Gratitude and #poeticdiversion

downloadI caught part of Krista Tippett’s “On Being” interview with Marilyn  Nelson last weekend. In the portion I heard, Marilyn Nelson shared part of her poem “Farm Garden,” inspired by the life of Venture Smith. I grabbed a strike line to write this golden shovel poem.

Gratitude
a golden shovel after Marilyn Nelson’s “Farm Garden”

These days gratitude
soothes my parched throat. It is
a balm in fevered days, a
source of comfort, never-emptying,
ever-present in life’s cup.

©Molly Hogan

Recently, I’ve been actively working to foster a sense of gratitude.  I’ve been focusing on positive moments throughout the day, then writing small poems and sharing them with the hashtag #poeticdiversion.  (Please join in on Twitter if you’d like to do so.) Already, I can attest to the value of searching for and focusing on positive moments and gratitude every day!

Here are five small poems from this week:

8/3/20

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wayward blossom
some call it “weed”
I prefer “volunteer”

©Molly Hogan
8/4/20

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How is it
that watching
the sun rise
can so profoundly alter
the dawn of a day?

©Molly Hogan

8/5/20

“Look at all the dragonflies!”
“Oh!”
“Oooooohhhhhh….”
Awkward…
Feeling like a voyeur,
I took photos
and laughed.

©Molly Hogan, 2020

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8/6/20
Back Meadow in August

criss-crossing desiccated stalks
splashes of sun-seared blossoms
the shadow of a passing bee
faded patchwork quilt

©Molly Hogan

8/7/20

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Look closely!
Within a zinnia’s tender petals
a secret garden thrives

©Molly Hogan

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog . She’s sharing a delightful poem about a pufferfish (Be sure to take time to read this one aloud!) and encouragement for dealing with poetry writing anxiety. Thanks, Laura!

Inspired by Poetry Friday

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I’ve been dabbling in this and that this month, but mostly I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the recent posts of different Poetry Friday participants. I can’t say how thankful I am for this community. It enriches my life in so many ways!

First, I was inspired to respond to the Poetry Princess invitation to write an etheree.  An etheree is a 10 line poem, beginning with a one syllable line and working its way up to 10 syllables in the tenth line.

Summer Passes

June
unrolls
a carpet
of fragrant blooms
to welcome July,
who unleashes her heat
and temper in thundrous bursts.
She cedes lush gardens to August
who blankets them in humidity
and the faintest whiff of autumnal spice.

©Molly Hogan, 2020

Matt Esenwine’s post  last week reminded me of the power of a cherita. Cheritas tell a story in 6 lines, separated into one, two and three lines. Better yet, they don’t typically have titles and wow, do I struggle with titles!

At the shore

the waves curl and unfurl
in endless repetitions.

Two young lovers, sun-lit and carefree,
construct a castle of sand,
beautiful and doomed.

©Molly Hogan, 2020

I also was inspired by Tabatha Yeatt’s post last week about senryu, haiku-style verse that focus on humanity rather than nature.

control
slowly letting go
of that illusion

©Molly Hogan, 2020

And on a lighter note, very much inspired by one of the mentor poems that Tabatha shared:

indigestion
after once again
eating my words

©Molly Hogan, 2020

Finally, after reading Mary Lee Hahn’s post last week, I was inspired to create a daily challenge for myself and anyone who wants to join . Rather than spinning in circles trying to figure out what’s going to happen with school, I’m trying to focus on something small and positive each day, enjoying fleeting moments as they happen. Join in if you’d like!

in the garden
summer sun comes on strong
tomato blushes

©Molly Hogan, 2020
#poeticdiversion

Thanks to all my PF friends. You are such an inspiration!

Catherine Flynn, a regular inspiration to all,  is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, Reading to the Core. She’s sharing another beautiful resource and the poem it inspired.

 

Rondeau Rant

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This month’s round of Ethical ELA prompts was a welcome distraction in the midst of increasingly distressing news and looming decisions about the start of the school year. Mo Daley and Tracie McCormick started participants off with a rondeau prompt.  As they explained, “The rondeau is a French poetic form composed of a rhyming quintet, quatrain, and sestet. The rentrement, or refrain, is a repeating line throughout. A rondeau usually has 8 syllables per line and refrains of 4 syllables. The rhyme scheme is AABBA AABR AABBAR. ”

I’m not big on name-calling, but these days my temper is fraying. I’m so tired of being angry and working to remain civil with people who simply make me crazy. I’m also heartily sick of people not wearing masks.

Wear Your Mask!

Don’t listen when the asses bray
about their rights taken away.
Ignorant choices just prolong
the upward trend–dread Covid’s song.
A mask is a small price to pay.

There really is no other way
to stem the tide without delay.
So wash your hands, avoid the throng
and wear your mask.

My temper has begun to fray
when faced with mask-less fools each day.
The evidence is clear and strong:
Mask naysayers are deadly wrong.
Reject this toxic game they play–
and WEAR YOUR MASK!

©Molly Hogan, 2020

Many who oppose masks refer to mask wearers as “sheep.” (I won’t tell you what I call them in the privacy of my home.) My recent non-verbal response to their derisive refrain of “Don’t be a sheep!” was to order masks made from this fabric:

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These will probably be the first masks I’ll look forward to wearing!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the talented and prolific Margaret Simon at her blog, Reflections on the Teche. Margaret dove into some poetry work last week and is sharing some quotes about what poetry is. She’s collecting ideas from participants and hoping to create a collaborative poem. Stop on by and add your thoughts about poetry to the comments.

 

PF: Poetry Swap and More

downloadLast week I opened up the mailbox, expecting the regular array of bills, advertisements and political flyers, and instead found a slim package addressed to me. Oooh! Intriguing. Already my day was looking brighter! Seeing a familiar name above the return address, I realized it must be my first Summer Poetry Swap gift! I brought it into the house and immediately opened it.

Sure enough, Margaret Simon of Reflections on the River Teche had received my name in the match up. She sent me a lovely note on a beautiful photo card she’d made, along with a cute and cheerful notebook from a student fundraiser. Inside the notebook, she’d copied some of my recent photos from my Facebook page and included a copy of her gorgeous poem, “Mbuntu.” As a bonus (and an encouraging nudge), she’d added Michelle Haseltine’s Notebooking Bingo page. Thanks for such a personal and thoughtful gift, Margaret!

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Mbuntu

The kayaker doesn’t look
up
to see me watching him,
seeing how his body,
like paddle,
the water are one.
Stroke right, stroke left
sends a ripple from the
water to the trees
where light dances
like fine feathers.

Branches spread from bald
cypress
to shade the grass,
hide the tree frog,
nest the swallow.
A bird calls
here-a-here-a-here.
Cicadas buzz
like maracas at a Spanish
festival.
The sun rises to the sound
of Samba.

~Margaret Simon

You might not know this, but Margaret also offers up a weekly poetry prompt each Thursday morning titled “This Photo Wants To Be A Poem”. It’s fun to participate, sharing quick responses and commenting on those of others. This week she shared this photo from her friend, JoAnne Duncan:

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feather-at-sea, by JoAnne Duncan

Here’s my response:

Amidst a melody
of blues,
one single feather,
earthbound,
retains the memory
of flight.

©Molly Hogan

Much to my delight, Margaret has also featured a few of my photos. Here’s one from this past spring and my response:

dandelion-by-molly-hogan

Youth’s bloom a golden memory,
her heart aquiver,
Dandelion sighs,
releases her arrowed seeds
to lift and fly
to unknown destinations
in the wild spring breeze.

Molly Hogan, 2020

Thanks again, Margaret, for my Summer Swap gifts and for all the poetry goodness you spread!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Jan Annino at her blog, Bookseedstudio. She’s sharing memories of her mother and a tender, original poem about swimming with her mother in the sea. Be sure to stop by and check out her post. She’s rounding up the old school way.

 

Ethical ELA Prompt Responses

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Last month I experimented in my notebook with a couple of  Ethical ELA prompts.  The first was from Margaret Simon who, within her prompt, asked “Are you a marcher or a leaper?” I didn’t manage to meet all the guidelines of the prompt (like the use an echo line), but enjoyed playing around with some of my favorite words.

No Clear Destination

I’m neither a marcher
nor a leaper,
rather a rambler,
a perambulator,
one who coddiwomples
or stravaigs,
meandering along,
no clear destination in sight,
the journey the reward.

©Molly Hogan

Another Ethical ELA prompt last month came from Melanie Crowder. She suggested identifying your emotional state then brainstorming things in the physical world that are illustrative of it. She encouraged writers to look beyond the obvious and then write a poem that reveals one’s emotional state through a description of that chosen object.  I did initially have an emotional state in mind, but I think the poem wandered a bit.

Mica

Beneath earth’s surface,
silted and soiled,
layers of mica rest.
Light, soft, flexible,
it cleaves
into glittering sheets,
transparent to opaque,
reflective and insulating,
resistant to heat.
Mica shields
and reveals.

Above ground,
when struck
by the whirring blades
of a mower,
mica shatters,
exploding briefly
into a dazzling constellation
of shimmering slivers
of light.

©Molly Hogan

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is  hosted by the ever-ready-for-a-challenge Linda Mitchell. She’s written an “In One Word” poem, a form newly created by April Halprin Wayland. Check out her post for an explanation of the form and a powerful original poem.

 

 

PF: Dark Thoughts and The Danger of Denial

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The news is grim and so is much of my recent poetry.

Dark Thoughts

At night
dark thoughts
come home to roost
like a murder of crows
ink black,
loudly squawking,
demanding attention,
while feasting
on carrion.

When will the danger pass?

Never.

It’s always been here.
I just hadn’t seen it
so clearly before.

©Molly Hogan, 2020

 

The Danger of Denial

There are only so many times
you can wrap
something disturbing
and wrong
in coarse rope
tie it to a heavy boulder
and push it
beneath the surface
to keep it submerged.

Eventually,
such things
slip free
of ropes and anchor,
bob up
bloated,
distorted,
and dreadful–
evidence of a crime,
on the brink of exploding
and spewing putrefaction.

©Molly Hogan, 2020

I think these poems are like purgatives (or at least I hope so), an attempt to relieve some of the deep concerns I feel under the onslaught of horrible news. There are still many wonderful things going on in my life, but sometimes I need to focus on the darker stuff.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Karen Eastlund at her blog, Karen’s Got A Blog.

 

PF: Tabernacle

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Tabernacle 

Pine trees spire above.
We move along
the narrow aisle of trail,
each step stirring
densely layered needles,
censing the air.

In the distance
an emerald glow
filters through tree trunks,
luminous as stained glass.

Without a word
we stop,
rapt.
Something potent
lies ahead.

©Molly Hogan, 2020 (draft)

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Tricia Stohr-Hunt is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect.

PF: More Poems of Presence

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Here are a few more poems from my responses to the ongoing “Poems in Presence” challenge. I’ve been so thankful to combine this prompt with photography as a positive focus in recent weeks.

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Day by Day

Yesterday
the plum tree
blossomed

Today
I watch
the sun rise
through its petals

©M. Hogan, 2020

Untitled
newborn leaves
cradle lambent pools of light
radiant morning

©M.Hogan, 2020

lady's mantle

Lady’s mantle
makes her spring debut
adorned
with a dewdrop diadem

©M.Hogan, 2020

thrush

Some days
worry and grief
settle in
before my eyes
are even open.

Thankful
for the lingering visit
of a hermit thrush

©M. Hogan, 2002

This week the Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Carol Varsalona at her blog. She is sharing some of the wonderful poems she’s collected at her Nature Nurtures Gallery and also an original poem to Mother Nature.

PF: Pandemic Morning

 

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Pandemic morning

i.

I wake briefly
leaden
longing for tranquility
drift back
into uneasy sleep.

ii.

My eyes open to
amber beauty–
antique glass
transforming sun rays
into wavery blocks–
an ephemeral Mondrian canvas
painted on my wall.

iii.

Outside
in the garden
a warbler lies
unblinking.
Cupped in my hands
his speckled breast and
olive feathers
fade.
No echo of warmth.

iv.

From within the apple tree
the hermit thrush
sings a haunting melody
then hovers
beneath the suet,
wings outspread.

Benediction
or crucifixion?

© Molly Hogan, 2020 (draft)

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Jama Rattigan is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and settle in for a delicious post!

PF: Poems of Presence

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This month Michelle Heidenrich Barnes shared a wonderful interview with Margaret Simon on her blog, Today’s Little Ditty. At the end of the interview, Margaret posted a challenge to “Write a mindful poem about the present moment.”  Then, Mary Lee Hahn and Heidi Mordhorst created a Twitter hashtag #PoemsofPresence and invited poets to write small poems for each day in May. I’ve been playing along, and here are a few of my poems from this past week.

May 1:

May arrives
I fill the hummingbird feeder
Sweet anticipation

May 2:

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overhead
osprey wheel and glide
surf the currents

May 3:

Unexpected Beauty

beside the old train tracks
one bleached skull
fragile, yet whole

May 4:

lemony finches
dot the apple tree
a cherry-red cardinal
perches in the birch
brilliant blue jays
swoop down
like bits of falling sky

May 5:

glowing sun peeks
into striated skies
another day dawns

May 6:
Investment

an afternoon walk
grudgingly taken
still yields
rich rewards

May 7: looking to linger on the light side here…

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This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by none other than, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes of Today’s Little Ditty fame. Make sure to stop by and enjoy an interview with Nikki Grimes and a sneak peek into her newest book, “Southwest Sunrise”, plus a bonus poetry challenge.