Poetry Friday – Summer Poem Swap & Villanelle Prompt

Clark’s Nutcracker, painting © 2021 Mary Iphigene Daradar, acrylic on canvas.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Today I’m happy to share my Gorgeous Summer Poetry Swap art and poem written and painted by Iphigene Daradar in the Philippines. I received my poetry swap from Iphigene last week via email, and serendipitously I sent a poem and art off to her today via email.

Iphigene looked around my posts and found I’m taken by nature and especially birds–and we both share this interest. She painted and wrote about the Clark’s Nutcracker bird, and while researching found out that this particular bird has the “longest memory among birds.” This poem is the third poem this summer for her in the swap that also involves her own discovery and learning, hence her title Learning to Fly, which I think her poem does remarkably well right off the page. I’ve enjoyed receiving these lovely treasures, and our email exchanges immensely, many thanks!

Clark’s Nutcracker, painting and poem © 2021 Mary Iphigene Daradar, acrylic on canvas.

Here’s a haiku inspired response to Iphigene’s Clark’s Nutcracker

clark’s nutcracker
collects knowledge for future

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Thanks again to Tabatha Yeatts for offering us all these rich Summer Poetry Swap exchanges! xo

Here’s my villanelle draft that the Poetry Sisters, gave us for July. Our prompt was to write a villanelle on dichotomy, or true opposites, incongruities, paradoxes, or contradictions. I think mine might have a touch of this in there. Thanks for inviting us Tanita S. Davis, Laura Purdie Salas, and all. Look for more villanelle poems tagged with #PoetryPals.


Trees rose and began to talk,
their rumbling roots filled our air
though some folks plug their ears and balk.

Children point and shout in shock,
and nature’s wisdom crept everywhere.
Trees rose and began to talk.

I won’t give up, Earth muttered taking stock.
Would naysayers ever turn toward repair?
Though some folks plug their ears and balk.

How‘ll we break this human gridlock?
Bring polar opposites together in prayer.
Trees rose and began to talk.

Rallying support for earth’s care
children of all ages joined Earth’s walk.
Though some folks plug their ears and balk.

Tick-tock struck earth’s clock…
tree roots declared, we’ll make naysayers aware!
Trees rose and began to talk,
though some folks plug their ears and balk.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

And a little bird music to carry you off…

Rebecca Herzog is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Sloth Reads, thanks for hosting Becky! Be sure to drop by her blog for your fill of poetry.

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Poetry Friday—Calm & Watercolor

Baird’s Sandpiper, Mangoes, Melons, and Kohlrabi, © 2019, Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil. Available in my Etsy Shop as an archival print or bookmark set.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m happy to have a watercolor painting in the Illinois Watercolor Society: 22nd Annual Members Show, I included my painting above. This year for the first time it’s being held at the Evanston Art Center, where I teach. The show is open now and runs through August 22nd, 2021. There is an Opening Reception this Sunday, July 25th, from 1 – 4 pm., I’ll be dropping in sometime…

My poem below began from a poetry workshop with the poet and polyvocality sound artist Krishan Mistry, via the Poetry Foundation. The workshop was all about borrowing texts in different ways. After giving us the writing prompts, Krishan played a variety of music. For my poem we were reviewing sections of a book by Bhanu Kapil, called The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001). The writings were gathered text that she collected when asking women to respond to different questions. Krishan asked us to choose a question and write from it. The question I wrote from was: Describe a morning you woke without fear.


Breathe with me—

Bring nighttime’s




sleeping through

legs light

calm body

breathe s-l-o-w-l-y

deep, full, breaths

without effort…

Bring me

refreshed to

morning’s rise

ready to carry


into day











© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Kat Apel, a dynamic, Downunder, Australian Children’s writer and poet is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her Blog Kathryn Apel, thanks Kat! She’s sharing lots of pet poems this week, so be sure to drop by to fill your poetry palette!

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Poetry Friday—Sky, Sun, & Water

Florida Sunset, by Leigh Anne Eck

Happy Poetry Friday!

My poem this week was inspired by Margaret Simon’s prompt, from her post this week on THIS PHOTO WANTS TO BE A POEM… I wrote the poem, didn’t have a chance to post it, then tweaked it a bit more. The image, Florida Sunset, is Leigh Anne Eck’s, and she graciously gave me an okay to share it, isn’t it gorgeous—thanks Leigh Anne, and Margaret, for both of your sparkling inspirations!


