SOL 17 & Poetry Friday: “Feather, Celebrating Valerie Worth”


“The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world.”
~ Natalie Goldberg ~

Last week, I shared Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderly, and Marjory Wentworth’s inspirational new poetry collection, Out of Wonder. Each poem is a celebration of another poet, either written in their style or about a topic dear to them.

Of course I wanted to try my hand at this. I found a lone turkey feather in the snow after the blizzard a few weeks ago that had been calling to me. I decided Valerie Worth’s “small poems” were the perfect model to use for a poem about this little gift.

After reading and rereading All the Small Poems and Fourteen More, I watched Renée LaTulippe’s interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins about Valerie Worth. Lee described Worth’s poems as “sharp, solid, eloquent evocations of ordinary objects” that “causes us to see the everyday world in fresh, insightful, larger-than-life ways.” Easy, right?

Of course not. Lee also said that Worth was “truly a craftsperson, who wrote, revised, wrote, and revised.” Knowing that no poem is ever finished, I have written and revised, written and revised my attempt at a “small poem” about a feather.

celebrating Valerie Worth

On turkey’s back,
a feather is
filaments of color
weaving a cloak
of shadow and light
that hides and

Fallen on the snow,
this downy tuft
transforms into
whispering secrets
of the woods.

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

It seems appropriate that this final day of the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge is on a Friday. I’m certain I wouldn’t ever have had the confidence to write and share poetry if it hadn’t been for this supportive community. My heartfelt thanks to you all, especially StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts. Also, be sure to visit Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Valerie Worth’s “Peacock”


Earlier this week I came across this video of a peacock rattling his feathers.

Completely by coincidence, I had this book on my desk:


Valerie Worth was a master at zeroing in on the essence of an animal or object, then describing it in the most original, yet obvious way. Here is her take on one of nature’s most extravagant birds.


He fans
Out that
Famous halo,

Turns it
About for
All to see,

Folds it
Down and
Saunters away,

Trailing his
Heavy burden
Of beauty.

His freckled
brown wife

Rambles around
Him, plain
And free.)

To learn more about Valerie Worth, visit these links:

After you’ve enjoyed Sylvia’s post about Valerie Worth, be sure to head over here to the Poetry Friday Roundup.