Poetry Friday– Wordplay poem: American Redstart, #Inktober, #Birdtober

Happy Poetry Friday

American Redstart, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, pen and ink.

I’ve taken the plunge and written a wordplay poem put out as a challenge by the Poetry Sisters… Thanks Tanita S. Davis, Laura Purdie Salas, Mary Lee Hahn, et al. Find more of these poems tagged with #PoetryPals. Our source and samples for this comes from a favorite poet and writer of mine, Nikki Grimes, who was interviewed and shared wordplay poems on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ Blog Today’s Little Ditty. I also decided to do double duty with this challenge and bring in my October challenges for #Birdtober and #Inktober. I’m hoping the lovely Halloween-dressed American Redstart will be patient as he waits his sporting orange and black colors to come.


Redstart is a whirlwind word
a wondrous word
a willy-nilly-never stopping

Will he pause while perched?
Never-ever-even his
orange–tinged tail
forever waves
up and down.

Like its
Central American
nickname Candelita,
that brush-splashed
orange tail, shoulders, and wings
flash and spread warmth with
each quivering motion…

Sweet, sweet
bit of a thing,
continue to sing
your ever-changing, juicy
“zee zee zee zee zwee” song…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Linda Baie at her blog Teacher Dance is our host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Linda, I’m looking forward to your post!

Wishing all a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Pumpkin, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, pen and ink and watercolor

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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26 Responses to Poetry Friday– Wordplay poem: American Redstart, #Inktober, #Birdtober

  1. This is wonderful, Michelle! Full of color and movement and fun-fun-fun!

  2. Linda KulpTrout says:

    Your poem was fun to read, Michelle, and your art is lovely as always! Happy Halloween!

  3. lindabaie says:

    I love it all, Michelle, the “willy-nilly-never stopping /bird-of–a-word”, your drawing, its tail flashing, & that gorgeous pumpkin! Ruth shared about the restart, too, a bird I know so little about. I love seeing how busy it is! Happy Halloween to you, too!

  4. haitiruth says:

    Your Redstart poem is perfect! Yes, that’s exactly the way they are! ❤ Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  5. andisibley says:

    I love this! Such a fun, colorful, zippy poem just like the bird. 🙂 Thanks for playing!

  6. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    Love the combined challenges here — and the tongue twisty first line! Irresistable.

  7. Ooh, Michelle–this is great! Those first two stanzas feel especially vivid and masterful. They just zip right off the tongue in such a fun way. So glad you joined in the wordplay challenge!

  8. janicescully says:

    Michelle, your poem really nailed the essence of this little creature! It does make a zee zee sound and it never sits still, tail forever waving.

  9. I love “willy-nilly-never stopping / bird-of–a-word” and your energetic movement verbs. It’s true–they’re always in motion!

  10. jama says:

    Love your poem, you had me at the opening stanza (“bird of a word”)! You captured the spirit of this sweet bird with your jaunty words.

  11. tee+d says:

    Oh, that little fat cuteness! We don’t have those guys on the West Coast, I don’t think – I’ve never even heard of them (which surprises me not at all; the tiny birds zip by so fast I’m still squinting trying to make out plumage when – zoop – they’re gone) but I’ll be on the lookout for their Left Coast compatriots now. What a fun, bouncing little poem saluting such a fun, bouncy little bird! Love it!

  12. Thanks for this poem and video… I would not have been able to identify a redstart without it. I am seeing lots of bluejays in my world these days, and honkers overhead. Love your art!

  13. Linda Mitchell says:

    love these lines:
    orange tail, shoulders, and wings
    flash and spread warmth with”
    And, that pumpkin is wonderful!

  14. Tabatha says:

    So much motion in your poem! And I love that lumpy pumpkin. Happy Halloween, Michelle!

  15. Denise Krebs says:

    Oh, my, Michelle….I love “bird-of-a-word” and other lines so playful and moving and twittering, like the Redstart itself. Lovely post. Thanks again for teaching me so much about birds this month.

  16. maryleehahn says:

    I’m so happy you blended two challenges this week! After watching the video, I have to agree that they are
    “Sweet, sweet
    bit of a thing,”

    It’s fun that both you and Ruth are doing the challenge — you give us such different perspectives on the birds.

    (LOVE that pumpkin!!)

  17. mbhmaine says:

    Wow, Michelle! You’ve captured so much of the delightful redstart in your poem. Your word choice and creative use of hyphens ups the energy and the fun. That fabulous first stanza sets the tone beautifully! Love it!

  18. rosecappelli says:

    Such a delight to recite! Love “a willy-nilly-never-stopping bird-of-a-word.”

  19. There is an energy that bursts from every line of your poem Michelle. It does ample justice to this frenetic little bird with its colour splashes. Your poetic project has served you well.

  20. Elisabeth says:

    I love how you were able to combine all those prompts into one wonderful poem that, as Alan says, is full of energetic movement. And I’m continually impressed by your artistic talent. Thanks for sharing with us this week!

  21. margaretsmn says:

    Such an affectionate poem for the redstart, a new-to-me bird. I love how you combined prompts with this one. “continue to sing”…

  22. macrush53 says:

    I love this beginning: “Redstart is a whirlwind word ” I am going to try the wordplay challenge soon.

  23. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I saw your post on FB and could not wait to read your post. Your artwork and wordplay poem is filled with inspiration. Love the alliteration, thoughts on the restart -whirlwind and wondrous word. The pumpkin drawing is beautiful. Since I am inspired by pumpkins of the season, I would like to capture your pumpkin for my Bedecked In Autumn Gallery.

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