Poetry Friday: Woven

This month’s Poetry Sisters challenge didn’t seem tricky when the idea was hatched. Phrase Acrostics are pretty much reverse Golden Shovels, with the striking line on the left rather than the right. But then er…uh..someone suggested using phrases from the iconic poem by Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise.” That’s when the challenge got tricky more complicated and interesting. How could we borrow phrases from this poem while still honoring the poet and the spirit of the poem without being appropriationist? Reading and rereading the poem with the intention to uphold Angelou’s purpose led me to these two drafts, which weave lines and meanings like a braided rug on a warm wood floor. Both of the titles, as well as the striking lines, come from Angelou’s poem.

Into A Daybreak That’s Wondrously Clear

But for the song of the chickadee,
still settles over zinnias, sweet peas;

like air born swimmers,
dust shimmers;

I’ll let go of the darkness of night,
rise, flutter, a monarch in flight.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022


Bringing the Gifts That My Ancestors Gave

Into. Not between or behind. Neither sideways, nor                                                    
a halfway maybe. Into, with all the force of                                                          
daybreak and tide swell. With both feet.                                              
That’s where we’re headed, so we might as well go                                                    
wondrously, wisely, wholeheartedly, with                                              
clear-eyed vision. Leading, lifting, rising into tomorrow.  

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022


Here’s what the rest of the Poetry Sisters came up with this month:

Tricia @ The Miss Rumphius Effect
Tanita @ {fiction, instead of lies}
Sara @ Read Write Believe
Laura @ Laura Purdie Salas
Liz @ Liz Garton Scanlon
Kelly @ Kelly Ramsdell
Andi @ A Wrung Sponge

Next month, we’ll be writing Bop poems. Join us if you’d like!

Marcie, a fellow Sealey Challenge reader, has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Woven”

  1. I like both poems, but I really love the couplets in the first. Everything about it works so well. You’ve done a terrific job reflecting both Angelou’s voice and intent.


  2. Oh, I love these both, Mary Lee, and the rhythm of the second one really got me — so, so resonate! (Although the monarch, too. Gosh, these are good…)


  3. These are both beautiful in their own ways — I really didn’t know how you were going to manage the chickadee but you did it! Even if we’re only going into the garden, we’re going in joy.


  4. Nice, Mary Lee! Your first poems reminds me of one of my favorite things to do in the summer: drink coffee & hang out with the birds on the patio. In the second, “go/wondrously”—ab-so-lute-ly!


  5. Mary Lee, you are right about phrase acrostics being a mirror image of golden shovel poems… I like what you have done with these phrases. There exists in each poem a sense of action and optimism. You have applied Maya Angelou’s words respectfully and appropriately.


  6. Oh, oh, oh I’ve missed you! Look at the tenderness, the humility of the first one (the simple, weightless rhymes), and then the powerful combination of matter-of-fact determination in the second. Firing on all cylinders, here, my friend!


  7. Beautiful, I like the airiness in the first and the abrupt stops then crescendoing in the second. Thanks for this break Mary Lee–which cleared my thoughts momentarily. After 2 weeks my husband’s quarantining was going to end today, but alas he like Biden has rebound with a positive test–so another 5 days, fingers and toes crossed…


  8. Sigh. How do you make it look so easy? My goodness…that stillness except for the chickadee. I am so there.


  9. Mary Lee, as you can see, I am woefully late to respond to the #PoetryPals invitation to write and also, to make the PF rounds. It was my anniversary this weekend and we decided to take a country ride and stay overnight for R & R that was soulfully needed. Your first poem has such a sense of beauty rising (like air born swimmers/dust shimmers;). The second poem is inspiring. (“Leading, lifting, rising into tomorrow.”) May I rise with you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: