Poetry Friday–Robins for Earth Day 2021

Robin in Catalpa Tree, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

robin dreams of
catalpa canopies,
summer’s secret solace

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m celebrating Earth Day with thoughts about how we can help our friend Robin. The counts of Robins are down in the cities, mainly due to cats roaming around outside and helping themselves to our fine feathered Robin friends. I found a couple articles on how we can help the Robins. This one is from Birds & Blooms and talks about “5 Ways to Create a Bird-Safe Backyard” and this one is from Journey North, on “Robin Ecology.”


For Robin Redbreast’s
best conservation, begin
by keeping your kitty cat
tidily tucked inside.

Your curious kitty cats
ground hunting palate
pangs for parent Robins
and baby fledglings too.

Make kitty cats home
an inside purrfect palace,
and Robin’s home an outside
kitty cat safe-free zone.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Alexandru Zdrobau–public domain.

WIKISOURCE: A Book of Nursery Rhymes.djvu/53

Catherine Flynn at her blog Reading to the Core is our host for this week’s Poetry Friday roundup. For NPM Catherine has been writing poems from a wonderful book she’s been sharing, Kathryn Aalto’s WRITING WILD. I’m looking forward to the next author/poet she will share and write from.

Visit Susan Bruck’s Blog Soul Blossom Living for the NPM Kidlitosphere Roundup, and Margaret Simon’s blog Reflections on the Teche for a schedule of poets participating in the 2021 Progressive Poem.

Happy Poem Reading…

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Poetry Friday—Woodpeckers for #NPM & New Mom’s Day Card

Downy Woodpecker, © Michelle Kogan, pen & ink and watercolor. Available as a card in my Etsy Shop

Happy Poetry Friday!

I ‘m continually taken by our fine feathered Downy woodpecker friends. They don’t fly away and come back, but take residence here all winter long. Last week I heard an unfamiliar bird call I was trying to place and eventually discovered it was the Downy woodpecker. I’m still not sure if it was the Dad or the offspring, but I have a hunch it was Dad, and he sure captured my attention…


Persistent call, baby pecker or parent?
Perhaps baby but your
knock, knock, knocking
gives dad downy away.

Where are you?
I search, and search, and search…
April leaves still sparse, aids tracking your location.
Finally—I find you…

There you are,
mottled black and white beauty
splashed with red crescent-ring round your head’s edge.
Compact, fluffy-feathered contrasts of nature’s perfection.

I spy you,
pecking in that uncanny-curve of your tree.
Using your Teflon-tough weathered beak
to break away bark and dig out delectable treats!

Binoculars bring us closer together,
topflight doorstep view for doting on you.
Camera can’t telephoto and capture your grandness
but my mind’s eye keeps you in my imagination.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Here’s some activity and faint calls from some Downy woodpeckers.

I thought I’d also share Margarita Engle’s poem, DRUM DREAM GIRL. It ‘s drumming and booming, ties in with a woodpecker, and she has a woodpecker in her poem clacking away.

By Margarita Engle

On an island of music
in a city of drumbeats
the drum dream girl

of pounding tall conga drums
tapping small bongó drums
and boom boom booming
with long, loud sticks
on big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.

But everyone
on the island of music
in the city of drumbeats
believed that only boys
should play drums

so the drum dream girl
had to keep dreaming

At outdoor cafés that looked like gardens
she heard drums played by men
but when she closed her eyes
she could also hear
her own imaginary

When she walked under
wind-wavy palm trees
in a flower-bright park
she heard the whir of parrot wings
the clack of woodpecker beaks
the dancing tap
of her own footsteps
and the comforting pat
of her own

At carnivals, she listened
to the rattling beat
of towering
on stilts

Read the rest of her poem here

Here’s a haiku poem from the gorgeous blooming peach trees in my neighborhood.

pink peach blossoms
reach towards sky and release
april’s wonder-puffs…
© 2021Michelle Kogan

I have a new Azalea’s Mother’s Day Card in my Etsy Shop…

Jama Rattigan at her blog Jama’s Alphabet Soup is our hostess with the mostest for this week’s Poetry Friday roundup, thanks for hosting Jama! Jama’s laid a festive table for us with mouth watering cake, fruits, and tea! She’s also serving up a poem about poetry from UK’s past Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, be sure to stop by!

Visit Susan Bruck’s Blog Soul Blossom Living for the NPM Kidlitosphere Roundup, and Margaret Simon’s blog Reflections on the Teche for a schedule of poets participating in the 2021 Progressive Poem.

Happy Poem Reading…

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Poetry Friday–#NPM 2021: Spring

Spring Milkweed, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, oil on linen.

Happy Poetry Friday and National Poetry Month!

