Friday, May 03, 2019

Poetry Sisters Write Dizain

Sara set this month's challenge to write a French Dizain, with bonus points awarded for using the word “square” in the poem. This form consists of one 10-line stanza with 10 syllables per line. The rhyme scheme is a/b/a/b/b/c/c/d/c/d. You can read more about the form at Robert Lee Brewer's site at the Writer's Digest.

I played around with a several topics and wrote three poems, all of which are fair attempts at the form. However, I couldn't get past the calendar and the date, so I decided to write one more poem. You see, my father would have been 93 on Sunday. The tenth anniversary of his death is May 7th, and on the 10th, he and my mother would have celebrated 67 years of marriage. I hate that the beginning of May makes me so maudlin, especially because I thought it would be easier by now. It's not. Here's the poem I was inspired to write about my dad. I struggle with titles, so this one is untitled at the moment.

In early May my heart’s a hollow square
a box that holds my memories of you
Time heals all wounds but this cannot repair
Ten years without a father, I’ve made do
despite the dark and sad days I pushed through
I long to call you up, seek your advice
This time I’d listen well, would not think twice
Despite the gruff exterior you cared
I knew your heart, your work, your sacrifice
I’m pained by all you’ve missed and should have shared


Here are two additional poems I wrote while experimenting with this form.

How to Write a Poem
A poem doesn’t need to rhyme they said
it’s all about the heart and words you choose
select the ones that mend a broken thread
or square with all you know or just amuse
then tell the story of your faithful muse
take form and substance over what is new
eschew the window dressing, find a view
translate the human drama into art
dig deep into your soul and tell it true
love letter to the world a splendid start


Welcome to Boot Camp
A military life? They were surprised
It didn’t seem the hill I’d want to climb
The day we all arrived we exercised
our independence for one final time
then changed our clothes and scrubbed the floor of grime
We marched from place to place our corners squared
No matter what we thought we weren’t prepared
They broke us down and built us up again
as iron bonds were formed by hardships shared
they gave us swords but I preferred the pen

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

I also gave Laura's photo poem format a try and posted another dizain to Twitter. Head on over to check out  my math-themed poem.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. Kelly, Laura, and Andi  are all grappling with life this month, but they'll 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 Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 30: Personal Ad for a Frog

It's hard to believe that April is coming to a close. The last poem I'm sharing is part of series of poems I am working on that resemble classified or personal ads.

Personal Ad for a Frog
Winter sleeper, spring peeper
Champion hopper, eyes copper
Log squatter, loves water
Bug catcher, heart snatcher
Eats flies, great thighs
Winner of the swimming prize
Better than those other guys
Pick me!

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


You can see all the poems I shared this month at NPM 2019 Original Poems.
Happy Tuesday all. I'm so glad you spent this month with me celebrating poetry. Since Friday is the first of a new month, I'll see you back here for another Poetry Sisters challenge.

Monday, April 29, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 29: Scenes From a Train

Today I'm sharing a poem I wrote for a 2008 challenge that required using the five words sky, knot, fork, wall, and rose, as well as either trumpet or bullet as the sixth word. I recently dusted this one off and revised it. 

Scenes From a Train
She imagined riding on a bullet train
not in this creeping coach filled with
the sounds of screaming kids,
strains of muffled music, and
buzz of constant chatter.

She stared out the window,
eyes locked on the swirl and
knot of a flock ascending--
an immense black wall of
feet and feathers, wings and wind.

When the sky grayed and opened,
she traced the heavy drops,
rolling in forked rivers and streams
down the glass.

Hours later, lulled by the hum of
steel wheels and whispered voices,
she nodded off and missed
the rose and orange sunset
that quietly followed the summer rain.

Unfazed by all these events,
large and small,
within and without,
the train traveled on.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2008-2019. All rights reserved.