Sun and Sky
paint a glowing picture…
Sun catches our eye above
as she spreads her luminous light
like a giant prehistoric dragonfly,
amongst a backdrop of Sky’s
violet-tinted paynes gray
only Mother Nature might create.
Wait—Water wants in too,
and sprays her walk-way of sparkles
stretching from horizon to shore
in alignment with
powerful dragonfly.
While silhouetted forms
soak in their

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Mediterranean Sea, Greece, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, Quick pencil sketch.

By James Weldon Johnson

A silver flash from the sinking sun, 
Then a shot of crimson across the sky
That, bursting, lets a thousand colors fly
And riot among the clouds; they run,
Deepening in purple, flaming in gold,
Changing, and opening fold after fold,
Then fading through all of the tints of the rose into gray.
Till, taking quick fright at the coming night,

Read the rest of the poem here.

Molly Hogan at her blog Nix the Comfort Zone is our host for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Molly! Molly’s post is all about Summertime, gardens and how summer can slip away, be sure to drop in.

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Poetry Friday—Poem Swap—Whimsy & Water…

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m happy to share with you my joy filled poetry swap package that I received from
Margaret Simon! Margaret sent me a collaged writing journal infused with summeryness!

Cover Collaged Journal for Michelle from Margaret Simon.

Back Cover Collaged Journal for Michelle from Margaret Simon.
Journal inside, by Margaret Simon. Inside cover poem, THE NEW YEAR by Barbara Crooker, right first page bottom has Margaret’s poem to me, CUTTING THE ALSTROEMERIA.

Margaret’s poem borrowed words from a recent poem of mine that she found on my blog, and that she wrote “after Nikki Giovanni.”

© 2021 Margaret Simon

Cascading the garden…tinged with trepidation…
I breathe sweet sauce and eat scented air…

convolute the question…tangle like
a rope swing…willy-nilly whirling round…

giggling gallon of bubbles…capture starlight…
dizzy with dragonflies…dance with fairies

and place you in the window
to show the world
you make me crazy!

And here’s a responding poem for Margaret, with some words borrowed from her poem.


Willy-nilly whirling round
samony pinkness flew into town,

on humming bird wings
with dragonflies multi-eyes,

carrying nature’s invited lines
with poetry collage-covers sublime…

Crooker calls: write, write, write,
follow your instinct despite lost plight.

Fill those lines
with your heart
light or dark
morn or night
lose yourself
as you

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Thanks for your lovely poem and writing journal Margaret!

These poems made me think about water, and my city, Chicago’s big Lake Michigan which has recently been in the news in relation to Climate Crisis, and our surging and plummeting levels of the lake—Hope we can figure out a way to help this dilemma . You can catch a piece of the story here: nyti.ms/3xqLJ3Z My apologies in advance that all might not be able to view the entire story, but those who are subscribers to the NY Times will have access.

Sending out heartfelt thanks to Tabatha Yeatts who created and carries on our Summer Poem Swap! xo

Margaret Simon is also hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Margaret! Be sure to stop by her blog Reflections on the Teche she’s filling our poetic yearnings with a new poetry anthology, that she’s included in, Bridge the Distance, Teacher-Poets Writing to Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems,
and also an additional poem.

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Poetry Friday–July 4th

Happy Poetry Friday!
And Happy 4th of July!

Here’s a short diamante poem to contemplate on and celebrate the Fourth of July…
I thought of a diamante because of it’s diamond shape which reminds me of stars and fireworks, crackling in the sky.

Exciting unnerving
Reverberating contemplating rebuilding
Compensation forethought renewal gratification
Protesting changing enacting
Exhausting exhilarating
© 2021 
M. Kogan

And a poem about America by Amanda Gorman.

by Amanda Gorman

There’s a poem in this place—
in the footfalls in the halls
in the quiet beat of the seats.
It is here, at the curtain of day,
where America writes a lyric
you must whisper to say.

There’s a poem in this place—
in the heavy grace,
the lined face of this noble building,
collections burned and reborn twice.

There’s a poem in Boston’s Copley Square
where protest chants
tear through the air
like sheets of rain,
where love of the many
swallows hatred of the few.

There’s a poem in Charlottesville
where tiki torches string a ring of flame
tight round the wrist of night
where men so white they gleam blue—
seem like statues
where men heap that long wax burning
ever higher
where Heather Heyer
blooms forever in a meadow of resistance.

