Emerge- A Definito

Having a great fondness for Heidi Mordhorst’s definito form, last month I tucked away a mental note to write one for the Poetry Pal’s shared challenge for today. In Heidi’s words, “the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. I’ve written definitos before (here), but it had been quite a while since I’d played with the form. As usual, I wish I’d had more time!

Half the fun of writing a definito is choosing the word you want to highlight. With butterflies on the mind in my classroom this week, emerge was an easy win.


A scuba diver bubbles up
from turbulent seas.
A skyline materializes
as coastal fog fades.
From a too-tight chrysalis
a butterfly steps and spreads
its crumpled wings.
To move out or away from
To come into view
To emerge.

©Molly Hogan, draft

Make sure to visit The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup. There are sure to be other definitos for you to enjoy, along with an assortment of other poetry.

29 thoughts on “Emerge- A Definito

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Wonderful images of emerge! Have your butterflies started to emerge yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn says:

    Wouldn’t it be a wonder to know what a butterfly feels as it emerges? Is it more like the scuba diver or more like the fog lifting? What does it feel like to have been landlocked and now have wings?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Molly, I hear you on wishing for more time! “Emerge” is such a rich word, maybe because of the absence embedded in its definition? I’d love a whole poem expanding on those first two lines. (DH and I have done some memorable dives!) xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. janicescully says:

    I love how this form gives a word an image. I think of how we are emerging from a pandemic and how in so many ways the word means “change.” But there is a positive forward looking feel to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great poetic examples – and the varying energies that each one requires – good food for further thought. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tee says:

    Lovely, evocative words — the idea of a butterfly stepping out and straightening crumpled wings… so beautiful, positive, and forward-thinking to so emerge.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooh, these are such varied and wonderful examples. Lovely and moody…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mitchell Linda says:

    I love, “to emerge” as the last line. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. heidimordhorst says:

    Lovely! Your examples create such strong images or emergence. Glad you’re a fan of the form!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tricia Stohr-Hunt says:

    Oh Molly, this is just lovely. I appreciate all the examples you have so carefully chosen to exemplify this word.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lindabaie says:

    Lovely, Molly, like your photos, showing that word in an image to remember. It reminds me of that song that starts “I can see clearly now. . .” And now I can clearly see “emerge”! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tabatha says:

    Your examples show such different facets, Molly. One is change (the butterfly). Another is returning to what you once were (the scuba diver). And the other is when YOU haven’t changed, but what’s around you has. All important in their own ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely poem, Molly. The first two lines really drew me in so that I couldn’t wait to read what followed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Liz Garton Scanlon says:

    mmmm this is just lovely and begs to be read aloud….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Karen Edmisten says:

    Gorgeous imagery, Molly. Love the way you point out that an emergence can be a “moving away from.”


  16. Love your emerge definito, Molly. I especially love that you raised butterflies with class. This is the first year in 7 that I haven’t gone into all the first-grade classes (7) in a neighboring district to give a presentation on their life cycle (as well as tag and release)! I missed it so. I definitely need to give this form a try – especially because I like words so much!


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