poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to a friendly cup of hot chocolate and a yummy cookie. If you’ve been extra good this week, take two. 🙂

I think many of you would agree that October is the best autumn month. September can be a little too warm, the vestiges of summer dragging its feet, while November can have its grey, gloomy moments, inviting melancholy. Once we’re past Thanksgiving and rushing headlong into December, we’ve switched into holiday shopping mode, which doesn’t feel autumnal at all.

But October? Peak color, chipper mornings, deep blue skies, the anticipation of Halloween. Kids are happy in October dunking for apples, carving pumpkins, and fulfilling their wishes to dress up as anyone or any thing as they go trick-or-treating.

This month I was happy to discover Jeffrey Bean, a new-to-me Michigan poet who’s written a series of direct address poems beginning with “Kid, this is . . . “

Try this one on for size.


“Autumn’s Window” by Loré Pemberton

you can make the maples blaze
just by stopping to look,
you can set your clock to the barks
of geese. Somewhere the grandfathers
who own this town lean down to iron
crisp blue shirts, their faces bathing
in steam, and blackbirds
clamor in packs,
make plans behind corn.

You know this,
you were born whistling
at crackling stars, you snap
your fingers and big turtles
slide out of rivers to answer.

You can swim one more time
in the puddle of sun
in your water glass, taste icicles
already in the white crunch
of your lunch apple. Go
to sleep. I’ll put on my silver suit
and chase the sky into the moon.

~ from The Missouri Review, February 2016
via Madison Safer

About this poem, Jeffrey says:

One thing I love about being a parent is the way it wakes me up to the sensory details of the world. As a father of a five-year-old, I find myself trying to see through my daughter’s eyes, and in doing so I pay even more attention than usual to corn, turtles, flocks of blackbirds, maples, apples, water, etc., noticing the beauty as well as the strangeness in these things. In the series of “kid” poems from which “Kid, this is October” comes, I like the way the mode of direct address allows the father-speaker to catalog many such details in the form of advice, encouragement, pseudo-fables, or, in the case of this poem, as a kind of lullaby. He wants the kid to open up to the world as much as possible and he also wants the kid to go to sleep, which pretty much sums up my experiences with parenthood so far. What has been most interesting to me in writing these poems is the way it puts me in touch with my own childhood. It has made me realize how crucial imagination has been in my life as a kid and how crucial it continues to be in my life as a father.

~ from The Missouri Review, February 2016

It’s the same world, but we all see, hear, and feel it differently thanks to the mind’s eye. That’s our human super power, but often we need children to remind us of it.

And now, Kid, This is Mr. Linky. Feed him your poetic goodness. 🙂



Enjoy your meanderings around the blogosphere, engage in a little fall folderol this weekend, and have a Happy Halloween next Sunday.

Help yourself to a treat.
Caramel, anyone?
Thanks for joining us!

*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to a mug of warm cider and an apple cider donut. Since things are tough these days, better take two. 🙂

While many of us consider fall our favorite season — we certainly love the gorgeous leaf color, the cooler temperatures and deep blue skies — there is always that shade of melancholy, a keener awareness of passing time.

As trees take their final bow in rustic costume, we become more appreciative of their transient beauty and painfully aware of our own mortality.

Recently I stumbled upon this poignant poem by Michigan poet David James. I think he gets it just right.


“Apple Orchard” by Audra Ziegal
by David James

I've wheelbarrowed over a thousand
apples behind the cedars
for compost.
Hundreds are still left stranded 
in the branches, dropping with each burst
of wind. Every year's a blur,
and my heart marks another tally off 
inside my chest wall. This is the year
of my first grandson, who purrs
asleep in my arms, who looks through me
with his dark eyes. I touch his soft
cheeks and his little fists shoot out
as if to catch himself.
We're all falling into the great trough,
I want to say but don't.

I can't imagine his world without
imagining the end of mine.
Who will sit in this lovely yard
and write poems? There's no doubt
someone will, someone from the dying planet
who will look over at the pines
and remember his past and smile.
The wind will blow apples
down, the autumn sun will shine,
and he'll hear the jay calling
for no reason other than to file
a complaint that the bird bath
is dry as a bone.
In the end, we all bow our heads in exile,
and prepare, in our own ways, for the fall.

~ from Michigan Poet, November 2012

“Autumn Bluejay” by Gina Signore


Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. I’m looking forward to reading all your wonderful poems, reviews, and musings this week!

Thanks so much for joining us. Please stay safe, be well, don’t forget to vote, and have a nice weekend. 🙂


*Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

“November” by Maggie Dietz

“La Belle Jardiniere – November” by Eugène Grasset (1896)


Ah, November!

The eleventh month often gets a bad rap. Sometimes described as “somber,” “gloomy,” or “dreary,” it’s neither here nor there.

October, with its splendid, crisp days and peak foliage is quintessential autumn —  a very hard act to follow. As Anne Shirley famously said, “I’m glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Poor November. Shock of color gone, trees showing their bare bones, chilly winds — suddenly we’re reminded of year’s end, darkness to come. We reflect on our unmet resolutions, mourn the transience of time. At least December has much to distract us with its holiday cheer and bustle, a winter welcome tied with a pretty red bow.

And yet.