Happy Monday all. See you tomorrow for the wrap-up of National Poetry Month and one more original poem.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 28: Acrostic Riddle

For more than 10 years I've been working on a series of riddle poems on animal collectives. I'm not sure why I've been stuck on this topic, but perhaps it's because I love words and collective nouns are a fascinating bunch of words. Here's one of the riddle poems, written as an acrostic.

Sticklike legs step and strut
Through tidal flats, mangrove swamps
Awash in pink and vermilion
Noisy honking keeps us together as we
Dig and forage for meals in the mud

Who are we?

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.


My thought in writing these poems is that the collective noun would appear somewhere in the poem, along with clues to the animal. Once the reader turns the page, the animal would be revealed, along with some factual information.

For the above animal, you may be more familiar with the term flamboyance, but a group of these birds is also called a stand.
Image from article Beauty From the Bottom Up

Happy Sunday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 27: Spread the Love

Back in 2017 I was an authlete in the Madness! Poetry competition. My first round word was propagate and I wrote several poems before selecting one to submit. This is one of the poems I did not share.

Spread the Love

Like plants we snip and grow,
we should cultivate kindness,
redouble compassion and caring,
give smiles
in return for nothing.

Like seismic waves that ripple outwards
from the epicenter,
goodwill, charity, and mercy
should be granted
to everyone.

Why do we allow hate to spread?
Let’s choose to propagate love instead.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017-2019. All rights reserved.


Happy Saturday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Friday, April 26, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 26: Prince's Lament

As I mentioned earlier in the month, I love to write poems based on fairy tales. Today I'm sharing one inspired by the story of the frog prince.

Prince’s Lament
    Be careful what you wish for. 
       You just might get it …

Curse broken
I was transformed
but I despise this life
(don’t get me started
on my wife)

Restricted in every way
I cannot breathe
or stretch
or hop
cannot eat or sleep
whenever I want

I long to be
refreshed in the pool
to cool in the shade
of the trees
to join the chorus of
song at dawn

Each day I leave the castle
in search of a witch
(a real one)
hungry for a new curse
to set me free

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


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink. Happy poetry Friday friends! See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 25: Jade monkey with peach

I traveled to Taiwan, China, and Tibet in 2007. While there, I bought jade figures for both my mother and father. For my mother I selected a hummingbird, for my father a monkey. After my father passed away, I wrote a lot of poetry about him. Here's one centered on that monkey that I've dusted off and revised.

Jade monkey with peach

A small jade monkey
holding a peach
sits on my mantle
just within reach
I often rub its smooth head
proud of the negotiation
skills that brought him
home from Tibet

Dueling calculators the
mode of communication
instead of words there were
head shakes
double takes
rolled eyes
threatened goodbyes
sighs of exasperation
then celebration

A gift for my father
this Chinese symbol
for longevity
that failed to fulfill
its destiny.

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


Happy Thursday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 24: Acrostic Poem

Because I love poetry and writing, they are often the subject of my poems. Today I'm sharing an acrostic on, what else, poetry!

Phrases imperfect, imprecise
Ordered and reordered
Endlessly
Turned and twisted end over end
Revised
Yet again

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


Happy Wednesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 23: Inspired by the Dictionary

I am a word collector. I like to read the dictionary and thesaurus for fun. Sometimes I'm inspired by words I read and write a poem based on them. Here's one of those poems.

miz·zle - very fine, misty rain n.
   [from the Middle English mysell and Middle Dutch misel]

The skies are heavy
with woolen clouds
of gray that
do not dump or pelt
but fairly spritz
the earth
in a nebulous
fog of delicious
rain

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2009-2019. All rights reserved.


Happy Tuesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Monday, April 22, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 22: Book Spine Poem for Earth Day

For today's entry I culled my poetry shelves to create a poem for Earth Day.

