Poetry Friday Round-up, 24th January 2020

Welcome to Australia (twice in the one month!) for another round-up of Poetry Friday. Since Sally hosted, a lot of Australia has received rain, so dust has settled, and many fires have also been checked back. But what a horrifying month it has been! And it is not over. Even as I write this post (Thursday), the news comes through of the large air tanker crash, killing 3 US crew members. And we are once again reminded of the many different ways people risk their lives in our service. And how precious – and fragile – life is.

Our Queensland property is far from the fires, but we have been contending with drought, and have empty dams all around us. Two inches of rain in the past 2 weeks has brought a wash of green creeping over the paddocks, for which we are so thankful – but we are praying for much more rain to fill those dams!

I am proud of the Australian kidlit community – who, led by Nova Weetman and Emily Gale, and joined by much of the world – raised more than $500,000 in the twitter-based #AuthorForFireys auction. One of my offerings was a new-to-you poem about an Australian animal. (Thank-you to my beautiful PoetryFriday friends who jumped in to bid for that.) The winning bid was for a poem about a bogong moth, for $200. I’m still working on that one! (Fascinated, from what I’ve learnt thus far.)

When I signed up to host today, I had thought I’d have a Month of Poetry to share with you, to make your visit to my blog interesting – but I started the year in a sad place, following the loss of my beloved Amber – and just didn’t want the commitment of a joyful play with words. It has been a productive month none-the-less, with time spent polishing and submitting picture book manuscripts and writing new poems for a project I’m hoping to be involved with. One of the poems was about a selection of Queensland animals, and on a night-time wander this week, I snapped this pic of mama and bubba possum, high in an ironbark tree along our track – so I thought I’d include my stanza about the possum for my poetry offering today.

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

What have you been working on? Who has news to share? I look forward to catching up on your happenings through the round-up, and comments below. Hoping your weekend is wonderful! Last weekend before the new school year starts in Queensland! (I’m sure families will be cramming every last moment with holiday-feels!) I’m reminded of this trimeric I wrote in January during Month of Poetry 2014, when I had kids on school holidays…

Clockwork Holidays

The clock has stopped. The bus has run.
School bags lie in wait, lunchboxes packed,
while uniforms hang about in dishevelment
and kids run free!

School bags lie in wait, lunchboxes packed
and stacked
away at the back of the cupboard.

While uniforms hang about in dishevelment,
waiting to be pressed into shape,
rumpled, crumpled comfy clothes are donned,

and kids run free!
No HW. No bedtimes. No alarms.
Unwinding as the clock… ticks… down… to… school.

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

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https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=c8cd94ed6d171cb9d89dSneaking in for an unexpected bonus extra … This little video was released this week, by Newport News Public Schools, following my visit to Riverside Elementary, in November. Oh the wonderful memories! (Why does it seem so long ago?)


63 comments

  1. Kat, there is a lot of poetry goodness right here at your post this week. Thank goodness that the rains have come to Australia, your video of your trip to an elementary school in America is up (so exciting) and that your poems are fun to see and read. I am definitely sharing the possum image poem with granddaughter Sierra and I will include new little Aurora when we have reading time. Thanks for hosting this week. It is going to be great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kat,
    Have been following the news of the devastating fires in Australia — truly heartbreaking. Glad the rains have come and that your property was not affected by the fires. Hope the drought ends soon.

    Thanks for your poems — love those possums! Great photo. We have possums in our back yard and often feed them fruit. 🙂 Also enjoyed the video of your school visit.

    Appreciate your hosting this week despite a difficult month (so sorry about Amber). I’m returning to blogging after holiday break (my post will go live at 6 a.m. Friday morning). Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Dear Kat,
    Thank you for hosting. I couldn’t make the links work to make my donation to the Fire Relief….finally, I made reading your post my inspiration and persevered to discover that the postal code for Bendigo, Victoria is incorrect on the website! Once I googled the postal code I was able to donate within a minute. Ta da!
    Thank you for your honesty in not being playful with words. I believe that so many of us writers are deep feeling people. Oh, we post the fun and happy stuff publicly. But, we feel sadnesses and dark times too. Losing Amber is a pretty rough bump. I’m glad you could continue to be productive anyway. I have no doubts about wonderful results coming your way because of your deep meditative time.
    Your possum have big ears! They are cute…cuter than ours, I think. Ours are not so nice if you meet them in their homes. But, they eat a lot of bugs for us. It’s hard for us to imagine the back to school times! I hope not too many students are delayed due to the fires. We’ve so appreciated the updates from you all in Oz.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m glad you had success, Linda. Sometimes the simplest little things cause big complications.
      I think one of the loveliest things about spending quality time with my poetry friends in America (like you!) was the fact that we could go deeper and connect not just on the good things, but also the tougher times. I will always attribute big losses on my blog (and Amber was a loss on so many levels – and also tied up in so much of my school visits) but mostly my blog is a joyful place. And I like that!🙃 Hugs.

