Poetry Friday: Persistence Definito

photo via Unsplash

Heidi gave the Inklings our challenge this month: “There are so many ways in which we’ve all (but especially as women, as educators) had to be persistent, despite our weariness. Write a poem (for kids or adults) about PERSISTENCE.  If you write for kids, maybe try a definito!” Little did she know her words would hold So. Much. More. Truth. in these past couple of weeks.

Here are the rules for writing a definito: “the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.

And here’s how the rest of the crew met Heidi’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

Janice has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Salt City Verse.

Poetry Friday: You Can’t Fool Me

“Walking” the Cat

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month was to write Welsh Byr a Thoddaid Poems. There are a ton of rules, but when you get right down to it, the form consists of lots of syllable-counting and attention to rhymes.

My first cat, Jennyanydots, achieved the status of Truly Old Cat. She passed at the age of 21 and was a tiny thing (maybe 6 pounds in the end) with a mighty voice for wailing when she couldn’t find her “tribe.”

Hemingway is a big guy (14 pounds) and not old yet — only 7-9 (he was a rescue) — so why is he starting the yowling-for-no-reason? Maybe just to give me a poem topic!

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 are writing acrostic phrase poems. Choose any line from the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and use each word in the phrase to begin a new line of your poem.

Catherine has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Reading to the Core.

Poetry Friday: Giving Up Or Letting Go?

Molly’s challenge to the Inklings this month was “to write a poem about some sort of domestic task.” My loss of control in the garden is embarrassingly similar to my approach to housekeeping — tidy up just enough to get by until time and energy (and usually company coming) converge to inspire a deeper cleaning.

“The show” is in full force right now in my garden. I never cease to be amazed at the transition from the exciting first tentative emergence of spring green and bloom to summer’s (seemingly sudden) surge of exuberant (over)growth.

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted this 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

Karen has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at “The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title.”

The signup for Poetry Friday hosts July-December 2022 is here!

Poetry Friday: Six Strands

SIX STRANDS

I.
summertime clothesline
sun-bleached swimsuits and towels
functional design


II.
taming tough jute
	knot
after follow-the-diagram 
	knot
precisely forming each
	knot
every creation now
	lost
to time. Unraveled.


III.
Simplicity patterns and fabric on bolts –
Orth’s Department Store –
a place for dreaming.
Later, pinning pattern pieces –
cutting carefully –
no place for dreaming.


IV.
counting cross stitches
design emerges slowly
meticulously
time-lapse with needle and thread
if you follow the pattern


V.
The Conundrum of Patterns

They are everywhere.
They are beautiful.
They teach discipline.
They limit creativity.
They encourage innovation.
They connect us.
They are thread;
we are needles.


VI.
pull
one thread
at a time
to unravel
the apron string's knot --
a tangle of patterns,
precision, and perfection.
Examine each beautiful strand.
Make them into something wholly...you.



© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month was to write a poem with the theme of string, thread, rope, or chain. My brainstorming took me on a trip down memory lane, beginning with a visual memory of our precisely clothes-pinned swim suits and beach towels in a perfect suit-towel-suit-towel pattern on the clothesline.

Then came crafting memories. So many of the crafts I learned from and with my mother used thread or string: macrame, cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, sewing.

My mother’s mother was a home ec teacher and somewhat of a tyrant when it came to precision. Mom had to baste every seam before stitching it, and if her basting stitches were not perfectly even, she had to rip them out and start over. At the time, I never fully appreciated how much Mom had to dial back when she taught me “thread arts.”

I was definitely indoctrinated in “follow the pattern,” which left me with a healthy appreciation for rituals, routines, mentor texts, patterns, instructions, and recipes, but I also have developed a deep joy found in trial-and-error, guess-and-check, innovation, and experimentation.

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’re writing Welsh Byr a Thoddaid Poems. Time for some serious rule-following! Join us if you’d like…or dare!!

Linda has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at A Word Edgewise.

Poetry Friday: In Honor Of

Linda gave us our Inkling challenge for this month, suggesting that we “Honor someone’s April Poetry project in some way with a poem in the spirit of their project, a response poem, or some way that suits you.”

I am honoring Amy, who wrote poems in response to proverbs. I’m also honoring Tanita, who did the same, with a few twists. I didn’t dig into the history of the proverb, the way Tanita did, but like her, I wrote short enough to put my poem on a sticky note (also honoring Laura PS) along with a sketch.

MORNING WALK

one deer
pair of mallards
hawk on the outfield fence
unseen bird chorus in the woods
coal train

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

Today’s proverb is “Rain does not fall on one roof alone.” The contrast between the vibrant urban wildlife and the seemingly endless coal train reminded me that every human action has consequences that reverberate well beyond the point of impact. We must learn to be less myopic.

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

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Margaret is spending time with family this weekend.

Jama has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Poetry Friday: My Chlorophyll Heart

My Chlorophyll Heart

I’m for photosynthetic optimism –
the bulbous kind you plant in the fall
in spite of squirrels who dig ruthlessly
and urban deer who nibble indiscriminately,
the kind that seed packets hold through the winter
believing in butterflies and hummingbirds
before they’ve ever known sun and rain.

Here’s to the blazing green energy of plants–
from the toughest blade of crabgrass
to the most tender spring ephemeral,
from the massive trunks of riverbed sycamores
to the tiniest pond-floating duckweeds.

I’m for the plants –
for the roots who go about their work
silently, mysteriously,
collaborating with mycorrhizal fungi.

And I’m for the leaves of trees –
especially sweet gum’s stars
and ginkgo’s fans.

I’m for the way we share the air with plants –
us breathing out, plants breathing in.
I’m for the generous chemistry of leaves,
combining carbon dioxide with water and sun,
creating carbon building blocks for itself, then
sharing the extras back into the soil for the microbes.

