Thursday, February 29, 2024


Greetings, all, and welcome to March (a favored month of mine).  We kick it off, we Inklings, by writing persona poems with Margaret Simon, whose challenge read "A persona poem has a specific audience, conveys a message, is written in the voice of another person, place, or thing, uses direct address. A great sample poem is “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes."

I'm double dipping for this one, because during the recently concluded February Poetry Project hosted by Laura Shovan (the theme this year was Games), we enjoyed a prompt provided by Margaret herself that included cards from a game she plays with students called Picwits. We each selected one of the cards and one of the photos and wrote to that combination. I stepped into the halo of this angel:

Angel to God

Oh Lord—

Every day, seven days a week

(no rest for me on the seventh day),

I put on my wings 

and leave the house.

It’s like any other job–

there are days you look forward to,

and days you’d rather be elsewhere, 

doing something else entirely,

doing nothing.

That’s my aim, my angle–

to earn a sabbath, just one day 

of angel’s rest 

now and then,

a day when I can 

lie barebacked in a hammock  made of angel hair (it really is 

feather-light), saving no one,

doing nothing.

draft ©HM 2024

That was fun, and good practice too, because I hope to be doing a mask and persona poem project with 6th graders in April, at the old middle school of both my kids.

Go here to find the personas inhabited by the other Inklings, and thanks to Linda at TeacherDance for leading the March into Spring. I hope she's not snowed under...

Catherine @ Reading to the Core

Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone

Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise

Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

Mary Lee @ (A)nother Year of Reading

Friday, February 16, 2024

yet here we are


Tight on time today, but here's a word from our sponsor Planet Earth, in the voice of her proxy, poet Caitlin Gildrien.  This poem comes from the anthology you've seen me mention before--DEAR HUMAN AT THE EDGE OF TIME (Paloma Press, 2023).

I like the breadth of the perspective in this poem, its surprising density given that breadth, its uncertain, intense desire to carry on.

Thanks to Mardiret I mean Margaret of Reflections on the Teche, who is hosting us following the festivities of Mardi Gras!

Friday, February 2, 2024

pssssstt...wanna know a secret?

Greetings, all, and Happy February.  The Inklings are writing about secrets today, which may be the original double-edged sword, invented long before any tempered metal blade. I would love to watch a little home movie of the first moment some humans realized they could, for good or ill, know things that no one else knew, keeping their knowledge to themselves or between themselves and selected others without revealing them to the general public.

And oh, wait--it's occuring to me that THIS may be the real story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and possibly the point of God, to read your mind when your fellow humans can't!  Is it cynical to suggest that God is the original Elf on the Shelf? (Surely that's only one edge of the double-edged sword of the Lord, even so.)

But I digress.  Catherine offered us this challenge which she found in a series of prompts from the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center in Modesto, CA.

Prompt # 6 (for December 20): Our Lips are Sealed…Or Not

Write a poem about secrets——family, community/societal, governmental, personal, etc.  This could be a narrative (how the secret(s) started, where it or they led, the along-the-way and final (if any) consequences.  For inspiration or starting blocks for your poem, here’s this poem, “Family Secret” by Nancy Kuhl.

I received this brilliant poem in my inbox through Poem-A-Day, so I was thrilled to go in this direction, and did so writing after another Poem-A-Day offering I was taken with: "The Lord's Corner" by Tyree Daye.  Here's mine.

I also got excited about Nancy Kuhl's commentary on her "Family Secret" poem and used it for a blackout poem:

And now, before I point you to the other Inklings and their secrets, I need to share this one by Desi, a 3rd-grader I'm having the deep delight of working with regularly.  Here's her poem from the current issue of WHISPERshout Magazine, which you can find here.

Check out the secrets of the other Inklings below, and thanks to our own Mary Lee (well, YOUR Mary Lee, too--she's very generous with her participation!) for hosting today at A(nother) Year of Reading!

Catherine @ Reading to the Core

Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone

Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise

Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

AND LASTLY!  I must say a resounding THANK YOU to all who sent me such mantel full of lovely New Year's postcards, and to Jone for organizing us!