PF: Maple Tree, Ten Times

This month Linda Mitchell posed our Swagger writing challenge: to write about something seen in many ways. The prompt was to pattern a poem after Pat Schneider’s “The Moon Ten Times,” a poem that sees the moon in many ways. I loved the way this prompt stretched my brain, and I played around with focusing on the wind, a river, winter and a tree. Ultimately, I chose to consider the many ways to see a maple tree.

Maple Tree, Ten Times

  1. Spring reservoir
    sap rising like a song–
    sweet and clear
  1. Wooden cradle
    gently rocking
    newborn birds  
  1. Open air venue:
    Dawn chorus
  1. Nature’s
  1. Autumn firecracker
    rocketing branches
    of crimson and gold
  1. Calm eye
    in a swirl 
    of whirligigs
  1. Sky quilter
    sections the blue dome
    into patchwork pieces
  1. Icy wind chime
    glazed limbs flash
    tinkle and clink
  1. Earth’s fingers
    trace the clouds
  1. Winter’s needlework
    bold stitches anchor
    sky to earth
  • ©Molly Hogan, draft

To check out what the other Swaggers have done with this challenge, click on their names:

Heidi Mordhorst
Margaret Simon
Linda Mitchell
Catherine Flynn

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at her blog, A Year of Reading. She’s sharing a link to NPM projects and the Progressive Poem, and also the first and second poems in her NPM project of creating daily haiku.

34 thoughts on “PF: Maple Tree, Ten Times

  1. maryleehahn says:

    Our maples are dramatically in bloom right now. Throughout the year, they are everything you listed in your poem. I especially love “Autumn firecracker.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, Molly! Well done. All the ways that a maple tree is part of the show of seasons. That quilt, that open air venue. Such a rich, rich poem. There’s something about that rising sap that creeps into a lot of my writing too. It’s magical to me. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Linda. I really enjoyed this prompt and have several ideas in mind for revisiting it again. The process is brain-stretching, kind of like a puzzle.


  3. […] Heidi MordhorstLinda Mitchell who also has the next line for the 2021 Progressive Poem! Catherine FlynnMolly Hogan […]


  4. margaretsmn says:

    Partial to wooden cradle and winter’s needlework that kind of match the theme of my poem. I love your nod to this beauty.


  5. Consider locating the natural objects of your affection in a coda. Beautiful tree! Your yard? Our son-in-law has tapped two maples in their yard and has curated some delectable syrup.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      This particular maple is in Freeport, Maine at a place called Pettengill Farm Preserve. It’s a lovely walk back to an abandoned (and preserved) old house overlooking rolling fields and tidal waters.


      • Thanks, we’ll check it out. Do you know of Barbara Kingsolver’s novels based in nature. “In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”

        Barbara Kingsolver, b. 1955


  6. bmagee10 says:

    Your poem captured the Maple, 10 times over, Molly. I especially love “a swirl of whirligigs”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gorgeous! I especially like 4. and 7, “sections the blue dome.” This has been a very productive challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tim Gels says:

    Molly, thanks for sharing a wonderful poem and an intriguing form. Trees are an important part of my learning life right now, so I especially appreciate your subject!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that you captured so many moods of maple trees, especially the “autumn firecracker” and the “icy wind chime.” Well done, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tee+d says:

    Ooh, I think the wooden cradle has to be my favorite. This is a wonderful melange of images.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. haitiruth says:

    This is fabulous! I can’t even choose my favorite part. Maybe the cradle, too, like the last commenter.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lindabaie says:

    I love all those parts that we love from a maple tree, Molly. Not many grow here well, so I love when I find one with “Calm eye/in a swirl/
    of whirligigs.” Awesome collective!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love all your maple-y views. I often find myself taking photos looking up at the sky through branches–patchwork pieces describes it perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Molly, the whole poem is just glorious, but the wooden cradle–that’s my favorite image. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I love these different views of the maple–such a glorious tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Janet F. says:

    Yes! The royal maple! My favorites are the Autumn Firecracker stanza and the wind chime a lot. It really takes perseverance to keep finding 10 (or fewer) ways to write about your topic. Lovely. Maybe it could end up being a guessing game?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Tabatha says:

    I like the guessing game idea! Great job with your tribute to maples, Molly. I esp. like the wooden cradle, too.

    Liked by 2 people

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