Outside your window
red sings from treetops
land, sea, and sky
swirl by swirl
the Earth is painted green

Weather report?
sky magic
thunder underground

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

Book spine poem brought to you by:
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman
Land, Sea, & Sky: Poems to Celebrate the Earth by Catherine Paladino
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
The Earth is Painted Green: A Garden of Poems About Our Planet by Barbara Brenner
Weather Report by Jane Yolen
Sky Magic compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen


Happy Monday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 21: Lunch Box Blues

Today I'm sharing another blues poem I wrote for my son when he was six. This grew out of my experience as a child with school lunches, which included healthy and unhealthy choices, and his very particular tastes. I should note that he'll be graduating this year after taking his lunch to school all 13 years. For most of those years he refused to eat bread, so his lunch meat was packed in neat little rolls. Some years he wanted carrots, while others it was cucumbers. The one constant through it all was a square of Ghirardelli dark chocolate.

Lunch Box Blues
I eat a brown bag lunch
in the dining hall at noon
a peanut butter sandwich
September through to June
That same old peanut butter
gonna’ send me to the moon
oh man I gotta’ say it
got the doggone lunch box blues!

No Lunchables in my sack
no sandwich made of Fluff
no Ho Hos, chips or candy
just the same old healthy stuff
That peanut butter sandwich
it’s gonna’ make me snap
oh man I gotta’ say it
got the doggone lunch box blues!

I know my Momma loves me
feeds me good stuff every day
grapes and cheese and carrots
a healthy food buffet
And yes, that peanut butter
looks like it’s here to stay
oh man I gotta’ say it
got the doggone lunch box blues!

I’d trade it all for junk food
like pizza or some fries
a chocolate covered pretzel
or non-vegetable surprise
You see that peanut butter
has lost all of its appeal
ain’t no other way to say it
got the doggone lunch box blues!

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2007-2019. All rights reserved.


Happy Sunday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 20: A Terzanelle

I've been playing around for a while with writing a villanelle, but it hasn't been working, so I took some of the lines I liked and put them into a terzanelle. A terzanelle is cross between a terza rima and a villanelle. It uses the villanelle’s form of five triplets and a quatrain with the interlocking rhyme scheme of the terza rima.

Inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's site Sharing Our Notebooks, and the recent workshop I gave entitled The Art and Science of Nature Journaling, I've been writing more poems in my nature journal. This poem is my first draft about the act of observing and journaling. It needs a lot of work, but it's a start.

Untitled Terzanelle
With a scientist’s eye and poet’s heart
nature’s recorded in fine detail
with words chosen carefully, journal as art

observe river and stream, hill and vale
note all that you hear, touch, smell and see
nature recorded in fine detail

sketch flora and fauna, that robin, that tree
stop for a moment to take it all in
note all that you hear, touch, smell and see

taking stock of the world lights a fire within
humbles the soul with such beautiful sights
stop for a moment to take it all in

sunset gives way to bright twinkling lights
the moon and the stars, all the heavens inspire
humble the soul with such beautiful sights

keep your eyes open, make time to admire
with a scientist’s eye and poet’s heart
the moon and the stars, all the heavens inspire
your words written carefully, journal as art

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


Happy Saturday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Friday, April 19, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 19: Rainy Day Blues

Last week my social studies methods class engaged in a series activities designed to explore the events around the Dust Bowl. In using primary sources, we listened to the Woody Guthrie song Dust Bowl Blues. That got me thinking about blues poetry. (You can read more about it at Blues Poem: Poetic Form.)

When William was six I wrote a number of blues poems for him, among them poems entitled Lunch Box Blues and Bedtime Blues. Today I'm sharing another I wrote for him in the spring of 2007 and recently revised.

Rainy Day Blues
Clouds loomin' and thunder boomin'
skies grayin' and people sayin'
here come the rainy day blues.

Drops ploppin' and garden soppin'
puddles growin' and rivers flowin'
with rainy day blues.

Gutters spillin' and pools fillin'
ground seepin' and trees weepin'
with rainy day blues.

Hair drippin' and shoes squishin'
umbrella flyin' -- there's no denyin'
I got the rainy day blues.

Skies clearin' and sunshine nearin'
storms endin' with rainbow bendin'
no more rainy day blues!

