It's in my hair! It's in my hair!

All Hallow’s Eve

A moment of inspiration became an hour of perspiration as I fashioned an entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST! 

The challenge? Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak.

Challenge accepted.

Kinsale Mixes It Up
by Jim Hill

Kinsale’s sisters cackled.
“I’ll turn that one into a toad!”
“The other shall sleep until awakened by a Prince!”

Straddling her broomstick, she bid farewell to the coven.

“As if there were any princes left to do the waking…”

She glided, accompanied by only the creak of trees, the rattle of leaves, and the flickering wink of pumpkins. Until she saw the children.

With a sprinkle of amalgamated toadstool, powdered batwing, and a touch of Eldritch rhyme, Kinsale mixed things up a bit.

“Safe ye shall be
On All Hallows’ Eve
As those that dish out
At last shall receive!”

New Strings for Ukulele – Poetry Friday

New Strings For Ukulele

By Jim Hill

Uncoiled, detangled, threaded over-under-through,
Bridge and saddle, knotted, tied then
Wound and wound and wound and
Stretched and wound.

Na fig dab wees

Keep winding, keep stretching, keep –
Oh that knot that keeps slipping and sliding –
Removed, rethreaded, retied.
Deep breath, stay calm, fat fingers restretch, rewind.

Ba tog gin knees

Check the knots, check the knots, tuner blinks,
Pings ascend as strings are brought to pitch,
Pinched, stressed, tightened, plucked,
Machine heads spinning, spinning, spun.

My dog has fleas

 


 
poetry friday buttonIt’s been a while, but as I take a breather between semesters I felt the call. And just maybe the need for new strings.  Amy at the Poem Farm is this week’s host for Poetry Friday. Hop on over for more poetry.

Mister Bug – the Video

The Mister Bug adventure has just about wrapped up. Last Spring I posted the demo of the song I submitted to the Eventide Arts Songwriting Contest. Much to my surprise, it won. Many thanks to the good folks at Eventide and my friends and family who came out and supported us at the performance. Here’s a video with me and my All-Star Jam Band – Kris Hill on guitar, Andrew Rapo on keyboard and Alex Lariviere on ukulele. Not bad for rehearsing once.

What’s next for Mister Bug? Well, the song was originally written as a picture book manuscript and I’m thinking of turning it into a storybook app for the iPad using Demibooks Composer. Anyone with experience using that software want to chat?

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to add “award winning songwriter” to my resume. *cough*

Hats Off – Poetry Friday

I think anyone that ever played dress-up will have fun with this one. I have an extensive list of hats to add, so many stanzas to go before I sleep. Enjoy. Should it be a song? A picture book? Hmmm.

Hats Off

by Jim Hill

I like to play at make-believe
,
It’s kind of like my thing.
I often wear a lot of hats.
It’s good to be the King.

Some kids will sit around all bored.
Not me! I’ll fly a jet.
And if you think that sounds like fun,
Just wait. I haven’t started yet.

When I pull this hat down low
,
I’m standing on the mound,
Throwing balls and strikes so fast,
I break the speed of sound.

It’s fourth and long, two-minute drill,
I cinch my strap and say,
The game is on the line m’boys.
It’s time for our trick play!

In space they say no one can
Hear. Not true! I hear a lot;
Ground control, the President,
And my miniature robot.

Magnifying glass in hand,
Looking for the truth,
Discovering a chain of
Clues, I am a super sleuth.

If I wear this one with
Horns, maybe I can sing?
If you have the time for it,
We’ll take on Wagner’s Ring.

I have so many hats to try,
A chapeau a day for months,
And it would just be silly,
To wear them all at once.

I like to play at make-believe,
and seeing what I see,
In the mirror when I wear,
a hat that isn’t me.


Poetry Friday is at Carol’s Corner this week. Go say “Hi!”

Kid’s POV Haiku – Poetry Friday

This week I’ve been looking to nature and experimenting with haiku. I also picked up Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, perfectly illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Talk about two great tastes that taste great together! Words and images create a lively look at a year of being a boy.

Although I enjoy haiku, I often think they feel too detached from the natural world. All observation, not enough heart. Raczka’s work is quite the opposite. Completely engaging, colloquial, even conversational, I felt like I was re-living my own boyhood memories. He made me reconsider what it is to write authentically from the point-of-view of a child. And, since this is Poetry Friday, I’ve taken a crack at a few Guyku of my own.

I had the good fortune to live in the perfect kid-friendly neighborhood between the ages of 4 and 7. Among other things, we had the Pollywog Pond at the end of the street. Frogs in the summer, skating in the winter. General year-round tomfoolery any time.

I’m not claiming these are on par with Mr. Raczka, but I enjoyed writing them. They brought back some fun memories. We were afraid of that snapping turtle for months! And I didn’t even mention the snake that tried to bite me, fishing for Kivers, the haunted barn or the train tracks. Hmm, wonder if they’d consider a Guyku anthology?

Pollywog Pond Haiku

by Jim Hill

Summer days prowling
around the pollywog pond
for frogs and turtles.

Barehanding bull frogs.
“Mine can jump farther than yours.”
We bet popsicles.

The snapping turtle
came right out of the water.
Scared the pants off me.

Opening milkweeds
to launch a million fluffy,
white paratroopers.

Skipping stones across
the pond to see who can reach
the other side first.


