Poetry Friday: Can You Smell the Sun?

It’s Poetry Friday!

Back in the day when I shared writing lessons with students and teachers, I often used “That Was Summer” by Marci Ridlon as a mentor text. Here’s the first verse:

Have you ever smelled summer?
Sure you have. Remember that time
when you were tired of running
or doing nothing much
and you were hot
and you flopped right down on the ground?
Remember how the warm soil smelled—
and the grass?
That was summer.

This week my poetry group was charged with exploring a sense, and Marci Ridlon’s poem immediately came to mind. I wanted to explore the sense of smell since so many of my memories, especially childhood memories, are linked to smells. “That Was Summer” was my jumping off point for my poem…

Can You Smell the Sun?

The smell of spring starts with the sun
encouraging each peony petal to open,
each honeysuckle bloom to burst.

It starts with the sun
rising over a salty sea
or a meadow of milkweed.

The smell of summer starts with the sun, too.
On a bed freshly made with line-dried sheets
or lotion-lathered limbs of kids diving in.

It starts with the sun
on sizzling sidewalks
and homespun fun.

Take a deep breath.
Can you smell the sun?
Draft, 2023Rose Cappelli

Patricia has the round up today at Reverie where she is celebrating a special anniversary. Be sure to stop by for a special tribute to love and commitment and lots more poetry fun! Happy anniversary, my friend.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 12 Comments

Poetry Friday: Spring Outside and In

It’s Poetry Friday!

I have two dogwood trees in my front yard. They are different varieties, so they bloom at different times. One is done, but the other is currently in full bloom. Until this spring, I don’t think I ever noticed how glorious that tree is. I’d been thinking about it, then on Wednesday, Margaret posted a lovely photo by Molly Hogan on This Photo Wants to Be a Poem. I’m not sure if the tree in Molly’s photo is a dogwood, but it reminded me of mine. That bit of serendipity led me to today’s poem:

Spring, Outside and In

The dogwood in my front yard
sings with spring.

White against green,
a pin-prick of sun in the center.

She calls to wren,
“Come stop to rest.”

She whispers to azalea,
“Your color’s the best.”

I trim some branches,
arrange them in a glass vase—

Spring, outside and in.
Draft, 2023RoseCappelli

Janice has the round up today at Salt City Verse. Be sure to stop by for a picture book recommendation and a variety of poems about storms and weather.

Posted in Picture Book Friday, Poems | 17 Comments

Poetry Friday: Remembering

It’s Poetry Friday!

I’ve been thinking a lot about dogs this week. I learned that a friend’s beloved pup was diagnosed with a serious illness, my own aging dog is battling some vision problems, and then came the most devastating news—one of my daughter’s dogs, the one that was supposed to outlive the other, unexpectedly passed away from an illness no one knew she had.

It’s not surprising that I found myself turning to the poems of Mary Oliver for comfort. As one who loved dogs, she had a way of deeply understanding them. Here are two passages from poems in Dog Songs (2013) by Mary Oliver:

“A dog can never tell you what she knows from the
smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know
almost nothing.”

“See how the violets are opening, and the leaves
unfolding, the streams gleaming and the birds
singing. What does it make you think of?
His shining curls, his honest eyes, his beautiful barking.”

Here’s a poem I recently wrote in response to a prompt from my poetry group, The Nevermores, to write a poem that begins with the line”This is what life does…”:

by Rose Cappelli

This is what life does…

It wakes you early one morning and sets your soul
remembering the dogs 
who hover inside your heart
in ways never imagined,
even now.

It guides you down a path of remembering
how much each has accepted,
given unconditionally and
shared all the love and comfort, joy and sorrow
of every part of your life
in every stage of your life.

Life, it seems, provides us a roadmap
for living well and growing old gracefully—
if we remember.
Draft, 2023RoseCappelli

My dog, Cyrus, in his younger days.

Robyn has the roundup today on Life on the Deckle Edge. Be sure to head over there for a lovely tribute to mothers and lots more poetry goodness.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 13 Comments

Poetry Friday: The First of May

It’s Poetry Friday!

We’ve been having some unusually cool weather here in the Northeast. Many mornings feel more like March than May, but the bluebird chicks have hatched, the peonies are bursting to bloom, and the hydrangeas are sporting new growth. All signs that Spring is certainly on the way.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat held at the Highlights Foundation. It was a wonderful weekend of catching up with old friends, meeting new people, inspiration, and learning. The speakers were wonderful and, as always at Highlights, there was fabulous food. I didn’t even mind the rainy weather and the early morning woodpeckers.

On her daily poem feed, Jane Yolen this week suggested writing about May. So I did!

Linda has the roundup today at Teacher Dance where she talks about kindness. I’m working to be more deliberate about noticing and performing small acts of kindness, so Linda’s post was the perfect reminder. She’s also put out an invitation to contribute to a collaborative kindness poem. Be sure to stop by!

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 15 Comments

Poetry Friday:

Happy Poetry Friday!

Yesterday I had the privilege of watching many Poetry Friday friends on a Facebook Live panel discussion for Nerdy Book Club led by Laura Shovan. It’s well worth watching to find out more about this supportive and poetry-loving community, and to feel all the joys of writing and reading poetry and bringing it to kids.You can access it here.

One of the things discussed by the panelists were the many different poetry projects being conducted in April. On this last Friday of the month, I have a confession to make – I didn’t completely complete my April Poetry Project. My goal was to write poems that might breathe new life into an old picture book manuscript —one poem a day, exploring the characters and feelings that might result in a picture book in verse. I started out fine, but then I let my internal editor convince me that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea. I continued to add to the collection, but not every day. Yesterday, I tricked my internal editor into thinking I was someone else, and I reread all the poems I had written. And guess what? Some were terrible, but some had potential, and new ideas for that picture book came as I read. By focusing on the process instead of the product, I learned more about my characters and what they wanted me to say about them. The story is titled Willow’s Wonders and is about a girl who moves from the country to the city. Here’s a sample.


We’re leaving today,
Mom and me.
Moving to the city.
Grandma says it will be an adventure
full of new wonders—
new school
new friends
new treasures.
My tummy flip-flops
when we pull away.
I hug my treasure box tight.
Draft, 2023RoseCappelli

Heart Shaped Rock

I touch my lucky rock
shaped like a heart
hold it in my hand like I did
the day I got an A in Math
the day I watched bluebirds build their nest
the day I topsy-turvied into my first cartwheel.

I thought its luck ran out
the day Mom said we were moving.
It’s warm in my hand and
something shimmers inside me.
I tuck that rock in my pocket.
Maybe it just needed a rest.
Draft, 2023Rose Cappelli

If you’re celebrating Poem in Your Pocket day this week, be sure to check out Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Emma J. Virján’s beautiful book honoring the wonders of poetry, animals, and nature.

Ruth has the round-up today here and she’s inviting all of us to pull up a chair and relax on her porch all the way over in Uganda. Be sure to stop by, sit awhile, and soak up all the poetry goodness.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 18 Comments