by Joyce Sidman
chills seeps into black
water. No more days of bugs
and basking. Last breath, last sight
of light and down I go, into the mud. Every
year, here, I sink and settle, shuttered like a
shed. Inside, my eyes close, my heart slows
to its winter rhythm. Goodbye, good-
bye! Remember the warmth.
Remember the quickness.
Copyright © 2005 Joyce Sidman. From the book Song of the Water Boatman: And Other Pond Poems. HMH Books for Young Readers. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Mud is wonderful stuff. In late fall, pond creatures like this painted turtle sink down into it to protect themselves from freezing during the long winter months. Sometimes I feel like doing that, too—going to sleep and skipping winter altogether. Just for fun, I made this poem into a “concrete” or shape poem. What does its shape remind you of? For more about this book, and about pond creatures, go to:
Joyce Sidman is the author of many innovative children’s poetry books, including the Newbery Honor-winning Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and two Caldecott Honor books, Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors. She also teaches poetry writing to schoolchildren and explores the woods and fields in her home state of Minnesota. Visit her website, www.joycesidman.com, to find book trailers, poetry ideas, and far too many photos of her dog, Watson.
This is one of my favorites in this collection. And it’s probably because I just got home from yoga, but on this read, the turtle’s descent into its zen hibernation feels even more comforting than usual!