Friday, April 04, 2014

Our Wonderful World.4

The details of my Poetry Month project can be found here.

We All Wait

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

My tunnels sprawled,
my columns endured,
my stairways persevered.

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

I cradled the bones of the dead
in silence.
My statues stood guard
in secrecy.
And I waited.

We all wait.
we even know why,
or what for.

in all my centuries
would I have imagined
what would break the monotony 
and end my waiting.

What's a forgotten catacomb to do?

A thousand years I waited.
Then a donkey fell through my roof
and the silence, the secrecy, and the waiting were over.

Who would have guessed?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

This is the first wonder I knew absolutely nothing about. Based on my experience yesterday, I knew we would need to do a bit of research before we started writing. I showed my students the image above and we brainstormed the questions we hoped to have answered by our research:
What are catacombs?
Are there traps?
Can tourists go there?
Are there kings, or treasure?
Where are they?
How old are they?
How big are they?
What are they used for?
My reading minilesson plans called for us to think about how we can determine the speaker in a poem (or a text), and in writing, we would try to write from an interesting point of view.

Turns out this was the perfect wonder for personification. You could write from the point of view of the catacombs themselves (as I did) or from the point of view of the donkey that fell through the roof in 1900, leading to the rediscovery of the catacombs. You could be a serpent guarding the doorway, a statue, a dead person buried there, or one of the shards for which the catacombs are named: "Mound of Shards." You could be the desert around it, the sky above it, or the water that's flooded the lowest level.

Carol has a Colosseum poem from yesterday at her blog, Carol's Corner.

Kevin's poem today is multimedia.

All of my Poetry Month posts can also be found on my new poetry website.

Amy has the Poetry Friday roundup today at The Poem Farm. She's certainly one of the wonders of the world!


  1. I went multimedia today.
    First, my poem:

    I descend into the past
    down stone steps
    past ancient corners
    through the rough artistry
    of slaves bent on freedom
    one floor
    two floor
    three floors deep
    running my fingernails across the wall
    as I walk slowly into history flanked by falcons
    and the power of the sun into the hearts of men
    until I reach the three coffins of rock
    in this mound of shards,
    wondering all the while whose bones
    sleep amid all of this silent chaos.

    And now the media version:


  2. Oh my! I've never heard of this wondrous donkey-discovered place...nor had I heard of the wondrous Poetrepository at your matter-of-factly announced new website. Whoo-hoo good for you!
    I'm very interested in how Kom is not equivalent to cata-com, but to mound, which is now buried. Excited to come back and visit you in my travels--how about next Friday? Actually, I think I'll go for the 18th--Macchu Picchu is more my style than the CN Tower. : )

  3. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Good morning, and happy Friday!

  4. A donkey! I'm enjoying these very much.

  5. I know about the catacombs, Mary Lee, but have never heard the donkey story. This is a terrific way to include more than just what they are. Love "What's a forgotten catacomb to do?"

  6. I had heard of the catacombs, but had never heard the donkey story. I'm learning lots from your poetry posts!

    "Kom El Shoqafa"

    most people’s lives
    are catacombs

    on the surface
    the casual visitor views
    beautiful temple
    welcoming portico
    adorned sarcophagus
    perhaps an occasional pottery shard
    maybe even a mound of shards

    it is only later
    a mere ass
    steps wrongly
    plummets downward
    and the corpse
    three levels
    on pulleys
    years before
    is revealed

    (c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

  7. I like your new poetry blog and all the wonder poems thus far.

    The chicory flower reminds me of summer, which, I hope we get, even if we don't get spring this year!

  8. I can't stop thinking about that donkey! Thanks for sharing these wonder-ful poems.


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