Poetry Friday: Seeking Light

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence
is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
~ Carl Jung ~

The world is a scary place these days. Sometimes it’s hard to see how we will find solutions to the myriad crises the we face. But then wise people like Robin Wall Kimmerer, a brilliant “plant ecologist, educator, and writer articulating a vision of environmental stewardship grounded in scientific and Indigenous knowledge,” wins a MacArthur award. Kimmerer’s writing always gives me hope and inspires me to just be and do better as I move through the world. One lesson I took away from her book Braiding Sweetgrass is the importance of knowing the names of the plants and animals who share this earth with us. Because I have no one left to teach me, I rely on technology to learn the names of plants and flowers that have surrounded me since childhood. Now I have iNaturalist on my phone, so while I’m out walking or working in my yard, I can take a photo of whatever plant or animal I come across, and iNaturalist will do its best to tell me the name of my nonhuman neighbor.

Last weekend, I found this glorious little berry behind my house:

I had never seen such a plant! My first thought was that it was a wild strawberry, but it’s October and strawberry season is long past. After a quick search through its database, iNaturalist informed me that this is a mock strawberry, a species native to eastern and southern Asia. I know I should have left it for the squirrels and chipmunks who have been busy devouring the feast to be found outside my backdoor, I couldn’t resist setting a woodland table:

Of course all this creative play inspired a poem!

October Surprise

Bright red and glistening 
with morning dew,
a plump mock strawberry
is a beacon 
to a chipmunk
foraging for breakfast.




Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

If you haven’t read Braiding Sweetgrass, find a copy today. Or listen to the author herself reading it in her soothing, patient voice. Your world will be made brighter! Also be sure to visit Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Wordy Thirty

I’ve loved word games since I was a kid. My grandmother introduced me to word find puzzles when I was probably in 3rd or 4th grade. They seemed like treasure hunts to me. Eventually, crossword puzzles usurped word finds (although I would never scorn them), and Scrabble was admitted to my list of favorite games. But for some reason, I’m very late to the Wordle craze. I didn’t start playing until 19 days ago. Why start playing now? Because Mary Lee challenged the Inklings to write a Wordy 30 for our October challenge! According to Mary Lee, “a Wordy 30 is a poem using exactly 30 letters. Each line should have the same number of letters. Each line should use one word. You might have 6 lines with 5 letters in each line (like Wordle), or 5 x 6, 3 x 10, 10 x 3, 15 x 2, 2 x 15, 30 x 1, or (most unlikely) 1 x 30. Have…fun???”

Don’t you love those question marks? Playing Wordle is fun. Writing poetry is fun (mostly). Writing a Wordy 30? Not so much.

For my first attempts, I stuck to five letter words. It was challenging to find six words with the right letter count that worked together in a meaningful way. Talk about a treasure hunt! After a few false starts, I decided this draft wasn’t terrible.


But I didn’t love it. Then, last weekend, as I worked on my latest knitting project, inspiration struck. Realizing I didn’t have to use five letter words, I came up with this:


Draft, © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Easter warmth I knit for Hazel

Please be sure to visit my fellow Inklings to see their Wordy 30s:

Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
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 Sarah Grace Tuttle for the Poetry Friday Roundup. Do try your hand at Wordle, if you haven’t already. You never know; it just might inspire a poem or two!