Friday, June 30, 2023

Poetry Sisters Write to a Quote

The challenge this month was to write a poem in response to a quote. Initially, I thought we would be writing to the same quote, but several examples were shared, so I decided to use one that spoke to me. Over the last few weeks, the calendar was looming large for me as the month of June and the second anniversary of my mother's death approached. That anniversary is today. Knowing that we would be sharing our poems at this time, and because she's been much on my mind, I decided I wanted to write a poem for or about her. 

The second challenge was to include the theme of transformation, which informs all of our writing this year. I couldn't figure out how to do that, though death is a form of transformation, and surely my life has been transformed by this loss. 

I decided I wanted to write to a form and chose the villanelle. I like the repeating lines and the need for only two rhymes. I wrote with this photo of my mother beside me. It was taken in May of 2021 when I visited with her for the last time.

A few weeks ago, I read On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. It's an amazing novel with beautiful prose. I copied several quotes from it into my commonplace journal. One stuck with me and ultimately became the inspiration for my poem. It rings true because I am both missing and remembering my mother, today and every day.

“In Vietnamese, the word for missing someone and remembering them is the same: nhớ.”
-Ocean Vuong in On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Villanelle for My Mother

Some days it’s hard to bear that you are dead
I talk to you each morning when I pray
And often hear your voice inside my head

“Put on something bright. Why not wear red?”
You were never at a loss for what to say
Some days it’s hard to bear that you are dead

I follow your advice and make my bed
“Straighten up your room before you play.”
I often hear your voice inside my head

Loose buttons? Reach for needle and some thread
Your smallest lessons stuck, won’t fade away
Some days it’s hard to bear that you are dead

On my last visit you forlornly said
“Our time has been so short, I wish you’d stay.”
I often hear your voice inside my head

It’s been two years since those first tears were shed
Yet still I carry grief each waking day
Most days it’s hard to bear that you are dead
Thank God I hear your voice inside my head

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 monotetra. You can learn more about it at Writer's Digest. 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 July 28th 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 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. Happy poetry Friday, friends!  

    Friday, June 02, 2023

    Poetry Friday is Here!

    Hello All! I'm so happy to be hosting Poetry Friday. 

    I have spent the last few months preparing to move out of the building I have spent the last 29 years in on campus. It is my home away from home. There is much I will miss about it. The physical move of all our things occurred this week and still continues, as bookshelves are installed, and furniture moved in. I have been adrift for weeks, with no place to land, settling most days in the library before my classes meet in the late afternoon. We will be allowed to move in next week, and I can't wait. 

    In seeing my new office, I am saddened that I have lost so much space to store my books. Out of necessity, I will need to let some go. While I will be able to pass them on to new teachers just starting out, it will hurt to part with them.

    Thinking of moving had me reading Ralph Fletcher as I packed up. In Moving Day, Ralph gives readers a series of free verse poems in which 12-year-old Fletch describes his family's move from Massachusetts to Ohio. Here's one of my favorites from this collection.

    Defrosting the Freezer

    One container of spaghetti sauce
    Grandma made before she died.

    Two pieces of old wedding cake
    you couldn't pay me to eat.

    Three snowballs from last winter
    slightly deformed, no longer fluffy.

    Four small flounder from the time
    Grandpa took me deep-sea fishing.

    Everything coated with a thick
    white layer of sadness. 
    That thick layer of sadness has surely enveloped me. I did stop by my old digs one last time to say goodbye. My son grew up here, and when he came to campus, lived in the building connected to mine for 2 of his 4 years. It holds many precious memories.

    I'll be rounding up posts through the day old-school style, so please leave your link in the comments, and I will add you to the post. Happy Poetry Friday, all!

    Original Poetry
    Laura Purdie Salas is sharing a poem entitled The Song of Sunshine.

    Mary Lee Hahn of A(nother) year of Reading is sharing a sudoku poem entitled No Vacancy.

    Heidi Mordhorst of my juicy little universe is celebrating pride and sharing a color poem entitled I Finally Choose a Favorite Color.

    Linda Mitchell of A Word Edgewise is also sharing a color poem written to a lovely photo. 

    Robyn Hood Black shares a proud grandparent moment and the poem You're the ONE! on the occasion of her grandson's first birthday.

    Linda Baie of Teacher Dance shares a poem entitled The Bouncing Ball Keeps Bouncing.

    Irene Latham of Live Your Poem shares an ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem entitled Meadow Song. She also shares an invitation to a moon poem party when she hosts Poetry Friday on June 30th.

    Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche is also sharing a color poem that begins, "If you want to find red."

    Michelle Kogan shares some Good morning haiku.

    Carol Varsalona of Beyond Literacy Link remembers her uncle and pays to tribute to loved ones with her poem Life is a Journey.

    At Poetry Pizzazz with Alan J. Wright, Alan shares a poem entitled Appliance Compliance.

    Carol Labuzzetta of The Apples in My Orchards shares a found object poem entitled Debris.

    Anastasia Suen is sharing an acrostic poem for June.

    Patricia J. Franz marvels at the mountains in springtime and shares the poem snow flower: a haiku.

    Sally Murphy is generously giving us a glimpse into her new verse novel, Queen Narelle.

    Matt Forrest Esenwine shares news of his forthcoming book and a poem entitled The Eve of Maturity.

    Jone Rush MacCulloch combines the prompt for the monthly Spiritual Thursday Journey with her thoughts and poems in a slide show of visual prayers.

    Donna Smith of Mainely Write shares her poem The Ocean as a Canva movie.

    Molly Hogan of Nix the Comfort Zone used Eileen Spinelli’s “If You Want to Find Golden” as a mentor for her color poem

    Janice Scully of Salt City Verse shares two poems about Santa Cruz.

    Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of The Poem Farm shares a poem entitled Possibility, which can be sung to the tune of "Dona Nobis Pacem." She's also featuring some fourth-grade guest poets.

    Marcie Flinchum Atkins shares a haiku and photo.

    Book Reviews and Book Lists
    Jama Rattigan of Jama's Alphabet Soup shares a review of Champion Chompers, Super Stinkers and Other Poems by Extraordinary Animals by Linda Ashman and Aparna Varma.

    Susan Thomsen of Chicken Spaghetti shares a list of poetry books for adults published or forthcoming this year.

    Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning shares the anthology Things We Feel by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

    On Writing
    Lou Piccolo shares some thoughts about writing poetry to combat writer's block.

    Poetry of Others
    Ramona of Pleasures from the page rambles through the rhododendrons and shares lines from a Joy Harjo poem and Wendell Berry too.

    Tabatha Yeatts of the Opposite of Indifference shares the poem "Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear" by Mosab Abu Toha.

    Karen Edmisten shares the poem "New Moon Newton" by Oliver Baez Bendorf.