Saturday, April 24, 2010

Poetry Tag: Nikki Grimes is IT

We’re heading down the homestretch as poets tag each other to share a connected poem in our month-long game of Poetry Tag. Yesterday, Marie Bradby shared her poem, “If You Were a Bird,” and she tagged Nikki Grimes who notes, “Poems about birds always make me think of spring, and spring in Southern California always makes me marvel at the profusion of color that erupts in the desert after a good rainy season. This poem, although it is about New Mexico, takes me there.” Here is her springtime poem.

Gone Ca
(Opuntia imbricata, commonly called Cane Cholla)
New Mexico
by Nikki Grimes

Teresa learned a secret
from her tia, Guadalupe
when the two of them went camping
in the Southwest late last spring.

There's a garden in the desert,
bursts of blinding, blazing color:
fire-red to brilliant yellow
cactus blossoms flowering.

One morning, while out hiking,
tall Cane Cholla they discovered,
hot pink petals from a distance
nearly begging to be touched.

"Well, go on," her aunt encouraged,
so Teresa stretched her hand out
with one finger gently tickling
the flower's honey spot.

"Dios mio!" gasped Teresa,
snatching back her little finger,
for the silky Cholla petals
snapped shut upon her touch.

Guadalupe started laughing.
pretty soon, Teresa joined her.
Ever since, she's loved this cactus
blossom—as ticklish as she!

Copyright 2010 by Nikki Grimes used by permission of the author, who controls all rights.

Five fun facts about Nikki Grimes
*she was born in New York
*she began composing verse at the age of six and was published in high school
*she coproduced and hosted The Kid's Show on WBAI FM in New York
*she lived in Sweden and hosted a radio program for Swedish Educational Radio
*she is also a fiber artist, jeweler, and photographer
[Based on Poetry People; A Practical Guide to Children’s Poets]

Look for these selected poetry books by Grimes:
*Meet Danitra Brown (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1994)
*It’s Raining Laughter: Poems (Dial, 1997)
*A Dime a Dozen (Dial, 1998)
*Jazmin’s Notebook (Dial, 1998)
*Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Love Poems (Lee & Shepard, 1999)
*My Man Blue: Poems (Dial, 1999)
*Bronx Masquerade (Dial, 2002)
*What is Goodbye? (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2004)
*Thanks a Million (Amistad, 2006)

Next up: Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.

Image credits:;;


Short Poems said...

I love her poetry :)

marinela x x

Suzanne said...

Thank you so much for this website. I know there is a ton of good poetry books for children and it's nice to have a good resource such as your site.

Jane Heitman Healy said...

This poem tickles me, as the cholla ticked Teresa!