Friday, May 28, 2021

Poetry Sisters Write Ekphrastic Poems

This month's Poetry Sisters challenge was to write a poem in response to an image. We had a few to choose from, but I decided to write to a photo Sara shared of Spider Dress and Serpent. This dress was designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1946 for Martha Graham dance productions. It was worn by Graham for the performance Cave of the Heart, in which she portrayed Medea who, after being abandoned for another woman by her husband Jason, killed his wife and their children. 

Photo taken by Sara Lewis Holmes at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

When we met on Zoom almost two weeks ago, I was still thinking about the 4×4 form that I'd seen in an earlier Poetry Friday post. Denise Krebs at Dare to Care invented this form. Here are the rules.
  • 4 syllables in each line
  • 4 lines in each stanza
  • 4 stanzas
  • 4 times repeating a refrain line–line 1 in the first stanza, line 2 in the second stanza, line 3 in the third stanza, and line 4 in the fourth stanza.
  • Bonus: 4 syllables in the title
  • No restrictions on subject, rhyme, or meter.
This felt like a good form to constrain my writing. Given the dress, a restrictive form seemed like the way to go. I wrote several different poems, but this one is my favorite.

Corsetted Heart

inside a cage
I'm tightly bound
can barely move
no breath, no sound

my heart is locked
inside a cage
the pain it feels
time can't assuage

these wounds don't heal
when locked away
inside a cage
a taut ballet

most tender souls
will disengage
when living life
inside a cage

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2021. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 
Would you like to try the next challenge? Next month we are writing zentangle poems. If you are unfamiliar with this form, check out this post by Kat Apel. Share your poem on June  in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Michelle Kogan. Happy poetry Friday friends! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Poetry Friday - Celebrating Mary Lee

When I started my blog late in 2006, I quickly found my way to kidlit blogs, Poetry Friday and an amazing community. A Year of Reading, so beautifully written by Mary Lee and Franki, became one of my regular reads. It has evolved over the years, much like this blog has, though Mary Lee and Franki have been more consistent than I. 

I'm grateful for all Mary Lee has taught me over the years about teaching, about poetry, about life. As a teacher educator, I find retirements bittersweet. I know how hard it is to find good teachers, especially those who serve for many years with a passion that is unabated. I also know how hard teaching is and how well-deserved a rest is when it is time to go.

I spent a week trying on different poetic forms and trying to find the words for a fitting tribute. In the end, I went with fishing, because this isn't an end, but a beginning. The poem I wrote is a lai. The Lai is a French syllabic verse form consisting of one or more stanza of nine lines with two rhymes, though the rhyme can vary from stanza to stanza. Here are features of the form.

  • 9 lines.
  • Rhyme scheme is a-a-b-a-a-b-a-a-b.
  • Lines ending with rhyme a are five syllables in length.
  • Lines ending with rhyme b are two syllables in length.
Mary Lee, I wish you many happy hours in a stream, up to your waders in quiet, and sun, and peace.

Fly Fishing
perfect and apart
river steals my heart
each swish
of line, each cast start
a rhythm to chart
a wish
that this quiet art
hook set will impart
a fish

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2021. All rights reserved.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out the posts honoring Mary Lee today, as well as all the other wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering. Happy poetry Friday friends.