NPM: Playing Along

It’s been an intense week or so for me. I’ve been immersed in life stuff rather than writing stuff and that has directly impacted how much I’ve written. Ah, well. At any rate, I’m dipping my toes into the NPM water again with another response to Laura Purdie Salas’s NPM project. Today she posted her five possible topics: East, West, South, North, Compass Directions and a pool of words to work with.

Two very different poems emerged from my notebook scribbling. For both poems I took liberties by not requiring all words in the title to be in topic or in the word pool. A very short poem first:

In all directions

delirious blue sky
crushes finite

©Molly Hogan

And then a poem in which I took the license of repeating one of the word choices, though I’m not sure that’s “allowed”. I’m quickly realizing that the beauty of playing someone else’s “game” is that the rules feel more flexible! :

It’s all heading South

Go away, frantic fears–
hot mist monkeys
playing in my mind!
Go! Go! Go!

©Molly Hogan

I am totally fascinated by the idea of hot mist monkeys, but please remember, not all poems are autobiographical. 😉

NPM: Limerick

I thought March was the busy month, but April is proving to be quite full as well. Yikes! I’m barely squeaking in with a limerick today. This is definitely not my finest effort, but writing a limerick makes me feel close to my dad. And that’s always a win.

There once was a Tuesday as busy
as a dropped soda can full and fizzy
Things started to hop
blew off the pop top
Leaving everyone shellshocked and dizzy

©Molly Hogan

Yup. That’s about what it feels like!

NPM: My Kind of Worship

This morning I was down at the riverside park for sunrise. The sky was quiet. There were no dramatic streaks of color, just a serene lightening toward day. The moon lingered, a gorgeous waning orb in the west. Mist drifted above the water, testament to the frosty air. Two eagles soared by, and a flock of geese arrowed across the sky. A few mergansers glided across the still water. The fish were active, rising to the surface to create small splashes and concentric rings. Far off I could hear a woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting. I soaked in the pre-dawn calm.

Soon a car arrived and then another pulled in. After a moment of confusion, I saw a man set up a lectern, and realized there was probably going to be some sort of Easter sunrise service. I didn’t want to get blocked in the parking lot, as I was hoping to catch the red-winged blackbirds singing in a nearby marshy area. If I was lucky and the lighting was right, I might be able to catch their breath in a photo. There’s something so amazing about that to me. At any rate, as a few other service goers arrived, I walked over to my car, feeling grateful and replete.

A man stepped up next to me. “Stay for the services,” he smiled.

“No, thanks,” I responded. “I’ve just been watching the eagles and the sunrise. I’m heading over to the Abbadagasset to see the birds there.”

“You’re missing the Lord,” he replied.


“I have my own way to worship,” I said, getting into my car.

Driving away, I felt a bit taken aback. What should I have said? I’m not a religious person, but hadn’t I just told him I was admiring what he would say are “God’s creations”? Also, wasn’t it presumptuous of him to comment at all on what I was doing. He might think I was “missing the Lord”, but I had to wonder if he was missing the point. Probably it was good that I hadn’t said that.

His words were with me all morning. I wouldn’t say they upset me, but they were there. They were there as I arrived at the next river to watch an osprey soar. As I listened to the red-winged blackbirds call through the marsh. As I heard the far-off lament of migrating geese, and delighted in the antics of two beaver. They were with me as I drove home and en route saw yet another eagle and more mergansers and celebrated the return of the swallows.

They’re still with me as I write this post, hours later.

It was a glorious morning. I was filled with gratitude. In my opinion, I was missing nothing.

I’m sharing a poem I wrote 4 or 5 years ago. It feels like the perfect one for today.

My Kind of Worship

Sunrise service at the river
pink horizon
scattered sunlight

©Molly Hogan

NPM: Free Choice: A Wordle Poem

I Wordle every morning and every so often I use my word choices for the day to create a poem. Yesterday my word choices were : frame, claim, amass and smash. Here’s my poem:


Frame your day
with gratitude and awe.
Claim it, name it and hang it on the wall
or on a page
or let it tremble on your lips in praise.
Amass a grand collection.
Smash away the drab, the grey!
Keen your eye to wonder–
frame your day.