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  5. Kat — You captured an amazing photograph. The “nibble clue” in the poem made me smile. I’m glad you’re working on your projects, despite all of the recent devastation and loss.

    Thanks for taking a look at the poems I’ve been working on. I’ll send you an update soon! Today, I’m blogging about my first read of the new year, a fantastic graphic biography of Frederick Douglass. I’ve shared Robert Hayden’s poem “Frederick Douglass” alongside thoughts about the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved the picture of the possums! And the poem. I’ve never seen a possum. And I also enjoyed your school visit video. The kids looks like they were definitely enjoying the time with you and your book. Thanks for sharing them and I’m sorry to hear about your loss of your brother. I know what that is like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you for linking in, Janice – and for your lovely comments. I should clarify that Amber was my much loved, bottle-reared calf/cow. She was twenty-three years old and left a huge hole. I feel for you, with the loss of a brother.

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  7. Your little possums are cute. We’ve been battling opossums coming onto the back porch and eating the cat food. They are pests and drive the dog crazy. Just this evening, the dog went nuts sending the cats into the air breaking a vase on their way. I am not in a good humor about the varmints right now. Maybe a poem will come from it.
    I’m glad some relief is coming to the devastation in Australia. It’s been painful to watch helplessly from afar. Thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh dear. I suspect that possums cause similar situations from time to time – though I’ve not experienced it, myself. (We did have one sneak into a caravan one night, raiding our fruit bowl. Gave me a fright when I woke up!)

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  8. Sending warmest thoughts, wishes and prayers from this wee spot in/on the world, Kat – what a stressful stretch it’s been for you, and yet you absolutely shine in that wonderful video. Glad to hear things are improving a bit there, though the scale of devastation is just mind-numbing. Thankful you have been out of harm’s way.
    Thank you for hosting us and for sharing your charming poetry today! (Great pic, too.) {{hugs}}

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think I’ll start at the end, and say how much I loved the video. Wishing you had come to Colorado! I am happy to hear about that bit of rain, felt blessed I’m sure. Wishing you in Queensland some, too. We are very dry here in Denver, but the mountains & the spring run-off keep the reservoirs full, thank goodness. The possum pic is marvelous. I’ve seen raccoons, rabbits & coyotes even here in the city, but not possums, though I suspect they’re around. Thanks so much for hosting, Kat, a pleasure to read your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t imagined it being dry there, Linda. Your snow pics always give me the idea that there is moisture around. If you do spy a possum in Denver it will be very different to ours. Apparently they come from a completely different family. Our possum usually only has one bubba, whereas I think the opossum has multiples? (Ours is not an opossum. Its full/proper name is possum.)

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  11. Love both of your poems…but the most surprising thing was the possums! Your Australian possums look more like marmosets than our possums, which look more like pale, giant rats. Thanks for sharing, though – and I’m glad to hear you’ve had a bit of rain, Praying you get more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had another inch of rain, Matt. But alas, it just isn’t raising dams or creek levels. Methinks we’re going to need flood rains to do that. Also, yes, the possum and opossum do look very different. The possum is rather cute. Some tourists have mistaken them for cats – which has produced funny memes over the years.

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  16. Kat, you’ve been in my mind and heart so much lately. I’m relieved to hear that some rain has offered a brief respite and pray for more to follow. Thank you so much for hosting in the midst of so much turmoil. I hope that you found comfort in writing your post and even more in connecting with the PF community. On a lighter note, I adore your opossum pic and poem, and I’m quite intrigued by your trimeric. I’ll definitely be playing around with that new-to-me form.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our possum is not actually an opossum, Molly. Possum is their full and proper name. 🙂 Glad you like the trimeric. They are quite fun to write – a chance to develop an idea by pealing back layers, almost. The PF community is a great comfort – and I’m so glad you’re a part of it, lovely. Thinking of you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think the similarity is that they’re both marsupials. And it ends there. As far as I can tell they’re not actually related. (And to be honest, I was stunned when I read that your opossum is a marsupial – because I hadn’t realised America had marsupials!) And NOW I’ve just read the Virginia has opossums??!? Where were they hiding when I was there!

