Friday, January 17, 2014

Poetry Friday -- In Praise of Challenges

It started with #nerdlution, back on December 2. Fifty days to try something new, get something back, make a habit. My #nerdlution was to walk a mile and write for 30 minutes every day. The walking has dialed back to 5/7 days a week, but the writing has stayed strong.

At the end of break, I layered in a weekly TED Talk/illustrated notes challenge.

On January 1, I started writing a poem a day for Month of Poetry.

For the last couple of weeks, I've been giving Tricia's Monday Poetry Stretch challenges a try.

So what's up with all of these external challenges? Can't I keep busy enough on my own?

I look at them as nudges. Each has moved me to a new level of creativity and into new ways of thinking. The funny thing is, they don't really function as layers. It doesn't feel like I'm doing more and more. Because things like this happen:

I watched this TED talk on doing something new for 30 days. My notes weren't rich

and his talk wasn't so much of a WOW as a *nods head in agreement.* But that idea of Rut vs. New got in my head and became a part of my first ever pantoum that I wrote for #MoP and Monday Poetry Challenge in my #nerdlution 30-minutes-a-day writing.



I crave both
the comfort of routine
and the thrill
of unknowns.

The comfort of routine:
the well-worn path through a day full
of unknowns,
surprises at every turn.

The well-worn path through a day, full.
And the thrill --
surprises at every turn.
I crave both.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

(Here's last year's version on this theme.)

Keri has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Keri Recommends.


  1. Nice! And so true - "the well-worn path through a day", "surprises at every turn", "I crave both", too!

  2. To me this is the beauty of the teacher's day: the same schedule every day, every year, a dependable box which we open to find new suprises every day, every year! Nicely crafted, and good for you and all your practices!

  3. I crave both too. The comfort of routine readies and steadies us for any surprises that may come. A good balance to keep things interesting. Nice poem. Good luck with all your challenges!

  4. Mostly I just crave a day with an empty agenda to fill as I wish. Who knows? Maybe I'd try a pantoum. This was terrific Mary Lee, also enjoyed your jazz/rhythm piece from last year!

  5. Wonderful pantoum, Mary Lee! So happy for your productivity. Keep going! xo

  6. Well done, Mary Lee. Pantoums teach so much about words and how changing the lines change the meaning. Happy you are enjoying your layers!

  7. Sometimes I challenge myself to do the things I really want to do, such as writing daily and exercising. But sometimes I just want to make it through the day.
    Your pantoum speaks to me.

  8. Well, yes - we need both, we crave both, and yet...:)

  9. Good for you for taking on the pantoum! Writing a poem with a cheat sheet next to me is kind of scary!

  10. Your pantoum clicks!

    Good for you in the new habits you're forming! I've found the same--that things I have in mind to do often dove-tail. I get way more done if I have these self-imposed deadlines or challenges in mind because somehow I'm always on the lookout for ways to complete them. (By the way, I'm also really enjoying Kay Ryan. Thanks again for the giveaway.)

    Violet N.

  11. I love the pantuom form! Your poem is perfect for me as I love routines as well, that's why I love school with the expected non-routine down time called vacations. I should commit to getting back on the Poetry Stretch wagon, I fell off.

  12. Anonymous2:39 PM

    In awe of your pantuom, Mary Lee! You've inspired me to get back to work on a poem I've been struggling with. Maybe it should be a pantuom. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I love that comma before "full" in the third stanza, Mary Lee. How can a comma, hanging out down there so soft and low, speak so eloquently?

  14. Wow, Mary Lee. Just wow! This really does kind of describe the teacher's day/life. Can't believe you are writing a poem a day! How I admire your diligence!

  15. Holy Mackerel, Mary Lee! Your Yin and Yang poem..your challenges...your dedication to your craft and your profession...I'm so impressed! =)

  16. Wonderful poem, Mary Lee - thanks for sharing - wishing you a week of comfort and delightful thrills!

  17. Mary Lee,
    I've come to expect that every time I stop by your posts I will be sent to another place where I will DISCOVER something new. I didn't realize there was a weekly poetry stretch....hmmmm.

    I enjoyed your poem for its structure and its message. Interesting --- and so true.


  18. Nice job on the pantoum. I really like it short and to the point. Every time I try to write a pantoum, I just go on and on and on, and eventually throw out the form and keep what's left. Not a bad exercise, but still I really like the form itself. Love yours.

  19. Wow! And here I just unsubscribed from every challenge in my new effort to JUST SAY NO! Maybe I'm going about it all wrong. Your pantoum definitely speaks to me and illustrates the constant struggle to find the balance. Kudos to you - keep going!

  20. Pantoums are usually several stanzas long, but I think your light touch with this poem is spot-on! I'm inspired to check out that TED talk.

  21. You're an inspiration! Thanks for the post and the poem.


Comment moderation is turned on.