The Monday Poems Rip Away the Wrapping Paper.

Monday PoemsLast Friday I shared the heart-squishing picture book Something Else about a little animal that is ostracized despite his attempts to fit in. Everyone judges him before getting to know him, and none are willing to give him a chance. For any of you who can relate to this, even in a small way, I am truly sorry this happened to you.

The poem I wrote for today is told through the symbolic use of wrapped presents as compared to the appearance of the people we are and see every day.

Does a beautifully wrapped present always suggest the gift inside is as lovely as the fancy paper and ribbons?

Like the present above, do all especially attractive people have personalities that equal their outer beauty?

The same can be said for the present wrapped in an upcycled, paper bag with twine or the person with the plain appearance. The gift that lies within may delight you.

Bottom line – Someone’s outer appearance cannot be used as an accurate gauge for the kind of people they are on the inside.

brown paper present


I was fooled by the pretty paper,

misled by strings of gold—

Beneath the beauty lay a gift

that truly left me cold.

But in the package, plainly wrapped

with tissue, tape, and twine,

I found a precious treasure

that I truly found divine.


Leslie Leibhardt Goodman


See you here next Friday.


The Monday Poems Engage in Battle

Monday PoemsLast Friday, I reviewed a picture book about a unique, albeit one-sided, friendship between a selfless toad and a cuckoo clock bird. If you’re a picture book enthusiast, that might be enough of a description to know I shared A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead. As promised, my Monday poem is about a bird. Actually, it’s about a flock of determined chickadees who engage in a behavior called “mobbing’ in which these tiny birds chase away predators from their breeding grounds. Over the years, I have found that nature is filled with surprises and raises such questions as…

When faced with a large and powerful enemy, does one’s small size equal failure?

When faced with those who are smaller and weaker, do power and size equal success?

Who will win the sky battle? Read on to learn the answer.

brown and white bird flying

Photo by Frank Cone on


The fierce one engages in battle.

Hawk fights for control in the sky.

To the small and the swift he’s the outcast,

despite of his size and shrill cry.

Unwilling to claim his defeat,

Hawk swoops with his talons well splayed.

But the chickadees divebomb around him–

determined and each unafraid.

Size matters not to these warriors.

In their helmets of black, they will fight.

They’ve won a victorious prize on this day

when Hawk leaves them a feather in flight.

by Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Hawk & Chickadee

To learn more about the behavior of mobbing among birds from The Cornell Lab, click HERE.

Until next Friday.


The Monday Poems Go on the Prowl.

Monday Poems

A number of years ago, I attended a poetry retreat. The assignment was to write a poem about a small object we had brought with us. I stared at the origami boat my daughter folded for me. She said it was an imaginary vessel that could take me places where I could write fantastic stories and poetry. I rested the tiny boat on the palm of my hand and didn’t know where to begin my writing.

One of the instructors sat beside me and shared a secret. “Before you can write a poem, you need to ask yourself one question… What do you want to say?

What did I want to say about the folded, paper boat? What did I hope to accomplish with my poem? Did I want to draw a comparison to a real boat? Take my reader on a fantastic journey? Write about origami? Or did I want to reveal what my daughter’s gift meant to me? In knowing what I wanted to say, I also needed to know the destination of my poem… What thought did I hope to leave the reader contemplating? Did I know who my audience was? (That’s a big one, by the way.) If this poem was intended for children or adults, I needed to consider what questions each age group might have about my chosen subject. What could I say to delight and/or inform? What words should I use that my chosen age group would understand and relate to? What last stanza or last line could I write to bring a smile, evoke laughter, or stun the reader with through an unexpected revelation or twist?

Today’s poem isn’t about that little boat. My Monday poem ties into my book review from last Friday, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

I thought about the ways I view the tiger and realized my thoughts about this magnificent animal have been shaped by its portrayal in literature and films. Was that all I hoped to express? Or were there other thoughts I wanted to include?

tiger leaning on brown tree branch

Photo by A Rama Krishna on


A flash of fire in the Mangrove woods,

striped in ashen-black.

Courage, strength, and stealth are not

qualities you lack.

Your crescent claws and iron jaws

are prized within your treasury.

Behold the jungle warrior’s wealth:

his sharp and deadly weaponry.

The rhythm pulsing through your veins

thrums like a beating drum.

Prowling while anticipating

what fine prey may come.

Beyond your fearless nature,

your heart knows how to weep.

When, at last, you’re craving rest,

even a tiger beds down to sleep.


By Leslie Leibhardt Goodman


Until next Friday. Be well.

The Monday Poems Receive a Sugar Dusting.

Monday PoemsOn Friday, I reviewed a scrumptious, cake, and pastry-filled picture book called The Bake Shop Ghost by Jacqueline Ogburn. As promised, the poem I wrote for today is filled, like the story, with delectable delights!

Imagine opening the door to a quaint, pastry shop. A bell rings as you peek inside and swoon over the sweet smells that wrap around you. Involuntarily, your eyes close, and you inhale deeper than you’ve ever breathed in before. Slowly, you pace yourself, as you stroll from one end of the gleaming, glass case to the far end, reading each hand-lettered label beside the platters of treats. The lady in the ruffled apron holds a pink, paper box and asks, “What would you like today?”

You can’t take your eyes off of the sugared violets atop the chocolate truffles or the row of cream-filled eclairs and sugar-dusted jelly bismarcks. Your inner child answers, “I’d like everything, please.”

Welcome to The Pastry Shop.

Monday Poem - The Pastry Shop


I’d like a cookie from that bowl

and one thick slice of jelly roll.

I can’t resist those macaroons

or chocolate, crescent, frosted moons.

A molded pig from marzipan

and one small square of cherry flan.

Shortbread, cream puffs, almond rounds,

frosted cookie circus clowns.

Next, I’ll try that lemon tart,

peach-filled torte, and berry heart.

And oh! Behind that apple pie,

is that a chocolate cake I spy?

Just one bite (maybe two),

of gobs of butter frosting goo.


I wish I hadn’t seen that cake,

because now I’ve got a belly ache.

by Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

I would love it if you would share your favorite dessert in the comments or just say hello.

See you next Friday!