Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Progressive Poem Ends Here!

Welcome to the 2018 Kidslitosphere Progressive Poem, brainchild of Irene Latham.  For seven years, we've been creating poems together. 30 days in April, 30 poets, 30 lines of poetry that take us on an adventure, give us room to dream, and challenge the very essence of creating a poem. Take a look at the past poems here.

I missed the sign up on Irene's blog for the Progressive Poem this year. Life has been busy and my energy must be spent wisely. I didn't mean to miss it. I just forgot to check on that Friday in March. It wasn't until Irene emailed me with the subject line "Progressive Poem" that I realized I'd missed it. It was a simple conversation.

Irene: Dear Doraine, there is one slot left -- the last line! Just checking to see if you want it.
Me: (Silent gasp!) Okay. She says quaking in her rain boots. (It was pouring rain on March 11.) 
Irene: You got this, rain-bird. Thank you! xo

And I quaked in my boots for the rest of March, often reminding myself of Irene's "You got this." I spent the first week reading each of your lines, swallowing the panic that rumbled like distant thunder.  I don't have a great track record for ending things. I once (and only once) wrote a middle grades novel where I spent the last six months of writing trying to figure out how to find the end.

"You got this."

Then through the middle of the month, I found myself grateful that I didn't have to figure out how to get our sweet Jasmine out of Lee's birthday party. If that had been my line, we might still be there partying into the wee hours of April.

Over the last week, I have done a lot of deep breathing, gently nudging my stomach out of my throat back to the space in my body where it belongs.

The interesting thing about this progressive poem is that our one line feels so important, no matter where we fall in the list of days. And it is. Every word matters in a poem. Yet, in reality, we are not alone in this process. The work of this poem lies in trusting each other and listening well.

I recently read a quote from Natalie Diaz who spoke at the 2018 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (one of these years I'm going to get there). She said, "We need friends—not just followers—if we’re going to do the slow, often hard, always worthwhile work required to read and write with clarity, creativity, and nuance. "

That's just what this community is/does.

For an excellent recap of this poetic journey, read April's post with her next-to-last line.

Each of us, as we've added a line, have played along with Heidi's suggestion for deepening this progressive journey. We were to write down our thoughts after we read Liz's Line 1, hide it from ourselves, and come back to it when we wrote our line.

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched. 

I wrote:  A seed carries its nature within. It grows with strength. Becomes exactly what it's meant to be.

This is me, trying hard to fly like a rain-bird to the end.

And just so you know...I don't like messing with other people's lines, but Jane and I talked via email about keeping the tense of line two as she created it, but enhancing the poetic quality with a contraction.

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she'd had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

“Moon?” she called across warm honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”

“Come find me,” Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons’ embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl’s toes, pale
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee’s party!
Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
                            Jas grinned,




                                                                       a new,


a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.
Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet’s jasmine, she
wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.
Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,
filled with light and starsong. “Revelers, lean in –
let’s add to this merriment a game that grows
wordgifts for Lee. He’s a man who knows
selection, collection, and wisely advising
these dreamers, word-weavers, and friends.”

Jas enfolded Moon-Sky-Owl into the cup of her petals,
lifted new greens to the warming rays of spring. Sun
smeared the horizon with colour, as Jasmine stretched.
She felt powerful. She felt fresh. She bloomed and took a breath
and filled the earth with a fragrance all her own. 

Here is the sweet-smelling community of word builders that created our poem.  I'm sure Irene will wrap us up and give the poem a title. In the meantime, bloom, my friends. Bloom like Jasmine.

4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Jan at bookseedstudio

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

13 Linda at A Word Edgewise

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers

29 April at Teaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads


  1. Rain-bird, you nailed it! Pure perfection. (Though your two months of nerves did make for entertaining, relatable reading! And you're so right about the importance of each and every line - and the weight of responsibility it carries.)

    Thank-you for such a fitting, fragrant ending.

  2. Swoon! A fragrance all her own!! I love it, rain-bird, love it! Also this gentle reminder: "Yet, in reality, we are not alone in this process." So true! I'd love to got to the Calvin College thing. I will have to tell you my Calvin College connection, after being in Grand Rapids earlier this year. Thank you, Doraine! xo
    p.s. to anyone reading this comment... if you have a title for this poem, please share!! It totally deserves a title!

  3. Wow, Doraine—you nailed it! Way to bring it all together!

  4. I'm glad you missed that "call", Doraine, just so you could be the writer at the end, and end our poem so wonderfully! Now, dear Jasmine is ready for her world, for all the challenges and triumphs she will have. Along with reading everyone's lines, I have also loved reading their thoughts in their own journey, as I have yours! Our one line does seem so important, but having it lie within the warm embrace of others is the best! I love this ending, and beginning!

  5. Beautiful ending!! "a fragrance all her own" - perfect!

  6. Brava, Doraine! How fitting that April handed you a line with a breath in it - and, like the quiet leader you are, you knew just how to release its wonder into the world. XO (PS - "Every word matters in a poem. Yet, in reality, we are not alone in this process. The work of this poem lies in trusting each other and listening well." -- love that.)

  7. This last-line wafts over me, a breeze-scent of bliss.
    Lovely, line + post, Doriane!
    (Likewise every line, every line-maker..)

  8. Sorry all of you who commented. I had been getting lots of spam comments and turned on the moderation button and then forgot to moderate! Thanks so much for your affirming thoughts!

  9. Of course she scented the air. Perfect! Thank you, Doraine! -- Christie @

  10. Lovely. She's back where she belongs, doing what she was born to do. Well done!

  11. What a beautiful ending! You did it, indeed. (And I share your dread of endings!)

  12. Go, Jas, go! Lovely, Doraine! Thank you for this hopeful, beautiful last line. Hugs! xx

  13. From April WAyland who couldn’t get her comment to post:

    Oh, oh, oh, Doraine! You brought her home so beautifully! I had worried about tackling the whole idea of an aroma, because everything I experimented with sounded corny... But your reference to her fragrance without elaborating is perfect. Yay to you for landing this poem on behalf of all of us!

  14. The last line you"ve created Doraine shows you may have conquered endings. I read it first thing yesterday. It felt and sounded perfect. Growth, friendship, adventure, fun, reaching and growing, using all you have to leave a mark on the world. Yay to Jasmine, yay to you. A perfect ending. Like it had to be and you made it happen. You make it look easy. But we know it is not.

  15. An absolutely perfect, fragrant ending. Hurray for your forgetfulness and Irene's invite. You wrapped everything up perfectly!

  16. Glad Irene drew you in! Thanks, Dori :-) Each line really is the most important one, in its own way, but nothing beats a satisfying ending!

  17. It couldn't have ended any better - with fragrance, beauty, and hope! Nicely done.

  18. Doraine, of course your line makes sense as a lovely ending to a poem that grew because of the love and care of the poet gardeners. "A fragrance all her own!" Just splendid. As I was walking today, I could smell spring and that is what you did for this poem. You are an official closer now. You got this-was a perfect comment.

  19. Jas not only left us with her wonderful fragrance, she also "filled the earth," lovely Dori thanks!

  20. Dori, I do love that image of Jasmine breathing out her little power over the earth. Thank you for rounding us out!