What moves me?
What plays me like a needle in a groove?
Plants.


© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month was to write in the style of Taylor Mali. The poem I used as my mentor text is Silver-Lined Heart. Next month we are writing poems around the words string, thread, rope, or chain.

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

Happy Last Friday of National Poetry Month 2022! All of my NPM poems are archived here. Jone has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Jone Rush MacCulloch. Like last weekend, I will be away from my computer this weekend and will look forward to catching up on your posts next week!

Poetry Friday: Ekphrastic Dodoitsus

I love writing from an image. I love short form poetry. So this month’s Poetry Sisters challenge was right up my alley: ekphrastic dodoitsus. When we dug into the definition of dodoitsus, however, we learned that they are more complicated than a simple 7-7-7-5 syllable count. “The dodoitsu often focuses on love or work with a comical twist.” I’m not sure how well I satisfied all of the requirements, but it was lots of fun.

This first picture is at the historic Open Air School here in Columbus. They have completed renovations and one of our new favorite restaurants, Emmett’s, is located there.

After so many courses
laid with rhythmic precision
I can’t stand it anymore.
Time for a jazz riff.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

In this one, the poem only matches the photo on the theme of careless quality control. It’s based on a story Molly Hogan told, and so I’m sorry to tell you that it is as true as that unsliced apple in the picture. But a LOT more gross.

In the pickle factory,
he left the frogs on the belt.
Quality control loophole:
squeamish inspector.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

This last one stretches all the rules about love, work, and comical twist, but I had fun working backward from the last line — a five-syllable word!

When you’re blessed with a surfeit
of citrus deliciousness
what matters not the least is
uniformity.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

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

Amy LV has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at The Poem Farm.

If you want to join the Poetry Sisters’ challenge for next month, we’re going to write in the style of Taylor Mali, which is to say there might be metaphor dice involved, and perhaps some eloquently long-winded spoken-word poetry which may or may not be recorded in videos. Mali’s mentor poems are not always appropriate for children/students, but that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow his style if not all of his subject matter and/or word and gesture choices.

I’m sure you know Mali’s “What Teachers Make,” (look at who he’s on stage with in this version) and if you don’t know “When I Miss Teaching,” it’s time to do something about that. Especially that ending. So true. You should read “The Impotence of Proofreading,” rather than watching it, but in either case, make sure you don’t have food or drink in your mouth. (if you watch, the other guy on stage has warmed up a bit…)

Next week begins the zaniness known as Poetry Month, in which I write AND PUT OUT IN THE WORLD a poem a day. According to Poetrepository, this will be my 9th year of this madness. However, there are three more years of poems at A Year of Reading that I need to move over to Poetrepository. So it’s actually my 12th year. Wow. I’ve got my 2022 theme, but not my cute graphic made on Canva, so you’ll have to stay tuned. I’ll be posting on Poetrepository, but will round up the highlights here on Fridays.

Poetry Friday: No Regrets

Margaret gave the Inklings their challenge for this month: “Choose a quote that speaks to you. Write a poem that responds to the quote. The words can be used as a golden shovel or throughout the poem or as an epigraph.”

I cheated just a little. I found a poem that I wrote back in June of 2021, just after retirement, and then went looking for a quote that fit with it as an epigraph.

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted Margaret’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

Kat has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Kathryn Apel.

The photo for today’s post is via Unsplash.

Poetry Friday: Exquisite Corpse Poem

This month, poetry met parlor game as the Poetry Sisters collaborated to create an Exquisite Corpse poem. Unlike the “rules,” we did not use an agreed-upon structure and we constructed the poem one line at a time rather than one word at a time. Liz started us off, sending Tanita her line. Based on Liz’s line, Tanita wrote a line and then send just her line to Kelly. From Kelly, a line went to Sara. Andi was next, then Laura, Tricia, and finally me. Here’s what we wrote:

This month, odd one out, running short on days and sleep,
This month, past meets pride, roots ripped from native soil still somehow grow.
The once-bright future dims. Shadows grow
But there, near canyon  rim, in  broken light
the yearling hawk shrieked in futile fury
and the steel-edged clouds looked away
trees bow and bend on a blustery day
that rattles old oak leaves down the street.

In creating our final drafts from this rich loam of raw material, we agreed that it was fair game to use as much or little of the original as we saw fit. Here’s the best of my many drafts.

Poetry Sister Tricia has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Here’s what the rest of the Poetry Sisters came up with:
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 are writing ekphrastic Doditsu. You can learn about this poetic from Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest. They are a little more complicated than a simple syllable count, as I once believed! The Dodoitsu often focuses on love or work with a comical twist. We are sharing images in our group, but you can write to anything you like. If you want to be inspired by my image, here’s what I shared. 

The oak leaf photo above is via Unsplash.

Poetry Friday: Overheard


Early this month, I had the good fortune to attend a Zoom session hosted by Georgia Heard, with George Ella Lyon as the special guest. I jotted PAGES of “George Ella Gems,” then typed them up and cut them apart. I had a draft I liked, but then this morning, I didn’t like it. Easy enough to create a new draft! An unspoken sub-challenge this month was to put your poem into Canva. Here’s my draft for now:

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

Irene has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem, where you can “overhear” lots of poetry talk!

In February, the Poetry Sisters are going to try one or more Exquisite Corpse poems. We’re not sure exactly how we’re going to do them, and there’s a lot of wiggle room. Read about them, and then figure out how YOU’D like to use or be inspired by the game. We’ll share our poems on Feb. 25th, and you can, too! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #PoetryPals. We can’t wait to see what you (and we?) do with this! Have fun!