©Molly Hogan

NPM: Free Choice: A Small Poem of Gratitude

As one of my students came into class this morning, I pointed to the feeder outside our window.

“Look, S, there’s a bluebird! Isn’t he beautiful?”

He raced over to look.

“I just wrote a poem about a bluebird,” I said.

“You wrote a poem?” he asked.

I nodded. “I love bluebirds so much.”

“Do you know what?” he asked.


“Yesterday on the way to the doctor’s I saw a bluebird, and you know what?”

“No, what?” I responded.

“It was so beautiful.” He paused. “It was so beautiful, I almost cried.”

I know what you mean S.

With Gratitude to the Blue Bird

The pulse of your blue
like an animated piece of enchanted sky
free-wheeling elusive indigo
optimism on the wing

©Molly Hogan, draft

NPM Day 4ish: cherita

In case you’re looking, Day 3 of my NPM (National Poetry Month) “project” didn’t happen. Hence Day 4ish. Of course, now I’m not sure how to move forward. Will tomorrow be 5ish? Am I numbering my actual posts this month or the day of the month? My head’s spinning, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. Maybe tomorrow. If I post. We’ll just have to see how it all unfolds. (If you’re wondering what my project is, you can check out this post. If this all feels a bit unstructured, well…that’s kind of my NPM vibe.)

On a bright note, this morning a lovely little moment called out for recognition. So on the way to work, I dictated a cherita. A cherita is a title-less poem that tells a story in linked 1-line, 2-line and 3-line stanzas. Once I got home, I pulled up my dictated notes, polished them up a tad, and here’s what I had:

Running late, I step outside

a repeating call
stops me in my tracks

High upon our rooftop
sweet phoebe perches
welcoming spring with her tell-tale song

©Molly Hogan

If you find that you enjoy this poetry form, be sure to check out this site where,Mary Lee Hahn is sharing her National Poetry Month project: 30 days of cheritas!

NPM Day 2: Cinquain

Morning time is precious to me. I woke today, thankful for the flow of another day without timelines and rush, rush, rush. Luxuriating in the feel of a weekday morning, while trying to overlook the Sunday-impending-Monday part of it. Leaning into this time for writing. For wandering. For taking pictures. The time when I try to weave a creative life from noticings and wonderings. From dream fragments, the fading glow of moonlight and the blush of dawn. This morning my soundtrack is the gentle gurgle of the coffee pot, the rising chorus of the birds, the tic-tic-tic of the heating radiators, and the stop-and-start soft scrape of my pen on the page.

each dawn
a tinder box
wisps of dreams like forest duff
pen scrapes the page, one spark ignites
a blaze

©Molly Hogan

*Today Alex Price’s daily #CinquainPrompt was blaze.

National Poetry Month Begins!

Today marks the beginning of National Poetry Month. Each year I toy with the idea of participating, but I’ve always found it hard to commit after the demands of daily writing in March with the TWT Slice of Life Challenge. This year Margaret Simon and I came up with a very flexible plan for the month. We created a grid of 30 blocks and wrote a poetry form or choice in each one. I’m trying to view it not so much as a plan as a planlette. My focus is on being flexible, low stakes and fun. We used a calendar grid, but there are no dates (although I will admit, the ultimate goal is to check each box at some point during the month). Still, there’s no order and no expectation. I’m trying to think of it as a playground of possibility, not an overwhelming to-do list. You are invited to play along if you’d like. Here it is, all prettified by Margaret.

For my first choice I decided to go over to Laura Purdie Salas’s NPM project. Since I already mentioned playgrounds, this feels like a fitting place to begin. In a nutshell, Laura’s providing 5 topic choices and an array of magnetic words to work with. She’s aptly named it “Digging for Poems.” When I first read about her project, I commented, “I feel like you just opened a new playground and invited everyone in to play with you!”

Again, that’s my lens for the month. Play. Low stakes. Fun. We’ll see if I can keep that lens in place…

Here are two quick responses to Laura’s prompt for today:


Soft chick.


behind cover of smoke
soft pink glow
break on through

Wishing you a month filled with noticing and wondering about the poetry hidden in your everyday moments. As Naomi Shahib Nye writes so eloquently in “A Valentine for Ernest Mann”,

“So I’ll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment 
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.”