Friday, March 01, 2019

Mask Poems with My Poetry Sisters

Where did February go?! For March, Laura challenged us to write a mask poem from the point of view of any everyday object (toothbrush, pencil, car keys, etc.). You can learn more about this form and read some great examples at Wild Rose Reader.

I took my class to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Tuesday to learn about how to use the museum and its resources to teach social studies. We took a trip through the Ancient World galleries and spent time engaging with 3 different works. I was quite taken with a camel sculpture created for the tomb of a Chinese merchant. As the class completed a notice and wonder activity, I started wondering what the camel might be thinking, and what it would say if it could hear our conversation.

This isn't my finest poem, but it is a first draft that made its way out of my head and onto paper, and that is always a very good thing.

What a 7th Century Camel Knows
Few make it to this room in the gallery
tucked into a corner on the second floor
the mummies and marble statues of
the gods draw them in and captivate

If they make it this far, I see only their backs
hear them as they ooh and aah
over "Bowl with Bats, Waves, and Rocks"
a tiny slip not even 200 years old
I've got a thousand years on that bit
of porcelain, but they barely notice me

"They had camels in China?"
the visitors all say
If I could snort I would, but my breath
would surely fog the glass
Just once I'd like to stretch my legs
move a muscle, turn my head

I wish they could see my natural form
but both my beautiful humps are
obscured by heavy packs of goods
the saddle piled high
Silk Road still calling my name

And so I wait
for the one who will SEE me
take more than 7 seconds to glance my way
the one who will stare and study and imagine
their way into my head, into my dreams
into my story, my history

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.
Bactrian Camel (Unknown Artist)7th Century Chinese
© Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. Andi and Kelly are off this month, but we look forward to welcoming them back soon. Today we're thrilled to welcome a new member to the fold. You just might recognize her last name. Welcome Rebecca!
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda Baie at Teacher Dance. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Poetry Sisters Write in the Style of "Minor Miracle"

Phew! I thought January would never end, but I hoped for a bit more time before the first Friday of the month to debut these poems. Oh well, it's always something with these challenges. Tanita set our February charge to write“ the style of.” The exact words were "Write a poem in the style of Marilyn Nelson’s “Minor Miracle,” about a small, miraculous thing you have seen or know.

I suppose my problem with this challenge was that Nelson's poem really hit me in the heart and I found myself wondering if the event described actually happened to her. That got me stuck thinking that this poem had to be about something that happened to me. And that assumption made it hard. And I got stuck. And I wrote a sappy/crappy poem. It happens. A LOT! I write crap and revise. It gets better (or not), and I write more. Yes, writing is truly a recursive process.

Funny, but my brain is recursive too. Once I get an idea in my head, sometimes I can't shake it and I come back to it over, and over, and over. I spent a lot of time trying to think about minor miracles I had seen or experienced. I finally hit upon a topic when I was watching a show on Netflix and saw a brief scene that jogged a bittersweet memory. I like this one much better than the first poem I wrote. I hope my sisters do too. And of course, I hope you enjoy it as well. This one's for my dad.

I Saw a Father Kiss the Bride
Which reminds me of my wedding day
and my mother's whispered admonition
to my father as we headed for the car
"You'd better kiss her when you
hand her off."

We stood in the back of the church
silently waiting for the music to begin
He offered his arm
but no compliments
no smiles, no words at all
I should not have been disappointed
I knew he was a man of few words
and fewer gestures

When we reached the altar
he pushed me toward my
future husband, shook his hand
and returned to my mother
Leaving the church we were
greeted by a post-shower sky
sporting a double rainbow
the perfect metaphor for my mood

Years passed
There were the obligatory hugs
(I gave them) when we visited
rare smiles at his grandson
the same dry wit and stubbornness

During my last visit
before he died
he harrumphed every time
I fussed over him
too weak to deny my ministrations
but not too weak to
plant a kiss on my cheek
and say goodbye

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Kelly's off playing the most favorite auntie, but she'll be back with us soon. And finally, we're thrilled to welcome in Sara's daughter Rebecca to our little ring of poetry for these prompts.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Poetry Friday Is Here!

"But I got saved by poetry. And I got saved by the beauty of the world."
- Mary Oliver

I'm heartbroken at the loss of Mary Oliver. I have so many well-worn volumes of her work. My Yin instructor often reads her poems and essays as we settle into positions for extended periods of time. So many people I know count her as a favorite, myself included. It saddens me to know her voice has fallen silent. In light of her passing, I'm sharing this poem.

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.

If you have a chance, take some time to listen to this On Being episode with Mary Oliver. You won't regret it.