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2007-2019. All rights reserved.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Happy poetry Friday friends! See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 18: Ode to an Oriental Rug

Our first house in Richmond was a lovely little bungalow style house built in 1925. It had plaster walls, hardwood floors, and so much character.  Despite the absence of air conditioning and a dishwasher, I loved it. Just a few months before William was born, my in-laws gifted us with a rug. In large part, I believe this was because they didn't want our new baby crawling around on a bare floor. Instead of a thank you note, I wrote them a poem. I came across it recently while backing up my computer files. It's corny, but it was from the heart.

Ode to An Oriental Rug

I hate to wear slippers
as you both know
now we've a carpet
to warm my cold toes

The colors are lovely
the texture so lush
our living room now
oh, how we could gush!

Each day we observe it
and see something fun
a shade or a pattern
that's so finely spun

We imagine our baby
this time next year
crawling upon it
in full baby gear!

So lucky a child
who will get to explore
the home being lived in
on more than cold floors

You just can't imagine
how lucky we feel
to own such a prize
it doesn't seem real

Please visit us soon
you'll be happy to see
a warm cozy room
for the Hunt family

We can't thank you enough
for all that you do
whether gifts or advice
love always shines through

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


Happy Thursday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 17: Where Readers Come From

Here's another poem I wrote for the summer poetry swap in 2017. This poem was written for Jone MacCulloch of DeoWriter and Check It Out. Since Jone is a librarian (retired), I knew I wanted to write about readers or books. Using George Ella Lyon's poem Where I'm From as a mentor text, this is what I came up with.

Where Readers Come From
     (with apologies to George Ella Lyon)

Readers come from songs,
   from rhyme and finger play.
They come from recitation and repetition
    (all those Moo, Baa, La La La’s
   and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?)
They come from Sunday comics,
   cereal boxes and read alouds
   that feature character voices,
   sound effects,
   and mood lighting.
They come from independent bookstores and libraries,
  from authors and librarians.

They come from
   Once upon a time,
   happily ever after,
  “It was a dark and stormy night,” and
   “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”
They come from Minli, Harriet, and Ramona,
   from Clementine, Omakayas, and Baby Mouse.
They come from Stanley Yelnats, Auggie Pullman, and Jackson Greene,
   from Jin Wang, Octavian Nothing, and Captain Underpants.
They come from Narnia, Middle Earth, and Hogwarts,
   from Panem, Redwall, and the Island of Berk.

Readers come from “It’s past your bedtime,”
  with flashlights under the covers
  turning page after page,
  racing to the end.

Readers come from letters strung into words
  and words arranged in a million different ways
  into stories that leave us
  gloomy or cheerful,
  quiet or agitated,
  exasperated or pleased,
  and every human emotion in between.

Under my pillow is a well-worn book
  pages bent
  cover crinkled.
I am from this book --
from all those that came before --
and all those yet to come.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.


Happy Wednesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 16: A Poem on Time

Today I'm sharing a poem I wrote of draft of nearly 10 years ago for one of my weekly poetry challenges. The theme was time and I wrote about how quickly time seemed to be passing as I watched my son grow. Well, that son is now on the cusp of adulthood, preparing to graduate from high school, so it seemed appropriate to dust this one off and revise.

Untitled

On the day you entered this world
sand in the hourglass of life
dropped to the bare bottom
stacking grain upon grain
building a tiny hill.

Unable to flip the glass
(oh how I wish I could!)
I watch the hill grow taller.

I long to narrow the neck
slow the march of time
that steals childhood
propels you to eighteen.


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


Happy Tuesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Monday, April 15, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 15: A Watermelon Poem

While working on my poem for the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish, I wrote a number of poems for August 3rd, which is National Watermelon Day. Here is one of the early drafts that I've played with a bit.

Untitled

from yellow flowers
sprouts a fruit
round or oval
green with stripes
   pick it
   eat it
when it’s ripe

hold a half-moon
in your hands
find the spot
just right to start
   bite it
   chew it
spit seeds out

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.


