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.


  1. Trisha, nice poem! I got to read it two places, once on Twitter.

    I love "river steals my heart." I think the two rhyme families you chose are perfect for the story you tell here.

    Thanks for sharing the Lai process information. I know this is not an easy poem because I've tried, but you make it seem easy.

  2. Ooh, I almost used a lai, but I just... my brain couldn't make everything fit, and so I kind of went with an unformed form that rhymes! I dunno. Meanwhile, "each swish of line" is so lovely and evocative. A quiet poem that just shapes itself into the peace of fishing.

  3. Should I admit that I have never even heard of a lai. It feels perfect here!I can almost feel the line swishing through air and water!

  4. These river/fishing poems at putting such an idyllic lilt to our Poetry Friday rounds, this week. I'm quite taken by your perfect and apart' - gentle yet unexpected - start.

  5. I love this, Tricia, that opening, "perfect and apart" sets the scene so beautifully!

  6. You've written a beautiful tribute to Mary Lee, Tricia! Hearing about how long you and others have known Mary Lee and have been participating in Poetry Friday humbles me.

  7. Wow. You captured fly fishing so well: the swish, the rhythm, the wish, the art...all way more important (at least to me) than the fish. But then, I always was more about process than product. ;-)

    Thank you, Tricia, for this beautiful poem, for our long friendship, for all you do for teachers and education. You live your blog title, and I so admire you for that!