There’s a poem in the great sleeping giant
of Lake Michigan, defiantly raising
its big blue head to Milwaukee and Chicago—
a poem begun long ago, blazed into frozen soil,
strutting upward and aglow.

There’s a poem in Florida, in East Texas
where streets swell into a nexus
of rivers, cows afloat like mottled buoys in the brown,
where courage is now so common
that 23-year-old Jesus Contreras rescues people from floodwaters.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Sturgeonman by Chicago’s Lake Michigan, endangered species © 2015, Michelle Kogan, watercolor & watercolor pencil.

Laura Shovan at her blog Laura Shovan Author & Poet is our host for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Laura! Laura is good at raising our conscience about important issues and individuals—and this week she is sharing a poem that sheds light on the artist Millicent Patrick, who created the half monster half man for the film “Creature from the Black Lagoon!” Be sure to stop by her blog for her poem and many more…

Sending thoughts for all Floridians and others affected by the building collapse last Thursday in Surfside, FL.

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Poetry Friday— Zentangle Poem and Art

Zentangle poem Mourning Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, Bee, and Narcissus, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, Brush pen, Micron pen, and watercolor pencil.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I decided to take the plunge and try a zentangle poem, which was the poem prompt from the Poetry Sisters this month, thanks for this challenging and new to me prompt! What exactly is it… It’s a kind of erasure poem though using more pattern and Zen art at the same time. Here’s a link to some Zentangle Art, and a link to poet and writer, Kat Apel’s post where she devoted an entire post to many zentangle poems. If you would like to try a zentangle, tag your poems with #poetrypals. I bent the rules a bit in my version of a zentangle.

Here’s a little bit about my poem. The page of words I used are from an art catalogue of an Art Exhibit I’m currently in, WATERCOLOR USA 2021, at the Springfield Art Museum, in Springfield, Mo. The exhibit runs through August 29th, 2021. You can see the show virtually at the Museum’s link here. Although I did not receive any awards, I was mentioned in the catalogue which made me very happy—and it is this section of the Director of the Museum’s statement that I used as my text for the zentangle.

Here is my painting, Mourning Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, Bee and Narcissus, that is in the exhibit:

Mourning Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, Bee and Narcissus, © 2020, Michelle Kogan, mixed watermedia on paper. Find this as an archival print in my Etsy Shop.

Lovely Linda Mitchell at her blog A Word Edgewise is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Linda! She’s having a Clunker Line Exchange, so tow over any clunker to her post and fill up on a bevy more of poetry while you are there.

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Poetry Friday—Father’s Day

Sketch of Dad Sleeping, © 2016, Michelle Kogan, pen

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m celebrating Father’s Day with a new poem and older haiku.

Father’s and families
woven together over
filled with
old and new,
adapt to time
while holding fast to
families integrity.

Father’s and families
grow together
innate bonds
felt deep within
each other’s  feelings
often without
any words

Father’s and families
build relationships through
toil and triumph
joy and pain
sorrow and delight
while their heart’s
hold together a lifeline
filled with
© 2021 Michelle Kogan

my father… crunching leaves
and banjo strings

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

Buffy Silverman at her blog Buffy Silverman Children’s Author is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Buffy! Buffy’s sharing a poem inspired by red and green growing leaves. Drop by her post for a bevy of poetry offerings.

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Poetry Friday—Potpourri with More Sky…

Happy Poetry Friday!

Continuing on with my fascination with the sky, this week I was inspired by turbulence in our night sky…


Sky canopy jostling
this way and that
can’t decide on it’s
direction or pull,
branches and leaves
galloping willy-nilly
cascading like a wild
Mussorgsky piece
ripping through sky—
Window patches of slightly tinted
pinkish-orange sky peek through,
with each next thrash
sky grows darker and darker
nights ominous crescendo
grows louder and louder,
and even brief
interludes of calm
seem surreal
tinged with
as if something’s
stirring above
and beyond,
to devour
any hint of
clouds clearing—

But wait,
what’s that
between leaves,
like witches
conjuring old spells.
Can you feel it
can you feel it trees
down into your roots
messages tele-rooting
between each other,
bracing for more of
tonight’s torment,
hoping for
and respite from

Michelle Kogan

Yesterday I was taken by Margaret Simon’s prompt for THIS PHOTO WANTS TO BE A POEM. It was an image of Elderflowers from a friend of hers Instagram feed. Stop by to find out more of where this image was taken from and for a peek at it. Thanks Margaret and to your friend too! Since I didn’t have a chance to post the poem I’m sharing it here…

Like windowpane
snow patterns
in June
lovely-lace elderflower
buds and blooms.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

And… Here’s a new Alstroemeria Anniversary Card in my Etsy Shop, with a haiku on the back…

kiss kindles and grows
© 2020 Michelle Kogan

Carol Wilcox at her blog Carol’s Corner is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Carol! Carol’s sharing poetry by Jeannette Encinias, who is a fan of Mary Oliver. So make a beeline over to her blog and soak in the bevy of poetry.

