A Paiute Song, A Viking Poem and Connecting with a Gorilla


“Loud are the thunder drums in the tents of the mountains.
Oh, long, long
Have we eaten chia seeds
and dried deer’s flesh of the summer killing.
We are tired of our huts
and the smoky smell of our clothing.
We are sick with the desire for the sun
And the grass on the mountain.”
–  Paiute Late Winter Song

We had a brief day of teasing spring-like weather yesterday. Dense fog finally lifted to reveal peeks of sunshine and patches of blue sky and temperatures rose into the 60s!  As I noted last week, February feels heavy this year and I’m looking forward to the calendar turning into March. I am indeed “sick with the desire for the sun.”

IMG_2485.jpgI’ve had loads of writing time this week, but have felt stymied–lots of false starts and roadblocks and difficulty tapping into anything that feels right. I’m still plugging away at Laura Shovan’s February Daily Ekphrastic Poem Project. It’s hard to believe that it ends next week!

It was my turn to share art this past Sunday and I shared this untitled painting by an unknown artist. Reading the poetic responses was a highlight of my week. I plan to print them all out and make a small booklet to place beneath the painting for all visitors to enjoy. I’m also going to share them with my students so they can see how many different directions writers can take from one prompt. Thanks to everyone who responded!

Here are my responses to two sculpture prompts from the week:

Olaf the Dandy.jpg

Oh, Olaf the Dandy
was a Viking much feared
though his biggest concerns
were his mustache and beard
He fretted in battle
that someone might shear him
So fought with great vigor
when enemies neared him

The stories grew daily
his feats legendary
He fought like a madman
to keep his face hairy
And when the war ended
to his sweetheart he sped
proposed that they marry
and here’s what she said:

Oh Olaf, I love you
you bold Viking knave
but ere we can marry
you simply must shave!

M. Hogan (c) 2018

gorilla carving.jpg

I still miss your slumber weight
heavy in my arms
your downy head resting on my shoulder
your warm, milky breath
and that achingly sweet hollow
at the base of your neck
so ripe for kisses

Sometimes in the grocery store line
I catch myself,
a jug of Tide balanced on my hip,
swaying to and fro
in that age-old soothing motion

I wonder, is the gorilla sometimes
as puzzled by her empty back
as I am by my empty arms?
Does she still alter her gait
for a baby she no longer carries?

M. Hogan (c) 2018

To brighten up these final days of February, take some time to visit this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup. It’s hosted by Elizabeth Steinglass at her blog where she’s sharing her wonderful poem “Why I’m Here” and its inspirations.

23 thoughts on “A Paiute Song, A Viking Poem and Connecting with a Gorilla

  1. Amy Warntz says:

    I can so relate! It certainly is a different experience having an adult child. Oh how I miss those care-free days!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I’m so glad you posted your poems here. They were buried out of sight on the FB page. The gorilla one touched my mother’s heart. I, too, will sway occasionally when carrying something. That’s such an innate motion. And the idea of printing out all the poems from your own painting post is excellent! I’m glad we have shared this journey together. Will you be slicing in March? More daily writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Margaret, this has been a great journey, shared with so many wonderful companions! I’m also printing out pictures of the daily art prompts along with my poems and arranging them in a small notebook/journal for me. (I wish I could channel your artistic journaling skills to add a bit of flair to it!) I’m looking forward to slicing in March, though a bit daunted at another month of daily sharing of my writing. Are you slicing as well?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth says:

    I love the Olaf poem. Nothing like laughter to start my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz Steinglass says:

    These are wonderful. It feels so good to laugh these days! And yes I have had that experience with a jug of Tide.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alice Nine says:

    After this week, I am agreeing with the “Paiute Late Winter Song.” Your poor Olaf, Molly, has given me a great laugh today. Thank you. I’ve been enjoying the poetry writing this month, also. I think your artwork and poems written for it has been one of the highlights, and coupling your painting with all the poems will be such a treasure! And great mentor text idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Alice, I’m so glad you enjoyed Olaf. There has been so much amazing poetry written this month. I feel like I’m learning all the time–mentor texts right and left! What a treat! I feel so fortunate to be a part of this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. lindabaie says:

    I loved these when I first read them, and now again, Molly. You have a great sense of humor and then an ability to share intense emotions, too.It is hard to imagine this will soon be ending. I do love your painting, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      What a lovely comment, Linda. Thank you so much. It has been a wonderful month of writing and it will be interesting to shift gears into prose for the March challenge. Those muscles need a bit of stretching!


  7. Kay Mcgriff says:

    From humor to poignancy–I love both of these poems. And yes, I catch myself swaying all too often even though that baby is nearly grown now. I love the idea of gathering all the poems for your artwork. It has been a great experience this month. I am learning so much by writing every day and reading so many great poems every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It has been great, Kay, and I’m hoping to finish strong this week! I’m still a few prompts behind, but not too many. Overall, I’m pleased that I’ve participated much more than the past two years. This was a wonderful prompt idea!


  8. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, for false starts your poems here are wonderful. I think the gorilla one is full of love while the Olaf poem is full of humor. The image you offered for your day challenge was the one I felt closest to. I just loved the swirling effect that swept me into the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jama says:

    Olaf poem just delightful, and I love your response to the gorilla sculpture — so loving and poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I find myself rocking sometimes, too. I miss that. And your bold Viking knave is adorable, poem and all. It’s been fun seeing you in Laura’s challenge. I haven’t managed every day, but I tossed a word salad up for many of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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