What Fun to Plunder! Pantoum

my grandparents’ house in Blackshear, Georgia

an ice cream sandwich welcomed me

quarter collection in a candy jar on Meema’s dresser

oh, what fun to plunder!

an ice cream sandwich welcomed me

I didn’t hug her before the sandwich one time

oh, what fun to plunder!

punch-out Victorian paperdolls 

I didn’t hug her hello before the sandwich one time

BBs in a black teapot on the mantel, 

punch-out Victorian paperdolls

Deedaddy’s pipes in a spinning display

BBs in a black teapot on the mantel

quarter collection in a candy jar on Meema’s dresser

oh, what fun to plunder!

my grandparents’ house in Blackshear, Georgia

Instant Pot Dinner Haiku

Instant Pot rescue ~

Mississippi Pot Roast night

forgot this morning

recovering my

fumble of tonight’s dinner

we’ll see how this goes………

Mississippi Pot Roast


3 pound chuck roast

1 package Au Jus

1 package Ranch Dressing mix

1 stick butter

Pepperoncini peppers, 7 or 8, and 1/2 jar of the vinegar

Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Add vegetables to the pot if you wish – carrots, petite red or gold potatoes

Our Conclusion: I recovered the fumble but scored no touchdown. There is no comparison between the Instant Pot and the Crock Pot! Cook this one low and slow in the Crock Pot and not high and fast in the Instant Pot. It scored a passing grade and was tasty, but not melt-in-your-mouth delicious as it usually is. The meat was not as tender, and the potatoes were a bit too soft. But hey – now we know the scoop!


Today I share a poem in response to Margaret Simon’s post yesterday in her blog This Photo Wants to Be a Poem: Snowgirl

Margaret posts photos and asks writers to post poems about the photo. I composed a Haiku of a snowgirl decked out in nature walk findings. You can see the prompt here:


magical snowgirl
no two flakecells same inside
authentic, unique

Volkswagen Nonet

Tomato soup Volkswagen Squareback

(they don’t make ‘em like they used to)

learning to drive a stick shift

rubber floor mats, black seats

no power steering 

bell, whistle-free

wimpy horn



Thanks to Susie Morice for the inspiration to write a poem about a favorite car on today’s Open Write. I chose the nonet form, a poem with 9 syllables on the top line, with descending syllables on each line thereafter. A reverse nonet goes from 1-9. My favorite car was a Volkswagen Squareback I learned to drive on the back roads in the late 70s, and then became legally licensed to drive in 1981….oh, the days…..

You can visit the site and read her prompt and the car poems of others here throughout the day: http://www.ethicalela.com/cars/

Paint Chip Poetry

Today I’m hosting the Open Write at ethicalela.com, so I’m sharing my prompt for paint chip poems. A special thanks to Sarah Donovan for her leadership and space at ethicalela. Please visit the site throughout the day and read the colorful poems that come to life at http://www.ethicalela.com/paint-chip-poetry/

Paint Chip Poetry

A stroll through a paint section can be just the right inspiration for poetry!  You can purchase a set of Paint Chip Poetry cards from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Paint-Chip-Poetry-Color-Wordplay/dp/1452158800/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=paint+chip+poetry&qid=1638130458&sr=8-1  

but you can also find your own colorful words for free at paint stores or on websites such as Sherwin Williams here: https://www.sherwin-williams.com  or Glidden here:  https://www.glidden.com by clicking on the color chips to discover vibrant color words (deep onyx, copper pot, heartfelt, hot cocoa, dirt road…) 

Process:  Gather some paint chip words from a website or a paint department and have fun arranging the descriptive colors into lines of poetry!