Spring plants are emerging, and I’m waiting on my backyard milkweed to push-on-through the soil… And then monarchs come.

This week I’m celebrating with Spring poems that I’ve been writing for NPM. I’m also including my Spring Milkweed oil painting that I’ve been working on outside this last week, when weather cooperates…


Junco scurries around on ground, and flies.
Robins paired and already mating.
Crocus spent, but striped leaves linger,
daffodil dos do delight.
Milkweed launch like rockets,
monarch’s lay their eggs.
Multiply and

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

P.S. Would love to know what this 10 line poem, with decreasing syllable count per line from ten to one is called… Can’t seem to recall.

Here’s a few poems from this last week:

thermometer watcher—
warm up april.

night’s clouds enclose
stillness—shield us till morning
spring’s soft breath breathes on…

if it’s morning
take a moment to
take in birds

two old sisters lean inward,
creating an arched canopy-filled sky
with brother plum center.
From Margaret Simon’s THIS PHOTO WANTS TO BE A POEM prompt

roll and tumble spring
filigree-green treetops, wooo
muffle train along

All above © 2021 Michelle Kogan

Sparrow, © 2021, Michelle Kogan, pencil sketch.

Here’s a fun take on train whistles…

The creative, multitalented poet and writer, Tabatha Yeatts at her blog Tabatha Yeatts:The Opposite of Indifference is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday roundup, thanks Tabatha! Tabatha’s sharing more bilingual poems, be sure to stop by!

Also for more poetry throughout April’s National Poetry Month stop by Susan Bruck’s blog, Soul Blossom Living for a Roundup of posts. You can also visit the Progressive Poem, a poem created over the month of April as a new poet adds a new line each day, here’s the schedule:

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

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National Poetry Month 2021–haiku and sparrow

Spring Sparrow, © 2021, Michelle Kogan, pencil sketch.

sparrow’s sweet chee chee
won’t din morning’s train, but
perseveres with friends

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Pencil Drawing, Plein Air Art, Poem, poetry, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poetry Friday–April National Poetry Month

Lilac Buds, ©2021 Michelle Kogan, Pen & watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy National Poetry Month!

I’m sharing all things Spring, with poems and art for the opening of National Poetry Month!


Lilac buds prickle me alive.
Spring hides inside
small buds,
curling inside each
unfurled floweret.
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
for sun’s waves of warmth
soaking up soil into cake-like crumbles.
For green leaves inching out like
instinctual inchworms
methodically coiling in and out
through Spring’s first
velveteen-green forest field.
For pointy apple green leaves
dusted in red-rose-ends and
multiplying each day as
March marches on.

Each day more buds grace branches.
Each day buds bloom into leaves.
Each day more flowerets
appear atop branches tips.
While late afternoon catches these
electrified glowing lights alighting
more and more flowerets,
reaching upward towards sky,
outward toward you and me,
and downward towards
garden’s rich earth. 
All eagerly anticipating,
ever so subtle
essences of lilacs
sensual lingering

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening to the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave

Read the rest of the poem and listen to Ada Limón recite it here.

I have a new card, Flowers Forevermore, available in my online Etsy Shop, just in time for Spring…

The card is a detail from the original artwork which will be posted soon in my Shop as an Archival Print.

Flowers Forevermore, @2021 Michelle Kogan, Watercolor and Pen. Available soon in my Etsy Shop.

Mary Lee Hahn at her blog A YEAR OF READING, is our host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Mary Lee! Her post invites us to partake in National Poetry Month with the 2021 Progressive Poem, Poetry Month Project Roundup, and… She was thinking about skipping this month, but quickly decided to go with a haiku a day. Make sure you stop by for all the poetry offerings she’s sharing!

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Poetry Friday–Dizain Poem & Environmental Callings

Cortorra Volando and Flowers-endangered species, Michelle Kogan, © 2016, watercolor and watercolor pencil. Prints available in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Poetry Friday

I’ve taken up the Poetry Sisters March challenge of writing a dizain poem for closing out the month of March. Look for more dizain poems with the hashtag #PoetryPals.


Spring springs discombobulating senses.
Teasing with her summer-like advances.
Boomerangs back to winter’s offenses.
Snowflakes dusting down on grass and branches.
Wicked-whipping-winds slow spring expanses.
Robin’s chirrup draws away my doldrums,
her mirth inspires a passel of poems:
An ode to pass through patches in-between,
dizain to rain swooshing out hum-drum-glums,
and abecedarian garden’s green!

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

I came across a new environmental book by Kathleen Dean Moore called EARTH’S WILD MUSIC Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World. Along with the book a series of videos have been produced with readings by poets and music by different musicians. I’ve included Albatross below read by Jane Hirshfield and music by Rachelle McCabe (piano). Here’s a link for more info on the book and accompanying videos.

