SOLC Day 6: Poetry Friday: Question Poem


March 2020 SOLC–Day 6
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Today’s post is doing double duty for the SOLC and Poetry Friday.


This month Margaret Simon challenged our writing group to write a question poem. “What is a question poem,” you ask? Well, Susan Sherwood at Pen & the Pad writes: “A question poem is described by its name: it’s a series of queries. The poem generates one question after another, building upon a topic.”

I was looking forward to this challenge, but it didn’t go as smoothly as I’d imagined it would. I can’t tell you how many questions I posed, trying to find a way into a poem. I’ve gone from the meaning of life to the inconsistency of dress sizing. There were so many false starts! I worked on poem after poem, finally I settled on one poem for a while, only to junk it a week later. Then, as the deadline loomed, I went back to that poem again. Ugh! It still felt like a hot mess. Last night, I actually began to compose an “I’m sorry but I’m not sharing this month” e-mail to send to the group. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to push send.

The SOLC reminds me that you have to challenge yourself, to show up and try, and Amanda Potts reminded me yesterday that sometimes you have to accept when something is “Good enough.”  So, I’m not wild about this poem, but I’m sharing it anyway. I may rework it. I may junk it again. But I’m putting it out there in the spirit of this crazy thing called writing. It’s all about process right?

Why is the barista sad today?

Why is the barista sad today?
What story weighs her down?
Will my coffee–
half-caff, light two percent please–
contain the flavor of her quiet sorrow?
Why is it so easy to overlook
each others’ stories?
To let our eyes slide away?
Do we ask?
And if we do,
do we truly listen?
Which version of our own stories
do we share?
Which truth percolates up
in a rich brew of fact
and fallacy?

Does she even know
how beautiful her skin is?
How is it that,
at my age,
I have never learned
to apply foundation?
Shouldn’t everyone know how
to hide their blemishes?
To chose the face they share
with the world?

Does she appreciate
the firmness of her jawline?
When did mine soften anyway?
How did I go from ten years old
to turning fifty plus change
in the blink of an eye?
And how can that
already measure
more than half a life?

©Molly Hogan, 2020 (draft)

You can check out some other question poems at the following links:
Margaret Simon — Reflections on the Teche
Linda Mitchell– A Word in Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst — My Juicy Little Universe
Catherine Flynn — Reading to the Core

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Rebecca Herzog at her blog, Sloth Reads. She’s sharing two poems that she wrote during Laura Shovan’s February Poetry Project. They cover an unusual range from volcanoes to eggs. 🙂