Poetry Friday: Bike Stories

cottonwood blizzard
almost mulberry season
first bike ride of spring

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

A few years ago on the original A Year of Reading, I did a series of “Bike Stories.” Now that the first ride of the season has been — Ahhh CHOO! — survived, it’s time to get out more frequently and see what lessons and stories can be found this year!

The schedule is COMPLETE for roundup hosts July – December! Thanks, all!

Buffy has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Buffy Silverman.

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


summertime clothesline
sun-bleached swimsuits and towels
functional design

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

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

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

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.

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: Cusp

poppy will bloom soon
now the buds are tightly clenched
time will loosen them

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

Carmela has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Teaching Authors.

Edited to add…

Yesterday morning was cloudy and drizzly. As I cleaned oak flowers out of the garden beds, I turned a corner, saw this, and literally said out loud, “Well, hello there!” At the base of the plant were the three prickly bud covers that had been shrugged off or thrown off when the poppy…popped. Let us remember that when our hearts are clenched tightly against the world, there will come a time when we’re ready to throw off our shell and blaze again with glory, in spite of everything.

Poetry Friday: Courage

Awhile back, Margaret shared extra sheets of build-your-own-metaphor-dice that Taylor Mali had sent for her students. I rolled “courage will be a sparkling needle” and it felt like the Universe was speaking directly to me. Earlier in the day I had posted my embroidered mandala for this week (19 of 52 weeks of embroidery mandalas).

Rose has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Imagine the Possibilities.

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.


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?

© 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: Earth Speaks


are dying.
My forests are
cut down or burning.
My systems are weakened,
and my glaciers are melting.
So many species are extinct.
How can I convince you to help me?

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022


Today, Earth Day 2022, I’ll pass the mic to Earth and let her speak. All the rest of my NPM 2022 poems can be found at Poetrepository.

Margaret has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche.

Poetry Friday: Witnessing the Insect Apocalypse


From the essay, “Loving a Vanishing World,” by Emily N. Johnston in ALL WE CAN SAVE:

“It’s a constant question for me every time I’m entranced by the beauty of this world: What does it mean to love this place? What does it mean to love anyone or anything in a world whose vanishing is accelerating, perhaps beyond our capacity to save the things that we love most?”

Here’s the 2018 NYTimes article about the insect apocalypse that’s been haunting me for four years.

This is not one of my more hopeful poems. It’s hard to witness the natural world fading away, but loving the world is the first step toward saving it.

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

Poetry Friday: Contrails


Contrails don’t give me hope in a time of climate crisis. They play a significant role in aviation-related global warming by creating clouds that trap heat on earth. But the fact that scientists are studying them does give me hope. The sudden, dramatic drop in airplane traffic in 2020 proved to researchers at MIT that their mapping of contrails was accurate. 

Researchers at the Yale School of the Environment remind us that the ONLY way to shut down global warming is to curb CO2 emissions. 

“But if the world wants a big short-term contribution from aircraft to keep us below some specific temperature target, such as 1.5 degrees C, then action on contrails can provide it.”

 Researchers at MIT are

“working with major airlines to forecast regions in the atmosphere where contrails may form, and to reroute planes around these regions to minimize contrail production.

Steven Barrett, professor and associate head of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “There’s an unusual opportunity to halve aviation’s climate impact by eliminating most of the contrails produced today.”

“Most measures to make aviation sustainable take a long time,” Barrett says. “(Contrail avoidance) could be accomplished in a few years, because it requires small changes to how aircraft are flown, with existing airplanes and observational technology. It’s a near-term way of reducing aviation’s warming by about half.” “

Now THAT’S hopeful. Let’s go, airline industry. The ball’s in your court.

This poem was written using The Thing Is by Ellen Bass as a mentor text. All of my poems from this week can be found here.

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