Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch On a Tuesday - Abhanga

I don't think I've ever tried a poetic form from India, so I thought this would be a good week to try one. The abhanga is form that originates in Marathi, one of the major languages of India. The form is stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. Here are the guidelines:

  • stanzas are syllabic, with 6/6/6/4 syllables each
  • lines 2 and 3 are rhymed, with lines 1 and 3 unrhymed (x a a x)
  • internal rhyme is often used

That's it! I hope you'll join me in writing and abhanga this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch on a Tuesday

Exams have ended, graduation is over, and summer school has already begun. Apparently, there is no rest for the weary.

I am heartbroken for a friend who has lost her son and have been struggling to find the right words. I suppose in times of loss there are no words that are "right," but hopefully there are words that express the depth of my sorrow for her and the support I am sending across the miles.

Form feels a bit restrictive this week, so I'm thinking poems of love and light would be good. I hope you'll join me in writing this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Poetry Sisters Write "Things to Do" Poems

The Poetry Sisters are back this month writing "Things to Do" poems. Laura chose this month and gave us the added task of writing to a month or season. When I sat down to brainstorm, I kept thinking about winter in Buffalo, but decided I wanted to write about something a bit more cheery, so I decided to focus on spring. Little did I know that my second round of brainstorming would take me to May and a month that brings me both great joy and great sadness. The poem wrote itself on a run one morning. I actually cut it a bit short to get home and write the words down. It doesn't follow the "rules" at all, but I'm in the midst of grading and graduation and just haven't had time to revisit.

Today, my father would have been 91 years old. On Sunday as the graduates walk across the stage, I'll quietly mark the 8 years since his passing. Then on the 10th, my mother will recall the nearly 57 years they had together, as she marks what would have been their 65th wedding anniversary. I tried to find a picture of them together to share, but couldn't find many because dad was always behind the camera. Here's one I took of them with William from the summer of 2008.

Here's my poem for this month's challenge, offered up today for my dad.

Things to do in May …

Bittersweet this month’s refrain
with joy and laughter, tears and pain

Send graduates into the world
watch April flowers come unfurled

Observe the world with life renewed
as geese and ducks corral their broods

Honor our mothers for all that they do
and those without children who mother us too

Commemorate troops strong and brave
place flags upon their silent graves

Celebrate my father’s birth
mourn his passing from this earth

Before May passes into June
spend some time one afternoon
remembering all that’s good and true
the happy, the sad, the me and you.

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


You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
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!

Monday, April 24, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Four: Dog Music

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Sometimes when I read a poem or a passage in a book, Pam pops into my head. I'm always startled by these happy occasions to remember her, sometimes feeling as though she's reaching across the ether, reminding me not to forget her. The first time I read this poem, I immediately thought of her and her love for dogs and music. It made me a laugh a bit to think of her singing with a dog, and the dog singing back.

Dog Music 
by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—"Stardust,"
"Naima," "The Trout," "My Rosary," "Perdido."
She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Monday Poetry Stretch - Shadorma

The shadorma is a Spanish poetic form consisting of six lines (a sestet) written in syllabic form. The syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5. A shadorma may consist of one stanza, or an unlimited number of stanzas.

That's it! Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a shadorma. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Three: Dog

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam loved animals of all sorts, particularly those that were down on their luck, homeless, helpless, and unloved. Her heart seemed to expand with every new creature she took in. The first dog she took in was Pungo, named for the place where he was found. He was a sweet dog, made more affectionate by all the love heaped upon him.

Dog 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself

Read the poem in its entirety.

I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace. ― Milan Kundera
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-Two: Evening Hawk

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
Pam had a fascination with hawks. I often wondered what it was she loved, and if in part she was longing for the freedom of flight and the perspective one gets from a bird's-eye view of the world. Just a few weeks ago on her birthday, I arrived at church to find a hawk perched atop a car in the parking lot. It stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of photographs before it moved on.

Evening Hawk 
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo's messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, embodiments of clear vision, speed and single-minded dedication. — John Burnside
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Poetry Friday: School

Today is the last day of the semester. Soon we'll be sending a new crop of teachers off into the world. It's bittersweet really. I'm always ready for the end of the year, but I will be sad to see them go. This poem is for all my students who will soon be leading students of their own.

School 
by Daniel J. Langton

I was sent home the first day
with a note: Danny needs a ruler.
My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.
School is for rules, countries need rulers,
graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead.

Read the poem in its entirety.


In addition to this post, you may want to take a few minutes to read my National Poetry Month post(s). This year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love. Here are the posts I've shared to this week.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

NPM 2017 Day Twenty-One: At the Galleria Shopping Mall

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

*****
I once made the mistake of going clothes shopping with Pam. I tried on more clothes in that one trip than ever before or since. She had to twist my arm to get me to agree to put things on, and even once they were on I was reluctant to step out of the dressing room so she could see them. I really hate shopping, but Pam was an enthusiastic supporter, and tried desperately to enliven my wardrobe.

At the Galleria Shopping Mall 
by Tony Hoagland

Just past the bin of pastel baby socks and underwear,
there are some 49-dollar Chinese-made TVs;

one of them singing news about a far-off war,
one comparing the breast size of an actress from Hollywood

to the breast size of an actress from Bollywood.
And here is my niece Lucinda,

who is nine and a true daughter of Texas,
who has developed the flounce of a pedigreed blonde

and declares that her favorite sport is shopping.
Today is the day she embarks upon her journey,

Read the poem in its entirety.


I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
For some, shopping is an art; for others, it's a sport. It can be a vice and it can be a cause. Some love it. Some hate it. Rarely is someone indifferent. ― Pamela Klaffke
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.