“Autumn Leaves” by John Everett Millais (1856)


Good things happen in November. It’s my birthday month (as well as Len’s, my dad’s and brother-in-law’s). It’s a time to honor veterans (like my mom), and of course, there’s Thanksgiving, when the house smells of spiced cider, roast turkey, homemade pies, squash and pumpkin everything.

A time for gathering in, but also gathering together. Expressing gratitude. Feasting. Who wouldn’t love a month where food takes center stage?

So I’m okay with this take stock, get ready, fortify yourself month. It’s my chance to bask in the fading light and exquisite melancholy. Shorter days? More time for reading and dreaming. 🙂



“November Freshet” by John Ottis Adams (1897)


by Maggie Dietz

Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.

Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees

Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge

On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.

Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.

The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.

~ from That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016).



Maggie Dietz received a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from Boston University. She is the author of That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Perennial Fall (University of Chicago Press, 2006), winner of the 2007 Jane Kenyon Award from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Dietz has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Phillips Exeter Academy, among others. She previously served as director of Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, coediting three anthologies related to the project. She currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell and lives in New Hampshire.



The beautiful, talented, and exceedingly clever Michelle Barnes is hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty. With bed head and election results, she’s somewhat of a basket case this week, sharing fab poems with commentary. And do I love all the bear talk? Why yes, yes I do. Check out the full menu of poetry goodness and have a delicious Novemberish weekend.

Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome Friends, Please Come In!

Why hello! What brings you here?

A poetry lover? You’re just the person I was hoping to see! Come in, make yourself at home, and help yourself to a cup of warm cider. Would you like an apple cider donut to go with that?

via heidi33

Today I’m happy to share one of my very favorite Autumn poems ever, by the one and only Barbara Crooker. She has perfectly captured the gorgeous melancholy that defines the season. Whenever I read this poem aloud, I’m amazed anew at the beauty of the English language and marvel at Barbara’s diction, phrasing, and musicality. Quite simply: a polished gem, a word painting, a heart song that takes my breath away.


when the light leaves early, sun slipping down
behind the beech trees as easily as a spoon
of cherry cough syrup, four deer step delicately
up our path, just at the moment when the colors
shift, to eat fallen apples in the tall grass.
Great grey ghosts. If we steal outside in the dark,
we can hear them chew. A sudden movement,
they’re gone, the whiteness of their tails
a burning afterimage. A hollow pumpkin moon rises,
turns the dried corn to chiaroscuro, shape and shadow;
the breath of the wind draws the leaves and stalks
like melancholy cellos. These days are songs, noon air
that flows like warm honey, the maple trees’ glissando
of fat buttery leaves. The sun goes straight to the gut
like a slug of brandy, an eau-de-vie. Ochre October:
the sky, a blue dazzle, the grand finale of trees,
this spontaneous applause; when darkness falls
like a curtain, the last act, the passage of time,
that blue current; October, and the light leaves early,
our radiant hungers, all these golden losses.

~ copyright © 2005 Barbara Crooker (from Radiance, published by Word Press). All rights reserved.

Show us your poems!

Please leave your links with Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to include the title of your poem or book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. I will update throughout the day.

TODAY’S POETRY FRIDAY MENU (sip, savor, chew, swallow):

1. Charles Ghigna (“House of Perfection”)

2. Heidi Mordhorst (“Twenty-four Doors,” an original)

3. jama (“Apple Season”)

4. Gathering Books (Walking Free by Gemino Abad)

5. Teacher Dance (A Goodbye, original)

6. Robyn Hood Black (original wolfy poetry)

7. Amy LV (“I Love Choosing” & P*Tag!)

8. Judy (To the Grass of Autumn, W.S. Merwin)

9. Susan Taylor Brown (Proof of Life, original poem)

10. Mary Lee (Subway Poem)

11. Carol (“To Failure” by Philip Larkin)

12. Tabatha (Edward Shanks)

13. Tara (October poems by Bobbi Katz)

14. Ben @ The Small Nouns (Poetry Mix  Tape: Autumn Poems)

15. Maria Horvath’s Daily Poems (“For an Amorous Lady”)

16. Laura Salas (Dogku by Andrew Clements)

17. Laura Salas (15 Words or less poems)

18. KK’s Kwotes (quote by Paul Janeczko)

19. Kurious Kitty (Where Home Begins)

20. Diane Mayr (“Power Source”)

21. Kids of the Homefront Army (“Up Late”)

22. Julie Larios (P*Tag)

23. Greg Pincus (“My Father’s Hair”)

24. Irene Latham (Ars Poetica 5 for Friday)

25. Sara Lewis Holmes (Bad Taste)

26. Sylvia Vardell (Upcoming presentation at the IBBY Regional Conference)

27. Wild Rose Reader (Original Halloween Haiku)

28. The Write Sisters (Now Close the Windows)

29. Katie @ Secrets & Sharing Soda (Lemonade by Bob Raczka)

31. Donna (Shushing)

32. david e. (haul-o-ween)

33. Miss Rumphius (At the Sea Floor Café)

34. April @ Teaching Authors (two Thankus)

35. Janet Squires (Hallowilloween)

36. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman (Troubled Water)

37. Mandy Webster (Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver)

38. Joyce Ray (J. Patrick Lewis poetry exercise)

39. MsMac (Robert Frost)

40. Ruth (Villain)

41. Wrung Sponge (original haiku)

42. Adrienne (Walt Whitman)

43. Polka Dot Owl (Jack Prelutsky)


Thanks for participating and have a good weekend!



Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.