Poetry Friday–National Poetry Month & Whooping Cranes

Happy Poetry Friday


National Poetry Month!

For National Poetry Month I’m continuing to work on a bird poetry book I started recently, and will share some of these poems. I’m hoping to share some art along with some of the poems, but if not then pics of the birds. For more info and events on National Poetry Month stop by the Academy of National Poets. Later in the month, in celebration of Earth Day, on Friday April 22nd, I will be sharing a book review on David Elliott’s inviting poetry picture book that’s coming out this month called At the Pond.
In addition you’ll want to stop in on Jama Rattigan’s blog Jama’s Alphabet Soup where she’s graciously gathered the kidlitosphere and more poetry blog posts all in one spot for your partaking.

Here’s my bird poem on…


Young George Archibald at eight years old
heard these fateful murmurings,
“Help they’ve found us!”
“They’re going to shoot us
and put us in a museum collection.”
These few words forever changed his life… 

With throbbing heart,
from this radio dramatization,
he discovered his path in life—
He had to help save cranes,
specifically the Whooping cranes.

Years later…

Archibald and Tex– a female whooper meet.
Tex blatantly turns her beak up and
interest off of all male whoopers.
Why? Her early life began solely among humans,
leaving her no inkling at all towards male whoopers.

The two rendezvous at the
International Crane Foundation,
which Archibald found with his friend Ron Sauey.
Archibald’s plan is simple:
I’ll dance with Tex, and build a bond with her.
We’ll collect Tex’s vital “genetic material” to
repopulate the dearly endangered Whooping cranes.

So began there dance together, Man and Whooper
which proved fruitful from their first meeting,
for while with Tex,
Archibald became a bird.

Seasons passed without a new offspring…
Though Tex became enraptured with Archibald,
and could distinguish him even within a crowd—
And… Tex only danced with him.

After six years together a miracle happened…
An egg appears
an offspring survives,
Voilà– Newly hatched Gee Whiz thrives!

Tex and the news of her
offspring Gee Whiz made headlines!
It spread far and wide,
with an offer for Archibald to appear
on the Johnny Carson show!

Archibald accepted,
His thoughts were only of Tex,
and how more exposure would help cranes.
As they bid farewell, Tex bid adieu
with a small goodbye dance.

On the eve of the show
Archibald received some tragic news,
an accident occurred—
Raccoons found there way into Tex’s quarters,
Gee Whiz was okay, but
they killed Tex­–

The show went on.
The public while awe-inspired by
Archibald’s story, reacted with shock
to the news of Tex’s death– But
Tex’s offspring, Gee Whiz lived on,
and fathered over 100 whoopers.

©  2022 Michelle Kogan

Read more about, and see images of Tex and George Archibald here.

The International Crane Foundation has lots of info on Whooping Cranes and other cranes too. As of today there are 802 Whooping Cranes in the world, which is a huge jump from the 1930’s when there were only 30. While their population is growing they still need lots of our love.

Here’s a link to the International Crane Foundation

Heidi Mordhorst at her blog My Juicy Little Universe is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks! Heidi’s Kicking off National Poetry Month by sharing a cornucopia of Poetry blog happenings to partake in, so stop on by and fill yourself with many poetry opportunities this month!


© Michelle Kogan

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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14 Responses to Poetry Friday–National Poetry Month & Whooping Cranes

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Happy April! Isn’t it exciting? Thanks for this amazing story-poem, video, and general feeling that all will be well.

  2. lindabaie says:

    Yes, always prayers for Ukraine. I have a hard time watching, but know I must, & help as I can. Love this story, Michelle & the truth! I spent a week with students working on a sandhill crane count in SW Colorado. (They’re flying through now!) During that week we had the awesome pleasure of spotting six whooping cranes. I cannot remember the year but it was momentous according to the rangers there. I won’t forget their majestic ways. Thanks for sharing that it’s better today! Love the idea of your bird poetry book!

  3. maryleehahn says:

    What a story! Our friends in Germany have a nesting pair of cranes (not whooping I don’t think) in the pasture behind their house. They are amazing birds!

  4. carwilc says:

    I love your story poem! It feels like it should grow into a picture book– what an amazing story! And yes, yes, yes prayer for Ukraine.

  5. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, now that is cool…the dancing whopping cranes and Archibald’s story beginning with the radio drama that introduced him to cranes and then his time with Tex. Well done, Michelle. That is quite a story that needs to be told!

  6. What a story! I agree that you have a poetic picture book in the works there–there’s so much history and drama and love and sorrow it’s almost to much for one poem! Looking forward to your birds this month.

  7. Wow. What a dramatic story. I’m now going to have to read more about this. Thanks, Michelle!

  8. This bird nerd is intrigued, Michelle. Can’t wait to learn more and can’t wait for your bird poetry. Take flight!

  9. Such a great story! I’m also a big fan of whooping cranes, but I’d never heard about the radio program before. I’ve been lucky to spot whooping cranes many times, both in captivity and in the wild, here in Wisconsin. I also followed and wrote about an amazing program (defunded, alas!) that trained young birds to migrate to Florida. They are magnificent birds–I hope they survive.

  10. katswhiskers says:

    A gripping read, Michelle. And what a wonderful project to sink your beak into.

  11. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    That’s quite a story! Good luck with your book, Michelle. I hope NPM is a productive hatching ground for you.

  12. Michelle, this will make such an interesting NF PB, and a poem no less! Brava! Keep going!

  13. Bridget Magee says:

    Whoop, whoop for the cranes, your poem, prayer, and dance, Michelle. 🙂

  14. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I finally here. My surgery eye has been making multiple readings difficult but I am glad that I read your post this morning. Your bird poem sounds like a fascinating project. Best of luck with both writing and illustrating this work. Thanks for the video and the links as well.

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