Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Wonderful World.18

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


No wheel for rolling,
or draft horse for pulling,
and hills too steep,
with trees thick and deep.

So how to move countless
stone blocks up a mountain?
A hundred-man force
up an inclined plane course.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

After a week that featured wonders of the modern world chosen by The American Society of Civil Engineers -- the Empire State Building (my favorite of my poems this week), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works, and the Panama Canal (I cheated and wrote a non-wonder poem that day) -- it's been nice to return to some ancient wonders: Petra yesterday and Machu Picchu today.

And what fun to learn about unknown or little-known places around the world, and to marvel, day after day, at the ingenuity of the human race!

Robyn has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Life on the Deckle Edge, and the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem comes home to Irene at Live Your Poem.

Kevin wrote a pensive ransom note poem for today. It's at his blog, Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Carol Wilcox's poem for today focuses on a tiny detail to get at the big picture. It's simply masterful.

Carol Varselona at BeyondLiteracyLink wrote a poem for the Panama Canal.

Carol Wilcox's poem for Petra is at Carol's Corner. I immediately thought of the cliff-dwellers of the American Southwest when I looked through the pictures of Petra!


  1. A poem as ransom note

  2. You captured the mystery of this engineering marvel, Mary Lee. I like how your poem also works as a riddle.

  3. As much as I have whined and moaned and complained about all of this poem writing, I actually am enjoying it. I love learning about all of these places, some new and some remembered (I have decided we should take a poet's trip to Macchu Pichu!). And I love your poems, which I think I don't always remember to comment about. Every time I research one of these places, I'm drawn as you were, to the construction details. This poem should be in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Math and Science!

  4. And finally, I did it! A morning poem!

    One thousand years ago,
    when the highlands of Macchu Pichu
    echoed with cries of White-Tipped Swift,
    and Collared Trogon
    and rainbow winged butterflies
    flitted through lush tropical forests
    we were there

    And seven hundred years ago
    as Inca craftsman hauled
    enormous blocks of stone
    up steep slopes
    to build temples and tributaries
    and observatories
    we were there

    Six hundred years ago
    Spanish conquistadors arrived
    plundering pillaging
    decimating ancient civilization
    and we were there

    One hundred years ago
    a little boy
    led eager anthropologists
    eight thousand feet
    up steep mountain slopes
    to vegetation covered ruins
    and we were there

    as darkness fall
    three thousand tourists
    will cease their climbing
    and exclaiming
    and clicking
    we will still be there

    (c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

  5. You've shared your own 'wondering' of how this beautiful place was built. I often wonder, and then usually find it was slaves who did the work, 'almost slaves' even for the Panama Canal.

    1. It's been kind of hard to stay on the positive side with these poems. There's always the "At what cost" piece. The destruction that goes with construction.

  6. Speaking of "mystery" .... it IS amazing, isn't it? Thank you for your poem, Mary Lee. I love how this brings to mind the power of the masses to create... we are natural problem solvers, but we need more than just ourselves. xo

  7. Hard to imagine what life was like for those stone-moving men. This poem would be wonderful to include with a study of simple machines.

  8. Love that you've boiled it down to "How?" - and your poem could spur on so many discussions.
    (Lovely pic - my hubby was there year before last.)

  9. I wish I had followed your project more closely so far this month, but I let busyness get in the way of poetry! I will try to do better for the rest of April!

  10. Such magnificence. Nature and all its wonders. Thank you for sharing this. Great image too.

  11. What a fascinating project you've set up for yourself. Your poems and those of your buddies would make a wonderful collection.

    Violet N.

  12. I love the approach you took by asking how and reminding us of all the tools they didn't have. It helps me imagine how really terrible the process must have been.

  13. We just spent time along the National Road (now US 40) learning the story of how it went from Native American Indian foot trail to crushed rock toll road to interstate highway (not to mention the marvel of Fallingwater itself)--and admiring these achievements puts me in a position to be walloped by your Macchu Picchu moment of wonder. LOVE your form incorporating near and perfect rhymes, Mary Lee.

  14. Another winner, Mary Lee. It's amazing what willpower (and slave labor) can overcome.

  15. Anonymous5:28 PM

    I'm always in awe of your poems, Mary Lee, just as I'm in awe of the wonders created with simple machines!

  16. Amazing! So much to ponder with these wonders of the world.


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