Finding Beauty

download It was my turn to post the challenge this past month in our Swaggers group. Talk about pressure! I felt a bit like Goldilocks looking for the perfect prompt–something not too hard, not too easy, but just right. After way too much deliberation, I finally opted to poach off a post I’d used in the past for photography. Here’s what I shared:

Challenge:  I participated several years ago in a photo challenge from Kim Douillard to “find beauty in the ugly (My post is here). This month, I invite you to reinvent the world around you (or one aspect of it) by shifting your lens to see the beauty in what at first seems to be ugly or unnoteworthy. Happy Writing!

Next, I had to figure out what to write about. My garden immediately came to mind. At this time of year, it’s a jumble of sad, dried stalks. Some people cut their dying plants back, and I’ve heard that can help prevent the spread of some plant diseases. But I’m not much for proactive “cleaning”, and I did read that leaving your garden intact, with all its rustling seed heads and stalks, protects plants, enriches the soils, and provides birds with food and shelter. That was convincing enough for me! I also love the architecture of all the angles and lines when the snow falls.

I thought I’d write one poem about my garden, but instead some smaller poems emerged. All of them are love songs to my bedraggled weed-filled winter garden.

finches ladder up
dessicated plant stalks
feast on tattered seed heads

©Molly Hogan, 2019

bee balm dons
her winter accessory
a fresh white bonnet

©Molly Hogan, 2019

bee balm.jpg

sered garden husks
shiver in the breeze, whisper
summer memories

©Molly Hogan, 2019

Perhaps only
with winter’s advance
does our truest heart
reveal itself
amidst a slow,
steady crumbling

©Molly Hogan, 2019
DSC_1029.jpg

DSC_0844.jpg

DSC_0395.jpg

garden weeds.jpg

And finally, stepping away from the garden to another time that I found heartfelt beauty somewhere unexpected.

after the hospital
your sleepy warmth beside me
oh, blessèd snore!

©Molly Hogan, 2019

Click on the links below to visit my fellow Swaggers and discover where they found beauty:

Margaret Simon: Reflections on the Teche
Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Tanita S. Davis at her blog [fiction, instead of lies]. She’s sharing a wonderful poem expressing gratitude for worms and an original sonnet acknowledging the many hands that make our lives run more smoothly.

22 thoughts on “Finding Beauty

  1. The photos and the poems are stunning. How fun to have an online poetry group.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. katswhiskers says:

    Always, your poetry and photography is a gift, Molly. Fave lines/images for me; finches ladder up / – your whole crumbling to heart (poem and pic) and the comfort and warmth of that blessed snore. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Kat! I loved seeing all your American school photos and intend to pop back over and comment later. Glad you survived the journey home and hope to welcome you back again before too long!

      Like

  3. A heartfelt thanks once again, Molly, for this challenge. It could work every week as a gratitude practice, couldn’t it. Your many garden beauties are lovely, but I particularly like the first one with its delicate balance of double-letter words–such a lovely mouthful! The longer one about the “slow, steady crumbling” made me cry for all sorts of “truest heart” reasons. I’m so grateful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      What a lovely comment, Heidi! Thank you and right back at ya’!! Looking for beauty is a wonderful way to face the world. Sometimes I need a nudge to remind me to do so! 🙂

      Like

  4. haitiruth says:

    Lovely! I especially love the “winter’s advance” poem and the photo right below it. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tee+d says:

    What a lovely bunch of images – and the last poem is very dear. I will keep the idea of hearts slowly evolving into their truest self – after a steady crumbling – that is profound. This is a great challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Donna Smith says:

    Loved your collection of beauty in pictures and words! I loved that last image with the sun illuminating the leaves. Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your winter garden is so lovely, Molly. Hooray for all the good reasons to leave our gardens in tact. I clean out my hosta bed because shoveling our walkway is difficult if I don’t. I can’t choose a favorite poem, although I do love the bee balm’s “fresh white bonnet.” And everything Heid said about the “truest heart.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Catherine. Winter gardens are so interesting! I had to limit myself from taking a million photos. I have some cute ones of squirrels and birds sheltering and foraging. Such a happening place!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. maryleehahn says:

    You helped me to see my garden anew, but then you took my breath away with the
    “…slow,
    steady crumbling.”
    I’m feeling it. I’m living it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I love this prompt and have enjoyed the poems that grew from it. And I’m with you on the winter garden–I enjoy the tangled beauty of last year’s growth and wait until spring to clean it up. It also provides safety and shelter for a variety of pollinating insects as well. Your poems and photos capture that stark beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a fertile collection of love poems today, Molly. I love them all, but my faves are probably “bee balm dons” and “after the hospital.” I also enjoyed reading your 2017 post. Had I known about it at the time, I would have shared your post as inspiration when Carol Hinz challenged us to write poems that find beauty in Nov 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Michelle! I would have been thrilled to have had my post shared! Now I’m wondering when I first discovered TLD. I do know I was lurking for a while before I participated (read that as intimidated), but I must have missed Carol’s post. I’ll have to go back and check it out!

      Like

  11. Love the relationship poems! Thanks.
    after the hospital
    your sleepy warmth beside me
    oh, blessèd snore!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s