Poetry Friday–Green Heron poem & WIP


Happy Poetry Friday! I’m following up on Christie Wyman’s call for bird poems–by featuring the Green Heron in poetry and art. Christie is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Wondering and Wandering–thanks for the challenge and for hosting Christie! I’ve had the delightful opportunity to take in my feathered friend here while plein air  painting in Chicago’s Caldwell pond. I took on the triolet form that Alan Wright has been featuring on his blog as I really like the succinctness of the structure, thanks Alan. 


Iridescence permeates me
through my shy personality.
By a bank with many a tree
iridescence permeates me.
Nervous flicker–yes I’d agree,
appease me space to be carefree.
Iridescence permeates me
through my shy, personality. 

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

In memory of one of my favorite singers, here’s Aretha Franklin singing a favorite of mine, Spanish Harlem–make sure to crank up the volume!


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Poetry Friday–Blooms, haiku, and sketch



cottage garden blooms
beauty waves her petals, care
for her fragile gifts.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

My hanging petals reminded me of a summer poem by the Bard a.k.a. William Shakespeare, and here it is set to music.
Ariel’s Song, from The Tempest, act V, scene 1.
You can also find the poem in the book, If Bees are Few, A Hive of Bee Poems, edited by James P. Lenfestey, and online with a bit of commentary at Shakespeare in Action.



Happy Poetry Friday! My fare is light this week. If you are in an area where summer is flourishing I hope that you are partaking of it with all your senses, while it’s here. I’m fitting in as much plein air painting as I can, and will share some in the near future.

Amazing Molly Hogan is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, at her blog Nix the comfort zone, thanks Molly! Stop by her blog for more poetry and perhaps some of her rich photography too.


Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Plein Air Art, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Poetry Friday–Bounty, Dreams, & Painting …


Happy Poetry Friday! I’m sharing some art and poems that were inspired by and begun while in Door County, WI. My first poem is a golden shovel that I built from Langston  Hughes’ poem Dreams.


What shall we hold … 
A watery day fading fast
filled with inspiration to
build dreams.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Read the rest of the poem at the Academy of American Poets.



wildflower waters–

summer’s mingling by the sand 
waiting for castles of kindness,

thankful to be wrapped in nature’s
windswept breezes and caressed
by lake michigan’s waves.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

On our return trip along Lake Michigan we found more Monarch’s pollinating milkweed.





Mary Lee Hahn is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog A Year of Reading, thanks Mary Lee! Stop by her blog for this weeks poetry feast …

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Poetry Friday–More Monarchs & Bees

1-bee-on-milkweed-flower-7-25-2018   1-monarch-on-milkweed-flower-7-25-2018


Happy Poetry Friday! I’m posting early as I’m on my way to Door County, WI. I think the monarchs may become more scarce soon as the milkweed flowers are almost finished blooming. A few more pics from my backyard, where I did see three monarchs today. Here’s a cherita poem in their honor, and one extra poem on butterflies. Hope to catch up with responses and other Poetry Friday posts on my return!

hey monarch butterfly

whenever I see you a smile rolls by
and my whole spirit soars …

to a place way up high
where wonder catches dreams
in the twinkling of an eye.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

Here’s another butterfly poem


Author unknown 

Yesterday a butterfly

Came floating gently through the sky.

He soared up through the atmosphere

Then drifted close enough to hear.

I said, “I’d love to fly with you

And sail around the way you do.

It looks like it would be such fun

To fly up toward the summer sun.

But I have not your graceful charm.

I haven’t wings, just these two arms.

I’ve been designed to walk around.

My human feet must touch the ground.

Then magically he spoke to me

Read the rest of the poem here:

Happy Summer!



Catch more poetry over at Catherine Wallian Flynn’s blog Reading to the Core, she’s hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week, thanks Catherine!

