Poetry Project — October 2017

Ahhhh, we have Tanita to thank for this month’s challenge. I was daunted — I don’t know why. Maybe because the form is based on hymns, and my upbringing had me at a little interfaith chapel — only when it didn’t interfer with skiing.

Anyway, just like improv, when one of our Poetry Sisters throws down a challenge, the rest of us say, “Yes, and…”

So here we go — a poem with the theme of autumn, set to a hymnal rhyme scheme and meter (a la Isaac Watts or Emily Dickinson).

It Doesn’t Feel Like Fall
(A Hymn of Middle Age)

By Liz Garton Scanlon

While all the trees are evergreen
and sunshine evergold
I cannot make my heart careen
from young and bright, to cold.

I cannot play the part of crone
or slip on wisdom’s dress
when I’m still feeling barely grown
and hardly self-possessed.

They say a change is coming soon –
a chill is in the air –
so why do I insist it’s June,
wear blossoms in my hair?

Because! The calendar is blind
to things that just abide –
the bulbs that flowers leave behind,
the heartbeat of the tide.

So never mind the month now,
and never mind the time…
this girl’s a girl still, anyhow,
this season, sweet, sublime.

Some of my sisters were more nuanced and sophisticated with the form than I was. Have a look!

And Poetry Friday is at Violet Nesdoly Poems today!
Enjoy, my friends….

Poetry Project — September 2017

Last month I missed our Poetry Sisters prompt because I was out in the wilderness.
Which, honestly, WAS poetry.
But, I’ve never missed one of our prompts before and I aim to make it up someday.

Here’s a picture of where I was in August so you can see that it was, indeed, an excused absence:

In the meantime, Sara Lewis Holmes was in charge of September’s assignment.
She offered up an image — this photo of inspirational rocks at the Highlights Foundation.
It’s a lovely image (the broken wish rock notwithstanding) so neither Sara nor Highlights nor the rocks will be blamed for the ensuing darkness! Sometimes a poem leads you down a garden path. Othertimes, well….

Oh, and it’s a pantoum, by the way. One of my favorite forms…

Your Mother is Afraid
By Liz Garton Scanlon

When she says be careful
what you wish for
she means make yourself small,
she means snuff out your own flame.

What you wish for –
it’s dangerous and bright as gold
she means, snuff out your own flame
she says, and cover your eyes.

It’s dangerous and bright as gold.
Shhh, be quiet and sit down
she says, and cover your eyes.
But you don’t. You see what she means.

Shhh, be quiet and sit down
(she means make yourself small).
But you don’t. You see what she means
when she says be careful.

Go see the other poems here:

And Poetry Friday is being hosted here, at Kat’s Whiskers!

Poetry Project — July 2017

This month, a poem in the style of SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY, by Lord Byron.
Rhyme, meter, romance. What’s not to love?
(Ohmymercy this one about killed me!)

Mother Liberty
by Liz Garton Scanlon

She’s in her robe, her torch held high
above her like a kettlebell,
held high in case someone stops by,
decides he wants to sit a spell
beside the harbor, rest his eyes
beneath her matriarchal swell.

She’s strong, her arm unwavering.
She’s practiced for this all her life,
held high the weight of everything –
the dreams, the hopeful flights from strife.
She’s never flinched, just said, “Please bring
them all,” until her shores were rife

with us, she made us feel at home.
She called us family, said, “Stay!”
We didn’t answer when she phoned.
We all got busy, moved away,
did well, grew rich, left her alone,
her torch arm tired, still in play.

Please go see other poems in this very particular, vexing style here:


And more poems of all stripes at Poetry Friday here.

Be well.

Poetry Project — June 2017

A golden shovel poem is kind of like a parlor game or a puzzle.
You take one line from a poem and use each word in that line as the end words for each line in a new poem.

In this case, my poetry sister Kelly chose Hopkins’ Pied Beauty, which is so exquisite it feels almost wrong to deconstruct it. But deconstruct it we did!!

I used the very first line as my Golden Shovel and I’ll admit I cheated a bit, making the first word my title instead of my first end word. I hope Gerard Manley would understand. Anyway, here goes. Enjoy!

Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Glory, by Liz Garton Scanlon

To be a girl with a pony in the late yellow light, to be
witness to cowbirds and huge round clocks of hay, to
be a girl with a barebacked pony, to be witness to God –
no less than God is this! – this mane, this hill, this whisper for
her to Giddy up, Glory, Giddy up, into today all dappled.
What glory, to be a girl with so many splendored things.

And here are my Poetry Sisters’ poems….


Poetry Friday is at Buffy’s Blog today!

Things To Do — Poetry Project Poems for May, 2017

Oh, this month’s challenge felt lovely, light and fun to me. I could’ve kept writing and writing. It’s Friday today and the weekend feels spacious, so maybe I will! These are seasonal “Things To Do” poems — and there are lots more to read if you visit my Poetry Sisters’ sites too. (Do!)

Things To Do If You’re April
as summer one day
(all opulent green and
and purple, the exact scent
of grape punch) and then,
like a harlequin, become winter
again, wearing a quiet white mask

Things To Do If You’re Lantana
Grow like a weed

Things To Do If You’re a Squirrel
Scurry, Scurry, Scurry

Things To Do If You’re an Oak
Settle into who you’re meant to be
Take up all the space you need
Scatter acorns
Spread sticky pollen
Touch the tops of other people’s houses
Everything is under your influence

Things To Do If You’re May
Help us graduate
From this season to that
Help us begin something new


And for more poems of all varieties, the wonderful Jama’s hosting Poetry Friday today!