I'm rounding things up old-school style, so please leave a comment and I'll add you to the post. Happy poetry Friday all.

Poetry Books and Some History
Laura Purdie Salas introduces us to her new book coming out this springSnowman-Cold=Puddle. Woohoo! Congratulations to Laura!

Renee LaTulippe is sharing the second episode of The History of American Children's Poets with Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Original Poems
Matt Forrest Esenwine is sharing a poem about his step-grandfather, birds, and the Saint who connected them all.

Tabatha Yeatts is sharing an original poem entitled The Fortitude of Eyelashes.

Kathryn Apel is linking to her #MoPoetry2019 Insta-Poems, a lovely marriage of poetry and images.

Sally Murphy is sharing her first Poetry Friday poem for 2019, entitled A Lucky Home.

Michelle Kogan is sharing a golden shovel poem inspired by a line from a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. Her poem is entitled True Peace.

Kiesha Shepard is honoring Mary Oliver in sharing her poem entitled Delight and inviting us to write with her.

Molly Hogan is sharing an "I am" poem and two storm-related haiku.

Mary Lee Hahn is sharing six ekphrastic haikus with German translation and the story behind them.

Heidi Mordhorst is bringing us smiles as she shares poems written by 2nd graders.

Irene Latham is sharing a continuation of her Butterfly Hours memoir project. Her poem is written to the prompt word "broom" and is named the same.

Liz Steinglass is sharing two senryu she wrote this week for her many friends and neighbors who work for the federal government.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is honoring Mary Oliver with her poem entitled Wild and Precious.

Over at Deo Writer, Joan Mccullough shares an original poem inspired by Mary Oliver and a meadowlark.

Carol Labuzzetta shares a color poem of yellow, inspired by the work of Mary O'Neill.

Margaret Simon is sharing a wealth of poems today, including two by Mary Oliver and an original poem entitled A Misty Mary Morning.

Catherine Flynn shares a golden shovel she wrote using the words from the Mary Oliver poem Instructions for A Life.

Poems of Others
Laura Shovan is sharing thoughts about tidying, "stuff" and a poem by Judith Viorst. And there's George Carlin in one of my favorite bits ever!

Linda Kulp Trout is sharing a tribute to Mary Oliver and her poem The Summer Day.

Linda B. is also sharing a remembrance of Mary Oliver and a prose excerpt from her book Upstream.

Over at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet, Diane Mayr is sharing Moon and Water by Mary Oliver.

Jama Rattigan introduces us to her Blue Bear and shares the poem Joy Soup by William Palmer.

Little Willow is also sharing the Mary Oliver poem A Thousand Mornings.

The folks at Gathering Books are sharing Love Poem by Maggie Smith.

Tanita Davis is sharing her thoughts on Mary Oliver and two poems of hers, Whistling Swans and The Gift.

Ruth is remembering Mary Oliver and sharing past posts that highlighted her work.

Karen Edmisten is sharing an excerpt from the Mary Oliver poem Breakage.

Joan McCullough is sharing an excerpt from Mary Oliver's book Felicity.

Susan Bruck is also sharing Mary Oliver today with her poem The Swan.

Poetry Projects and Exchanges
Linda Mitchell is sharing all the lovely postcard poems she received as part of Jone McCullough's postcard exchange. These cards sport original poems written by the senders.

Kortney Garrison invites us to sign up to join the Peace Poetry Postcard exchange in February.

Carol Varsalona invites us to join her in capturing the sights and sounds of the season and using them to create artistic poetic expressions  for her annual winter gallery challenge.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Ringing in the New Year with My Poetry Sisters

My sisters and I have committed to another year of poetry challenges. We were a bit late on deciding this month's, so I tossed out a few photos from an exhibition on campus and asked folks to write to an image. 

I chose Alphabet Portfolio by James Stroud and Matthew Carter, a series of 26 prints of the letters of the alphabet in different typographical formats.

My poem was inspired by May Swenson's Cardinal Ideograms, one of my favorite poems about numbers and what they resemble.

Linguistic Ideograms, a Dyslexic's Nightmare

a   face in profile sporting
a 50's pompadour

c   the dinner plate between
the bread and drink
(join forefingers to thumbs
and you'll see what I mean)

e    the tip of a pig's tail

f    a tree whose crown is
weighed down with snow

g    crooked 8 written by a hand
touched with Parkinson's

h    holy hell! how many more
of these?

eyes tortured by symbols
on the page
there's a broken ladder, open zipper,
winding garden hose, a camel's back
but ...
no words
no sentences
no sense

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Andi and Kelly are out this month, but they will be back with us soon.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children. Happy new year and happy poetry Friday friends!