This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Linda at TeacherDance. Go say hello and read some more poetry.

Mister Bug, the Musical

Here’s the demo track of Mister Bug recorded today with Andy Rapo. It’s a bit rough, but not bad considering how quickly we did it. Andy is a whiz in the home studio and has a pretty nice set up. That’s me singing and playing ukulele (in case you were wondering).

Mister Bug started out as a poem (trivia – my first rhyming poem) based on a comment from my three-and-half-foot muse about a bug he saw on the ceiling. After some great comments from my crit group, I expanded it to fit a picture book format. Then, last year I started thinking about song writing and this version kind of came together.

I still think it’s got pretty good picture book potential *cough* agents, editors *cough*

I “debuted” it in January at my first VCFA residency by coercing a room full of children’s writers to sing along on the chorus. It didn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting, they’re a game bunch. Now this version is going out to a local songwriting contest, and I’m living the not-quite-a-Wiggle-dream.

I wonder if Laurie Berkner would like it?

Bumbly Me – Poetry Friday

This week’s poem comes courtesy of the bumble bee crawling around the red azalea given to my wife on Mother’s Day, the very funny (and so NSFW) “Political Talk with Two Guys from Boston” segment in Dana Gould’s podcast, and my VCFA advisor, Mary Quattlebaum who suggested I try an acrostic and work on assonance. Just thought you might appreciate the synapse synopsis.

I think I can finally forgive that bee I stepped on when I was three.

Bumbly Me

by Jim Hill

Buzzing, bumbling, bumbly me,
Under and over and tumbly,
Merrily, airily, teasing the breeze,
Buzzing, bumbling, bumbly me,
Looking for colorful blossom and bloom,
Errand of hustle and bustle and zoom.

Buzzing, bumbling, bumbly me,
Eternally fumbling, mumbling wonder,
Eyeing the garden for nectar to plunder.

 


 

Kathy Czaja is this week’s Poetry Friday host. Take some time over there to discover some great poets and poetry.


photo credit Hayling Images

 

Monstrous – Poetry Friday

Monstrous

by Jim Hill

Up all night? Can’t sleep a wink?
What’s the trouble guys?
Do you think that squeaky shriek,
Could lead to your demise?

I’m no weirdo just because,
You find things too creepy.
The shadows from a leafless tree,
Only make me sleepy.

Important safety tips you ask?
Come closer don’t be shy.
I’ll help you with some pointers,
That you’re gonna wanna try.

If you really have to use,
The potty late at night,
Take a teddy bear (or two).
Watch out for things that bite.

If there’s creaking on the stairs
Get under covers fast.
Don’t let the creatures see you,
Or this night could be your last!

Thunder? Lightning? Gusty gales!
Storms shouldn’t make you frown,
Unless the power fizzles out,
and blackouts hit your town.

Empty space beneath the bed,
Can cause the blood to freeze.
Keep it dusty, never clean,
To hear the nasties wheeze.

Are my secrets helping you
To make it through the night?
Time to whisper, listen close,
And never take affright.

I know there are no monsters,
But when I close my eyes
I think there really are some
Waiting to surprise.

If your bravery runs away,
When somethings out to get you,
Holler loud for mom and dad,
And they’ll come to your rescue.


Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Take a look. Lots of great poets, poems and poetry info.

 


While you’re feeling the love for Poetry, take a look at the heartbreakingly funny “The Truth about Poets and Poetry” from Greg Pincus.

The Empty Juice Box Blues – Poetry Friday

No, I don’t have a four-year old wunderkind that may, sometimes act up. Especially if there’s too much juice involved. Why do you ask?

The Empty Juice Box Blues

by Jim Hill

I’ve had me some timeouts,
My best friends are fools,
My teacher’s been on me,
For breaking the rules.

Don’t run in the classroom.
Keep your hands in your lap.
Sand’s not for throwing.
I’m caught in a trap!

There’s just no denying,
When something is true.
I’ve got the too-restless-for-nap-time.
Empty juice box blues.

Got pulled out of snack time,
For being a slob.
Had a small problem,
With a red jello blob.

Things didn’t go better,
At craft table time.
I turned my green paint
Into thick-booger-slime.

Now Mommy’s been called in,
Daddy’s coming too.
I’ve got the you’re-gonna-be-grounded
Empty juice box blues.

 


Elaine over at the Wild Rose Reader is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Pop over there and soak up some serious stanzas, couplets and stuff.

Imminent Growth Spurt – Poetry Friday

I had a different poem on deck for this week’s Poetry Friday, but then my four year old decided to eat everything for dinner. Seriously, everything. I expect he’ll wake up tomorrow and tell us that his legs hurt again. Good thing it’s almost shorts season.

I hope you’ll come back next week for The Empty Juice Box Blues.

Imminent Growth Spurt

by Jim Hill

Rotini and red sauce,
Two meatballs and cheese,
One glass of milk,
May I have more please?

Watermelon slices.
Yogurt that’s drinkable.
Honey graham bar.
This kid is unsinkable.

Still hungry, Daddy.
A cheese stick will do,
And peanut butter toast
When that is gone too.

He ate for an hour,
slept an hour times ten,
And when he woke up
He was bigger again.

It’s a pattern repeating,
We’ve learned to adjust,
He just might keep growing,
Six-foot-seven or bust.