NYC Poems

74707-poetry-friday-logoI’m in New York right now, participating in Teachers College Summer Institute for Reading. What a week of learning this has been! I’m always inspired to write by the sights and sounds of the city around me, but it’s tough to find time and mental energy to devote to it. Here are a few in-the-works poems inspired by the sights and sounds of NYC. 

Broadway buzzes by
he curls around his black bag
a sleeping question

©Molly Hogan, 2019

A Subway Moment

swept into the subway
by torrents of rain
and arcs of lightning
I stumble onto the train and stand
pressed against passengers
a humid mass
of bedraggled humanity

through the window
I see a man
sitting on the platform
his hands dance gracefully in the air
drumming an inaudible tune
against an invisible drum

his bag of belongings behind him
he sits in his island
taps and beats until
his hands agitate
as if tripped up, bumping up
against microscopic motes
He grimaces
cocks his head
his hands still
Until…in a moment
his face smooths and
he resumes
his drumming

above us thunder booms
rain pummels the city
my train pulls away

Molly Hogan ©2019 (draft)
(Note—I edited this after first posting)

Journey

A man slept on the street
his naked feet
pale and surprisingly pink
peeked from beneath
a dingy blanket

Who washed these feet
when they were small?
Did anyone count and kiss
each precious toe?
Chase the little piggies
all the way home?
wee wee wee
What a journey

Molly Hogan ©2019 (draft)

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by children’s author, poet and wonderful photographer, Buffy Silverman at her blog (here). She’s sharing a peek into Helen Frost and Rick Lieder’s book “Hello I’m Here” and a wonderful original advice poem. What a delight!

The Bird Word

74707-poetry-friday-logoWherever I go, I watch birds. I spend hours watching birds at home, at the beach, and at the river. I confess, I even watch them while I should be focusing on the road. In fact, I’m amazed that, to date,  I’ve emerged unscathed from majorly bird-distracted driving! At any rate, I’m especially captivated by the daily drama at our feeders, and it frequently distracts me from my work. I often wonder about the birds’ ability to intuit the arrival of a new type of suet or fresh oranges or sunflower seeds. How do they spread the word?  I recently reworked an old poem about this, and thought I’d share the new and hopefully improved version here.

The Bird Word

Do they read a daily flyer
to alert them one and all?
Do they chatter at the back-fence
and report each new windfall?

Do they banter at the birdbath
’bout the tasty treat du jour?
Do they gossip while they’re gorging
at the feeder by the door?

Do the bluejays trade in hearsay,
while the chickadees chitchat?
Is there message to decipher
in woodpecker’s rat-a-tat?

Do the sparrows spread the news?
Each tweet a coded whistle?
Could one chirp mean sunflower seeds
and two long tweets mean thistle?

I suspect they gather nightly
to exchange the feeder news
and to seed their conversations
with their coded birdly clues.

I could sit still and decipher
how the word spreads with such speed
but instead I must go shopping…
I need two more bags of seed!

© Molly Hogan

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Laura Shovan at her blog. She’s sharing some wonderful student poetry from her recent stint as poet-in-residence.

And because I can’t resist sharing photos….here are a few of some feeder action 🙂

Addendum: Honestly, I just looked outside this morning and saw: a rose breasted grosbeak, a ruby throated hummingbird, several blue jays, a red winged blackbird, a red-bellied woodpecker, a white breasted nuthatch, a mourning dove and a catbird. In one glance! How lucky am I?

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!