Happy Monday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 14: A Cartwheel Is a Poem

In December I wrote a list poem entitled How I Turned That Frown Upside Down. This was the last stanza.
I still whistle and read the funny pages
Still love a dog and walking barefoot
Just yesterday I stood on my head
I imagine a cartwheel isn't far behind
Today's poem is a follow-up to the last line of this poem.

A Cartwheel Is a Poem

don’t feel fifty-three
don’t see it in the mirror
will not act my age

think tall, toes pointed
muscle memory kicks in
smile through it all

morning on the beach
no better way to spend it
turning upside down

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


Happy Sunday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 13: Prefix Poem

Long ago I read a post at the blog How A Poem Happens. In it, poet Idra Novey shared her poem Trans and described its creation. In the poem she used the prefix trans- as the title of her poem and created sections that begin -late, -gress, -mogrify, -form, and -scend

I'm quite taken with this idea and have tried writing in this form a number of times. Today I'm sharing a prefix poem of my own.

Home

-town
Just a dot
on the map
I once claimed
Upstate NY
but that means
something different
in the five boroughs
now western NY
is mine

-grown
Like summer corn
I grew straight
and tall here
wandering  fields
catching snakes and fireflies
loving the freedom of pedaling
fast and rolling away from
newly fertilized fields

-sick
Nearly twenty-five years
in the south
and I’m still a
puzzle missing pieces

-coming
Mom still waits
for me
I’ve worn the roads
from here to there
and back again
wondering which trip
will be my last

-less
And then what will I do?

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


Happy Saturday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Friday, April 12, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 12: Blackout Poem

Today I'm sharing a blackout poem I created from one of the earliest entries from the blog of The Julie/Julia Project. The entry I used was from Thursday, August 29, 2002 (which just so happens to be my birthday). It begins this way.
If you think I'm going to come home and cook a French meal after schlepping to Jersey, being labeled a soulless bureaucratic goon by an irate public, and schlepping back again via late-night public transit to my apartment in far Bay Ridge, all as an unpaid volunteer, just for your web-based entertainment, you're nuts.  
What I'd like to do instead is ruminate on the essential questions posed so inevitably by this here loony undertaking.
Here's my blackout poem. (You may need to enlarge the image to read it.)
Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. Happy poetry Friday friends! See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 11: Mirror

I have a great fondness for poems related to fairy tales. Here's a poem I wrote using Eve Merriam's poem "Apple" as a mentor text. The last stanza isn't as punchy as Merriam's, but I'm still working on this one.

Apple
by Eve Merriam

Apple,
sweet apple,
what do you hide?
Wormy and
squirmy,
rotten inside.

Apple,
sweet apple,
so shiny and red,
taste it,
don't waste it,
come and be fed.

Delicious,
malicious;
one bite and
you're dead.
Mirror

Mirror,
dear mirror,
what do you see?
Choose now the
fairest,
let it be me.

Mirror,
wise mirror,
voice so compelling,
look into the future,
my beauty
foretelling.

Mirror
poor mirror,
your future I see.
If I’m not the
fairest then
shattered you’ll be.

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


Happy Thursday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 10: Picture Day

I few weeks ago I was visiting my elementary school and it was picture day. For the students, it was a day filled with excitement and more than a few tears. It brought back a lot of memories of sitting for those photos. Alas, we did not have the luxury of digital cameras in my day, so there more than a few years of lopsided grins and closed eyes. Today's poem is about this day and what I imagine it's still like for so many students.

Picture Day
I face the mirror on the wall
practice smiling, stand up tall
tilt my head, place hand to chin
try to mask the fear within

Is my smile really crooked?
Nose so pointy at the end?
Is my face a perfect oval?
Ears too big to recommend?