Example using colors that I selected from Paint Chip Poetry:

smooth sailing; blank canvas; summer squash; seedling; dirt road; fresh-squeezed, chamomile tea; firefly; waterfall

Spring Walk

smooth sailing days of spring

walking the blank canvas of

the dirt road less traveled

smelling summer squash seedlings

and fresh-squeezed tulips

ambling home for a front porch swing

cup of chamomile tea

steeped in fireflies

and waterfalls

Here is a video of a Paint Chip poetry process:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuQYek393hM

Golden Shovel Open Write

I’m hosting today at Open Write. Please visit http://www.ethicalela.com/multiple-shovels/ throughout the day to read the poems of a group of talented teacher writers who truly empower each other with encouragement and positive feedback. If you are an educator – homeschool teacher, retired teacher, instructor in any setting – please join us monthly at the Open Write to read our work or to write with us!

I’m sharing my prompt today for the process of writing Golden Shovel variations here on my blog as well on this day that we set aside to remember the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his leadership in the fight for civil rights. In the past few years, I have accompanied a group of middle school students to Selma, Alabama, where we visited the churches where he spoke. My favorite memory from one of those trips was walking with the students over the Edmund Pettus Bridge as the chorus teacher led the students in singing We Shall Overcome. The spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lives on, alive and well in our world today. I’m grateful for this day to reflect on his courage and bravery and his legacy of activism.


Multiple Shovels

One of our favorite previous forms to write is the Golden Shovel poem.  Today, let’s try different versions of the Golden Shovel – a Golden Shovel, Double Shovel, or Multiple Shovel.  We can begin with single or double shovels (vertical spine lines at beginning or end, beginning/middle, middle/end, or beginning/end), and later experiment with triple/quadruple/quintuple shovels (vertical lines appearing at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end) once familiar with the Golden Shovel form.  

Process:  Begin by selecting lines of poetry (or lines from a famous speech, perhaps, as we celebrate the accomplishments of and reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today) with the same number of words, and write the lines vertically (I call them spine lines). You can decide whether each spine line fits best as a beginning, middle, or end spine.  Next, craft the lines of a new poem around the spine lines you have selected.

Example:  Here is a Double Golden Shovel that uses spine lines at the beginning and end – comprised of two seven-word sections found in MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech: 

When Will One Day Come? (Title chosen by Dr. Wilson Felix Haynes, Jr. – my dad)

I cry for justice ~

have a fight-filled grief that rolls 

a hurtstream of suffering, spilling down

dream in slo-mo, like

that trickle of rushing waters

one from whose wellsprings night and 

day spew forth righteousness

Here is a video of double, triple, and quadruple Golden Shovel variations:  https://youtu.be/XEKR5pYlLl0

There are multiple shovel poems throughout October 2021 and some in October 2020 that you can find in the search feature as well, although some did not convert from Blogger to WordPress in the correct format.

Here is my first-ever quintuple Golden Shovel poem: https://kimhaynesjohnson.com/2021/10/27/hour-of-kitten-prayer/

Special thanks to Sarah J. Donovan of http://www.ethicalela.com for offering the Open Write each month as a safe and supportive space for us to write. I hope to meet many more of my family of writers at this year’s NCTE Conference in Anaheim, where I hope to present Mashed Potato poetry in a roundtable session, showing how even the most reluctant writers can compose poetry without lifting a pencil! Mashed Potato poetry uses a bank of borrowed lines already written on tongue depressors, with lines of poetry on one side and poets and poems on the back. You can see an example here: https://kimhaynesjohnson.com/2021/10/22/stars/

Monotetra on my One Little Word for 2022: Listen

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Stacey Joy challenged our writing group to write monotetra poems today at the Open Write at Ethical ELA, which you can visit here: http://www.ethicalela.com/monotetr/

She writes, “The monotetra is a poetic form developed by Michael Walker consisting of mono-rhymed quatrains with a refrain. It can be only one quatrain or as many as you choose to write. Each line consists of 8 syllables.”

I look forward to hosting the next two days at Open Write, where we will explore variations of Golden Shovel and Paint Chip poems.

