Saturday, April 27, 2024

The Progressive Poem 2024 and AtoZ Challenge

If you are here for the 2024 Progressive Poem, you made the trip safely! I will post the AtoZ Challenge poem for today below scroll down if you are here for my Good Words from AtoZ: A Villanelle for Xenial.

Progressive Poem 2024

I was going to try to rewrite this explanation in my own words but,no. This is good. Thank you, Karin Fisher-Golton!

“Poet and author Irene Latham began a progressive poem tradition in 2012 “as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month (April) as a community of writers” in the Kidlitsophere (world of children’s literature blogs). A different blogger poet hosts the progressive poem each day in April and adds to a group poem. Irene headed up the project from 2012 to 2019 (archive here). And Margaret Simon took over the organizer role in 2020 (see that poem and links to later ones here). Most years each poet writes a line, but this year Patricia Franz began with a couplet (a pair of lines) and a call for a real-life world theme. Soon a narrative poem was developing on the serious topic of children with, as Carol Varsalona describes in her April 14 couplet, a “no-choice need to escape.” Most (maybe all) of us are writing outside our lived experience, but as people who write for children, the multitude of children who are impacted by and have been impacted by such dire situations weigh heavily on our hearts. Wishes for catalysts of hope and moments of respite come through.

On April 6, organizer Margaret Simon grouped the couplets into quatrains (four-line stanzas), which gave the poem structure and helped bring focus to the narrative.”

Below is this year’s poem, so far. My couplet is italicized at the end. Next up tomorrow, April 28: Dave at  Leap of Dave.

cradled in stars, our planet sleeps,
clinging to tender dreams of peace
sister moon watches from afar,
singing lunar lullabies of hope.

almost dawn, I walk with others,
keeping close, my little brother.
hand in hand, we carry courage
escaping closer to the border

My feet are lightning;
My heart is thunder.
Our pace draws us closer
to a new land of wonder.

I bristle against rough brush—
poppies ahead brighten the browns.
Morning light won’t stay away—
hearts jump at every sound.

I hum my own little song
like ripples in a stream
Humming Mami’s lullaby
reminds me I have her letter

My fingers linger on well-worn creases,
shielding an address, a name, a promise–
Sister Moon will find always us
surrounding us with beams of kindness

But last night as we rested in the dusty field,
worries crept in about matters back home.
I huddled close to my brother. Tears revealed
the no-choice need to escape. I feel grown.

Leaving all I’ve ever known
the tender, heavy, harsh of home.
On to maybes, on to dreams,
on to whispers we hope could be.

But I don’t want to whisper! I squeeze Manu’s hand.
“¡Más cerca ahora!” Our feet pound the sand.
We race, we pant, we lean on each other
I open my canteen and drink gratefully

Thirst is slaked, but I know we’ll need
more than water to achieve our dreams.
Nights pass slowly, but days call for speed
through the highs and the lows, we live with extremes

We enter a village the one from Mami’s letter,
We find the steeple; food, kindly people, and shelter.
“We made it, Manu! Mami would be so proud!”
I choke back a sob, then stand tall for the crowd.

A slapping of sandals… I wake to the sound
¡GOL! Manu’s playing! The fútbol rebounds.
I pinch myself. Can this be true?
Are we safe at last? Is our journey through?

I savor this safety, we’re enveloped with care,
but Tío across the border, still seems far as stars.

He could not yet come to this new place

But Hermana moon, kiss his tear-stained face


Take it away, Dave!  I fixed his link in my's missing the, if you are going through another way.

This is the list of participants and links to their blogs:

April 1 Patricia Franz at Reverie
April 2 Jone MacCulloch
April 3 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
April 4 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
April 5 Irene at Live Your Poem
April 6 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 7 Marcie Atkins
April 8 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
April 9 Karen Eastlund
April 10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
April 11 Buffy Silverman
April 12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
April 13 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
April 14 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
April 15 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
April 16 Sarah Grace Tuttle
April 17 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
April 18 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
April 19 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
April 20 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
April 21 Janet, hosted here at Reflections on the Teche
April 22 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading
April 23 Tanita Davis at (fiction, instead of lies)
April 24 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
April 25 (missed day)
April 26 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
April 27 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
April 28 Dave at Leap of Dave   THIS WAS CORRECTED HERE.
April 29 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
April 30 Michelle Kogan at More Art for All


Good Words Alphabetically: X is for Xenial!

The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2. From

X is for Xenial

Ah, the Ocean

Ah, the ocean!
A most xenial spot
Like a potion.

Curb all motion
And dwell in thought,
Ah, the ocean!

Is it just a notion,
Or is it not
Like a potion?

A relaxed devotion
Where dreams are sought
Ah, the ocean!

Salt seasoned emotion
With stress unfraught  
Like a potion

Dispelling commotion
Though gray gulls plot.
Ah, the ocean!
Like a potion!

Donna JT Smith ©2024


  1. I love all the glimmers of family. Even "hermana moon!"

  2. Reminding us of families separated. I like your circling back to the moon.

  3. Wonderful to bring in some solace for the family, Donna - thoughts of all!

  4. I had to look up hermana. I like the addition of the Spanish. It grounds us in place.

  5. I had to look up hermana, too, Donna - thanks for returning to the moon imagery and explaining a little more about this family’s situation.

  6. Donna, ah you added a Spanish word that sends us back to the beginning where sister moon is watching. I can imagine Tio's sadness so thanks for the moon to be soothe the tears. Your original poem is just what I needed to hear about- the ocean that I love.
    A relaxed devotion
    Where dreams are sought
    Ah, the ocean!

  7. I enjoyed reading about and reading the Progressive Poem and your Villanelle was fun too.


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