Poetry Friday: Conversations

This month’s Poetry Sisters Challenge was so much fun! The first fun was diving into each sister’s blog archives to find a poem that invited me to respond. Then, the fun was in “talking back” to her poem.

Tricia wrote “The Dizzying Stress of Tidying Up (with apologies to Marie Kondo),” to which I reply

The urge to collect
runs as deep as arthritis
in mom’s bones and mine.
A small house is a good thing.
I collect miniatures.

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Tanita’s poems were in response to the Poetry Peeps prompt: Wish I’d Been There, or an historical event that incites wistfulness, to which I reply

take me back in time
not very far, or for long:
my parents’ wedding
before arthritis plagued mom
while dad was still a pilot

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Sara’s poem using Linda Hogan’s “Innocence” as her model and including the phrase, “There is nothing more ____ than ____” was a poem about trees, to which I reply

there is nothing
more glorious than twin gingkoes
until one falters
slowly dying limb by limb
one tree left holding fall’s flame

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.I borrowed the last line of Liz’s haiku from April 26, 2021 for the first line of my tanka in which I reply

no one stays for long
learn to cup your hands gently
loosen your tight grip
now you are the steady tree
next you’ll be leaves on the wind

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Laura wrote “Why You Cry When You Read Me,” to which I reply

Where the Red Fern Grows,
Love Story, Little Britches,
Old Yeller, Charlotte’s Web:
books that squeeze my heart so hard
I cry every single time.

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Kelly wrote “Cookie Time,” to which I reply

Dozens and dozens:
gingerbread for twenty years
then seventeen years
of sugar cookie cutouts.
One thing I always got right.

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.Andi wrote a snake poem, to which I reply (about a different species)

backyard visitor
every day just after dusk
black formal attire
accented by white cap, stripe
the dropped birdseed is all yours

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All of these tanka are ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021. The image is via Unsplash, by Tom Hill.

Laura’s response to the challenge and today’s Poetry Friday roundup are at Laura Purdie Salas: Small Reads for Brighter Days.

The other Poetry Sisters’ posts are here:
Tricia
Tanita
Sara
Liz
Kelly
Andi

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Poetry Friday: A Trio of Tankas

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month is to write a tanka in response to or conversation with a poem written by one of the other sisters. Kelly wrote a fabulous article about tankas. Who doesn’t love her analogy that “a tanka is a haiku pulling a trailer?!?” To get ready for the challenge, I’ve written a trio of tankas. I’ll share them without images, because I’m hoping the words themselves are enough to paint a picture in your imagination. The orb weaver and the buck live in Central Ohio; Rae’s house is in the dry high plains of Eastern Colorado.

Tanka for Rae’s House

Beyond the window:
extravagantly green lawn,
bountiful garden.
In the unwatered pasture
dry grass crunches underfoot.

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Tanka for the Eight Point Buck

sun low behind trees
morning air carries fall chill
eight point buck sees me
freezes so majestically
you forget he’s in the street

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Tanka for the Orb Weaver

Above our front door
hangs a ferocious hunter
alarmingly large
seeming to stand in thin air.
She owns the porch. I concede.

all three ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

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Denise has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Dare to Care. Our Casting for Recovery retreat is this weekend, so I’ll read and comment next week.

Poetry Friday: A Sonnet for September

Earlier this week, Margaret got me thinking about sonnets. I knew I had written one, but had to dig hard at A Year of Reading to find it: Coffee House Sonnet. Turns out it’s from NPM 2010, and I haven’t archived that year’s project over at Poetrepository yet. (Adding that to my to-do list…)

We’ve been enjoying a few days of perfect September weather, and because it was clear this morning, I went for my walk before the sun came up and I got to say hello to my good friend, Orion, for the first time since he waved goodbye and marched over the western horizon last winter.

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

Poetry Friday: Ghazal for Your Cats

Jennyanydots (6 lbs) in her 21st and final year in 2008, and Hemingway (14 lbs) currently in his prime.

Margaret gave the Inklings quite a challenge this month! We wrote ghazals, (Hindi: ग़ज़ल, Arabic: غَزَل‎, Bengali: গজল, Urdu: غزَل, Persian: غزل‎, Azerbaijani: 
qəzəl, Turkish: gazel, Uzbek: gʻazal, Gujarati: ગઝલ) an ancient Arabic poetry form with five delightfully complicated rules.

I found Ravishing DisUnities by Agha Shahid Ali VERY helpful. This collection of ghazals by 100+ poets (including Diane Ackerman, W.S. Merwin, and Maxine Kumin, just to name a few of the poets whose names I recognized) helped me to suss out the form, AND provided all kinds of variations on the form.

Heidi has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at my juicy little universe, and here are all the other Inklings’ ghazals:
Catherine
Linda
Margaret
Molly

(An aside, related to Bridget’s post about DuoLingo. I’m learning Spanish and Arabic and reviewing my rusty German with DuoLingo. Current status: 90 day streak. When I pasted in “ghazal” in all those different languages (thank you, Wikipedia), I was startled to realize that I can ALMOST read the Arabic! I haven’t learned the “gh” character yet, but I know the little accent mark above it means short a, I know z (with another short a), and I just learned l. WOW!)


Poetry Friday: RIP Uncle Bob

A jumble of memories

Uncle Bob was not my uncle. He was my dad’s cousin, but the closest thing to family we had. He also was not a cowboy, but if you saw his slow, bow-legged saunter, his cowboy hat, his blue jeans and western snap-fasten shirts, that’s what you might think. You wouldn’t know by looking that he was the canniest dry-land farmer in the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado. He was born and raised in the part of Colorado without mountain peaks and rich soil. His landscape was wide and flat and dry. Dirt roads with thistle in the ditches marked the edges of native grassland pasture and wheat fields. Uncle Bob had a deep understanding of the land he farmed, never succumbing to “the grass is greener” mentality of irrigation. He was a dry-land farmer whose harvest depended on the land and the weather. There were good years with enough moisture, and plenty of years with dust devils and tumbleweeds before the rain came…or didn’t come. In the summer, many a cumulonimbus cloud appeared on the horizon, only to take its rain elsewhere, but perhaps also its hail. A winter blizzard was a mixed blessing of wind that carried topsoil away and brought moisture that did or didn’t cover the fields to nourish the winter wheat. Uncle Bob secured his success by collaborating with the land and the climate, but he allied with another of the vast natural resources of Eastern Colorado for his final venture — harvesting the wind with graceful lines of enormous turbines.

In my mind, it is night. I stand in the dusty yard where I played as a child, rusty tractors along the fence, the Milky Way a bright smear across the impossibly dark sky. Uncle Bob is in it all — land, sky, and wind.


This prose poem was written in 2019 using cards from “Paint Chip Poetry.” I learned yesterday that Uncle Bob passed away last weekend. I was looking forward to seeing him next week when we’re back home. We’ll drive past the home place and I’ll savor my memories.

Kat has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, Kathryn Apel: Children’s Author & Poet.

Poetry Friday: There’s a Village for Sale in Scotland

There’s a Village for Sale in Scotland

There’s a village for sale in Scotland.
Only $173,000 and that includes mossy ruins
and a beach on the loch.

In Scotland, thunderclouds won’t stall overhead
dumping inches of rain at a time, flooding the yard.

In Scotland, the yard waste is always picked up on time
and the neighbors don’t build smoky fires with wet wood.

In Scotland, Democracy is not failing,
racism is not systemic, and police are always helpful.

Though there’s a village for sale in Scotland
I’m not buying it.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Laura Shovan takes us to the Black Lagoon for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.