Poetry Friday—#Birdtober: American Woodcock

American Woodcock, © 2021 poem and WIP art Michelle Kogan, dip pen.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Well I’m down to doing about one or two #Birdtober, #Inktober art/poems per week. Teaching, prepping for a holiday show, and life in general is only allowing me to squeeze in a few—but I’m having so much fun, and plan on completing many more as time goes on! I love the research and learning about all the birds, studying them, learning where they are from, where they fly to for summers, and their idiosyncratic behaviors, which the Woodcock truly has. Then there’s the poem and the art, or art and poem, that flip-flop as I’m working on them. Hope you enjoy this short-necked, long-beaked bird as much as I have! And… I’m looking forward to giving my friend here his lovely color, and then he might just step off the page…


Dee da dee da dee da dee
Dee da dee da dee da dee

Shimmy-rocking as you
strut along forest floors
camouflaged with ground all around.

Every so often fluttering your
fine curvaceous feathers
revealing your burnt-orangey-peach breast.

I wonder if you’re serenading silently
as you sashay on your way.

Does that l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g earthworm-digging beak
also aid your balance, or just make you
more uniquely beautiful…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Jama Rattigan at her blog Jama’s Alphabet Soup is our grand hostess for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup! She’s sure to fill your palette in more delectable ways that you can imagine, be sure to stop by!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, pen sketch, Poem, poetry, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Poetry Friday–Birdtober–Inktober–Art Exhibit

Fox Sparrow in undergrowth, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, WIP, pen and ink, with watercolor to come…

Happy Poetry Friday!

My feathered friend here, Fox Sparrow is helping me celebrate all things wonderful about Fall. One very special area, my father’s Birthday, October 13th. My dad passed five years ago shortly after his birthday and each year I’ve been writing a poem to/or involving him since then. As I’ve been partaking in some of the birds from the #Birdtober prompts and #Inktober, this poem and art combine all.


You like kicking around leaf foliage
prodding and poking for food.

Dad liked fall, its crunching-crispness,
and above all his ritual-raking.

I wonder if he found you,
scrounging round undergrowth…

I wonder if you found him
pondering autumn’s gifts…

He would’ve loved your chord-filled song,
and you his hearty lilting voice.

Perhaps you’re both out there
mixing music with stardust,
taking us in as we take in
slow, deep, rhythm-filled breaths
and exhale autumn’s golden-glistening reveries…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Lovely Photo by Dewhurst Donna, USFWS on Pixnio, thanks!

This week I also tried on the Red-necked Grebe #Birdtober challenge—though presently I have the poem, and art for it will come later (it’s been sketched out in my mind…)


I must agree dear Red-necked Grebe
you’re quite a grand sight to see.
You with your
long curvaceous rusty-red neck,
sporty black-beret cap,
roundness of body,
tour-de-force long legs,
and lobed feet together provide
streamlined propulsion and diving expertise.
Duck-like, absolutely not, heaven be!
With your grebe-chicks perched comfy-cozy upon thee,
and your lovely head riding water’s edge gracefully—
You’re a bird of water, salt and fresh,
any doubters, refer them to me
I’ll advocate adamantly with my repartee.
© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Last but not least,
I’m sharing some art from a virtual art exhibit
my daughter, Rachel Dohner and I are both in:
Bad@ssery: Women Creating a Just Environment and World
Oakton Community College’s second virtual Women’s Art Show
online till November 1st, 2021
Here’s the link.
There’s a sidebar listing all the artists exhibiting with
links to their images and artist statements.
There is also a
“Meet the Artists” virtual event
Tuesday, October 26th at 7:00 pm

Here’s registration info for “Meet the Artists”:
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Oct 26, 2021 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Converse with Beauty, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, pastel and pencil on paper.

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

Women’s Work, © 20 Rachel Dohner, mixed media.

Bridget Magee, one of the puniest persons I happen to know is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog wee words for wee ones, thanks Bridget. Now try saying that 10 times, in honor of, drum roll please Bridget’s spanking new wonderful Poetry Anthology Book: 10•10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways This is not only her anthologies Book Birthday but it’s her own Birthday this month too! Many Happy returns of the Day to you Bridget and this Fabulous new poetry anthology, which I’m very happy to have a poem in! There’s so much excitement over at her blog, you just must stop by!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Nature photos, Painting, Poem, poetry, Poetry Books, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Poetry Friday—Common Yellowthroat & Rail

Common Yellowthroat in undergrowth, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, Pen and Watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m sharing two poems that I worked on this week from the #Birdtober challenge, along with some art to accompany them. The Lady Yellowthroat above is brand new and for #Inktober. I’ve been posting any #Birdtober and #Inktober images I create on Facebook and Instagram.