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Poetry Friday—Sky Pleasures

© Michelle Kogan

Happy Poetry Friday!

Earlier this week I read i love you to the moon &, by Chen Chen, and it flew me away to another place…

i love you to the moon &
by Chen Chen

not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of  
queer zest & stay up  
there & get ourselves a little  
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden  

with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean  
i was already moonlighting  
as an online moonologist  
most weekends, so this is the immensely  

Read the rest of the poem here.

Chen Chen’s poem inspired my poem…

© Michelle Kogan

sky brings allurement


some days she offers

escape waiting for us
to climb in

unfold our stifled wings
and swim in her

weightless other worldly
playground of

joy and seductive unknowns.

Will you embrace
her overture

even for a moment
of your urgent

Indulge yourself in her

body of pleasure
open and free of what-have-you

Become breathless for

a twinkle or two,

inspired by sky gazing
inside-out splendor…  

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Three Sailboats and Wildflowers, © 2012 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil. Find it in my Etsy shop as an archival print, bookmark, and sketchbook.

Margaret Simon at her blog Reflections on the Teche is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting! Margaret is sharing two poems from two different poem challenges, and a lovely magazine collage she created, be sure to stop by!

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Poetry Friday Birth Day Roundup is Here!

Western Pond Turtles, © 2018 Michelle Kogan, Pen & Ink & Watercolor. Available in my Etsy Shop as a bookmark.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Welcome! I’m Hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup and decided to Celebrate Birthdays and Birth Days, as my Birthday is coming up this weekend.

Also make sure to checkout the Poetry Sisters Ekphrastic poems for their May poem prompt, they are tagged #poetrypals.

Please leave your link below.

by Ruth Whitman

Tenant of the terrapin,
will you go your way, I mine?

If I do a lumbering waltz,
and bank you like an airplane—

if the sides of your tank 
tip and bank,

hang on. Don’t complain.
If I wake before you do,

Read the rest of her poem here.

I was very taken with Ruth Whitman’s Poem BIRTH DAY, and used her poem as a mentor poem for mine, BIRTH PLANT.

Monarchs on Milkweed, © Michelle Kogan, Watercolor. Available in my Etsy Shop as an Archival Print.


Milkweed home to Monarch
does your path call you, my path me?

Perhaps I’ll swoon and sway before you
and carry you in fondest thought

perhaps your flowerets overflow
with nectar

be patient. Forgive me
perhaps I left in haste

and didn’t tie you up properly
perhaps my care continues while you rest,

your Monarch’s might distract me
though my heart adores your perseverance

your serendipitous appearance
on any midwestern morn

lift your roots and soar like rocket,
enable Monarch’s magical flight,

you conservation queen.  

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Here’s another Birthday poem reflecting momentarily on getting older… I particularly like what the Japanese do for Birthdays when one reaches 60.

Princesses Cupcake, pencil sketches, with Photoshop blue background.
Cupcake Princess, © 2012, Michelle Kogan, pen and ink and photoshop.

by Linda Pastan

How did I get so old,
I wonder,
my 67th birthday.
Dyslexia smiles:
I’m 76 in fact.

There are places
where at 60 they start
counting backwards;
in Japan
they start again
from one.

Read the rest of her poem here.

Some music…

And some cake…

Not yet in my Etsy Shop but let me know and I’ll work on that…
Available in my Etsy Shop as a Birthday Card.
Also not yet in my Etsy Shop but I can change that…

And a quick ekphrastic haiku…

poppiness explodes
all kinds of spring weather
and allures senses

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Poppiness of May, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, watercolor.

Leave your link with Mister Linky here:

Wishing all end of May and beginning of June Geminis
Many Happy Birthday Wishes!

Leaving with some special thoughts
for the passing of the wonderful,
and creative Eric Carle.

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Holidays, Home, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Picture Book Sketches, Plein Air Art, Poem, poetry, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments