron to savor at your creek, Doraine. I love Myra Cohn Livingston too, fabulous poem after hers. Did he really move his leg slowly, readying?

    1. Oh, yes, Linda. He moves almost in slow motion until he snatches or stretches out those wings and flaps away.

  4. I'm needing to catch up on your wonderful posts this month too, Doraine. Thanks for sharing these today - so very different, and as Michelle mentioned, not so easy to craft, I'm sure. I love all the great blue herons around here, too.

  5. So enjoying these Doraine. We have lots of herons around here too and I think your cinqains have captured heron well.

  6. This form was perfect for the bending and unbending of a heron's legs and wings!

  7. Dori, there is so much poetry popping out all over. Your Feet in the Creek poetry brings me back to the beauty of nature. I see the heron as a sign of freedom as he glides and flies.