Instructions to a Standardized Test

74707-poetry-friday-logoOver at Today’s Little Ditty this month, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes interviewed Liz Steinglass about her debuting picture book: Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer. It was a great interview and ended, as always, with a challenge. Liz invited readers to write Poems of Instruction to inanimate objects. What an intriguing challenge! I’ve been having loads of fun seeing what others have written and finally settled on my response. (I apologize for the appearance, but the only way I could retain my formatting was by taking screen shots and cutting and pasting them.)

Instructions to a Standardized Test

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The ever-inspiring Margaret Simon of Reflection on the Teche is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup. She’s sharing some wonderful nature pi-ku poems written by the gifted and talented students she teaches.

Rainy Spring Lament

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I’ve been struggling to write for the past few weeks. I didn’t participate in the weekly Tuesday SOL for most of April, and my poetry writing has been erratic. My morning writing pages haven’t been accumulating either. Outside, there’s lots going on and I’ve enjoyed time down by the river, and walking, taking pictures, gardening, etc., but I’m not feeling a writing tug. I just haven’t wanted to write about anything in particular. I’ve started and stopped a couple of pieces, unable to find any sort of rhythm. Could it be the weather?

Thank goodness for my on-line writing communities–Poetry Friday to the rescue! Intrigued by the dizains on show in several posts last week, I decided to attempt one. The basic rules to a dizain are 10 lines with 10 syllables each and a rhyme scheme of ababbccdcd.  Our depressingly rainy spring seemed to be the perfect topic.

Rainy Spring Lament

These ceaseless days of drizzle drag me down
fair sun retreats, unfelt and rarely spied
sky clings to clouds as to a favorite gown
debuting springtime blossoms peek then hide,
droop ever downward, fully mist-ified
The forecast looms with unrelenting grey
belies the merry, merry month of May
when typically the whole world comes alive
instead our spirits sag and tempers fray
Oh, when will springtime finally arrive?

©Molly Hogan, 2019

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Elizabeth Steinglass at her blog, Elizabeth Steinglass: Poetry for Children and Their Grownups. She’s celebrating all sorts of milestones this spring, including the imminent release of her first book: “Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer.” Congratulations, Elizabeth!!  Today she’s sharing a first draft of a poem that’s included in that book, and a poem that was cut.

PF–Fibonacci poems

74707-poetry-friday-logoIf you didn’t have a chance to watch Laura Shovan’s fabulous Nerdy Book Club Facebook appearance, I highly recommend it. During part of this poetry extravaganza, she focused on Fibonacci poems, and offered several resources to facilitate writing these poems with students.  After watching Laura talk about Fib poems, I realized that I’d never written one. Oops!  Inspired by Laura and some of my recent photos, I set out to rectify that omission. 

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This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Jama Rattigan at her sumptuous blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup. She’s celebrating spring with some fabulous art and poems by Sara Teasdale and Mary Oliver.

Wishes

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My thoughts have turned to my grandmother a lot lately.  I’ve always thought of her as a strong and capable woman. She was relatively reserved and certainly proper–“A place for everything and everything in it’s place” kind of woman–and I suspect she could have given etiquette lessons to Miss Manners.  One thing I’ve been struck by recently is some of the contrasts between my ideas about her and my actual memories of time spent with her, and ultimately, how little I knew the woman she was.

Wishes

My pragmatic grandmother
stoic and steady
taught us to wish
on eyelashes and stars
and on a slice of pie–
Cut off the corner
tuck it behind the crust
now turn your plate
clockwise, three times
eat it all, corner piece last
to make your wish come true
On the first of the month
she taught us to wake
and quickly whisper
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit
for good luck
I wonder why she dwelt on wishes
what she wished for then…

Oh, how I wish
I could ask her now

© Molly Hogan, 2019

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the dynamic Carol Varsalona at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link. She’s sharing a lovely foggy morning at the beach in photos and poetry.

NPM–PF–Accustomed To Grey

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I’d stepped away from Playing with Poetry for the past week or so, but seeing recent Paint Chip Poems by Margaret Simon and Kim Douillard had me itching to bring out the paint chips again. This time I randomly picked four colors: Reticence, Escape Grey, Lantern Light and Overjoy.

Accustomed to Grey

Her own reticence
was a surprise
She’d thought that
once the door opened
to allow a sliver
of lantern light within
she’d be overjoyed
to escape grey
instead she clung to
the comfort of shadows
and shielded her eyes
from the flame

©Molly Hogan, 2019

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the amazing Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at her blog, The Poem Farm. During NPM, she’s writing a collection of 30 poems that will tell a story. This project has kept me on the edge of my seat and sometimes on the verge of tears. I eagerly await each day’s installment, and if you haven’t been reading along, I encourage you to go check them out now!

PF: The Gift of Dawn

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the warm and talented Irene Latham at her blog, Live Your Poem. This year her ARTSPEAK poems center on the theme of Happy. I’ve loved following along as each day focuses on an inspiring piece of art and her poetic response. Wow!  This is the blog to visit if you want a lift in your day!

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Not long ago, I came across the poem Rhapsody by William Stanley Braithwaite.

Rhapsody

I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
     For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
     Which hang on the edge of to-morrow.
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
     Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
     Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

I read it again and again, and kept it open in a tab on my browser, so I could easily return to it. Something about it resonated with me, and then inspired me to write my own poem, lifting the beginning words, and using the same rhyme scheme.

The Gift of Dawn

I am glad daylong for the gift of dawn
for glowing morning light
by the river’s side with the shifting tide
where birds and dreams take flight
I am glad to roam from secluded home
to cast off my worries and woes
to embrace day’s start with a grateful heart
at peace with howe’er it flows

©Molly Hogan, 2019

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NPM Day 5: PF–Paint Chip Poetry

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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.

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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)