Beneath Implied

listening takes more than clean ears
listening’s more than what one hears
it may mean one exposes fears
it evokes tears, it evokes tears 

to listen takes an open heart 
to listen may bring a fresh start
or may rejoin things torn apart
wisdom impart, wisdom impart 

listen! healing lives deep inside
listen! heart and soul open wide
expressed truths within us abide 
beneath implied, beyond implied 

Many thanks to Sarah J. Donovan for her work at EthicalELA, for continuing to provide a safe and challenging space for us to enjoy.

A List to Listen By

I can’t think of a more powerful way to begin the 2022 Open Write than with poetry written by Stacey Joy and Kwame Alexander – two of my favorite poets to read! Stacey challenges us to write list poems to start the year. The link to her prompt is below. Beginning 2022 with a list poem reminds us that poetry can be free of rules and forms – it’s breath and thought and heart all blended in expression.

My one not so little word for 2022 is listen, so I made a starter kit of some ways I’ve discovered I can listen without using the word hear.

A Starter Kit of Ways to Listen 

  1. Pray
  2. Meditate
  3. Observe 
  4. Watch 
  5. Read
  6. Write 
  7. Tune in 
  8. Think 
  9. Reason
  10. Heed
  11. Feel 
  12. Look
  13. Worship
  14. Mind
  15. Consider
  16. Pause
  17. Follow
  18. Sense 
  19. Play
  20. Concentrate
  21. Anticipate 
  22. Dream 
  23. Hug 
  24. Reflect
  25. Notice
  26. Ponder
  27. Plan
  28. Embrace 
  29. Teach
  30. Learn
  31. Change
  32. Travel
  33. Obey
  34. Care
  35. Empathize
  36. Believe
  37. Seek 
  38. Attend
  39. Consider
  40. Accept 
  41. Reach  
  42. Wonder
  43. Imagine
  44. Reimagine

Today’s Open Write link:

For the Love of Lists

Band Director

I was the band director and the chorus teacher for two hours today at the high school. Overall, things did not go so well.

First, I can’t read music. Second, I can’t sing.

I went from a morning of covering a high school history class and testing preschoolers’ Literacy skills to an afternoon of sheer cacophony surrounded by brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments I knew nothing about.

In the midst of this surreal assignment, I looked up and smiled and thought of my one little word I’d chosen for 2022: listen. And as I did, it occurred to me that others might want to listen, too.

I texted a few 15-second audio clips to my closest people with no accompanying explanation.

“Wow, what was that?” my husband replied.

“It’s my band class. I’m directing,” I informed him.

“Oh my goodness, that’s hilarious,” he texted back.

“What in the world?” from my daughter.

“It’s my band class. I’m directing,” I told her.

She was amused. “Hahaha! Directing? Or do you mean telling the band to play something reminiscent of a Disney movie set in the Great Depression that was decades before their time?”

Another family member was so concerned that he tried calling, but I couldn’t answer in class.

“I’m busy directing the band today. I’ll have to call you when I’m headed back to the office,” I told him.

“Oh dear,” another replied. “I’m going to need video evidence.”

And so I got it.

So that for the rest of 2022 when I need to think of the most unusual way I listened on the 13th day of the year, I can revisit this experience and be ever mindful that the words we choose for the year can truly take us to some places we never dreamed we’d be.

Today, I was a band director.

Timeless Recipe Legacies

Framed family recipes

shorthand, cursive scrawl

envelopes, notescraps, swatches

stained, torn, ripped, dog-eared


family relics

recipes from ancestors

hand-written visits


ageless breaths, voices

transcending generations

whispers from heaven


timeless apron strings

roots of our family tree

stirring presences


priceless script heirlooms

iambic kitchen memoirs

eternity’s spoons


invisible pasts

emerging in the sauces

delectable worlds


I’m cooking tonight

guess who’s coming to dinner?

they’ve already been


Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers
at Slice of Life