Thursday, April 28, 2022

Progressive Poem is HERE!

This is my first time participating in the annual Progressive Poem.  I signed up somewhat late in the game, and chose the penultimate line. Gutsy or naive? It's your call!  As my turn came closer I started scouting for lines that would fit. I agree with Tabatha that the poem seems less of a narrative and more about mood. It's atmospheric! So...

Ted Kooser is one of my favorite poets, and since I grew up in Nebraska I have always loved his poem "So This is Nebraska."  I have adapted a line or two from his poem for my addition in italics below.

And now... on to Michelle Kogan for the finale!


Where they were going, there were no maps.

   Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

   We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.

The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.

Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 

 and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds’ libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.

The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.

Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark. 

There are no wrong roads to anywhere

lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove.

Standing at the fence of the cottage, 
    I hear the new note in the voices of the birds.

I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the message of my heart upward.

I make up a song that goes on singing all by itself

Surfing rivers of wind way up high . . . calling zeepzeepzeep in the sky,

blinking back the wee wonder of footprints, mouse holes, and underground maps.

I feel like waving... like dancing around on the road


1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin 
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien 
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame 
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech 
5. inspired by "[in Just-]" by E. E. Cummings 
6. "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada 
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 
9. inspired by Disney songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas 
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor 
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman 
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron 
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer 
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 1
5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis 
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera 
18. Kate DiCamillo's The Beatryce Prophecy 
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith 
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv 
21. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 
22. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen 
23. adapted from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 
24. A quote from Terry Tempest Williams in Birdology by Sy Montgomery 
25. adapted from "When I Was a Bird" by Katherine Mansfield 
26. Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre 
27. a quote from the poem, "Reading in the Dark" from the book, "Please Bury Me In the library" by J. Patrick Lewis.
28. adapted from "So This is Nebraska" from Sure Signs: New & Selected Poems by Ted Kooser

And here are the wordsmiths who added lines:

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

It's another Poetry Friday.  Join the poetic fun at Jone Rush MacCulloch's blog.  Jone is sharing a beautiful morning poem written this month, and other poets will be linked to her blog. YOU are welcome...


  1. Karen, i have been waiting for the last lines to unravel the imaginative journey. Your line is an unexpected one. Our narrator seems so joyful and full of live. I can't even predict how Michelle is going to close the poem but it all quite a creative adventure.

  2. oooooh! A reference to Koosier always makes me happy. What a wonderful poet to lean on for your line. I'm waving back at you!

  3. I am a Ted Kooser fan and this line is like the lift of an arm in a dance twirl. Michelle will take us back down to earth.

  4. I'm smiling. Your's seems to be the only response possible to the previous lines. I love Ted Kooser's poems, too.

  5. Wonderful!! I'm a Kooser fan too.

  6. waving and dancing with you, Karen!

  7. Nice line! I'm a big Kooser fan.

  8. Hmmm… ponder, ponder… Thanks Karen!

  9. I love Kooser, too, Karen. It's a marvelous 'almost' ending!

  10. This is a great addition to the poem, Karen! I only recently read "This Is Nebraska" in my Poet Laureate's Anthology, and I really marveled over Kooser's ability to capture such a place and feeling...

  11. Wonderful, Karen - love the movement in your line, and the road theme, too. (I know I left a comment before, but not sure where it ran off to... so trying again!) Thanks so much!

  12. This line feels like the perfect lift before the end. Well done!