The City of Books: Day 12

Today was a day for urban adventures–in the pouring rain, of course.  No trip to the Portland area is complete without a visit to Powells, the most amazing bookstore ever.  (And trust me, I have been to many, many bookstores.  I have many favorite bookstores in many different cities, but Powells is something every book lover should experience.)  So my poem for Day 12 was inspired by a book I bought today (one of several) called Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro.


Things to Do if You’re a Book

Open doors to worlds beyond imagination
where characters become dear friends and worst enemies
And offer glimpses into places
our feet haven’t touched.
Introduce us to people and experiences
We haven’t yet encountered
And give us a whirl in their shoes
in their skin, in their minds.
Take us beyond our backyard fences
Where we can hear whispers
Of time gone by and what is still to come.
Unplug us from the virtual world
And let us lose ourselves
In a labyrinth of words.
Douillard 2018
Here’s a student poem full of imagination, apparently inspired by time in the kitchen!

The Pan

So much depends

A sizzle
a fry

Just rimmed
with a
simmer and a shine

Beside the
chicken fry

By Hadley

And another inspired by observing a hummingbird in the garden.



The hummingbird twirls with excitement

so fast

almost as fast as the flash.


Even the rainbow tries to form fast enough

to see the particle effect.


That is the color

that you dream.



What’s inspiring your poetry today?


In My Hiking Boots: Day 11

Footwear in my daily life usually involves flip flops, tennis shoes, and whatever “fashionable” shoes I decide to wear to work.  Footwear on this trip to the Pacific Northwest has taught me the importance and value of my hiking boots.  I brought them thinking I would need them on days when we decided to do some “real” hiking–but I have worn them everyday…walking on the beach, on the mountain, in the forest, and around town.  Here’s a little ode to my hiking boots:

In My Hiking Boots


In my hiking boots

I explore wild and windy coastlines

briny breezes upending my hair

spectacular vistas soothing my eyes


In my hiking boots

I climb snowy mountains

strapped to red snowshoes

breathing in unspoiled air with my head in the clouds


In my hiking boots

I tromp through forests

of a million shades of green

gazing up at waterfalls

that drop torrents of water

feeding ferns, moss, and a wonderland of wildflowers


In my hiking boots

my feet are dry and warm

my heart is full

and life is good.


Douillard 2018

This is a gallery of some of the wildflowers I found along my watery hikes today as we went out in search of waterfalls and witches’ houses!

I got another student poem via email today.  Here’s her vision of the night sky…another ode of sorts!


When the sun melts down into the bleeding horizon,
my twinkling friends appear.
First one, then another, then they all come,
like raindrops falling from the clouds.
They dance as if they are swimming,
making ripples in a watercolored sky.
Their silver images are like a million rockets,
dazzling nocturnal eyes.

And here’s another student poem, inspired by Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow:

The Voice

So much depends upon

People’s voices

Sharp or dull in the day or night

Inside a friend’s heart.

By Kai

What are you appreciating today?  Maybe it will find its way into a poem!

Not the Original Plan: Day 10

Somehow we didn’t plan on snow.  We knew when we went to bed last night that our outdoor activities for the day today would involve snow and rain, so after some thinking and a bit of research we decided that we would snowshoe today.  No, neither or us had ever snowshoed before but a place up the road offered snowshoe rentals, so why not?

The rain was coming down when we left for our adventures this morning.  We bought a couple of emergency rain ponchos in hopes of keeping somewhat dry.  The guy who rented us the snowshoes gave a quick demo of how to strap them on…and we were off!  How did we not know about snowshoeing before?  We hiked miles through the local forests on Mt. Hood…in the rain and in the spaces of unexpected sunshine that we experienced as we walked.

snowshoeing photos


Ka-thump, ka-thump

one foot in front of the other

crunching through

the white powdery snow.

Each step takes me deep

into the white of my thoughts

cooled by the frozen landscape

warmed by the blood coursing through my veins.

The forest cradles me

its silence quieting

the noise and rush of daily life

each step brings me closer

to understanding myself.

Ka-thump, ka-thump.

Douillard 2018

blue in the snowy forest

And a bit of whimsy. from my students..a poem about the escape of a hamster:

Hammy time!