The face I see each day
the one that frowns and laughs
is not the one revealed
in my school photographs

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


Happy Wednesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 9: Bittersweet Memories of Mary

In 2010 I wrote a poem for Jama Rattigan's Poetry Potluck series. I've since dusted off that poem and revised it. The new version is a bit tighter than the original, and a little bit better. It is about my grandmother. That's me and her in the photo.

Bittersweet Memories of Mary
I am a generous baker
the polar opposite of my grandmother
who stood in the kitchen, strings
of a yellow flowered apron wrapped
twice around her tiny waist
and tied in the front

She slowly added the ingredients
weary hands stirring and beating
the confection into beautiful smoothness
while the pièce de résistance
sat off to the side in a
small, unremarkable bowl

Frugal as ever, this woman who
shepherded a family through the
Depression, a son through the War
dropped small dollops of dough
onto the cookie sheet, then
pressed three chips into each one

I am a generous baker
pouring an entire bag of chips
into the dough, ensuring each bite
oozes chocolate, not disappointment

I gaze heavenward each time I
bake them, whispering
half-hearted apologies

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


Happy Tuesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Monday, April 08, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 8: What does a Yankee know of the bayou?

Here's another poem I wrote for the summer poetry swap in 2017. This poem was written for Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche. Since she writes about life on the bayou, I knew that's what I wanted to write about.

What does a Yankee know of the bayou? 
The science teacher knows
coastal wetlands,
the evolution of the Mississippi delta,
the brackish, slow moving water.

The naturalist knows
the Bald cypress and tupelo,
the pelican and egret,
the alligators.

The historian knows
the Chitimacha and Acadians,
West African slaves,
pirates and riverboats,
the reach of the Civil War.

The Yankee poet knows
the bayou only in her dreams,
so when putting pen to paper
meanders like the Teche,
through moss-draped live oaks,
and sun-kissed swamps.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.


Happy Monday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 7: Paoay Church

It's Sunday, so a church inspired poem seems appropriate to share today.
Two years ago I participated in the summer poem swap sponsored by Tabatha Yeatts. This is the note and poem I wrote for one of my swap mates. The poem was based on the photo of this church.
Photo by Wowieology
Dear Iphigene, 
I know nothing about the Philippines or Manila, so in doing research to write you a poem I came across a description of Earthquake Baroque and just knew I needed to learn more. I found some pictures of churches built in this style and was quite taken with San Agustin Church of Paoay. From these photos, this poem was born.

Paoay Church

form over function
this holy misshapen pearl
built earthquake ready

no soaring spires
walls low and wide, buttressed strong
solid and weighty

strong enough to bear
world war, tremors and typhoons
beautiful she stands

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.


You can read about Earthquake Baroque at Wikipedia.

Happy Sunday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 6: Minor Miracles Happen Every Day

Back in February, the Poetry Sister's monthly challenge was to write a poem in the style of Marilyn Nelson’s “Minor Miracle,” about a small, miraculous thing we had seen or known. I struggled mightily with the challenge. My first poem was a long poem about a personal experience of mine. I was discouraged because it felt more prose than poem. However, I got terrific feedback from everyone in the group. Tanita wrote:
I sense your dissatisfaction, and think that asking yourself to identify the small, miraculous thing in this narrative might get you from story more to poem (although, in a prose poem there are fewer rules, but it does lack the leanness, perhaps, that Marilyn Nelson's example had).  
Was the minor miracle that you didn't spin out in your car on the icy road after being awful to a nun? ;) That Sr. Agnes Claire came to your room after all of that? That Sr. Bea didn't yell when she corrected you? That you survived modeling contrition in front of middle school students? There are a great many things which comprise the miraculous, in my sight, in this, but what is the MOST meaningful to you? 
Was the minor miracle that you forgave yourself?
She gave me a lot to think about. In the end, I gave up and went with a completely different topic and poem. There were other comments about that first poem, but it was another comment of Tanita's that got stuck in my head:
I wonder how this story would be told from her perspective...
I kept turning this over and just knew I had to come back and revise. I'm not sure this is a better poem, but it's different. Told from the nun's perspective, I titled this Minor Miracles Happen Every Day because I imagine for someone devoutly religious, they actually do.