Dear Common Yellowthroat,

Lady of many-habitats—tangled-snarled forests, prairies packed with
deep foliage, and even humble folk backyards…
Was that you stealthily moving round my slightly-embarrassing undergrowth?
It’s kinda wet—which I know you like.
It’s definitely dense–which you also like.
And chockfull of summer’s variegated-vegetation.
I spied you‑but then you flew off in a flash too fast.
I guess you like your skulking hide-away, for I saw you again just yesterday.
But alas, you’re just to furtive a feathered friend for me to truly see,
and finally materialize for me…

Wishing your summer broods success!
Ooo how many one, two–No, you don’t say–three? With two sneaked in dads
that first dad didn’t know. Well, I’ll be…
And hopes for sweet breezes along your southern migrating way.

Until spring, Fair Lady Yellowthroat,
I’ll remember you in a yellowy-winter-slumber dream.

Farewell, xox

Bird-lover Flora Lee

Corncrake in Vienna, © 2009 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.


I’m ready to step out of this scene…
You probably won’t find many
Of my corncrake kin in Austria—
Habitat loss–
Our “damp meadows”
destroyed, drained,
over mowed, over planted,
and over fertilized.

I remember our land,
though it feels like a dream—
Perhaps if I close my eyes
our longed for wet field
will reappear and
we’ll find a hidden
spot amongst some
taller grasses
and listen for
my brother
rail crakes

© 2021
 Michelle Kogan

P. S. The Corncrakes are critically endangered and really need our love. Here’s some info about their plight.

Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Irene! Be sure to stop by.

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Home, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Poem, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Poetry Friday–Swifts

Happy Poetry Friday!
Happy October, #Birdtober, & #Inktober!

Alas, so many opportunities to fill October with…
Inking and painting and writing poems about birds…
Catching a few glimpses of our migrating feathered friends.
I’m looking forward to fitting in a few on Poetry Fridays.


Chimney swifts
fly in with spring
and out with fall.

First flights lie low
along our lake
collecting insects
as they go.

Summer flights lie
eerily high in upper sky,
erratic paths dip, dive, and climb
brushing heavens nigh by.

Befitting their name
as day unwinds…
Swifts lift quickly upward
to sleep or roost in
rooftop chimneys
or building shafts nearby.

But fear not,
for visits from
these aero-acrobat flocks
won’t dampen your chimney
or fill up your flue.

Alas lend them your
heart and help for
their numbers
dwindled as

Find these always
bathers-nest gatherer birds
in conservation towers
assisting their

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

And… some music to get lost in fall…

Thanks to Catherine Flynn at her blog Reading to the Core for Hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup! Be sure to stop by and fill you palette with many more poems…

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Home, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Poem, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Poetry Friday—Autumn–Haiku & Tanka Prompt

daring dahlia
ignites eyes, and autumn’s
© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Autumn!

I’m sharing a Tanka poem from the Poetry Sister’s September Poem Prompt. Our challenge: respond to another tanka “poem we love from the Poetry Friday universe. Choose to respond to an original poem of any sort, from anyone who participates in Poetry Friday’s poem. Thanks to all, Tanita S. Davis, Laura Purdie Salas, Mary Lee Hahn, Liz Garton Scanlon, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Andi Sibley, Sara Lewis Holmes, and Kelly Ramsdell, look for more of these poems tagged with #PoetryPals.

I wanted to write about Autumn, so I started poetry-tanka-hunting… I remembered that Diane Mayr has written many Ekphrastic tanka poems. I headed over to her blog site Random Noodling and found this glowing tanka poem that she graciously allowed me to share, thanks Diane!

