Diana Hendry’s “What is the Pond Doing?”

When you ask your grandmother a provocative question, you just might get a charming poem in reply. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Sweet Baby Ducklings” by Allison Steele
by Diana Hendry

(for Ruairidh, who asked)

Wobbling like a wobbly jelly
Being a bucket for the rain
Sending flash-backs to the sun
Cheeking the sky
Giving the moon a bath
Letting swans, ducks and winter leaves ride on its back
Licking the lollipop reeds
Pretending to be soup for the wind to stir
Growing stinky skunk cabbages
Drawing wheels and circles then rubbing them out
Plopping slopping slurping spinning
Turning the weeping willows happily upside down
Dreaming of running away to sea
Hiding under a starry blanket of dark

What is the pond doing?
Ponding. Responding.


“Child Playing in Pond Water” by Terri Hamlin


Such a delightful list poem tapping right into a child’s sensibility. Love all the fetching verbs beginning each line, and the clever use of personification, which gives the pond a distinct personality.

You can just imagine kids giggling at, “licking the lollipop reeds” and “plopping slopping slurping spinning.” Quick, say that fast five times. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Water Lily in Moon Reflection” by Patrick Bornemann

The use of “cheeking” as a verb is an interesting choice. It’s not something we commonly hear in America, but the British use it to describe impudence. Perhaps the pond is being a bit cocky with the sky — look at all the things I can do that you cannot!

Hendry’s structure is perfection. The title asks a question, the poem answers it, and then Hendry wows you with that brilliant why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ending.

Did I mention that “Pretending to be soup for the wind to stir” is my favorite line? ๐Ÿ™‚

“Boy at Pond” by Scott Gaspar”

“What Is the Pond Doing?” was written for the UK’s National Poetry Day in 2013. The theme that year was “water.” Diana Hendry is new to me and I look forward to reading and pondering more of her work.

Enjoy this wonderful video of Diana reciting the poem with her grandson Ruairidh. What a great job he does, especially at the end. ๐Ÿ™‚



This year I will be once again posting a Roundup of Kidlitosphere Blog Events. If you’re doing something special at your blog during April, please send your info (+ any graphics, if applicable) to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. I’m looking forward to hearing your plans! ๐Ÿ™‚


Lovely and talented Ruth Hersey is hosting the Roundup at There’s no such thing as a God-forsaken town. Be sure to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere this week. Happy Spring!


*Copyright ยฉ 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “Diana Hendry’s “What is the Pond Doing?”

  1. ooooooh, this post gives me ideas! Thanks, Jama. I love the poem and the Grandma reciting it to her grandson. Riches!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The voice in this poem is so lovely — the way she shows the pond’s child-like imagination. I loved, “Dreaming of running away to sea/ Hiding under a starry blanket of dark.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is delightful, Jama, every bit. Love that video & my favorite line is “Giving the moon a bath”, love all things about the moon! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for spicing up my dreary overcast day with this delightful poem and crescendo-building reading, ah marvelous! โค๏ธ โ€œCheeking the sky,โ€ โ€œGiving the moon a bath,โ€ and
    Ponding. Responding.โ€ Looking forward to doing some pondingโ€ฆ I definitely want to discover more Diana Hendry poems!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes! Wish I thought of this! But… the greatest form of flattery…yada yada yada… Giving myself the assignment this coming week to try my hand at a list poem that personifies something. My fave line: “Dreaming of running away to sea” — because, I walk daily to a nearby pond in the Sierras and have lingered often just gazing at it, never imagining that it might have other ideas! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Thank you for a new poet and a FABULOUS mentor poem! I love the way you illustrate poems with art in your version of a “poem observation.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! Thanks not only for the poem but also for the lovely art. So much imagination in this post. Itโ€™s hard to pick a favorite line as they are all so good. And the video brought it all together.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Diana Hendry is new to me, and I’m entranced! Thank you for introducing me to her. I adore this poem. And, of course, you’ve chosen such lovely paintings to accompany it. Those ducklings are to die for.

    I just visited her website and I LOVE this quote:

    The psychologist D.W. Winnacott once wrote that in most writers there is a conflict between two needs, “the urgent desire to communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found.” ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’ll be learning more about her, for sure. Thanks, Jama.

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