Friday, December 07, 2018

Poetry Friday - Poetry Sisters Write List Poems

When I was a cadet at the USCGA, I received demerits for whistling. I was called out by the company commander who told me whistling was for a boatswain's mate, not an officer in training. As someone who hummed, whistled, and sang to the fill the silences, it was a hard loss to swallow. More than 30 years later, I still think of that rebuke when I catch myself whistling. The only difference is that now I smile and keep right on going.

What does all this have to do with poetry? For some reason, that memory popped into my head when I read the words Liz provided as fodder for our list poems. Here is the list.
  • paper
  • stars
  • messages
  • promises
  • dirt
  • flour
  • rum
  • hope
There is nothing remotely related to whistling here, but the words sparked a number of long forgotten memories and made me think of things that make me happy, so I decided to run with that idea for today's poem.

How I Turned That Frown Upside Down
As a child often left to my own devices
mother admonished me not to sulk
Lost to introspection and loneliness
it was easy to succumb to unhappiness

When the doldrums of dark days
left me frowning and sad
joy came from simple pleasures
     hearing the rhythmic thumping of the dog's tail
        poring over the funny pages of the daily paper
     turning cartwheels across the lawn
        whistling to the music streaming from the kitchen
     gazing at the night sky and countless stars
        hanging upside down from the neighbor's cherry tree
     swinging as high as my pumping legs would take me
        walking barefoot in the creek
     biking to the Town Pump to buy penny candy
        sneaking into the pasture to pet the dairy cows
     chasing and catching all manner of little critters

I think back to these moments
when I need a smile or pick-me-up

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

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces 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 Liz Steinglass. Happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. This whole poem makes me so happy.
    Make sure you get someone to photograph that cartwheel. Since I could never do them as a CHILD, I doubt my adult world is going to make way for them, but hope springs eternal. ☺

    1. I'm glad it made you happy. It actually made me kind of sad writing it. I'll admit to standing on my head at least twice a week in yoga. It's all I can do to keep from giggling when I do it, even though I'm supposed to be breathing and not thinking!
      And that cartwheel has been on my mind for ages. One of these days I'll chance it ...

    2. I keep thinking of trying a cartwheel, too--if I ever find a big, soft spot to try it in! Lots of your memories brought back good memories for me--funny pages, swinging, & penny candy must be universal. Thanks for the reminders!

  2. Such a sweet list of happiness memories. Makes me want to climb a tree. Until I remember my arthritis, that is! But reading your poem is just as good.

  3. What a charming list--and what a great kid. I especially love that hopeful ending. You can do anything, Tricia. I would like photo evidence of a cartwheel soon:>)

  4. Your poem sparked so many happy childhood memories of my own: galloping on hands and knees in the back yard pretending to be a horse, Lime Mister Mistys from the DQ, playing with trucks in the gravely alley, singing Bible School songs in the early morning sunshine in the back yard...good times...good memories! Thank you!!

  5. I agree with Ruth "Great stuff!" It's magical and wonderful how we can as children find comfort and joy in simple things–as you have recalled them in your list poem and bring the circle around by reflecting back and doing them.

  6. "Just yesterday I stood on my head
    I imagine a cartwheel isn't far behind"

    Awwww! I hope that was a yoga headstand!

    1. Of course! I get in at least 4 a week. It's one of the best things about Vinyasa. Makes me feel like a kid again!