Friday, April 28, 2023

Poetry Sisters Write in the Style of Neruda

This month's challenge was to write in the style of Neruda. Oh boy. I haven't read much Neruda, so finding a poem as a mentor text was hard. I was familiar with the bilingual, illustrated selection of Neruda's Book of Questions that was published by Enchanted Lion Books last year. I thought about writing a poem composed of questions, but I went down the rabbit hole of reading Neruda's odes and got lost. They're pretty amazing. If you haven't read them, the best way to describe them is a lengthy (usually) stream of consciousness about everyday objects with a hefty dose of meandering seemingly off-topic before brilliantly closing with a meditation on beauty, nature, or something else profound.

Inspired by these odes, I attempted one of my own. Our theme for the year is transformation. I'm not sure I got there this time, but I had fun trying.

Ode to a Basket of Trinkets

Woven coils 
of colorful paper
form a wide
round bowl
clearly visible
one can 
the stories
they told
In their
present form
transformed into
this bowl
they hold
no one
but me
can love
I cannot bear
to part
with small
I worry them 
in my hand
bringing the
ghosts of
love, loss
to life
memories clear
and cloudy
hanging by
a thread
I worry 
over them
wonder when
each trinket 
a touchstone
an exercise
in remembering
and forgetting
a pink diaper pin
once mine
mother kept
it in her 
jewelry box
a fountain pen 
ink cartridge
the bane of
my left-handed
I'm not 
cool enough
or adept enough
to write
without smudging
the ink
my hand
the paper
a Scrabble tile
one puzzle piece
Mardi Gras beads
tiny paper dolls
a frayed Girl Scout badge
three wheat pennies
a wooden nickel
all fleeting
reminders of 
the me I 
used to be
and the ones
who made me
I am

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2023. 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 in the form of the ghazal. You can learn more about this form here. We hope you'll join us. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on May 26th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!  

    I hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. Happy poetry Friday, friends! 


    1. So much depends on a small basket filled with a lifetime of trinkets. (Oops! Wrong poet!) I love this because I work in a whole ROOM that is like your basket. Every item has a story. But yours have a poem, lucky things.

    2. Beautiful, you said about Neruda's work, it meanders and comes full circle. Well done!

    3. I love the odes too, the meandering that turns out to be purposeful, or at least meaningful! Your collection is beautifully textured, like the woven paper bowl. <3

    4. This is delicious, Tricia. A diaper pin from when you were a baby. What a treasure! And I'm mid-revision on a poem about left-handed notebooks, so that really resonated. Beautiful job...

    5. I have more than one container filled with those trinkets, Tricia, & one includes a diaper pin, used by my children. I love reading, and re-reading, all that you included. (It seems Neruda missed a few topics.)

    6. This is so so so satisfying, just like a good 'junk drawer' (always what we caleld them growing up. Each trinket a touchstone, and now made permanent in a poem. LOVELY

    7. Ohhh, the pink diaper pin. I love that your mother kept it, and then you have it back, a memento of her memories of a time you don't recall. It's an infinity of love in "fleeting, beautiful reminders." I have to admit that I was a little overawed by the Neruda odes because of their length, but I sincerely feel like I could do this now - just a series of linked meditations on something that's meaningful to me... you did this beautifully (and I'm sorry I'm just now getting to it).