Poetry Friday — Autumn Cento

Autumn Cento 

Little grey dreams
holding up the hawk:
a blur in the periphery.
I’ve little time left.
Everything’s been said.
My heart is so giant this evening
following old
migratory patterns that would have been better left alone.
Someone raised a camera to capture us both in a moment;
the only gift I have to give.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

SOURCES:

1. Little Grey Dreams by Angelina Weld Grimké
2. In Gratitude by Abigail Carroll
3. The Hummingbird by Blas Falconer
4. Elegy for Estrogen by V. Penelope Pelizzon
5.  Rabbits and Fire by Albert Rios
6.  First by Carrie Fountain
7-8.  anti-immigration by Evie Shockley
9.  The Vine by Laura Kasischke
10. Offering by Albert Garcia

Molly’s challenge for the Inklings this month was to try a poetry form that was new to us. I tried a tricube, a rondelet, and this cento. The definition of a cento (from poets.org) is “From the Latin word for “patchwork,” the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets.”

I was downstairs in my “studio,” doing some stitching and catching up on episodes of The Slowdown podcast. Rather than using a concrete/old school approach (poring over books of poetry, copying down lines by hand, cutting them apart, and rearranging them into a poem), I used a digital approach (listening to the poem, copy/pasting the line I liked, and hyperlinking the poem in my list of sources).

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings met Molly’s challenge:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche

Michelle has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Michelle Kogan. She’s celebrating holidays and happy poetry news along with some of her gorgeous cards and several poems!

Take note…next week I’ll put up the signup for Poetry Friday Roundup Hosts for January-June 2022! Get ready to claim your spot!

Poetry Friday — Ode to Autumn

Yesterday’s Ode to Thanksgiving is perhaps a more proper ode (even though it starts off angry and critical) in that it directly addresses Autumn, and focuses narrowly on a single autumnal event: Thanksgiving.

This Ode to Autumn, on the other hand, is really only an ode because I say so in the title. Poet’s prerogative.

Here’s how the rest of the Poetry Sisters met the challenge of writing an Ode to Autumn:

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

In December, we’ll be writing poems that feature bells. Join us! Ruth has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. Join us!

Poetry Friday: Dormancy

I’m endlessly fascinated by the intricacies of nature.

Black Swallowtails don’t migrate. The last brood of caterpillars to hatch sense the approach of fall: the length of the days shorten, and the weather begins to cool. These last caterpillars go into diapause before the pupa hardens into a chrysalis, producing their own form of antifreeze to prevent their cells from freezing. On the other end of winter, these butterflies who have overwintered in chrysalis emerge as the first generation of Black Swallowtail butterflies in the spring.

Carol has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink — AND the unveiling of her Bedecked in Autumn Gallery. With the Poetry Sisters’ challenge to write a ode to Autumn coming up next week, we’ll be celebrating Autumn for two weeks in a row!

A #PoemPair for Poetry Friday

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake
by Tiya Miles
Random House, 2021

FIRST THE BOOK
The embroidery on the cover caught my eye and the title pulled me in to read the jacket blurb. There I absorbed the lines that Ruth Middleton embroidered on a cotton sack that her great grandmother Rose filled with simple yet precious items to give to her daughter Ashley, Ruth’s grandmother, before Ashley was sold away at the age of nine from her mother to another slave owner.

“My great grandmother Rose
mother of Ashley gave her this sack when
she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina
it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of
pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her

It be filled with my Love always

she never saw her again
Ashley is my grandmother
Ruth Middleton
1921″

The historian Tiya Miles traces every bit of what can be known, as well as inferred, about this sack, its contents, and these three women. As she traces every lead, Miles comes back again and again to the tenacity and revolutionary love of Rose and other enslaved women whose perseverance through slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration, is what has carried generations of Black families into the present.

Reading this book made me rethink my poem “Persevere is a Word.” It seems trite now. Perhaps suitable for a motivational poster, but naively unaware of a deeper, more nuanced and historically-based version of perseverance.

AND NOW THE POEMPAIR

Persevere is a Word

Persevere is a long word:
four hundred years long,
the distance of the Middle Passage,
the length of a ship’s hold, packed with bodies chained together.

And although persevere 
contains none of the letters that spell luck,
privilege shines through from beginning to end.

The privilege of tracing a blood line
for generation after unbroken generation 
in an ancestral story of ascension

rather than a lineage that dead-ends
in the shackles of slavery,
in lives with trauma encoded in the DNA,
in the knowledge that one’s existence
is not predicated on bootstraps
or an innocuous insistence to try again 
or the blithe assertion to summon grit

but instead dependent on ancestors who persevered
surviving horrors unimaginably severe
family members inhumanely severed from each other
per their owners’ whim.

Persevere is a light word for some,
a chirpy motivational poster word.
For others it is a heavy word,
a how-dare-you-assume word,
a claim-my-humanity,
praise-the-ancestors,
lift-while-we-climb* word.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

*Angela Davis


Matt has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is HERE!