Tanka Ekphrastic Poem by Diane Mayr © 2012 all rights reserved; Art: Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer l, courtesy of ibiblio.org..

the use of gold
is no replacement for
inner glow
our time would have been
better spent laughing

© 2012 Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

My responding tanka multi-stanza poem reflects on Autumn’s entrance and Diane’s poem. My structure refers back to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’  post on her blog, Today’s Little Ditty, featuring a Spotlight on Margarita Engle, where she mentions to keep our tanka syllable count under 30 or even under 26 syllables.


Autumn Queen dons her
fall finery, adjusts
her allure, sprinkling
gold dust arousing earth’s
innate incandescence.

Earth’s critters captured
by her regalia, gaze
upon her in awe,
taking in her ambers,
auburns, and robin’s blues.

Celebrate she says—
Fill fall with contagious
joy, love, and laughter,
spread your inner warmth till
human hearts enlighten.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Laura Purdie Salas at her blog Small Reads for Brighter Days is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Laura! Laura’s sharing a couple tanka poems and a sneak peek at her forthcoming book, If You Want to Knit Some Mittens, be sure to stop by her blog!

Posted in Home, Nature, Nature photos, Painting, Poem, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Poetry Friday–Rondelet

Apples and Wrens, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil. We wrens are visiting again and hope she has time to paint us all soon…

Happy Poetry Friday!

Last week I was taken with Alan J Wright’s Rondelet poem and decided to try one… Thanks Alan for your poem and structure for writing it! I was happy to welcome the structure of this succinct poem form as my week was quite full with the start of my Fall art classes–that I teach, the Jewish New Year–Rosh Hashanah upon us, and this week Yom Kippur. I was looking for a small repose and deeper breath, and I again turned to my muse… nature.


Mid autumn pause
invites wandering and wonder…
Mid autumn pause
celebrates earth’s vibrance because
her fall dowries fill your hunger
and spread brilliance round and under–
Mid autumn pause…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Wishing all a slight pause, deeper breath,
and all those celebrating the Jewish New Year
Shanah Tovah!

This weeks Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Denise Krebs at her blog Dare to Care, thanks for hosting Denise! She’s offering us an “In One Word” poem” with the word Testudinate, which relates to reptiles–whom I am very fond of… be sure to stop by her post!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Holidays, Home, Michelle's Art Classes, Nature, Painting, Poem, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Poetry Friday— Bird’s Feeding–Native Chicagoan’s…

Resident Black-capped Chickadee on Sunflower, 9-21 M Kogan.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Last week the new named Poetry Group, the Inklings, including Margaret Simon, Catherine Flynn, Linda Mitchell, Heidi Mordhorst, Molly Hogan, and Mary Lee Hahn, challenged themselves to write ghazal’s for their monthly prompt. Well, I’ve written at least one, maybe two, but was having such a grand time with the Inkling’s ghazals, I thought I’d try another one. Mine this week is influenced by all the feathered friend visitors I’ve had noshing away at my 9′ + sunflower plants.


Three pretty birdies sunflower seed-eating
all native Chicagoan’s practice speed-eating.

Newbie blue-bodied-birdie catches my eye,
her black and white head busily exceed-eating.

Skittish as can be but tied to their task,
give’m lots of space for pre-winter-need-eating.

We three birdies mostly diligent to a T,
may fill our bellies till they might impede-eating.

Lucky me, how extraordinary to see,
chickadee, nuthatch, and finch indeed-eating!

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

I also referred to tweetspeak’s post on writing Ghazal’s.

P.S. Hope you can catch a glimpse of a nuthatch walking, hanging upside down, they’re quite the trapeze artists…

Resident White-breasted Nuthatch, 9-21 M Kogan.
Resident Goldfinch, 9-21 M Kogan.

Here’s some info on feeding birds from our lovely Chicago Botanic Garden.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt at her bog The Miss Rumphius Effect is our host for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Tricia, be sure to stop by her post!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Nature, Poem, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Poetry Friday–Summer’s End

Backyard Summer Sunflowers, 8-2021, © Michelle Kogan.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m in with a quick acrostic poem for our changing season and Summer’s end…
And a Poem Swap poem and art that I sent to Iphigene Daradar earlier this summer.


Sunflowers squeeze out profuse buds and then some…
Underneath their golden-crown canopy grow
multiple green peppers, tomatoes and okra prepping for harvest—
Milkweed produces more and more seedpods for
entry next spring… While zinnias razzle-dazzle and
rave on in tertiary pinks, soft tangerine’s, and lavender lilacs, third
season asparagus’ twice its size, and
entwined morning glory vines envelop everywhere.
Nary a ruby-throated hummingbird appears as summer
daylight ebbs away and ushers in autumn.

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

As summer’s beginning to nod out and fall’s on the horizon, here’s the art and poem I wrote for Iphigene, for the Summer Poetry Swap, created and organized by poet and writer Tabatha Yeatts, many thanks again Tabatha!

P.S. Here’s a shout out for my Fall Art Classes starting in just under 2 weeks. I’m offering both in person and online at the Evanston Art Center and Harper College Community Education. For info and registration visit: Evanston Art Center and Harper College Community Education

Heidi Mordhorst at her blog my juicy little universe is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Heidi! I’m looking forward to her poetry offering, be sure to stop by!

And for all our hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, covid, people and countries…

care-thoughts everywhere
for everything…

Be Well!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Nature photos, Painting, Pencil Drawing, Poem, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Poetry Friday—Hang’n out with Pygmy Sloths & Change…

Hang’n Out with Pygmy Sloth, © 2021, Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.


If we could be slow
as sloths in mangrove trees,
could we start thinking
about you and we, and
bring change for everybody…  

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m all in with this friendly three-toed Pygmy Sloth this week—I’m smitten with them, and their lovely lime algae-green coloring… I have an I Know poem featuring this sloth, unfortunately, the Pygmy Sloths are critically endangered. The I Know poem prompt was posed to us by the Poetry Sisters at the beginning of the month, thanks Laura, Tanita,
Mary Lee, and all. We are writing I Know poems in honor of Jane Yolen and her 400th book, What the Bear Knows. Look for more I know poems tagged with #PoetryPals.


Movement s-l-o-o-o-o-w–––a-n-d  graceful
sleeping almost all daylong.
Munching our meals in rainforest’s canopies
where we feel safe and belong. 
Us three-toed pygmies are critically endangered—
No trees — No life for me…
I wanna hangout on Isla Escudo 
our mangrove habitat for my family!

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Here are some links for more info on Pygmy three-toed sloths:

–Pygmy three-toed sloth conservation

–Pygmy three-toed sloth

–Pygmy three-toed sloth

Well there’s an awful lot of everything going on everywhere, so I wrote another I Know poem trying to address a little bit of it…


Too many storms displacing too many folks,
many many folks cry for helping hands.
Too many ripped-apart-rights squelching too many hearts,
many many hearts cry for airlift from badlands.
Too many pandemic deaths everywhere,
many many doubts still fill our air.
When will we collectively begin to care
and stamp out this feeling of laissez-faire…

© 2021 Michelle Kogan    

Our Poetry Friday Roundup host today, Elisabeth Norton, comes to us from Switzerland at her blog UNEXPECTED INTERSECTIONS thanks for hosting Elisabeth! Elisabeth’s written an “I know” poem on Marmots, which she stops to watch while on hikes in the Swiss Alps… Be sure to stop by for your fill of poetry!

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Home, Nature, Painting, Pencil Drawing, Poem, poetry, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Poetry Friday–Apples, Wrens, and Fall…

Apples and Wren, WIP, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m sharing a poem and WIP watercolor painting. I don’t have a title yet for the poem, it’s very new…

Follow nature
let her lead you into
Falls harvest with
abundant apples mimicking
earth’s ever-turning roundness.
Apples appearing
7–9 million years ago,
dispersed perhaps by
large ice age animals…
Apples flavoring fall
with their succulent sweetness,
in midst of ever growing turmoil.

Follow nature
let her lead—
painfully honest
she’s our guiding light,
through past time
through present time
through future time,
if we will only
follow her,
and let her

© 2021 Michelle Kogan

Here’s an article on the long history of apples.

And a haiku inspired from my garden this morning…

Backyard garden, © 2021 Michelle Kogan

little paradise
inspiring adventures
and calm breaths…

Some music to send you off with…

Carol Labuzzetta at her blog The Apples in My Orchard is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Carol! In fact Carol has two posts up, one on the monarch count with a fascinating video of a caterpillar going into its chrysalis. And her second post for Poetry Friday shares three “I am” poems, by three powerful poets that she shared with students this summer, be sure to stop by.

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Home, Nature, Painting, Pencil Drawing, poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments