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.

 

Invitation: a word collection poem

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In her Slice of Life post this past Tuesday, Margaret Simon shared some word group love poems she’d written with her students. They were inspired by a wonderful Charles Ghigna poem, some brainstorming and then a photocopied page of small word groups from Sandford Lyne’s Writing Poetry from the Inside Out. I was immediately drawn to the word collections and, in particular, I was intrigued by this list:

crane
brushstroke
iris
cloud

Here’s the resulting poem:

Invitation

you are the crane
in flight above
the purple flag
of my iris
your wings brushstroke
cloudy paths
through azure skies
as if to say
Come this way
Come this way

©M. Hogan, 2019

I’m not sure it’s a love poem, per se, but it’s what happened. Thanks to Margaret, her students, and Sandford Lyne for the inspiration!

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by children’s author, poet and artist, Robyn Hood Black at her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge.

PS–In a mixed-up moment this week, I thought Haiku Dialogue’s current theme was “a smooth coin.” I wrote a haiku, then realized I was a week late to submit it. “A smooth coin ” was last week’s theme. Oops.

how heavy the coin
worn smooth by Charon’s hand
the final payment

©M. Hogan, 2019

Elizabeth Coatsworth and Poetry Swap

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I used to live down the street from Maine author Elizabeth Coatsworth’s home, Chimney Farm, but I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read much of her work. (Note to self: add that to the summer list!) Elizabeth Coatsworth wrote poetry and fiction for adults and children. She was both accomplished and prolific. Her 1930 book, “The Cat Who Went to Heaven”, won the Newbery Medal, and over almost 50 years, she wrote more than 90 books.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon her poem, “July Storm.” The imagery immediately grabbed me, and I’ve been wanting to share the poem ever since. July arrives on Sunday, so today seemed like the perfect time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

July Storm

Like a tall woman walking across the hayfield
the rain came slowly, dressed in crystal and the sun.
Rustling along the ground, she stopped at our apple tree
only for a whispering minute, then swept darkening
skirts over the lake,
…(click here for the remainder of the poem)

On another note, last Friday was the final day of school and I came home to find a package awaiting me. What could it be? I saw Margaret Simon’s name on the return label and instantly realized it must be my first Summer Poetry Swap! Yay! What a delightful way to begin summer.

I opened the package to find a card from Margaret and a book. Not just any book! A handmade-by-Margaret book filled with different types of paper, prints, pictures, etc. and tied with a lovely gossamer ribbon.

Then, on the first page, Margaret, knowing of my recent dandelion obsession, crafted and typed this fabulous dandelion poem:

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Thank you, Margaret, for starting my summer off so beautifully and with such style!

For more poetry goodies, visit Carol at Carol’s Corner where she is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup and shares a powerful poem from Lynn Ungar.