This April, Renee LaTulippe of No Water River is hosting a wonderful month of poet visits and writing prompts. I’ve been lurking mainly, but a prompt from Margarita Engle caught my eye. She asked poets to write about making a choice, either simple or complex. Here’s one I made recently on the way home from work.



Driving home last night
I chose to pause
to pull over on the berm
then sit and watch as
four slender deer
foraged in the misty fields
while cars whizzed by
buffeting me with their wake

Last night
I chose to linger
while deer peacefully grazed
stepping through
tendrils of languid fog
that drifted and twined about them
as the world rushed by
and dusk descended.

© 2018 M. Hogan







Taking pictures of frogs is one of my favorite spring activities, and during this week’s break, I’ve been haunting two local vernal pools. Sometimes finding frogs is like completing a hidden picture puzzle. You look and look and don’t see any, and then suddenly realize there’s one over there. Oh! Then, there’s another! And another! Then, the challenge is to get a picture of them without scaring them away.  I’ve had limited success this year (I don’t think the frogs like the miserable weather either!), but have had great fun searching. I love using photos with poetry and thought this week I might use one of my new pictures to inspire a poem about frogs.

Then the other day, I finally had the chance to dive into Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book, Poems Are Teachers. What an inspiration!  I haven’t read far (too many spring break “field trips”!) but am loving it. It’s an incredibly rich brew of resources spiced with Amy’s passion for and knowledge about poetry. I’m struggling to find the superlatives to do it justice, but the bottom line is, I think this book will have a major impact on both my teaching and my writing.

Anyway, while I was toying with the idea of writing a frog-inspired poem, I read Chapter 1, and Mary Lee Hahn’s words struck me. “When I choose a photo, I notice everything in it. Then I think about who or what might be just outside the edges of the photo.” Her words inspired me to go back to some recent frog photos and push outside the edges of the image, in search of a poem.

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I step off the river path
into cool shadows
My eyes skim the vernal pool
seeking irregularity
a broken plane
on the leaf-lined pond
where light freckles the surface
tree shadows criss cross and
reflections run riot
searching, searching
The bump of your eyes
catches mine
I crouch, snap a photo
then step forward eagerly
too eagerly
and with a splash you dive
your pale amphibian legs
flexing and pushing
ghostly shadows in the murky water
’til you vanish from sight
only ripples mark
where once you were

©2018 M.  Hogan




This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. Tabatha is also celebrating the release of IMPERFECT: Poems about mistakes for middle schoolers. I’m thrilled to have a poem included in this collection. Woohoo! Pssttt—There are even rumors about a party! Head on over so you don’t miss the fun!

The Moon


Today J. Patrick Lewis offers a sneak peek at his newest book, PH(R)ASES OF THE MOON: LUNAR POEMS at Renee LaTulippe’s blog No Water River. He also posts an invitation to contribute a moon-inspired poem to the community collection. I shared a moon poem quite recently (here) and wanted to revisit the idea of the moon as a weaver. Here’s my response to his prompt.

The Moon

Bright skeins of moonbeams at her feet
She weaves a lacy night replete
with shadows deep and paths aglow
and nimbly crafts a lustrous flow
a gleaming throw o’er sleeping land
moon magic streaming from her hand

©2018 M. Hogan


Abandoned Farmhouse

Abandoned Farmhouse
by Ted Kooser
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

(click on the title to read the remainder of the poem)

house3.jpgI read the above poem recently and thought immediately of the abandoned houses that haunt the back country roads in Maine. Their stories are palpable. Ted Kooser imagines one story, with an ominous tone, in a setting spiked with broken dishes and spines, boulders and leaky barns. His poem inspired me to revisit an old post and some pictures I’d taken long ago, and to write the following:


Once upon a time…

The house had good bones
its story still stirs the air
like a haunting whisper
Once upon a time…

Big house
little house
back house
like vertebrae on a spine
skinned with a coat of cheerful yellow
crowned with a jaunty red roof
waving a welcome
with blue and white curtains
at its windows

Now, open windows are blank eyes
Dulled yellow paint
peels from bone-dry clapboards
the red roof bucks and heaves
a fractured spine

No bark echoes in this yard
No drying clothes dance in a soft spring breeze
No child’s laughter trills
Even the birds seem silent here


In a gaping window
the dusty curtains flutter
like a broken sigh

There is no graveyard
for houses that die

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

If you’re interested in learning about the “big house, little house, back house, barn” architecture so evident in Maine, click  here. If you’d like to read some more poetry at this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, head over to A Year of Reading.

Certainty blooms

Tendrils of fog drift idly
in low-lying hollows.
A thick, vaporous contrail,
lit to a dazzling white
by the rising sun,
bisects the pink morning sky.
The sun’s rays play peek-a-boo
through the trunks of the maple trees,
cavorting amidst the branches,
striping the damp pavement,
flashing in my eyes
as I run past on this early morning.
Certainty blooms.
It’s going to be a beautiful day.