Day 7: FOPP: The Blade

Another day and another photograph in Laura Shovan’s FOPP (Found Object Poetry Project). When I first looked at this picture, I had no idea what I would write, and was thankful it was slated for the last entry of the week as that gave me more time to ponder my response.  But as the week passed, I was no closer to knowing how to approach this photograph. So with the deadline looming, I focused on the blade and just started to write anything, knowing most of it would be deleted.  And after a lot of “scribbles” and false starts, I now have two different poems. The first feels more responsive to the photograph. The second poem is grounded in a childhood memory.


 Before the Photo
A simple blade in capable hands
transforms stick
to whittled whistle,
kisses apple’s russet skin
twirling off
swirling spiral,
and sculpts a blushing peach
into glistening golden slices,
hitching a bit as it nicks
into the deeply crevassed pit.

Wiped clean on cotton cloth
discarded with a careless toss into
the shallow metal bowl
burnished vibrations echo
and fade
as the simple blade
back and forth

Memory: The Blade
Once there was a theft
at our neighbor’s
down the road
and it thrilled us
while scaring the bejesus out of us
because we walked behind that house
on the way home from school
usually in twos or threes
but sometimes alone
on the shortcut that cut
through the dappled woods
and not long after that break-in
in a nearby tree
we found the dull, rusted blade,
tucked into a hollow
and we shook with certainty
just knowing it was involved
in the crime
Our urgent whispers quivered
in the shifting green shade
Should we call the police?
Tell our parents?
Fingers of fear
spidered down my spine
as I tentatively touched
that contraband blade.
After much debate
we tucked it
back into the hollow,
fearing the thief might return
and seek retribution
if his blade was missing.

I can’t recall
what happened next
and wonder
if the blade still rests
in that dusty tree hollow
in the Pennsylvania woods.

7 thoughts on “Day 7: FOPP: The Blade

  1. I admire you for writing every day. While I write daily, there are days when putting something “out there” is more than I can manage. I’m still thinking about today’s image and have about two pages of scribbles, but nothing is coming together. I love both of your poems and can imagine searching for that long-forgotten knife.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Catherine, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I always love your blog posts and your poetry moves me. Your poem in response to today’s image came together beautifully–I’m so glad you put it “out there.” “my words coalesce into
      the shape of something new
      and I am cured (for now).” Beautiful.


  2. […] like the way Molly Hogan repurposes the blade in this poem. Molly is also blogging alongside our project. Check out her […]


  3. margaretsmn says:

    I am happy to meet you through Laura’s project and your responses. Both of these poems take me to a place and I can envision it well. The idea that the blade transforms and can also be an instrument of violence. I didn’t even get one poem down for this image, much less two. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mbhmaine says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Margaret. Only 7 days in, but this has been such an interesting project for me. I so enjoy reading others’ poems and seeing where they’ve gone from that initial photo. Surprising, fun, and instructive! By the way, I loved your Box poem!


  5. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, your poems have a vivid nature to them as you unpack details one by one for us to think deeply about. Two for the price of one admission. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love seeing 2 different poems! ‘Memory’ is my favorite- especially the part about leaving it for the thief, but wondering if it is still there!


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