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Poetry Friday–Butterflies and Bees


Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome to my backyard … I’ve been in awe at the number of monarchs I have visiting in my garden this summer. There are sometimes five fluttering around at the same time. I’m sharing the path of one today along with some butterfly and bee poems, and a WIP oil painting I’ve just begun.



backyard reverie–
monarch’s flit and flutter by
creating magic …

© 2018 Michelle Kogan


bees are busy in
my backyard pollinating
between the breezes …

© 2014 Michelle Kogan

IMG_2794    IMG_2803

Here are a few poems out of my Bee Poetry book, If Bees are Few, A Hive of Bee Poems, Edited by James P. Lenfestey, and that are also online .

By Emily Dickinson

South winds jostle them,
Bumblebees come,
Hover, hesitate,
Drink, and are gone.

Read the rest of her poem at Lit2Go

By Emily Dickinson

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.

Read the rest of her poem here

Hope you get to catch some sights of butterflies and bees …

I’ll be taking in some midwestern beauty part of next week in Door County, WI–I hope to be able to peek in on the Poetry Friday Roundup while away …

Heidi Mordhorst is hosting our Poetry Friday Roundup this week at her blog my juicy little universe–thanks Heidi! I’m looking forward to what she’ll be sharing …




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Poetry Friday: Thoreau, Nature, & Poetry Swap

Michelle-Kogan-© Wildlife-Comes to Lake Shore Drive, endangered species, watercolor and watercolor pencil, 2013, 40 x 26 inches.

Wildlife Comes to Lake Shore Drive, endangered species, © 2013 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil. Available in my online Etsy Shop Michelle Kogan Fine Art

I read last week that today is Henry David Thoreau’s Birthday (I think from a comment by Diane Mayr,)  in his memory I’m sharing a poem he wrote. I wrote a response golden shovel that I built from a line I read in Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring–Both Carson and Thoreau were deeply involved in conservation–and Thoreau thought to be the beginning of the conservation movement–and both had an intrinsic love of nature. I momentarily went down a rabbit’s hole and found a few interesting articles about Carson and Thoreau–one by Margaret Atwood and another over at HUFFPOST.

By Henry David Thoreau

The Moon now rises to her absolute rule
And the husbandman and hunter
Acknowledge her for their mistress.
Asters and golden reign in the fields
And the life everlasting withers not. 
The fields are reaped and shorn of their pride
But an inward verdure still crowns them;
he thistle scatters its down on the pool

Read the rest of Thoreau’s poem at the Poetry Foundation.



To your “boreal fruit” and
precious “palatable fruit,” where 
all should be protected–great grievances are
everywhere. On the
ground and below, where men
have soiled the earth, and who
know better supposedly–
But continue to mis-understand
the dire effects of not caring for the
land–Earth’s land and value
to all living inhabitance of
all the trajectories of nature, proper
care of our land and its habitat
needs to become our top priority for
the survival of all– The
asters and thistle desire your preservation
for pride of humanity, for continuation of 
all life including, our sister, wildlife.

 © 2018 Michelle Kogan




And … with this being a nature focused post I’m also sharing my nature-infused poetry swap from Molly Hogan. She sent a keen poem called The Artist, along with some richly layered and gorgeous photo cards. Many thanks for these stunning pieces of nature woven into words and images Molly!



© 2018 by Molly Hogan

In a ripe moment
her thoughts clarify
she touches brush
 to water
to paint
to paper

Each stroke
deft and sure
detail by detail
an image emerges
infused with meaning and color
a celebration of nature
a display of outrage
a call for action

She works her alchemy 
hour by hour
touching brush
to water
to paint
to paper

with craft and concentration
the artist distills
her potent truth
upon the page

for Michelle Kogan


I wrote a response poem to your lovely images Molly–


Splendor grows

            In wavy waters
            where bullfrogs frolic           

            In sunny spots
            where turtles stretch

            In flower gardens 
            where monarchs flutter

            In tidal pools 
            where shells lay on color-kissed crimson

            In mysterious branches 
            where herons herald possibilities

                                       Splendor grows…

                                      © 2018 Michelle Kogan

The Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted this week by Sylvia Vardell, on her blog Poetry for Children–where she is offering a new poetry book, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, with a host of other wonderful poets! Thanks Sylvia for hosting.


