NPM Day 5: PF–Paint Chip Poetry


This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Karen Edmisten at her blog. She’s sharing a wonderful poem by John Ashbery there. You can also find links to dozens of other poetry-related blogs. Check it out–It is National Poetry Month (NPM) after all!

I accepted Mary Lee Hahn‘s invitation to spend this NPM, or at least some of it, Playing with Poetry. I had access to a collection of paint samples, so have focused my efforts there. So far, it’s been a fascinating process. I’m only five days in, but I’m having such fun! My first effort (here) still makes me giggle, and every day yields challenges and surprising outcomes. Some names come together immediately and others just won’t play nicely. I love the way the paint chip names encourage me to make new and unexpected combinations. 

I’ve been varying the game each day.  Today, I decided to pull one random color strip and choose from amongst the seven possible color names on that strip. I chose these three: Meander Blue, Cloudburst, and Raindrop.


As Winter recedes
she withdraws her white cloak
revealing the flowing river
reborn in full meander blue glory
with cloudbursts dancing on its liquid surface
birds swimming in reflective depths
and rising fish creating raindrop ripples
that expand into infinity

©2019 Molly Hogan

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I also was tickled by the thought of enthusiastic poets swarming their local hardware stores to score some paint chip samples. With that in mind on Day 3, I wrote this poem highlighting the colors: Sensible Hue, Manitou Blue, and Angora. I’m sharing it here again (with a few changes–it’s still drafty and I’m still playing!).

Meanwhile at the local hardware store…

“Here comes another one,”
sighs the exasperated clerk.
“No sensible hues,” she announces
“I’m looking for exotic names,
or at least some rhyming potential.”
Her eyes skitter across the rainbow
of graduated color samples
Moving closer, she pushes back the sleeves
of her bedraggled angora sweater,
her ink-stained fingers hover, twitch
Lost in thought, she mutters,
like a fledgling incantation,
“Perhaps enlightened lime, euphoric lilac
or maybe this brilliant Manitou blue?”

©Molly Hogan, 2019 (draft)


NPM Day 4–An Autumnal Moment

You know, I just have to say that I really wish there were a better abbreviation for Paint Chip Poetry than PCP. While Paint Chip Poetry has challenged me to think in new ways, I can say with certainty that it hasn’t induced hallucinations or lead to violent outbursts.

At any rate, today I chose these colors randomly from three different color strips: Henna Shade, Brassy, and Wheat Grass. This was definitely the most challenging poem so far. I’m not really satisfied with this, but honoring the idea of playing, I’m sharing it anyway.

An Autumnal Moment

The russet setting sun casts light
through the ornamental cast iron gate
creating intricate henna shade
on the shimmering wheat grass
while overhead, migrating geese
sound their brassy calls

©2019 Molly Hogan

NPM Day 3: Two Poems for the Price of One


Ok, I may be addicted. Paint Chip Poetry is just plain fun. I pull three paint colors randomly — I’ve been pulling a color “stick”, pointing without looking, and then doing that again two times–and then I get going. Each time I’ve initially thought, “Ugh. What am I going to do with those colors?” Then somehow I find my way into a rough draft of a poem, or maybe even two!

Today’s colors: Sensible Hue (Yes, really!), Manitou Blue, and Angora

I was not feeling too hopeful with this selection. I decided to start with angora and give myself a character and see what happened. A few more colors made their way into the mix here.

Angora Dreams

Through the finger-smudged glass,
the soft angora rabbit
watched the coloring children
He glanced wistfully at his own sensible hue
and wished for some crayola glamor–
a dab of Razzle Dazzle Rose, a splash of cerise
or perhaps one streak of Manitou blue…
He sighed, hunkered in the corner,
and nibbled on his Burnt Orange carrot

©Molly Hogan, 2019

After spending some time reading and commenting on posts tonight, I was struck by how many people were planning to find some paint chips and try out Paint Chip Poetry. That lead me in this direction, where a few colors from the past two days made a cameo appearance:

Meanwhile at the local hardware store…

“Here comes another one,”
sighed the exasperated clerk.
“No sensible hues,” she said.
“I’m looking for exotic names,
or at least some rhyming potential.”
Her eyes skittered across the rainbow
of graduated color samples
Moving closer, she pushed back the sleeves
of her angora sweater,
her ink-stained fingers hovered, twitched
Lost in thought, she murmured,
“Perhaps enlightened lime, euphoric lilac
or maybe a brilliant Manitou blue?”

©Molly Hogan, 2019


NPM 2019 Paint Chip Poetry



I thought I was all worn out after last month’s SOL writing challenge. Phew! No daily writing deadlines. Less pressure! More time for….other stuff. Woohoo!

56157671_2292250211056165_7153227001665421312_nBut… it’s National Poetry Month. There are challenges and invitations everywhere! Much to my surprise, I’ve found myself “Playing Around with Poetry”. I’m still not quite sure who gets credit for issuing the initial invitation, but think it was Mary Lee Hahn. I know that Jone MacCulloch, Margaret Simon and Christie Wyman are playing along. Yesterday, I gave in to temptation and messed around with my own version of some Paint Chip Poetry.

This morning, much to my surprise, I couldn’t resist trying again. I changed it up a bit, deciding to pull out three random strips and point at one color on each strip without looking. I pulled: “dapper tan”, “papaya”, and “euphoric lilac.”

Spring Dawn

One plump sparrow
with dapper tan stripes
forages beneath the euphoric lilac
heavy with exuberant blossoms
whose scent drifts up
to sweeten the
papaya-streaked sky

(rough draft)©2019 Molly Hogan

NPM 2019–Fooling around with my own version of Paint Chip Poetry

56157671_2292250211056165_7153227001665421312_n.jpgIn case you hadn’t noticed, it’s National Poetry Month! There’s all sorts of fabulous, frivolous poetry fun going on. I’m not sure that I’m up for a full month’s challenge, but the prose writing for the Slice of Life Challenge has left me yearning to write poetry. Also, I keep seeing posts inviting me to join in and “Play with Poetry”. Who can turn down that kind of invitation? I believe this particular fun began with Mary Lee Hahn and Jone MacCulloch, but I’m not sure.  (Please correct me if you know I’m off-base with this! Update–The idea originated with Mary Lee! She has the best ideas!!)

At any rate, I made my own version of Paint Chip Poetry today. I took a Sherwin-Williams paint chip sample thing-a-ma-jig, that has been tucked in a classroom cupboard for years, and brought it home. I decided to pick one “stick” of colors and randomly choose three names. Today I picked: “cucumber”, “pickle” and “enlightened lime”. Oooookay. 

Here’s my very rough, very odd,  draft poem. I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but every time I read it, it cracks me up. Then I get a little worried. (March really was a very long month.)

A Proliferation of Greens

In the fridge
the dark matte green skin
of cucumbers goosebumps
in proximity with
dull shades of pickle
seen through smudged glass
and murky liquid
but in the fruit drawer
there’s a burst of color
from one enlightened lime,
clearly destined
for my future margarita

©2019 (rough draft) Molly Hogan