Raccoons and Cherita


Inspired by Diane Mayr (Random Noodling) and others, I’ve been wanting to write a cherita for a while.  I was intrigued by the flexibility of the form (no syllabic count!) and the narrative focus. The word cherita comes from the Malay word for story. The cherita’s creator, ai li, describes it thus: “”a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse.” I’m pretty sure I still have a lot to learn about the nuances of the form, but I’ve had fun playing around with it. I decided to put two cherita together, because… well, why not!? I do hope this isn’t offensive to any cherita purists out there.


Betrayed by bare branches

you scramble upward
toward the apple or away from me?

I edge in to capture
not your body, but your face
deceptively innocent

For long moments

your clever hands hold tight
I take picture after picture

You climb higher into swaying branches
your backward glance reproaches
contrite, I depart.

M. Hogan ©2018


I knew I’d played around with a cherita before, and I went back through my notebooks determined to find it. I couldn’t even remember what I’d written about. How surprised I was to find this cherita, written in mid-August.

The trap has sprung

Feeders rest on the earth
amidst scattered sunflower seeds

Within the trap
lie a few lonely suet crumbs
the bandit has escaped

M. Hogan © 2018

Clearly this raccoon situation isn’t a new one!  Oh, and for the record, it was a Have-a-Heart trap.



My post today combines my love of photography, nature, and poetry. I am thankful for all of these things (and so many more!) and, as always, for the wonderful support and community of this group. This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Irene Latham at her blog, Live Your Poem. In a haiku bonanza, she’s sharing a beautiful new book by Laura Purdie Salas and a link to a Jack Prelutsky read along. Be sure to check it out and add some poetry to your holiday weekend!


20 thoughts on “Raccoons and Cherita

  1. Donna SmithD says:

    Great pictures! And I loved this double cherita! Well done and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn says:

    Love your cherita-story and your fabulous photos! What a coincidence that the other cherita was also about raccoons!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are doing a beautiful job with the cherita! And isn’t it funny how themes pop up in our writing? I’ve just made some connections in my own writing life, and your post reminds me of how important it is, and how meaningful, to look for those patterns and explore what they say about us as humans – what we love, where we’re going, etc. Thank you for sharing the raccoon pics with us, too! They really are so darn cute! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Irene. Your comment reminds me of Ruth’s blog post today and the Pablo Neruda odes she shared. It’s interesting how patterns emerge as we write and the more we write, the more we discover about ourselves.


  4. Absolutely perfect! I love how you describe the growth in your process, how photography is a love with writing. I knew when I saw that photo on facebook this past week that a poem was in it…and funny that it was there in August too. What an amazing collection you have started! Who CAN resist that innocent face? The raccoon is the mascot of my kid’s long ago elementary school. I am forever in love with them now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. haitiruth says:

    Lovely! And your photos are wonderful! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your photo and poem remind me of a long-ago glimpse of a porcupine swaying high in the top branches of a leafless tree. I love your descriptions of the “deceptively innocent” face and the reproachful backward glance. I’ve had the same feeling when a red squirrel seemed to be scolding me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’ve spotted porcupines twice in trees this year–the first and second times ever! It’s amazing I can get anywhere without an accident anymore, as I’m constantly looking around me instead of at where I’m going–whether I’m walking or driving!


  7. margaretsmn says:

    Love the double cherita. These a fun forms to try and not too challenging with syllables or rhyme scheme. Your photography is stunning. You’ve captured the personality of this bandit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lindabaie says:

    Your double cherita seems just right to me, Molly. And it’s fun to see that, although forgotten, the raccoons inspired earlier, too. It’s quite wonderful what you’re doing with the photography. These are amazing pictures. I love “contrite, I depart.” An apt ending for an animal lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Linda. I spend many happy hours outside taking pictures. I’m so glad you liked the final line. I kept changing it and I’m still wondering if I should have written, “contrite and delighted, I depart.” Ah, well!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. katswhiskers says:

    Oh, what a cutie!!! I too would want to capture that little face and fur. (Love how your first line hooks you in – and can go so many ways.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Michelle Kogan says:

    Your raccoon face you captured says it all, filled with such emotion. And fun tale you wove of this critter in your cherita!

    Liked by 1 person

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