Jane Yolen Revises One of Her Daily Poems

Today, I am featuring an entry from Jane Yolen’s journal. It follows her revision process as she works on a recent poem.

Jane Yolen — Author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? » Telling the True.

Coot Morning

This morning we walked at Red Rocks Lake near Fruita, Colorado. The golden leaves on cottonwoods by the Colorado are turning brittle and brown. Many have fallen off.

The air is on edge with flocks of birds headed south along the flyway. Some land in the trees. Others rest on the lakes. It is a time of nervousness, excitement, and peril.

For today write about:

  • a journey
  • a local animal migration
  • being a target
  • hunting
  • a refuge

Near the end of the day instead of its start, here’s mine:

Coots

It doesn’t seem fair

that coots

should be so

sadly designed,

with feet

not as webbed

as more

efficient water birds

and wings so weak

they must

run across

the water

to take off

from the lake.

On winter ice

they wander

among larger

birds like

goslings.

Even their

name is

plain and simple.

though tinged

with shady character.

Where they go

in summer

I do not know,

but every fall

they flock back.

Though less

than fair,

the coots

endure.

copyright Linda J. Armstrong, 10/28/2012; all rights reserved