Hammy I’m sorry
That I left your cage
Open that night, you were
Gnawing at chemicals, partying
In the walls  racing through tunnels,
Hiding in the lower sink,and sleeping under
The couch. I’m sorry for what I did, even though you liked it, I really really missed you.

By Rylan

And a fun one about bear slippers that just came via my email!

Bear Slippers


Bear slippers

on my bare feet


even though it scares my dogs

it’s still funny

like them


cozy slippers on my feet




Small Poems: Day 9

Today’s adventures took us from the seashore to the mountains…and from cold and windy rain to mild and sunny snow.  We hiked…in search of waterfalls and views of the expansive and stunning Mt. Hood.  (We found both!)

But today is a day for a small poem.

In Search of Waterfalls

fairy waterfall

trickles down the mountainside

greening with its touch

Douillard 2018

Fairy waterfall

And here’s a small poem written by a student:


A silver streak of lightning and rainbow

they pollinate love and peace

that is their purpose.


And another:

Sparkles of Diamonds

As the sun rises

the mist falls on leaves like pieces of diamonds overhead,

I wake up

and glide into the cutting edge of the forest,

there I feel peace.


What small poems are you writing today?

Poetry Day 8

With a forecast of nonstop rain for today, our plan was to find ways to be out exploring…and also to not spend our entire day drenched to the skin.  We did pretty well, starting our day with some time in Seaside’s tiny aquarium.  I have mixed feelings about places like aquariums and zoos, but I also know that the opportunity to see and learn about animals helps to build empathy and ultimately, appreciation and a sense of protectiveness for wildlife and nature.

I was drawn to the octopus.  I read The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery a couple of years ago,, an account of the author’s experience with an octopus at an aquarium.  These strong and nimble creatures are purported to be smart, the problem solvers of the sea.  I was lucky enough to be in front of the tank when the octopus began moving this morning.  I was fascinated as I watched its suction-cupped arms navigate the glass pane of the aquarium wall.


Great Pacific Octopus

master of disguise

color changer

hide out finder

squeezing into the tightest space

Armed times eight

thousands of suckers in place

climber, acrobat, magician

practicing sleight of suction

on rocks and clear glass windows

showing agility and strength

only possible from this

shell-less mollusk

Giant Pacific Octopus

Douillard 2018

Here’s a student poem that seems to capture my mood for today:

The Peace of Wild Things

When wonder for the world

grows in me

and I wake in the shining rays of the sun,

I drag myself out of bed and to the water’s edge

where I feel the peace of wild things.


And another that is more reflective of a southern CA perspective on rain:

Wait for Wet

I wait for wet.

I wait for the gentle pitter-patter of wet on my green umbrella that waits on a dusty hook in the closet.

I wait for the sound of rubber boots splashing and stomping through wet, sprouting a tail of murky water in wet’s wake.

So much depends on a light sprinkle of wet that tumbles through the clouds and dusts my eager face.


For tomorrow, I am waiting for dry…and off from the seashore to explore mountains!  And of course, continue my April poem-a-day adventure.


Poetry on Day 7

My day started early today, with a flight at the crack of dawn.  On the first official day of spring break I was thinking about my students and wondering if they would continue their daily poetry without being at school.  Imagine my delight when I found a couple of poems in my inbox this morning!

Amelia spring signals

Spring’s Signals

Showers of love, chicks hatching, flowers blooming

You know that spring’s warm scented air will come soon

To bundle you up

and say you’re safe here

Photo and poem by Amelia

Alyson stump

alysons poem

(Photo and poem by Alyson)

My own poetry was inspired by some pretty unfamiliar weather for me…  I left mild San Diego to arrive in northern Oregon, experiencing a nonstop rainstorm, complete with howling winds. It hasn’t dampened our spirits (although my raincoat is pretty darn soggy!).  After being buffeted by wind and rain as we explored coastal Seaside, I found inspiration in the idea of music…and of course, a seagull!

A Stormy Symphony

She blows, her instrument tuned

to the pitch of the sea

sounding a somber melody

crescendoing to a dramatic roar.

A steady drip drop

creates the back beat in syncopated rhythm.

Birds dance, pushing their bodies

against the currents, spinning in the updrafts.

A lone seagull listens

humming along

to the stormy symphony.

Douillard 2018

oregon seagull