Poetry Friday September 13, 2019

Poetry Friday is hosted today by children's author & poet, Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids. She is showing off Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle, her final published book of 2019. It's a delightful, rhyming, nonfiction picture book that shows different animals getting ready for winter. If you are really creative, do some poeming to let her know how you get ready for those colder months!

When you are done admiring other's posted poems, make sure to check out the links to other participants sharing poetry today.

Carol Varsalona and I have switched hosting dates. Carol will be hosting September 27, 2019 at Beyond LiteracyLink, and I will take on her date, October 4, 2019, here at Library Matters.

In 1958, I was five when my family joined other relatives on a logging and homesteading adventure into the Pine River region of Northern British Columbia.
I'm committed to sharing a bit every week so that I don't give up. (with time out for camping and canning of course) I appreciate feedback on the construction of the poetry and ideas and questions about what information might be missing.
I am almost done with this part of the story. I'm still trying to determine if I should write this whole thing in present or past tense.

This poem might not make sense if you have not read the previous poem here. My mother told me about having to make this decision in one of our conversations about this event many years ago.

Difficult Decision 

Mommy had to make a choice.

If Daddy made it through the night
he would be airlifted to Vancouver.

Did she want to see him?

Uncle Wilf would take her.

They both knew it might be her last chance
to see him alive,
to say goodbye.

But it was a five hour journey
with no guarantees at the end.

And she was responsible
for five small children

Mommy bet on Daddy’s strength
and started packing.

Here are links to previous poems in this collection.

Ready and Willing
Diaper Duty
Skunk Trouble
Bath Time
Time For Fun
First Snow

Miserable Physics

Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle, her final published book of 2019. It's a delightful rhyming nonfiction picture book that shows different animals getting ready for winter. If you are really creative you can poem up


  1. I had to go back and read the previous poem (missed it before)...I especially like "those twin demons,/fear and grief/took possession of our home/and our lives." Thinking about the title of the other one, "An Icy Swerve" comes to mind, for literal and figurative reasons. What a tough choice your mom had to make. We always do the best we can with the info we have. Kudos to you for keeping the reader in mind as you write these difficult poems.

    1. I might have to let go of Miserable Physics, but right now I'm in the middle of crafting a poem to include in the collection that illustrates the importance of a knowledge of math and physics even if it is only at an intuitive level. So much depends on getting it just right, and even when you think you have it, there is so much that is still out of your control and can go wrong.
      I agree, we always do the best we can with the info we have.

  2. Oh, Cheriee, these poems must be so difficult to write.
    Re. your pondering on the tense: I wonder if present tense might work well? It's something you'll have to tinker with to decide, of course, but it would put the reader in the moment. It depends, I think, on whether you want the reader right there with five-year-old you, or if you want the reader reflecting back with adult you.

    1. Thanks for your comment Karen. I went back and forth playing with both tense. My two readers suggested I stay with past. I suspect that when I figure out who I want my audience to be, it will be easier to figure out!

    2. So true! And these things can be tinkered and changed once you've got the bones down. I do so love visiting your blog and reading your story. Thought my goodness - what a terrible situation for your mum to be in. Feeling for her - and for you as you write the story and dwell on difficult memories. So tough!

  3. That tense thing is hard and usually I like the present tense, takes me more 'right there' than a memory story. I tried to change this one in my mind to present, but find it hard to see how a five year old could see it all so clearly. It may be you'll have to choose who is telling the story, a grown daughter from stories she's been told, or the five year old? No matter, I am always fascinated by your poems, Cheriee, love that you're writing them & sharing with us!

    1. You have nailed my problem Linda. As a five year old I miss so many of the nuances and understanding the importance of events.

  4. What I like most about your poem Cheriee, is the brevity in which you share so much with so few words–a heart-wrenching story–well done, thanks! I did go back and read your earlier poem–they work well together.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I've rewritten the last one into chunks of smaller poems so this one fits into it.

  5. Oh, the tense question! It's sooooooo difficult! I think you have to really consider how your book begins. Does it begin with looking back? Or, does it begin in the present of an amazing adventure. Look in other novels in verse--especially those you love to see what will work best for you. Even then, it's a really tough decision. I'm along for this ride for sure. I want to know what Mommy learns from her trip to Daddy. I want her to see him again...and again!

    1. Thanks Linda. Mommy didn't make that trip. Instead she prepared to meet Daddy in Vancouver.

  6. Oh, what a hard decision. That ending nails it. I felt so uplifted when I read it. I think it you want an adult audience, past tense will work better overall. If you're writing for kids, I think present tense MIGHT work better, because it will help you as the poet maintain a childlike voice and also help the reader feel the strong emotions that your narrator is feeling. Of course, either tense could work for either audience--that's just my general sense overall. Thanks for sharing this...

    1. Thanks Laura. I think I'm going to just focus on getting it all written and then figure out who might want to red it. I suspect that my family will read it no matter what!

  7. As Michelle said, I'm impressed with how well you capture so much storyline and emotion in so few words. I tend to prefer past tense somehow, although present tense has its advantages. Past tense allows for reflection and retrospect.

    1. I like this Jama. I don't think five year olds have the capacity for reflection and retrospect.

  8. I agree with others about how wonderful you are at packing so much emotion into a few words. For me, past tense seems to work best! Deciding on which tense to use is something I struggle with too. Good luck, and I look forward to reading more of your poems.

    1. Thanks Linda. I'm now wondering how to integrate my personal memories as present tense, and the rest of the story as past.