PF: Folktale Week Challenge

Linda had our Inklings challenge this month and she responded with an invitation to “find or write a poem in any form of any length for Folktale Week November 14-20, 2022.” The folks at Folktale Week describe the prompts as an opportunity to “search for your favorite folktales, discover new ones, work on your own amazing art, or even write your own tales.” Here is the prompt list with their accompanying lush illustration:

Unfortunately, October truly threw me for a loop this year, and I’m still struggling to regain my equilibrium. Very little writing happened. Then, although I recognized the richness and flexibility of the prompt, I had a hard time finding my way in. I pondered using fool, or potion, or star. I stopped and started. My thoughts turned time and again to tree and I remembered something about the Norse sacred tree, Yggdrasil (though I did not remember the name without a Google search). I don’t know much about Norse mythology or this tree, but remembered it was central to the universe. I was drawn to that idea–a tree uniting worlds, central to all. There’s some sort of infinite healing potential about a tree.

This poem doesn’t really feel ready for the light of day, and it surely doesn’t offer a tale, but I didn’t want to forgo participating in Linda’s challenge. I apologize in advance for the maudlin bent, but it seems to be what’s emerging from my pen these days.

Hand pressed to tree
I stand
soul barked and bruised
yearning to be
rooted to earth
while soaring upward
bridging worlds

yearning to cleave
to now and then
to here and there

Hand pressed to tree
I stand
whilst splintering
in all directions

©Molly Hogan, draft

If you’re interested in how the other Inklings responded to the challenge, check out the links below:

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Catherine Flynn
MaryLee Hahn

Also, this week the Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Heidi Mordhorst who’s sharing her response to the Inkling challenge. Be sure to stop by My Juicy Little Universe and check out what she has on offer!

20 thoughts on “PF: Folktale Week Challenge

  1. judyman says:

    It’s completely ready for light of day, IMHO. It’s beautiful. Maudlin and poetry seem to go hand in hand, going back to the “greats” so please, give yourself that permission. From pain, you have created a thing of absolute beauty. Trust me. I need to give up writing poetry next to yours. I can hold my own in prose, but you have a real gift. Love you.



    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks so much, Judith! I am so excited for your debut and wish I could be there. Ordering a copy of your book is on the top of my list for this weekend. I can’t wait to read it. Have fun and celebrate!!!


  2. judyman says:

    I keep re-reading this exquisite poem. Just so you know.

    Love and miss you, Molly.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    That’s …beautiful.
    It offers its own tale, of solace in the rooted, of hope for a time when the bridging and soaring will return. That’s narrative enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. margaretsmn says:

    We took our students on a field trip today to a nature center and the guide told the kids they could touch the tree, a water oak that was growing over the railing. I touched it and thought about how this tree was making its way, despite the invasion of humans, and how, perhaps, it liked our touch. Now I wish I had taken a picture of it with my hand on it. Your poem is so lovely. I pray for your “soul, barked and bruised.” I hope you are emerging from the fog of Covid and loss. I’m glad you decided to post today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful and moving, Molly – thanks for sharing. And sending warmest wishes and healing thoughts as you navigate whatever you’ve been going through.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jone says:

    It’s moving and you had me at “hand pressed”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda Mitchell says:

    It’s like you are reading the tree and the tree is reading you. Isn’t that one of their best gifts? They know us and allow us to just be…while giving us so much. This poem is beautiful. Don’t change a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. heidimordhorst says:

    Not maudlin; heartwood. I love this line, “soul barked and bruised,” and the Yggdrasil idea, new to me in label but not at all (as I was trying to say in my post) in concept. Glad you got here, Molly. ❤


  9. maryleehahn says:

    I absolutely believe that trees are sentient in ways we can’t even imagine, and that your touch was healing in both directions. Good to see you here, writing your way back to happiness.


  10. lindabaie says:

    Many in your group wrote of trees, not surprising to me. They feel central to my life. I can’t imagine living somewhere where there are few, or none. Your poem seems very heartfelt, Molly, & I love that second verse, “yearning to cleave
    to now and then
    to here and there” – life itself, right? Best wishes for better for you in your struggles.


  11. Sometimes I think trees aren’t just communicating via their roots but may feel some of what we have brewing inside of us…Thanks for sharing your powerful tree poem filled with emotions Molly—Sending some positive healing thoughts your way.


  12. rosecappelli says:

    I love your poem. So much is gained from just touching a tree and listening.


  13. Oh, Molly, I think this is powerful and beautiful. I’m so glad you shared.


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