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#PWID 2018 -Take Flight -Masthead Voting

1-Take Flight-colored type-USE_USE 640 x 360-actual size6-24-2018 copy

Calling all SCBWI-Illinois Members

Voting is open for choosing the

#PWID 2018 – #Take Flight – Masthead

 There’re 17 terrific entries

You can vote between today, July 7– 14 midnight.

So mosey on on over and cast your vote.

Here’s my entry, and link for your viewing and vote.


Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Pencil Drawing, Picture Book, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Friday–Plein Air & Poetry Swap


Early Summer Garden,WIP,  © Michelle Kogan, brown pen and brush with watercolor.


Happy Poetry Friday


I’m participating in a Plein Air event this Sunday, July 8, 2018

The 9th Annual
Brush with Nature
at the

Emily Oaks Nature Center
4650 Brummel Ave, Skokie, IL 

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

If you are in the neighborhood drop by and say hello.
The Nature Center is also offering a pancake breakfast (for a fee) but I won’t be indulging there as I will be busy with my brush …

Michelle-Kogan-Wildlife-Comes Detail medow lark 7-2018

Here’s a plein air ditty to wet your appetite … 


Plein airing in the park
by the bay, by a lark–

Put up your easel,
pick up your brush–

Your natural muse,

     Nature …

           With her vibrant views.

                                                                     © Michelle Kogan
Image above: detail from Wildlife Comes to Lake Shore Drive, endangered species, pictured here the Eastern Meadow Lark, © 2018 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil archival
print and cards available in my Etsy Shop: Michelle Kogan Fine Art 

Drum roll please …

I’m happy to share with you these lovely poems and bookmark that I received from Donna JT Smith for the poetry swap. What fun this package was to open–Thank you Donna, I’m loving all here, and will enjoy using the bookmark!



you need 
to mark
your spot!

© 2018 Donna JT Smith

 in the old leaves
of fall

Bunnies huddle,
  new noses
Waiting to wander
  in the fresh 

© 2018 Donna JT Smith

Patricia Stohr-Hunt at her blog The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Pat! Stop by her blog for more poetry offerings.


Posted in Cards, Children's Illustration & Writing, Nature, Painting, Pencil Drawing, Plein Air Art, Poem, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

4th of July–haiku & art


have a multi- 
racial-rainbow July 4th

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Holidays, Painting, Pencil Drawing, Poem, Quick Sketches, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poetry Friday: Responsibility and Freedom


For this 4th of July Poetry Friday I’m thinking about Responsibility and Freedom. I’m sharing a poem, some art and a taste from the Charles White art exhibit now at The Art Institute of Chicago. If you are here in the US hope you can share the 4th with some family and friends and reflect for a bit on responsibility and freedom.


Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
Open your hearts, your arms, your backward bias
That homeless child needs gentleness, and your humility
Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
That homeless child craves an end to irrational inadmissibility
Treat them as your own, set aside your petty prejudicial impious
Ouch–Children are all our responsibility
Open your hearts, your arms, your backward bias

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

 Images from the exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, Charles White: A Retrospective,
through September 3, 2018

Charles White was an African American artist, (1918-1979) who created art images about “equality,” and more specifically how equality related to the plight of the African American. He was born in Chicago, and studied at the School of the Art Institute. He was an excellent draftsman, painter, and printmaker. Here is a quote from his interest in “social change,” Paint is the only weapon I have with which to fight what I resent. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s website for more on this exhibit.

Drop by Carol at her blog Carol’s Corner for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup! Thanks for hosting Carol!






Posted in Exhibits, Holidays, Painting, pen sketch, Pencil Drawing, Poem, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments