Friday, November 09, 2012


Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jana Obscura

Startled, I silence my alarm
Get up and feed the cat
Turn off the porch lights
Turn up the heat
Fill the teakettle and light the burner
Check email
Decide on cereal for breakfast

And still
I cannot for the life of me
Decipher the phrase that was in my head
Just before the alarm went off:

This is the kind of test with mandolins in it.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

Ed DeCaria has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Think Kid, Think.


  1. What a gorgeous photo! I wonder about that phrase, too. Sounds like an interesting test. Maybe "Bruce Hornsby" is an answer?

  2. You described it all just right, Mary Lee-that part in the brain that keeps searching, searching.

  3. Wow, you dream in poetry and music. Cool Beans!!

  4. Hey there, beautiful dreamer :)! I hate when my alarm disturbs the good conversation I'm having with James Taylor.

  5. I think we can all identify, Mary Lee! Very nice.

  6. Does anyone keep a notebook beside the bed, at the ready to record nighttime mind-meanderings? Thankfully Mary Lee does, or she is super good at remembering. I always plan to, but....then.... Thanks for the reminder that our minds are active, telling us things we might need to know but may never understand. Do you play the mandolin? Perhaps a metaphor for our kids taking the new tests that they are not used to: here kid, you did your math all year, but show us how to play Stairway to Heaven on this mandolin. Then we'll rate you and your teacher.....I pray the tests will be well-done and if possible as beautiful as the mandolins in the photo. I don't think that is too much to ask for our kids. Janet F.

  7. Well, this is my morning routine too, all to often.

  8. I've had mornings like this! I love the way you led us through your morning routine and left us with a surprise ending! Great job!

  9. Those phrases seem so wise when you're sleeping, but when you wake up they are just undecipherable!

  10. That is a puzzler, Mary Lee. Have you figured it out yet? And bravo for putting your hat in the ring for Ed's challenge!

    Violet N.

  11. Love it. And that mandolin music is so magical, siren-like.... thanks for sharing!

    Best wishes for travelling next week - that NCTE poetry panel is going to rock.

  12. HA! What a remarkable and wonderful phrase to wake up with. I wonder where in the world it came from.

    Well, it served its purpose, anyway, ending up in this great little snippet of life. :)

  13. I love when that happens.
    I hope you pass the test. :)

  14. I keep coming back to your poem. I love that last line. I would like a test, I think, with mandolins in it.

  15. Hi, Mary Lee. I just realized that my comment was eaten! I love that mandolin test. I'm working on a NaNoWriMo book and weird dreams are a great source for getting in my daily words.

  16. I love the elusive, plucking right at the edge of our minds. Thanks!

  17. Perhaps you'll find out one day what the mandolin test is all about. In the meantime, relish the fact that mysterious messages get through!


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