Poetry Friday: Hope, Continued

Like last year, my NPM project was a few poems short. My goal was to write 26 poems, one for each letter of the alphabet, for some element of nature that gives my hope. The letter U really stumped me. I went through our old World Book Encyclopedia and came up with ungulate. The only ungulates in my neck of the woods are white-tailed deer. Although the deer don’t usually eat my hostas, and I’ve never hit one with my car, I couldn’t imagine how I would write about deer. Then I startled a rabbit as I walked out the back door one morning earlier this week and she scurried back into the bushes. Hmm. The bushes…the undergrowth.

I thought undergrowth and understory were basically the same thing, but they aren’t. The layers of temperate forests, like what’s left of the forest here in the eastern U.S., correspond to the layers of tropical and temperate rainforests. Each has difference species of plants and animals, of course, but the structure is similar.

It’s also the first Friday of the month, which means the monthly Inkling challenge. Linda Mitchell gave free rein this month when she asked us to:

Write a poem from your O-L-W for 2023
Find a piece of artwork that has a word(s) embedded and write an ekphrastic poem inspired by the piece
Go to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day (any similar site) and be inspired by a word from there
Just write a poem–about anything that needs to be written

This week, I need to write a poem about undergrowth. I will work on poems for the rest of the alphabet over the coming weeks.

U is for Hope



the undergrowth
at the edge of the woods
teems with life:

birds forage for seeds 
and insects,

bees gather nectar
and pollen,

cottontails hide 
in a tangle of branches

and an oak sapling
finds a ray of sunlight,
and reaches toward the sky.

Draft, © Catherine Flynn, 2023

Be sure to visit Linda Baie at Teacher Dance for the Poetry Friday Roundup, then read how the other Inklings responded to Linda’s challenge here:

Heidi Mordhorst
Linda Mitchell
Molly Hogan
Mary Lee Hahn
Catherine Flynn

12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Hope, Continued

  1. I love how you shared the process along with this U poem. I can imagine the cottontail but it’s the oak I want to be. Always striving for hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Undergrowth is a perfectly hope-filled word, full of life and promise. I can see the cottontails and that oak sapling reaching for the sun. Beautiful, Catherine. Great job finishing up your alphabetic hope challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Missed earlier in the day, Catherine. I love how you found your “U”! And what a great word it is, that place filled with important things growing, showing hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it funny how poems find us? We think we are in charge of an idea or a topic and then a poem will literally startle us with its presence. This poem shines with your love of nature. Thanks for letting us know how it came to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the story about how ungulate shifted to undergrowth! Moral of the story: keep your eyes open and stay flexible! Plus, I’m cheering for that oak sapling.

    Liked by 1 person

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