An “I am” Poem

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I’ve been revisiting Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s poemcrazy: freeing your life with words. I love this book. The first time I read it, I was driving down to Philadelphia and it simply transformed the journey. This book is one of my all-time favorites. Did I already mention that I love it? Every time I pick it up, I’m again thankful to Catherine Flynn for introducing it to me. It’s a wonder! There are so many prompts and practices that dig into rich poetic territory and celebrate unabashed word joy!

Today I’m sharing an “I am” poem I wrote in response to a practice Wooldridge shares in the book. She provides a long list of questions to answer, starting with “If I were a color, what color would I be? to  “If I were a movement, what movement would I be?” to “What’s the word hiding behind my eyes?” She emphasizes using collected words and seeing images to define yourself with these questions. “Be silly, serious, wry or overdramatic,” she advises….–as long as you’re writing about yourself.”

I am…

I am granite grey
plain Jane, sturdy and dependable
but sometimes sunlight shoots across my surface
igniting flecks of mica and quartz
into quick showers of sparkles
here, then gone
I’m a circle, or more probably, an oval
wobbly on the edges
and a bit dizzy from spinning
round and round
I am a quiet gasp of wonder and worry
A song of sunrise and sunset
Within me lives a distant howling wind
keen and piercing
like the memory of a small child crying
I could never be a sequoia
tall, strong, and directed
my bark is not immune to licking flames
my branches wander hither and yon
like the crony apple tree
that twists and gnarls
yet yields occasional ruby fruit
glistening sweet surprise
Behind my eyes
the word scared lingers
along with trying
sometimes they fight
but sometimes they hold hands
and jump into the fray together

©Molly Hogan, 2019

This week you can find the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect. If you’re living in the Northeast, you can surely tuck in some poetry around the forecasted falling snowflakes this weekend!

On that note, I’m going to tuck in two storm-inspired haiku:

winter storm hype
accumulates
faster than snow

©Molly Hogan, 2019

and

Big storm’s coming!

grocery store chaos
toilet paper, bread, and milk
the new trinity

©Molly Hogan, 2019

25 thoughts on “An “I am” Poem

  1. margaretsmn says:

    I am delighted by your poetic response to the I am exercise. So much here. I’d like to use your poem as a model for my students and try this exercise with them. Thanks! Good luck in the snow storm. That craziness goes on here when a hurricane is coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dana says:

    What beautiful descriptions of yourself and so much depth and explanations about what is going on behind “the scenes”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cheryl says:

    Loved all of these Molly. Your description of you in natural terms great to ponder and the snow haiku just so true and funny. Good way to start my day.
    Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you have a poetry board at school where anyone can display their poetry? These two snowstorm haikus would relate to one and all. They could start a poetry trend at your school. If not, at your library? These are jewels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      We don’t have a poetry board, but it’s certainly a thought worth considering! Glad you enjoyed the haiku 🙂 Are you sorry to be missing the storm? Should be a doozy!

      Like

  5. As for the revealing “I am” poem, I wonder what your kids think. You are vulnerable and real in this poem. I never knew my parents’ vulnerabilities or self-descriptors that would have sparked meaningful conversations. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. katswhiskers says:

    Oh, you are so clever! I love all your poems, Molly. The wit of your haiku – not a word out of place, (true for cyclone/flood, too) and the precise choices which are so enlightening/warming in ‘I Am’. I agree with Dan’s comments about jewels and trends. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your poem is stunning, Molly! I think this is my favorite image:
    “…sunlight shoots across my surface
    igniting flecks of mica and quartz
    into quick showers of sparkles”
    It’s funny that you mention Poemcrazy today. I was just thinking I needed to revisit that book this weekend! Stay warm!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lindabaie says:

    I saw your haiku on twitter & love the capture of what happens when the storm-predictors pronounce the coming of disaster. It happens here too. And I have used Poem Crazy with students, a book for poets, for sure. I love your poem full of nature’s gems that I know you love and this is a favorite: “my branches wander hither and yon
    like the crony apple tree
    that twists and gnarls
    yet yields occasional ruby fruit”. Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The storm build up certainly exceeded the reality around here–as it so often does. We had a decent snowfall but not what we’d anticipated. Still, it was nice to enjoy a quiet, indoor weekend. Way too cold to venture forth today!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What an inspiring line this is,
    “igniting flecks of mica and quartz”
    it’s full of vision–Love your “I am” poem Molly!
    Our snow accumulated pretty fast here in Chicago–fun haiku and play with “hype.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I received a copy of poemcrazy for Christmas, but I haven’t yet dipped into it. I’m looking forward to diving in–it will be one of the last books I pack and one of the first ones to I unpack, but I don’t know when I will dive into it. I love your response with the I am poem–it’s filled with such rich images. Those storm haiku nail the reaction in the Midwest, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, your I Am poem is filled with so many sides of you that I did not know. It is a deeply introspective poem that you willingly share with us. That takes courage, my friend. I am glad that you found the words to describe your brilliant sparks during word play, “…sunlight shoots across my surface
    igniting flecks of mica and quartz
    into quick showers of sparkles”
    LOVE this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Poem Crazy is wonderful! Catherine introduced me to it as well. Just last night I was talking with other writers about “what to do” when you are in between projects or in a longterm project but need a spark. What a perfect reminder of where to look! Thank you.
    And, your I am poem is really spectacular. I cannot imagine you a plain jane…your photography and your writing are very rich. I do love how a feel of New England is the backbone of your poem, though. I wonder if there is a ME or NE journal that you could submit to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I love that Catherine also introduced you to Poemcrazy. Thanks for your kind words about my I am poem. I hadn’t thought of the New England backbone, but now that you point it out, I can see it. Funny as I’m a transplant. But NE appeals to me on so many levels. By the way, I like to think that we plain Janes can hide rich veins under our bland exteriors 🙂

      Like

  13. […] I am granite grey plain Jane, sturdy and dependable but sometimes sunlight shoots across my surface igniting flecks of mica and quartz into quick showers of sparkles here, then gone (Read the rest of the poem here.) […]

    Like

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