The Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup! (Find our more about Poetry Friday in this post by Renée LaTulippe here.) I’m happy to welcome you all on this first day of one of the loveliest months. As Anne declares, in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” It’s also time for another Inkling challenge. This month Mary Lee challenged the Inklings to

Explain a poetry term (simile, metaphor, allegory, allusion, etc) in a poem that makes use of that term. OR tell how to write a poetry form (ode, elegy, sonnet, limerick, etc) in that form.

As usual, I wrestled with choosing a topic/form for most of the month. Finally, I decided to write an abecedarian, a poem in which the first line begins with the letter A and the following lines begin with each successive letter of the alphabet. Although it can be tricky to get everything to make sense, these these poems are fun to write. Also as usual, my poem doesn’t follow Mary Lee’s instructions exactly, but I enjoyed the process. Because it’s a most magical month, and poetry is its own kind of magic, I tried to include as many magical words as I could without things feeling forced.

Poetry Primer–An Abecedarian

Assemble ingredients: feelings, ideas, words. Let them
Bubble and steep in the
Cauldron of your mind. Cultivate curiosity.      
Delve deeply into subjects. Keep your
Eyes open for easily overlooked 
Features, subtle details,  
Gifts from the world for you to discover. 
Hear the heartbeat of your poem.
Infuse each line with rhythm,
Jazzy words, quiet words,
Kernels of hard-won wisdom.
Magic happens when we grow quiet.
Nature’s secrets whisper,
Open before us, like light 
Passing through a prism, 
Sing a celebratory incantation that
Transports us,
Uncovers, through
Verses luminous with 
Wonder and memory, a place where we
Yūgen, that elegant mystery, that elusive
Zone we’re constantly seeking.

Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Please be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to read their responses to Mary Lee’s challenge. Then leave your link and enjoy a bounty of poetry!

Heidi @ My Juicy Little Universe
Linda @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret @ Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly @ Nix the Comfort Zone

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Poetry Friday: Commonplace Marvels

Several years ago, a group of Poetry Friday friends began writing a haiku a day as a distraction from the chaos swirling around us. Maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t know then just how chaotic the world would become. I’m still seeking solace in small wonders, what Natalie Babbitt, in The Search for Delicious, described as “those commonplace marvels which [the world] spreads so carelessly before us every day.” Here are two haiku celebrating some marvels I noticed this week.

notes of moonsong stream
crickets hum in harmony
lost summer’s lament

bountiful harvest
a pair of sky blue eggs
gleaming suns inside

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2021

It’s hard to tell from this photo what a lovely shade of blue these eggs were.

Please be sure to visit Laura Purdie Salas for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: A Skinny

One day a few weeks ago, this fine specimen was hanging out on my car. He was quite content and spent most of the morning resting from his night of feasting. I felt guilty about moving him to a nearby bush when I had to go to the grocery store! I was inspired by this master of disguise, so I did a little research. I always called this a stick bug, but here in Connecticut, its proper name is northern walkingstick. What better form to use for a poem about this skinny bug than a skinny? This form was invented by Truth Thomas in 2005 at the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University.


Twig-like bug:
twig-like bug.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2021

Please be sure to visit Denise Krebs, hosting all the way from Bahrain, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: “The Web”

One of the poets highlighted in Kathryn Aalto’s Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (which inspired my April Poetry Project) is Alison Hawthorne Deming. Described by Aalto as “an interdisciplinary cross-thinker,” Deming has said that “each poem is an experiment to see if language can convey a shapely sense of the swarm of energy buzzing through the mind.” Exactly.

It feels like the world has gotten very loud over the past few weeks. As if it hadn’t been loud enough already. During these tumultuous days, I have found the possibility present in this poem by Alison Deming, with its “…conversation so quiet/the human world can vanish into it,” very reassuring.

The Web
by Alison Hawthorne Deming

Is it possible there is a certain
kind of beauty as large as the trees
that survive the five-hundred-year fire
the fifty-year flood, trees we can’t
comprehend even standing
beside them with outstretched arms
to gauge their span,
a certain kind of beauty
so strong, so deeply concealed
In relationship — black truffle
to red-backed vole to spotted owl
to Douglas fir, bats and gnats,
beetles and moss, flying squirrel
and the high-rise of a snag,
each needing and feeding the other–
a conversation so quiet
the human world can vanish into it.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Please be sure to visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: A Ghazal Challenge

The Inklings are kicking off September with ghazals. Margaret challenged us to write a poem using this complex form about a month ago. I’ve been playing with ideas ever since, but really struggled to get something to gel. Even after settling on a topic and rhyme scheme, I still haven’t adhered strictly to the rules. I also have to confess that some of these stanzas are reworkings of poems I’ve shared previously. (School began this week and I moved classrooms. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) Here is my very rough “Ghazal of Rivers.”

Flowing at a brisk pace, Quononoquetti*, long tidal river 
moved people from place to place: ancient Pequot river. 

Sinuous canyons carved with a sculptor’s grace and precision;
grain by grain, sandstone washes away, effaced by the river.

History is hard to trace when dams are built to harness power
entire towns are erased, drowned beneath a now-tame river.

Paddlers in canoes and kayaks chase thrills and adventure,
seek glory and fame when they race on a rapid-rich river.

I embrace my fears, watch tongues of water curl,
create space and listen to tales of the river.

* now know as Connecticut

Draft, © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Connecticut Greenway State Park (which, ironically, is in Massachusetts!)
by Tom Walsh, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Please be sure to visit by fellow Inklings, including this week’s Poetry Friday hostess, Heidi Mordhorst, to read their very fine Ghazals!

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