Poetry Swap: A Blessing and a Curse

I love how writing communities spark more poetry, providing writing inspiration and motivation time and again. My participation in this summer’s Poetry Swap poems (Thank you to the fabulous Tabatha Yeatts!!!) provided a welcome nudge to create throughout the summer and an unmitigated delight when I received poems in return, tucked amidst my collection of bills and junk mail.

Earlier this month, Mary Lee sent me this beautiful embroidered haiku bookmark. I so appreciate how she took my love of the marsh and created this hush of a haiku. When I thanked her, I remarked that it felt like a mantra, something to remember as the slow flow of meandering hours transforms into a raging current with the onset of the school year. Reading it centers me and reminds me to breathe. Knowing that each stitch was deliberately placed in a slow and steady process is another soothing layer to this truly lovely bookmark poem.

sun rises, mists lift
marsh mysteries magnified
in one drop of dew

©Mary Lee Hahn

My process of creating a poem for Mary Lee wasn’t quite as smooth. I started and stopped time after time. I knew I wanted to write something about embroidery, threads, creativity, gardens, plants, flowers, fishing… or a combination of them. Easy, right?

Then, serendipitously, Mary Lee shared a blog post she’d written previously about using paint chips to write curse poems. (I shared the link last week here since it was related to that post, too.) After reading her post, inspiration struck! I decided to use as many of her chosen paint chip words and phrases as possible, but transform them from curse words into a blessing. A garden blessing. The words/phrases I managed to incorporate were: blue suede (-shoes), puddle, genie lamp, seedling, nectar, quicksilver, bull’s eye, tumbleweed, starship, rusty, and deep dark wood. I really wanted to incorporate “cheese puff” but couldn’t stand how it sounded with the rest of the poem. So, I googled and voilà! Gougeres! A delicious pastry also known as cheese puffs and a lovely sounding word to incorporate in my garden incantation for Mary Lee.

As I alluded to earlier, Mary Lee’s original post also served as inspiration when I was faced with some pernicious pests on the home front recently. I shared that curse poem last week and Mary Lee suggested that I share the poem I wrote for her as compare/contrast companion piece. I’ve put in a link to last week’s post and entire poem, but here’s a smidgen to whet your appetite in case you didn’t see it or don’t have time to check it out:

A Curse on the Invading Groundhog

Rise ye gods and cast a spell
upon this creature spawned from hell
Jinx his scurvy rodent hide
taunt him with groundhogicide

click here to read the entire poem…

Writing blessing and curse poems is a blast! I highly recommend it, and I’d also encourage you to consider incorporating paint chip colors to add another layer of challenge. Another big thank you to Mary Lee for an inspiring post and to Tabatha for organizing and cheerleading the Summer Poetry Swap.

May the rest of your summer be filled with blessings rather than curses!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Dave at his blog Leap of Dave.

12 thoughts on “Poetry Swap: A Blessing and a Curse

  1. lindabaie says:

    I think your blessing for Mary Lee will lighten her days for a long time, Molly. That bookmark deserves the delicious sounds. For Laura Shovan’s birthday month one year, we wrote to paint chip colors & it was amazing how alluring they were as prompts. I loved your curse poem last week so will need to find a way to do that, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I finally gave in and purchased the “Paint Chip Poetry” game recently. I’m looking forward to playing around with it myself and also with students in my Writing Club at school. Paint names are wonderfully evocative.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    Wow! What a lovely blessing for Mary Lee’s garden. Wonderful luscious word choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Mitchell says:

    What a masterful post–full of great mentor texts and encouragement. Your blessing for Mary Lee’s garden is perfect. And, I’m having a blast with the curses too. I don’t have any so ready to share…but what a way to get a chuckle in the morning writing time!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan Thomsen says:

    These poems are so fun. We definitely need some groundhogicide here because the dog barking his head off is doing nothing to dissuade the pesky yard varmints.


  5. Denise Krebs says:

    Molly, what a sweet gift for Mary Lee. I love your compare and contrast of the curses and blessings poems. Magical work finding that French words for cheese puffs. Bravo! That groundhog poem is hilarious. I did miss it last week. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. heidimordhorst says:

    My, oh my–what lovely blessings you two have bestowed upon each other. What you said about each carefully placed stitch serving as a remindfulness. (How’s that for a new word?) And yours, with so many gardenful images! I only wonder…where are the fish?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cvarsalona says:

    Bravo, Molly. I had fun reading your posts with curses and blessings, a rare treat for me. Prior to reading your post, I watched the prequel to “House of Dragons”, the prequel to “Game of Thrones” – a serendipitous moment.


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