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  19. Thank you for the update from on the ground…the news is bad and good and bad and good in dizzying ways. I clicked on Amber’s name and saw just why you might start the year in sadness, but look at you, sticking to your professional path all the same. Thanks for hosting and for the richness of this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Kat–The best-laid plans…with all that’s going on, I say celebrate that you were able to host and share two awesome bits of poetry with us. I especially love the rumpled, comfy clothes line:>) My 2020 has started off with lots of medical stuff for me and my husband, so,yeah, not so thrilled about it. But happy for rain, for fund-raisers, and for poetry.Sending thoughts of more rain splashing your way!

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  23. I LOVE the video!!! Of course it makes me MISS YOU, but also feel close… I only wish they’d included a clip of you talking! I hear you on the odd start to 2020… so glad you’re getting some water and hoping for more for all of Australia. Love to you. xo

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    • You probably wouldn’t have recognised me.😂 That footage was from before I lost my voice!
      We had another inch of rain over the weekend – but dams and creeks just don’t get any depth to them. They are still at record low levels. It’s kind of crazy – but the weather is so much easier to bear, with green vistas. Much love, my friend. xx

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  24. I am glad for the rains that have come to dampen things in Australia and hope for more to fill your dams (but not too much all at once). Thank you for hosting today despite all that is going on and for your generosity through the fundraiser. I loved the picture and poem of the possums–they look quite different from our possums over here. I wonder if they are related besides sharing a name. My life has been blessedly calm now that we are settling into to our new home and community. I am excitedly watching my daughter launch into her next stage as she gets ready to graduate from university. She’s at her first grad school interview this weekend.

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    • Apparently your possums are oppossums – and marsupials too… with a pouch. (I only discovered the pouch thing late last year, when writing a poem… of course!) But apparently that’s the only connection. They aren’t related.
      I’m pleased to hear you are feeling settled in your new home and community. How exciting – another stage in the parenting process. Enjoy.

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  25. You and all of Aus are in my prayers. I have friends who have nearly lost property, who have been chased from their houses, and struggle from the stress of the fires. May you all have rain, rain, rain … but not floods. May you have green, and the animals all come back. My husband and I look at Australia as “the second home of our hearts” and try to get there every two or three years. Thank you for letting us know you’re okay. Hang in there!

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    • How lovely to be the second home of your hearts, Deborah. Yes – praying for much healing rain. It has been joyful-glorious to see videos of farmers celebrating first rains. Such exuberance!

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  27. So glad some rain has arrived and hoping for more. Possums in a tree and a back-to-school poem, both lovely. I adore rumpled, crumpled comfy clothes and vacation time.

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  29. Glad to hear you’ve gotten some rain and some greening. I love your possums–we have opossums around here which, to me at least, aren’t nearly as cute. I also enjoyed your poem from 2014 about time–I shared a poem about time that I originally posted back in 2016.
    And how wonderful to see the video of your school visit! How lucky those children were to get to read your book and then meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan, I tried to comment on your post – but I can’t see how to post a comment. (I am sure something has changed with blog comments of late, because I have had all sorts of hiccups this round.) I’ve tried in Chrome and Safari, but no success. Your poetry mash-up looks (and sounds) like a fun exercise.

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  30. Oh, Kat. I am so sorry to hear about Amber. What a beauty. And what a life. She will live forever through your book and stories, a rare thing for any animal, and a gift to everybody…those photos are all so beautiful. That nibble is fun – finding animal clues makes the world feel so big and mysterious. Yesterday morning a possum was just hanging out in our driveway! Thank you very much for hosting. My thoughts are with Australia and with you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank- you for your lovely, hopeful words, Amy. Yes – Amber has been loved the world over, through her story, and her pictures that make up such a big part of my author talks. (There may be tears when I do my next school visit – but that is all part of love and loss.) I’m regretting that I didn’t see any opossums when I was in America! I hadn’t realised they were common – but I’m thinking they must be?

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