Thursday, March 30, 2023

the #climatepoemproject, and multiform poetry

'Twas the night before April and in poets' houses
the creatures were stirring, including our mouses...

Greetings to all who are vibrating with excitement for the opening of National Poetry Month!

First up:

I'm participating in a project of the Authors Take Action group! Many of us are joining in suggesting prompts for a climate-themed poem, open to writers K-5 and up. You can find all the prompts at this Authors Take Action page.  Here's mine...


Some people are taking recycling to a whole new level! Watch this video about schools built out of plastic bottles, and then imagine sitting inside a school like that.  Write a poem describing what you see, hear, and feel around you. How is it different than a regular school?



Or... imagine building a school out of something else that usually gets thrown away, like tires or old washing machines or cardboard boxes.  Maybe your poem will sound like an engineer's structural drawing or an architect's blueprint or a TV commercial advertising your new recycled school!


Thanks to Laura Shovan and the other members of Authors Take Action for inviting us all to play along!


And now, I'm playing along with the Poetry Sisters, who are writing etherees this month.  I've combined the 1-10 syllable etheree with my own creation, the definito.  Enjoy the layers of form; I certainly had fun with them, and came up with something that is kind of the opposite of a school built out of plastic bottles!


barely there

     a definito



fog or mist.

a ghost. a hint

of something that fleets

         away as you reach it.

           disappearing atmosphere.

                transparent. neither solid nor stiff.

                   something here and yet not here. feels as 

                      real as air, as ether. ethereal.



Finally, next Wednesday I'll start my National Poetry Month project. Assuming that I can get to grips with Squarespace's blogging platform, I'll be adding kids' poems weekly on Wednesdays to the new WHISPERshout Magazine, publishing poetry and art by kids ages 4-12.  The link is here:

 Let the wild rumpus begin!!!*

And THANKS to Mary Lee for hosting us today at A(nother) Year of Reading, where she'll also be kicking off this year's Progressive Poem.  She's one of my favorite trailblazers! 

*Yes, I know Maurice wrote "start," but the rhythm is so much better with "begin," don't you think? 😊

Friday, March 24, 2023

unexpected grass poem

Greetings from the south coast of England, Poetry People. It's a pleasure to have not written for quite a few days, so that when one finally has a moment, a sunny moment for a walk by oneself, the impulse arises and lines are tried and, well, one still has it. One's identity, I mean.

And then there's Poem-a-Day, just to keep one in mind of all the possible poems there are out there.

Ordinary Grass Grows Where It Must

We all own mowers.
The grass is lowly, struggling always up but
not far, blades
bent down by feet and paws
and wheels but standing high enough to cast
a sunrise shadow on its downslope self.
It always comes back,
surges up through sidewalk or churns of mud,
tenacity outsizing its minute green tips.
It feeds a passing cat needing a tonic, or a kid
needing a slice of whistle or chlorophyll juice,
or in some places actual sheep who crop it as
soon as it can stand on its own one foot. 
Not to notice is normal,
but grass takes that personally, threatens to
strike, stop growing, but doesn't really mean it.
Do grass a favor and lie down, accept its edge
of itch and its inhabitant insects, the histamine tickle
that has cushioned centuries of outdoor couplings.
Submit to the sky,  
which is all grass can see save the forest of siblings
surrounding it. The damp skin of the earth is a
platform for viewing the wind at work, and if
it's dry instead, let green go and lie down golden-
grained, brown meeting the granulated ground,
and grass will weave 
a dying nest for you to leave in, but only until
the next rain, the next worming invigoration
that commences its endless sunlit revival.
instadraft ©HM 2023

And here's my Poetry Project for National Poetry Month...I'll finally be getting WHISPERshout Magazine up and running.  Check it out here!  And if you have class or kid or grandkid poems to submit, send them to!

Thanks to Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for hosting us today.  Go see everybody else exercising their identities!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

poetry friday is here...along with the odes of march


Welcome, all, to your March 10th-not-yet-15th Poetry Roundup. I'm here first to share some poetry history with a few selections that may be considered the Odes of March, and then to share a couple of my own before you share your offerings for today.  Let's get jigging!

 Elizabethan: Edmund Spenser

How bragly it beginnes to budde,
  And utter his tender head?        15
Flora now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias bowre,
  That newe is upryst from bedde.
Tho shall we sporten in delight,
And learne with Lettice to wexe light,   


 Romantic: John Clare

Yet winter seems half weary of its toil
And round the ploughman on the elting soil
Will thread a minutes sunshine wild and warm
Thro the raggd places of the swimming storm

Victorian: Algernon Charles Swinburne

Fain, fain would we see but again for an hour what the wind and the sun have dispelled and consumed,

 Dear March—Come in—
How glad I am—
I hoped for you before—
Put down your Hat—
You must have walked—
How out of Breath you are—

 Turn-of-the-Century: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Severe of face, gaunt-armed, and wildly dressed,
She is not fair nor beautiful to see.
But merry April and sweet smiling May
Come not till March has first prepared the way.

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee 

The moon is naked.
The wind has undressed the moon.
The wind has blown all the cloud-garments
Off the body of the moon
And now she’s naked,

Midcentury: Anne Sexton

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.

 21st Century: Catherine Pond

                      Sometimes the medicine works
and sometimes it doesn’t. The fact remains
that it’s warmer than ever: 76 degrees today
in Central Park. A silver maple burns beneath
the bridge. A sailboat comes apart in the pond.


And now, a couple of odes to March 11, because my birthday gift to myself is hosting you all here at my juicy little universe







Add your link below, and thanks for Marching with me all these years!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Friday, March 3, 2023

anaphora carries back

Greetings to all and Happy March!  It's time again for the Inklings to respond to a challenge, this time from Margaret Simon: "Explore the use of anaphora in a poem, how the repetition of a line or phrase can add depth to the theme. For a mentor text, look at Jericho Brown’s poem “Crossing” ."

I went to Annapolis on Wednesday, to the State House in Maryland's capital where our General Assembly is meeting to consider and enact new legislation.  I was there with a coalition of social justice groups from around the state to ask our representatives for their support of two bills related to clean energy for all, aka climate justice.  

You can learn more here if you're interested, but in brief, the two bills call for a much more coordinated and climate-friendly system of incentives and means to move MD away from fossil fuel use in homes, INCLUDING in "affordable-housing" rental communities where low-income families live.  Two of our small group were mothers who live in apartment buildings where the methane and nitrous dioxide leaking from their gas stoves and heating is 4 times higher than safe OUTDOOR levels.  They don't have the power or the means to replace these dirty and inefficient appliances and systems, so their children have asthma and every now and then someone's apartment blows up.  They presented their comments in Spanish (which takes some cojones) and two of the community organizers with us then translated.  Here we are (and can I just wish you an honored Women's History Month?).

I got to thinking about legislative language and how we "resolve" things in our communal life, and I looked up the word "whereas".  I LOVE IT that the first thing that popped up in my Ecosia search was A POEM by Layli Longsoldier, which you must go and read when you're done here.



Our host today is Tanita at {fiction, instead of lies} where the hope and anticipation and may I add RELIABILITY of a garden are reasons to get up and at it once again.  Find the anaphora experiments of the other Inklings here:

Catherine @ Reading to the Core

Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche