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This is the time of year when I start thinking about planting in the Spring. The earth is starting to get restless under her winter blanket of snow, and so am I. I'm seeing more and more birds return to the area to nest, and I'm eagerly awaiting the other critters who will revive when the snow melts. That is why I have chosen to give you a sneak peek of this particular spread in HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE for this Poetry Friday.

Here is the poem's text:


At night, snails

ooze from under

pots, rocks, porches, leaves,

logs, roots, bushes, walls.

They creep toward gardens

one by one,

munch through plants

one by one,

and return to their hideouts

one by one

before sunrise.

Even though, as a gardener, snails can be pesky sometimes, I love them. The beautiful whorls of their shells never fail to fascinate me, and their dedication to the slow, steady climb speaks of a tenacity I can only hope to emulate. When I lived in Somerville, I saw so many snails on my nighttime wanderings it was stunning. You had to watch where you stepped on the sidewalks, because it would have been all to easy to squash one! I don't know what about my area of Somerville encouraged snails so much... but I hope I will never forget the rich beauty and colors of those late night moments. Amy Schimler-Safford has, with her illustration, perfectly captured the wonder of those walks.

HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE will be released March 8. You can pre-order a signed copy from my local bookstore here.

Thank you to Sally Murphy for hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup. You can read all about what other children's poets are up to-- as well as some wonderful examples of Terse Verse -- on her blog here.

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