Linda Mitchell (@A Word Edgewise) gave the Inklings our challenge this month. She charged us with writing “a poem that includes the idea of percentage or percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem in some way.”

My poem was born during the drive home from Vermont. Our day in St. Albans and along the coast of Lake Champlain at Hathaway Point was fresh in my mind. As we burned up the miles through the Adirondacks, I wrote, looking up every few lines to take in the beauty of the fall foliage.

View from the summit of Aldis Hill, St. Albans, VT

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted Linda’s challenge:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche

And here’s what the rest of the Poetry Friday Community is up to this week!

Last reminder! Tomorrow is the deadline to join in the Winter Poem Swap!

More info here.


Poetry Friday: Word Play

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month was to write Word Play poems, introduced to the Poetry Friday community in 2015 by Nikki Grimes as one of Michelle H. Barnes’ (Today’s Little Ditty) Ditty of the Month challenges. Laura Purdie Salas showed how the form might work in a classroom.

I have two poems this month. The first came about because of this conversation on FaceBook with Poetry Sister Kelly:

This second poem was written more in the style of Poetry Sister Laura’s “Freedom is a Word” (one of my all-time favorite poems of hers).

Don’t forget to join the Winter Poem swap…
if you’re so inclined. More info here.

Linda has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance, and check out how all the rest of the Poetry Sisters met this month’s challenge:

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

You’re invited to join the Poetry Sisters’ challenge for the month of November! We’re writing an Ode to Autumn. An ode is a lyrical poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often meant to be sung. Whether you choose an irregular ode with no set pattern or rhyme, or the ten-line, three-to-five stanza famed by Homer himself, we hope you’ll join us! You can share your offering with the rest of us on November 26th (the Friday after Thanksgiving, so plan ahead) in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

Poetry Friday: What An Amazing Community!

For her birthday, Linda Baie GAVE the gift of poetry — she handpicked volumes for anyone who sent her their address. I’ll enjoy the David Ignatow book (POEMS 1934-1969) a little at a time, but her pick of CRY OUT: POETS AGAINST THE WAR was magical. From the blurb on the back: “On February 16, 2003, eleven contemporary poets held a reading in Manchester, Vermont, called “A Poetry Reading in Honor of the Right to Protest as a Patriotic and Historical Tradition.” Organized in response to the cancellation of a White House poetry symposium, the reading was sponsored by the Northshire Bookstore and drew a crowd of over seven hundred people. CRY OUT: POETS PROTEST THE WAR gathers together the poems read by the participants, many of them original poems and others poems by…renowned poets…”

We were in Manchester, VT just.last.week!! The Northshire Bookstore is one of our favorite destinations there! Magical! Thank you, Linda!!

Outside Manchester, VT
One of the poems read by Donald Hall

Words that still ring true today.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is winter-poem-swap-2021.png

Laura Shovan and I are helping Tabatha with the Winter Poem Swap. The Winter Poem Swap is a little different than the Summer Swap. In the SummerPoem Swap, poets do up to five swaps, while the Winter Poem Swap is just ONE swap. This time, though, you are asked to send a wee gift along with your poem. If you would like to participate, send Laura an email (laurashovan @ gmail . com) by November 6. Include your full name and mailing address. Let her know if you want to swap with the same person who is sending to you or if it doesn’t matter. Include any allergies your gift giver might need to know about. Laura will send you the name and address of your poem/gift recipient by November 13. Then you have a month to write your poem and put your package together for delivery by December 15, in plenty of time for the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (10:58 AM on December 21, in case you were wondering).

Jama is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Head over for some October goodness and the rest of the posts by this amazing community! I’m so thankful for all of you, and all you do to make the world a better place, one Friday after another!

Poetry Friday: Retirement and Winter Poem Swap Info

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This poem is a decima. The rhyme scheme is ABBAACCDDC, and there are 8 syllables each line.

Laura Shovan and I are helping Tabatha with the Winter Poem Swap. The Winter Poem Swap is a little different than the Summer Swap. In the Summer Poem Swap, poets do up to five swaps, while the Winter Poem Swap is just ONE swap. This time, though, you are asked to send a wee gift along with your poem. If you would like to participate, send Laura an email (laurashovan @ gmail . com) by November 6. Include your full name and mailing address. Let her know if you want to swap with the same person who is sending to you or if it doesn’t matter. Include any allergies your gift giver might need to know about. Laura will send you the name and address of your poem/gift recipient by November 13. Then you have a month to write your poem and put your package together for delivery by December 15, in plenty of time for the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (10:58 AM on December 21, in case you were wondering).

Bridget has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at wee words for wee ones. (And remember, I’m taking November 5.)

Poetry Friday: Garden-Fever

Gratitudes to John Masefield for my mentor text for this poem, Sea-Fever.

Irene has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem. Please note a change in the roundups next month — I will be taking the November 5 roundup to help out Tabatha. Also, a team of PF Peeps are going to be organizing the Winter Poem Swap, so stay tuned for more information about that!