Sending out more heartfelt thoughts for all those taken by the shooting this week in Boulder Colorado.

Susan Bruck at her blog Soul Blossom Living is our host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, be sure to stop by for more poetry offerings. Susan’s featuring descriptions and links from poets for April’s National Poetry Month. Thanks for hosting Susan, and sharing all these enticing links!

Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.

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Poetry Friday–Spring & Actions for Hate Crimes

Spring Crocus, Detail, wip, Michelle Kogan, © 2021, watercolor on Sekishu Japanese paper.

Happy Poetry Friday and Welcome SPRING!

Trying to welcome Spring, though Spring has decided to temporarily take leave, I hear she may return next week. Anyway, here’s a poem for Spring Crocus’ and a WIP watercolor with bits of white to help as it’s on Japanese Sekishu paper, and although I’ve painted with watercolor for years, painting on this paper is a new journey for me.


Crocus cups stretched toward sun
and flung their petals outward—
They couldn’t resist mid March’s 
teasing 60 degree temps.
One, two, three days, and then
they shut–tight as a drum.
They’re holding steady, holding tight
through blizzardy snow,
and cold driving rain, 
waiting, waiting, and 

But I’ll remember— 
Your brilliant hues of 
crimsons and lavenders,
your sun-like central 
amber-yellow floweret
fanning up towards sun,
as if part of an Egyptian
ceremony for sun god Ra,
while your attending stamen
stand at attention beside you. 
Your gently scalloped petals,
reminding me of sandbar banks.
Your outlined lacey edges 
extending tenderness to all.
Your etched needle-eye-thin curving lines
perhaps mother nature’s signature.
Your sister shadows playfully
mingling between each other. 
Your terra verte pin-stripped white stems
flying this way and that, as uninhibited as a child.
Your strong, yet elegant stalks
occasionally leaning into another 
as if to say, come closer–
it’s been such a long, long year
since we last embraced…
Your paper-like, lemon-yellow-white wrapper
each holding its own unique shape,
sloughing ever so slightly as 
now its completed protecting
it’s flourishing flower.

If only one or two more breaths
could breathe your natural beauty,
perhaps one or two could 
sleep more soundly or
breathe more fully or
even consider another
other than oneself…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

I have also been thinking about the recent attack and hate crimes in Atlanta Georgia, and wrote this golden shovel poem from an article I read about it in the New York Times.


As Covid continues up and down, this
scourge of slaying Asian Americans is 
another call for Americans to reflect and not 
just carry on, to take action and not just
retreat within ourselves. Efforts for an
all world recovery become thwarted when Asian
Americans are attacked with biased hate crimes by American
citizens. This problem needs action now, “this is” our “American Problem.”

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

The striking line for this golden shovel poem comes from The New York Times article:

The Growing Power of Asian-Americans in Georgia Now Comes With Fear.
Here’s the line: This is not just an Asian American Problem.

Linda Baie, friend, and wielding wordsmith poet, is our generous host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Teacher Dance, thanks for hosting Linda! Linda is sharing a dress rehearsal for Spring, and also a poem on time. Be sure to drop by her blog for many more poetry offerings.

Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.

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Poetry Friday–Beauty

Converse with Beauty, WIP, Michelle Kogan, © 2021, pencil and pastel

Happy Poetry Friday

My poem this week, a haiku within my WIP drawing came from a contrapuntal poem I am working on. Both of these poems are about Beauty, and about being/taking in time, allowing ourself time, and connections with our past, present, and future while still in our present time. I’m focusing again on a woman for Women’s History Month, and with this end, my drawing–both art and poem echos back to the New York artist/poet Florine Stettheimer. I’m particularly attracted to the exciting way she used pinks in her paintings.

converse with beauty…
hold past, present, and future
in time’s presence…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Here’s one of Florine Stettheimer’s poems which may be included in a reissued collection of her poetry called Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto . This collection of poems was originally assembled by her sister Ettie Stettheimer after Stettheimer’s death.

For a long time
I gave myself
To the arrested moment
To the unfulfilled moment
To the moment of quiet expectation
I painted the trance moment
The promise moment
The moment in the balance
In mellow golden tones…
Then I saw

by Florine Stettheimer

Read the rest of the poem here.

On another note, I have a new session of Online, Spring Art Classes beginning in April. I’m offering classes in Figure Drawing and Painting, Watercolor, Children’s Picture Book Illustration, Pen and Ink and Watercolor, and a Poetry and Art Workshop. Visit the Evanston Art Center and Harper College Community Education for registration info and descriptions of my classes.

Heidi Mordhorst at her blog my juicy little universe is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Heidi! Heidi’s celebrating her Birthday with a few Birthday related poems, so drop in to join the celebration–Happy Birthday Heidi!

Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.

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Poetry Friday—Poetry & More…

Spring Sprouts…© 2021 Michelle Kogan, Pen and Watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Women’s History Month!

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m sharing a golden shovel poem built from Margarita Engle’s prose piece, The Care and Feeding of Poetry, that’s featured in this months Poetry Foundation’s, Poetry Magazine. The March issue is devoted to Children’s poets and artists and is spectacular–hope you can read a copy!


Come pollinate poetry,
follow your heart’s passion like
milkweed petals replenishing peace
in pollinator’s hungry palate—self-value is
center—poetry “is personal.”

©2021 Michelle Kogan
Golden shovel striking line: Poetry, like peace, is personal. From Margarita Engle’s prose writing The Care and Feeding of Poetry, Poetry Magazine, March 2021, Volume 217, Number 6, the Poetry Foundation.

TULA [“books are door-shaped”]
By Margarita Engle

Books are door-shaped
carrying me
across oceans
and centuries,
helping me feel
less alone.

But my mother believes
that girls who read too much
are unladylike
and ugly,
so my father’s books are locked
in a clear glass cabinet. I gaze
at enticing covers
and mysterious titles,
but I am rarely permitted
to touch
the enchantment
of words.

All are forbidden.
Girls are not supposed to think,
but as soon as my eager mind
begins to race, free thoughts
rush in
to replace
the trapped ones.

Read the rest of the poem here.

I’m also sneaking in a couple holiday cards for Passover and Easter that are slowly creeping up on us… both cards have poems on the back and have found homes in my Etsy shop.

Cottontail and Eggs Easter Card, © 2020, Michelle Kogan, Watercolor.

one hushed bunny

two embracing branches,
burgeoning many new buds

three dainty eggs
welcoming spring’s
renewed enchantment…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Tulip Tango & Blue Flowers Passover Card, © 2020, Michelle Kogan, Pen & Watercolor.

stalworth greens open
spring’s tender tulips and
periwinkle blues…

© Michelle Kogan

Kat at her blog Kathryn Apel Children’s Author & Poet is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, and she’s calling it a Poetry Friday Muster—as that’s the “Australian term for the American cattle round-up.” Kat’s sharing her newly released book, The BIRD in the HERD,” so mosey on over and have a look!

Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.

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Poetry Friday–Metaphor

Detail from, Woman and Rose lilies, WIP, © 2021, Michelle Kogan, pencil.

Happy Poetry Friday!

For my post this week I took on the prompt that the Poetry Sisters offered,–including Laura Purdie Salas, Tanita Davis and more… To write a poem using metaphor from either the game with Metaphor Dice, or to use the online metaphor generator. I did the later as I don’t have the game yet… but it looks wonderful and I just purchased one for my niece for her birthday.


Courage is like a garden that keeps growing patience…
Life these days can seem daunting
with itty bitty roadblocks waiting
to erupt into earthquakes–
Enter my new iPhone that displayed a small hiccup,
the speaker decided not to speak…
I needed to dig down deep and uncover
some courage from my garden.
Very long story short
with many trials and errors…
Apple agreed to send
a new replacement iPhone.
It appeared–
I backed it up–
Turned it on–
Mail didn’t work!
Okay, more courage required
and more trowels filled with patience.
After searching online
with infinitesimal results…
I decided to either
call my server or Apple–
Apple won–
Two mail accounts needed mending…
One didn’t require too much courage or patience–
Via screen sharing and infinite knowledge
at the other end this account was
revived, humming, and running.
Though my second account required
a bridge of courage…
and, with many trials and much patience,
the courageous screen-shared arrow
and my deep rooted courage teamed together
and came out successful at the other end.
With much gratitude and many thanks,
arrow and I bid adieu…
And me–
I’m readying for my next small roadblock
by mulching in more patience…

Michelle Kogan

Enjoy this dip into Metaphor with Wynton Marsalis…

Sending a call out to Poetry Friday friends who stop by this week. I’ve been having a little trouble keeping up with Poetry Friday posts this last month, as I’ve been participating in Laura Shovan’s wonderfully rich, 9th Annual February Poetry Project, teaching, and working on a submission– so in case I missed something last week I’d love it if you’d fill me in when you drop by. Hopefully I’ll be back on track beginning in March which is almost here …

Karen at her blog Karen Edmisten, aka The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title, is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Karen–and I think you’ve a catchy title! Karen’s prescribing a poem by Billy Collins this week, so be sure to stop by!

Visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.

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