Poetry Friday: Trying a Tricube

It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for another Inkling challenge. This month, Molly challenged us to “Pick a poetry form you’ve been wanting to try and haven’t, and dive in!  Here are a few that I’ve been wanting to play around with:: Clogyrnach and Rondelet (thanks and thanks, Alan!), and Tricube (thanks, Matt!), and Magic 9 , Feel free to choose any form you’d like., or more than one.. No pressure. Just play!”

I decided to play with a Tricube. This form sounds straightforward: three stanzas with three lines, each line with three syllables. As Matt mentioned in his original post, though, the trick is getting “what you’re trying to say in that tiny space!”

After many false starts and playing with many different ideas, this is what I came up with.

How to Write a Poem

Gather thoughts.
Collect words.
Write them down.

Count, count, count.
Read aloud.
Rearrange.

Read again.
Satisfied?
Share your heart.

Draft, © Catherine Flynn, 2021

Please visit my fellow Inklings to find out what forms they decided to play with:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading

Then head over to Michelle Kogan’s blog for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Poetry Friday: Your Kitchen

“What exists, exists so that it can be lost and become precious.”
~ Lisel Muller ~

Earlier this week, I found myself standing in the kitchen of my grandmother’s house. I grew up next door to her and spent countless hours with her there. When my grandmother died, her house was sold and the new owners renovated the house. What now stands on that corner is almost unrecognizable, both inside and out. It was a bit surreal to be in a place that was once so familiar but is now utterly foreign. Right after this experience, I came across the above quote on The Marginalia (formerly Brain Pickings) and this Golden Shovel basically wrote itself.

My grandmother’s house, pre-renovation

Please be sure to visit Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Percentages

This month, Linda challenged the Inklings to write “write a poem that includes the idea of percentage./percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem.. In some way.”

During the approximately 1% of my life that I could actually sit down and write last month, I had an idea about writing a series of pi poems–poems using the sequence of pi (3.14159…) for either the word count or syllable count per line. This idea was a bit misguided, as I thought pi was a percentage. In fact, as Mary Lee reminded me, it is a ratio. Math was never my strongest subject.

Linda also inspired me with her brilliant idea to write to the #inktober prompts using images she found on Wikiart. There were several similar prompts on Instagram last month, including #theydrawtober and #birdtober, where “Goose” was the bird listed one day. Search results on Wikiart didn’t appeal to me, so I checked Google Arts & Culture, where I found this stunning quilt:

 Wild Goose Chase Quilt
Creator: Susan Reed Ruddick
Date Created: 1851
Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/13912)

I come from a long line of quilters. Once upon a time, I had grand ambitions of creating my own quilts. Now I write poems instead. (The similarities between the two arts are not lost on me; maybe I’ll write about that one day.) Here is the poem that emerged from this jumble of thoughts.

Fat quarters nestle,
forgotten
in a dresser drawer
hoping
to be released, snipped, stitched,
flocked, then sent off on a wild goose chase.

Draft, © 2021, Catherine Flynn

I promise it won’t be a wild goose chase if you visit my fellow Inklings to read their percentage poems:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading

Mary Lee is also hosting this week, so you’ll find all sorts of poetry goodness there.

Poetry Friday: Love Poems to Trees

To every year the trees grew without us noticing.
Hannah Marshall

In the introduction to  The Best American Poetry 2021, Tracy K. Smith states that “the best poems of 2020 reached me as offerings of desperately needed hope and endurance.” She goes on to say that “the best poetry to emerge during a bitter year sprang from whatever else was indispensable to sustenance, peace of mind, justice, and healing at the time.”

Indispensable to sustenance.

That we are still in search of “desperately needed hope and endurance” is enough to drive one to despair. And yet.

One of the poems included in this year’s collection is “This Is a Love Poem to Trees,” by Hannah Marshall. I couldn’t find Marshall’s poem online, but I encourage you to seek it out. Trees have sustained me in countless ways, not just over the past twenty months, but throughout my entire life. Here are two haiku, love songs to two of my favorite trees.

late afternoon light
leaves dappled amber and gold
sips of sustenance

crowned in green cumulus puffs,
maple bears witness
the world barrels past

Maple in my childhood neighbor’s yard, as seen from the end of our driveway.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2021

Please be sure to visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

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.
Listen. 
Magic happens when we grow quiet.
Nature’s secrets whisper,
Open before us, like light 
Passing through a prism, 
Quintessence
Revealed.
Sing a celebratory incantation that
Transports us,
Uncovers, through
Verses luminous with 
Wonder and memory, a place where we
eXperience
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!

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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.

Walkingstick

Twig-like bug:
slender,
patient
night-
stalker.
slender,
wingless
leaf- 
muncher.
slender
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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/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

Poetry Friday: Clint Smith

Earlier this summer, my daughter-in-law introduced me to Clint Smith‘s book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. I immediately bought a copy, but haven’t started it yet. Then I found the summer issue of Poets & Writers at my local book store, and there was Clint Smith on the cover. What an amazing backstory to how this book came into the world! The article made me curious about Smith’s poetry, which led me to this poem. Sadly, it’s all too appropriate for this week, this month, this year.

When people say, “we have made it through worse before”
by Clint Smith

all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones
of those who did not make it, those who did not
survive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those who

did not live to watch the parade roll down the street.
I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorisms
meant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant to

convey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is no
solace in rearranging language to make a different word
tell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universe

does not bend in a direction that will comfort us.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Please be sure to visit Carol at The Apples in My Orchard for the Poetry Friday Roundup.