Poetry Friday: Finding Beauty

It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for another Sunday Night Swaggers challenge. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to “find beauty in the ugly” by reinventing “the world around you (or one aspect of it) by shifting your lens to see the beauty in what at first seems to be ugly or unnoteworthy.”

I had a few ideas, but hadn’t gotten far with any of them before I went to NCTE in Baltimore a few weeks ago. There, I attended Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Ralph Fletcher, and Lester Laminack‘s session, “Seeing the World Like a Poet.” During her part of the presentation, Georgia explained that the job of the poet is to take “the film of ordinary off of everyday objects.”

These words were in my mind the next morning while I was waiting in line to check my coat. My eyes were drawn to a building across the street that was glowing in the bright morning sun. Then, as I turned to give my coat to the attendant, I noticed this:

At first glance, this jumble of hangars is decidedly everyday and unnoteworthy. But take a closer look…

A Wedge of Hangers

Like pinioned swans,
captives on a pond,
a wedge of hangers
wait, silent and still.

Soon each will rise,
basking in the embrace
of coats, grateful
for the support
of their plastic wings.

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

During the same session, Ralph Fletcher shared that “photography uncovers surprises” and that we should “follow where they lead.” As I was writing this poem, I was surprised to learn that a wedge is in fact a collective noun for swans. So even though these hangers aren’t exactly wedge-shaped, I think wedge is the perfect word to describe a group of hangers.

Please be sure to visit my fellow swaggers to see where they found beauty this month:

Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone 
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

Then be sure to visit Tanita at fiction, instead of lies for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

23 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Finding Beauty

  1. Gosh, Catherine. You really captured this. I would have been challenged to see beauty in those hangars and was wondering what your poem would do…and just gosh. Lovely. I will never see a wedge of hangars the same way again! (Nor swans!) xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a neat moment…and a neat photo and a brilliant poem to capture not only what you saw but what you were thinking amid the hubub of NCTE. I always find your writing smart…smartest today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an intriguing tangle of hangers! You’ve imagined them as swans or birds; earlier this week, I saw someone had imagined some as stars, and zip-tied a few together to form one. I appreciate the creativity that sort of thinking takes – and where it takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything, hangers, people, all things, are different before discovering a true purpose. I get so annoyed with tangled hangers that I’ve dealt with in my closet, but your poem made me consider that I might feel kinder towards them, as I take the time to use them properly. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love where you went with this challenge, Catherine! I am also struck by what Georgia Heard said and Janice’s comment above about “discovering a true purpose.” So much wisdom here!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Before I read all your words, I had flicked a glimpse to the picture and wondered what they were – first glimpse I’d thought shamozzle of black tape. But of course they’re black swan coathangers, just waiting for their chance to glide into use.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Catherine. Taking the film off objects — that’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing it. Now I see the swans too, and how they embrace our clothes with their wings.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’ve shared wonderful advice, then showed so beautifully how you took it, Catherine. This is lovely to imagine that ‘wedge of swans” cart-swimming I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have taken Georgia’s advice to heart-you discovered the extraordinary in that wedge and jumble of hangers. That comparison to a swan came from a poet’s eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. GOR-GE-OUS, Catherine. I love the idea of hangers “basking in the embrace” of grateful coats, and I wonder why “pinioned” is possibly one of my favorite words! As I say to my kids, “Good noticing,” and even better unfilming.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a delightful way to look at that jumble of hangers! And I’m green with envy that you got to spend time with Georgia, Rebecca, Ralph, and Lester. What a fantastic foursome! Headed off for a morning of errands. Will try to take accept Georgia’s challenge to take “the film of ordinary off of everyday objects.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the word wedge with hangers…they do wedge together in my world. I’m doing some interactive read aloud currently around finding beautiful in our lives – we loved the book Something Beautiful – you might like it too, if you don’t know it already.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my goodness, this is fantastic, Catherine! Those plastic wings…! Thank you for sharing those tidbits from Georgia and Ralph. You’ve applied them beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fun poem Catherine, I like the human quality you’ve also given to the
    “coats, grateful
    for the support
    of their plastic wings.”

    delightful, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So wonderful – I love the way your words helped me look differently at that pile of hangers. Sorry, that wedge of hangers. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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