Friday, February 4, 2011

Poetry Friday: The Ant Explorer

Welcome to Poetry Friday! I'm delighted to be the host for this week's roundup. I've enjoyed reading your posts for so long, I'm happy to welcome you here today.

If you've stopped by my blog on Poetry Friday before, you may know that I have often posted poems about explorers over the last year. I was working on a book of reader's theater scripts about explorers, so poems on the subject were a natural extension for Poetry Friday. The book has been released and the publicity part is now in progress. I'll be hosting a blog tour here next week if you have time to stop by and chat.

So today I have another explorer poem to offer you.

C. Michael James Dennis (1876-1938) was an Australian poet and journalist. European exploration of Australia began in the late 1700s. By the turn of the twentieth century most of the continent's geographical features had been discovered and mapped. Dennis must have heard stories of journeys into the outback. Maybe he even interviewed some of the later explorers to hear about their adventures. No water for days on end. Heat so intense a man's hair stopped growing. Hunger so severe they ate their camels' feet or a faithful horse. Blindness from the glaring sun.

Ernest Giles, an Aussie explorer, once said, "Exploration of one thousand miles in Australia is equal to ten thousand miles in any other part of the earth's surface, always excepting Arctic and Antarctic travels." Venturing into the outback was no small matter.

But the truth is that all journeys, no matter how long or how far away have their challenges.

And size is relative.

In this poem, Dennis' sense of humor is evident. Enjoy!

The Ant Explorer
by C. Micheal James Dennis

Once a little sugar ant made up his mind to roam-
To fare away far away, far away from home.
He had eaten all his breakfast, and he had his ma's consent
To see what he should chance to see and here's the way he went
Up and down a fern frond, round and round a stone,
Down a gloomy gully where he loathed to be alone,
Up a mighty mountain range, seven inches high,
Through the fearful forest grass that nearly hid the sky,
Out along a bracken bridge, bending in the moss,
Till he reached a dreadful desert that was feet and feet across.
'Twas a dry, deserted desert, and a trackless land to tread,
He wished that he was home again and tucked-up tight in bed.
His little legs were wobbly, his strength was nearly spent,
And so he turned around again and here's the way he went-
Back away from desert lands feet and feet across,
Back along the bracken bridge bending in the moss,
Through the fearful forest grass shutting out the sky,
Up a mighty mountain range seven inches high,
Down a gloomy gully, where he loathed to be alone,
Up and down a fern frond and round and round a stone.
A dreary ant, a weary ant, resolved no more to roam,
He staggered up the garden path and popped back home.

Whatever your journey, whether it's a new poem or a book or something much more daunting, may you always find your way back home.


  1. Thank you for hosting!

    I love the explorer poem...poor little ant. I was tired for him.

  2. What a fun poem! It reminds me of the Ruth Brown picture book, SNAIL TRAIL. I've shared the link to your reader's theater book with my teacher friend who does a lot of reader's theater with her students. Thank you for hosting! A.

  3. Thanks for hosting, Dori! I enjoyed The Ant Explorer. Congrats again on your new book!

  4. Thanks for hosting! I loved going on a journey with that little ant...and ending up back home! Happy Friday!

  5. Thank you for hosting today! I loved the rhythm of this poem...and I, too, felt its dreariness and weariness by the poem's end.

  6. Yay, Doraine, you did it! Inlinkz looks great. And the poem is a delight... makes me think of E.O. Wilson aka The Ant King. Fascinating world, that of ants. Happy poetry friday!

  7. I love Out along a bracken bridge, bending in the moss with its great "b" sounds.

  8. Thanks for hosting, Dori. I'm out much of today but look forward to coming back and reading everyone's poems soon!

  9. Love that ant poem, Dori, and congrats on your new book!

    Today I'm sharing a cookie poem by Diane Lockward and news of a poetry/recipe contest.

    Thanks for hosting today, have a nice weekend!

  10. Thanks for hosting! I'm in with a lovely Anne Porter poem.

    Congratulations on your new book!

  11. thanks for hosting. i've got a jaunty bit of nonsense about oatmeal today.

    that little ant, so much like a determined child planning on running away from home...

  12. Dori, wonderful news about the book of explorers! I look forward to stopping in next week! Thanks for hosting!

  13. Thanks for hosting. I love the exploration theme. And after a few weeks off, I'm back in with a wonderful poem (not mine!) on a travel-and-longing-for-adventure theme, at Castle in the Sea.

  14. Thanks to everyone for stopping in. It's a bit of a crazy day for me, but I'll be reading all your posts over the weekend.

  15. Dori,

    Thanks for doing the roundup this week! The poem you posted would be great to share with young kids when reading them Chris Van Allsburg's picture book "Two Bad Ants."

    At Wild Rose Reader, I'm revisiting an old poem about shadows on snow.

  16. Participating for the first time on my new blog!

    An excerpt from the book The Way A Door Closes

  17. My selection is Blues Journey written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers.

  18. Thanks so much for hosting! I posted a story about the genesis of a group of poems my MFA classmates and I wrote years ago.

  19. Thanks for hosting, Doraine, and for that pant-pant-poor-ant poem!