April 5

Early Bird
By Shel Silverstein

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early early bird –
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.


Lemon Meringue Snake

Curled delectably into the curve
of a tree branch
in the open-air dome,

cream-colored skin
stenciled bright yellow,

it puts the pie in python
while one eye
slowly gleams open.

-Jenny Crakes

Image result for burmese python yellow
(image copyright Northampton Reptile Centre)


April 4

What the roses are saying cannot be heard through voice
but through beauty as you watch the rain slip
from their petals and hang from their edges.

-Dena Colhoff, Lakota, from Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky



The sky hurls itself into spring,
cracks open like a geode
to fill with blue twilight.

-Jenny Crakes

April 3

when i am afraid to speak
is when i speak.
that is when it is most important.

the freedom in fear (by Nayyirah Waheed)


Four Seconds

Not in the blizzard, but the day after,
my first spin on ice
was over
before I knew it happened.

My hand found the hazard lights
because they were in my body, too.

And – how strange – the same song still playing
as we halted at the road’s edge.

– Jenny Crakes

April 2

“The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.”

-From “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye



The Columbia knows
its quiet power,
stocks meltwater in
an icy lake –

while small rivers,
desperate to be seen,
leave trees stunned, stranded
in their wake.

-Jenny Crakes

April 1

“Sheets of rain sweep up down
to the river held tight against the bridge.

We see now that the moon is leavened and the water,
as deep as it will go,
stops rising. Where we wait for the night to take us
the rain ceases. Sister, there is nothing
I would not do.”

-from “A Love Medicine” by Louise Erdrich


Lacreek Refuge

Sunlight! every creature is filled with the energy
to climb a fire tower in the wind –

on the path
we and a garter snake freeze
mutually startled;
it pretzels into
a graceful figure-eight,
ruby tongue flickering –

crazy-quilt-patterned pheasants
scatter past tumbleweed trees,
two bald eagles wheel overhead
warning with rusty-hinged creaks
to steer clear of their nest,

fences run straight
into sudden meltwater lakes;
geese skate in partners
on ice shelves.
As we cling to windy latticework
they balance on water.

-Jenny Crakes

April 30

It’s all I have to bring today (26)
By Emily Dickinson

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.


(1830’s Farmhouse, Foster, Rhode Island)

Shaping darkness with a sturdy grace,
They promise wonder wavers close at hand –
A mesmerizing bridge from place to place.

Each floorboard worn to smoothness in the trace
Of many footsteps, like the tide on sand,
Shaping darkness with a sturdy grace.

Drawn to linger in a timeless space,
I watch three window-lights joined in a strand,
A mesmerizing bridge from place to place.

We lit the sabbath candles to erase
Our weekday cares, and find some peace, as planned
Shaping darkness with a sturdy grace.

A few soft yellow blooms set in a vase,
Brought in from rambling glory on the land,
Transport a glowing garden anyplace.

Echoing the stars that fall like lace
On shadow curtains, the brave night watch stands:
Shaping darkness with a sturdy grace,
A mesmerizing bridge from place to place.

-Jenny Crakes

April 29

I Am From
By M., 16, Guillermo Delgado’s poetry workshop with incarcerated youth

I am from the grind
From hard work and hot heads

I am the experiment
in the science lab

I am from love and hate
The two emotions that’ll
change your life

I am from the struggle
From the long, dark and scary nights

I am from the “You get what you deserve,”
from the “You win some, you lose some.”



I’m twelve and the morning before I visit my new school, our friend’s golden retriever
and I are chasing water bugs among the stones of the clear, toppling creek, marveling at
how they can skate across the surface of an unknown – weightless, balanced – without
falling in. I’m thirteen on a late evening after choir practice, up the mountain my dad is
asleep, the car perches on a precarious slope of washboard gravel in gathering dusk and
I don’t know if I can do it, but with CBC radio in my ear I shift into drive and careen up
the mountain, trees leaning across overhead, the brief journey expanding like an
accordion or a Jacob’s ladder. I’m fourteen and I fall in love, except I don’t know it is love
until the night my family sits in the kitchen and I ask, “If you think about someone all the
time, and you can’t stop thinking about them, is that a crush?” and to the excited answer
“Yes!” I burst into tears, feeling something in me break open, a capacity I never knew was
there, as if I could be a bank robber or a violin prodigy.

I am not like a water bug and I fall into becoming, breaking the cold surface clear-eyed
and awake.

-Jenny Crakes