Minor Miracles Happen Every Day
Which reminds me of her first year teaching
it was January, in Buffalo, and she was late for work
A prudent driver would have obeyed the speed limit,
understood why I was moving slowly

Of course, I saw her behind me,
waving her arms, beating the steering wheel
I’ll admit to easing up on the gas a bit
When her blue Hyundai sped around me
I slowed further and looked her way
only to find she’d flipped me the bird

What?! I hit the brake and began
to swerve. Rattled, I righted the Plymouth
and carefully made my way the remaining
blocks to school. I sat for a few moments
before heading into the office

The principal took one look at my blank face
and asked what was wrong, so I told her.
I may have embellished a bit
She marched down to a classroom
I watched her open the door,
call the crazy driver out
She looked her up and down and said,
“The next time you decide to flip off another driver,
make sure it’s not Agnes Claire. She’s nearly
80 and it made for a rough start to her day.”

I giggled. This was going to be good
I could imagine her students looking at her
aghast and saying “You flipped off a nun?!”
That should slow her down a bit

A few minutes later, she called the office,
asked for me to come to her room
I walked to the science lab and knocked
She opened the door, ushered me in, and then,
in front of 22 middle school students,
took my hands, looked me in the eyes,
and told me how very sorry she was

I might have looked surprised, but
I patted her cheek and said,
“Don’t let it happen again. Ever.”
I turned, habit whirling around my ankles,
and walked away

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


Yes, this is where I sheepishly admit that I was a very impatient driver in my 20s and did, in fact, flip off one of the nuns who worked at the school where I was employed. (Don't tell my mom.) I was called out from my class and admonished by the principal, who was also a nun. And yes, my students were shocked. I did apologize, most genuinely. However, try as I might, I still get the itch to let the bird fly while I'm driving. It is indeed a minor miracle every time I restrain myself. Herein ends my sordid tale.

Oh, and if you're interested, here's the legal take on this particular gesture.
Digitus Impudicus: The Middle Finger and the Law

Happy Saturday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem. 

Friday, April 05, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 5: Poetry Sisters Write Anagram Poems

It's the first Friday of the month, so that means the poetry sisters have taken up another poetic challenge. This month we focused on writing anagram poems with the added burden of a theme relating to umbrellas, weather, or natural cycles. We were inspired by the poem Linda Baie of Teacher Dance shared last month when she hosted Poetry Friday. That poem, A Gander to Garden, included two anagrams in each line. It wasn't until recently that our group started sharing other forms of anagram poems, but by then I was too far gone down this path to try anything too different.

Both of these offerings are very rough drafts and are really just tangents to the themes we chose. However, I promised myself to be brave this year and share my work even when it feels unfinished and lacks polish. I look forward to seeing what future revision to these poems brings.

By Every Morning Undone
She is sometimes bleary eyed and barely there
when she rises, silent, to listen for the waking dawn,
to watch bursting sunlight race across the acre 
of green space, the one she paces off
dreaming of garden plots. She takes a gander
at the risen morn, siren call of a new day,
never subtle, but welcome against the bluest sky.
Left weak in the wake of such beauty,
her heart lays claim to the earth,
the thickset brambles and thickets,
the pastel wildflowers dropping petals,
even the bleats coming from the stable.


End of the Year Blues
December is the hardest month
when the chill threads of winter
weave their way into our bones
Snow, so welcomed upon that first fall,
soon owns our lives as we give in
to shoveling and scraping
Dad grew a beard for fear that his
bared face would chafe in the cold, dry air
Stuck indoors, we reward ourselves with
hot chocolate for cleaning out the junk drawer
We hang tinsel on the tree
and listen to Silent Night
This blizzard is just another stain
on our collective memory
The weather reduces us to tears,
but we are rescued by the promise
of decorating cookies
Mom has the patience of a saint

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

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. Kelly and Rebecca are off this month, but we look forward to welcoming them back soon. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Karen Edmisten. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 4: Inspired by Calvin and Hobbes

I find art, beauty, poetry, and smiles sometimes in the strangest places. A while back I saw these bags while waiting in line at a Which Wich. I love that people take the time to make art on the back of these sandwich bags. And I love that the employees of the shop display them for others to enjoy.
I'm a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan, so these made me smile, and then they reminded me of this particular strip and a poem I know by heart. (I like to share it with my science students.)
If you can't quite make out the text, here's what Calvin opines.
Like delicate lace,
so the threads intertwine,
Oh, gossamer web
of wondrous design!
Such beauty and grace
wild nature produces … 
UGHH, look at the spider
suck out that bug’s juices! 
This is all a silly introduction to a poem I wrote inspired by these bags and my memory of the above poem. I like the short form and thought it would be interesting to emulate. I don't know about other poets, but I often times write about poetry and writing. I wrote this one in the notes on my phone while waiting for my order. Interestingly enough, there are LOTS of impromptu poems and poetic lines on my phone. This one is untitled.

While pondering nature
I write out some rhymes
thumb through the Thesaurus
a few hundred times.
From brain out to fingers
then pen to the page ...

another draft poem
takes center stage.

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


I'm actually a bit mortified to be sharing a first draft poem, but I've decided that if I'm sharing original poetry this month, I'm going to share poems in all their naked glory, raw and unfinished, as well as those I've attempted to polish.

Thanks for visiting! Here's wishing you a Happy Thursday and hoping I'll see you tomorrow for Poetry Friday and the April Poetry Sisters collaboration.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 3: Hollar's Work

There is an exhibition currently at the VMFA entitled Hollar’s Encyclopedic Eye: Prints from the Frank Raysor Collection. Wenceslaus Hollar was a Baroque printmaker who produced nearly 2500 etchings. When you walk into the exhibition, the first thing you do is pick up a magnifying glass. Upon closer inspection of the prints are these AMAZING hidden worlds. Exploring the images felt a bit like looking at Where's Waldo? pages. There's just so much to see!

I wrote this poem about the etching process and the surprise animal hidden in the title page of a book on flora and fauna.


Hollar's Work
begin with copper plate
  coat with wax
    apply a sharp tool with skill
      and imagination
        bathe in acid
repeat
repeat
repeat

remove remaining wax
  ink and clean
    place dampened paper over plate
press
press
press

mirror image now revealed
  showcase the brilliance of
    the artist’s mind
     and madness

is that a unicorn?

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


Happy Wednesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 2: Ekphrastic Haiku

A wrote a number of poems Saturday while at the VMFA. One of the activities in the workshop was to write sensory descriptors for one of the paintings we viewed. Afterwards, we used those words to write poems. I wish you could stand in front of this painting to understand how magnificent it really is. The photograph doesn't do it justice.

Shepherds and Their Flock Resting Under a Tree (1868) by Charles Hoguet

I wrote a haiku for this one.

cotton candy sky
frames an ancient, gnarled tree
perfect resting place

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

Happy Tuesday all. See you tomorrow for another original poem.

Monday, April 01, 2019

NPM 2019 Day 1: A Triolet for Spring

Last year during National Poetry Month I shared a poem that was new to me each day. I loved exploring poets I hadn't read before. This year I've decided to share original poetry.

On Saturday I spent the day at the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts in a teacher workshop entitled The Art and Science of Trees. As part of that workshop we made books, created art, and wrote poems. Here's one entry from the book I made.


A Triolet for Spring
Push winter out the door today
let's celebrate the coming spring
while ambling down the wooded way

Push winter out the door today
count the days 'til the blush of May
spy flowers gold and birds that sing

Push winter out the door today
let's celebrate the coming spring!

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


Happy April to one and all and a big warm welcome to National Poetry Month. See you tomorrow.

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“...in 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
everything
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
go,
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!