Friday, August 5, 2022

inklings august challenge: sports poems

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends!  Here it is August, a different kind of August than I have had since 1969, perhaps with the exception of 2007 when the kids went off to their French school and I stayed home and wrote PUMPKIN BUTTERFLY; I type this to encourage myself to get going on that next book! Catherine  has suggested we take inspiration from Liz Steinglass's SOCCERVERSE and "Write a poem about any sport you have a connection to--one you participate(d) in or love to watch. Use any form you think works best."

Now, it is not required for poets to be unsporty, but I think it's likely that many of us would say that we were rather busy reading as kids, not sporting. Maybe the same goes now as adults--we may tend to be unsporty, at least not in the usual competitive-type activities that the word "sports" makes us think of. Maybe more of us dance or run or do yoga or ride our bikes for health and fun, rather than going hard at basketball or soccer or field hockey. (It would be fun to take an informal poll in the comments; let us know if you have or are now any kind of serious competitive sportster! We will honor all versions of sporty.)

Me, I learned early that my bod was not built to run at length--so my favorite activities involve anything that helps my muscles carry my weight. Give me wheels or water or music! But if I could choose to be accomplished at anything, it might be gymnastics.


High and Over

In second grade Frettra Miller 

can already do an aerial. 

She tumbles down the mat

with her long brown limbs,

gathering force, and then,

faster than I can see exactly how  

Frettra tucks her elbows and throws her legs high and over: brown lightning!

She lands lightly, easy in her leotard.


I stand at the end of the mat,

not yet having written this poem,

heavier than a cart wheel

in my tight shorts and tank top.

No part of my body has any idea 

how to begin.


draft ©HM 2022 




Our host today is fellow Inkling Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone, which I have never done sufficiently to "get my aerial," as the Youtube coaches say.  Now go see what the other Inklings have done with this wide-open challenge...

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Catherine Flynn
MaryLee Hahn



  1. I am jealous of Frettra Miller too, not just because she is brown lightning but because she has a great name! As for my sports leanings: definitely a competitive snacker!

  2. Oh, I feel so seen. "Heavier than a cart wheel." Yes.

  3. When I was in the 7th grade I turned a cartwheel inside my house and cracked my foot on a metal chair. Thus I started the first year with switching classes and lockers on crutches. I wanted so much to be good at sports, but every one I tried, I ended up injuring myself. That's why now I stick with the sport of mindfulness. We secretly hate those kids that sports comes easily to, but I bet Frettra couldn't write a poem to save her life.

  4. Ta Da! And, there is the poem...that capture of a moment so perfect that I feel like I am there to witness those long brown limbs and leotarde make a perfect landing. A wonderful take on this prompt. Yes, 'Heartbreak Hill' is a famous hill in the Boston Marathon. It can break a runner.

  5. Oh, I love this one, Heidi. "Heavier than a cartwheel" is amazing, and so is that entire final stanza. Leslie Lucas was the amazing gymnast in my class. Gorgeous strawberry blond hair to boot. In a weird twist, I've become more athletic as I've gotten older--though I'm not sure that's saying much.

  6. Yes, we had a Frettra who made everything look so effortless. I felt exactly as you describe in your gorgeous second stanza, but that didn't stop me from trying!

  7. There are different ways to fly - Frettra did it via an aerial, you, Heidi, did it via this poem. Poetry in motion. :)

  8. I really felt those last four lines, Heidi, and remember being amazed at natural athletes like Fretta when we were children. (My sports as a kid: soccer, skiing. My sports now: walking, free weights.)


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!