Friday, January 22, 2016

Poetry Friday -- Double or Nothing

via Unsplash

Because temperatures were in the single digits,
I threw on the old red barn coat
I used to wear for winter dog walks.

I saw you looking at the frayed cuffs,
the faded canvas,
the corduroy collar.

I've owned this coat longer than you've been alive.
What do you own now that will last that long?
Probably nothing.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Stijn Nieuwendijk

I began my day
with thoughts about 
racial and economic 

and I read the news
of the Afghan woman
whose nose was cut off
by her husband.

Then I spent
twenty minutes
drawing the opening
amaryllis buds

and the only thing
in my mind was this
everyday miracle.
Nothing else.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

I wrote these poems in response to the Ditty of the Month Challenge that Douglas Florian offered up at Michelle's Today's Little Ditty to write a poem about nothing.

Tara has the Poetry Friday roundup today at A Teaching Life.


  1. You're good. I aspire to think about things the way you do. You make connections where there were none before. The mark of an excellent writer.

  2. I love the tone of these, Mary Lee. How nothing is practically an afterthought... though really we know it's not. ;) Thank you for sharing your beautiful and thought-provoking work.

  3. Bravo! "probably nothing." 2 words that skillfully cut into know-nothing mentalities that presume to know everything. ...Poem #2. Heaven help us! ...The truth about what is happening near and far to women who are abused is so sickening, so nauseating, so abhorrent, and yet what do I do about it? Nothing...except to think if I had won the PowerBall... Thank you for reminding me that I've got to do something...even if just to write a check, which is what I will do before nightfall. Thank you!

  4. Wow! I love these two poems so different in their messages. The drawing, how art can take us away from the worst of times. We need these words, this art. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I enjoy the thoughtful perspective, Mary Lee. The first one outward, and the second, protective of self at least for a while. Beautiful.

  6. Anonymous12:53 AM

    Such a different interpretation of 'nothing' in these, Mary Lee. Or rather - a different journey towards it. Both beautifully honestly written. (Smiling at your post's title, too.)

  7. Wow. Only you could make something out of nothing. These feel a little Mary Oliver-ish to me. And the second one reminds me to focus on lovely when the world is such a hard place.
    P.S. I'm going to show the first poem to my boys, the next time that they make fun/comment on my fashion sense.

  8. I love the way those moments of creation can help deal with the world's ugliness.

  9. Love them both. Love the first with its red-coated horse in the snow, and its mysterious multiple addressees,and the second with its arc from persistent complaint to act of brutality to faithful echo of creation, and how they both end in a meaningful nothing. What a rich prompt Douglas's turned out to be!

  10. Anonymous6:31 PM

    I can go so long without hearing poetry. I should make more of an effort to get more peotry in my life. Thanks for sharing.

  11. A set of poems that allow us to think deeply about nothing that really is something deep-thanks Mary Lee.


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