Thursday, April 27, 2017


For the next half of National Poetry Month 2017, 
Malvina will Sing It, and I'll write a poem in response.

Along with all of the songs she wrote about the issues of her times (still current now), Malvina Reynolds also wrote songs for children. In the documentary Love it Like A Fool, she mentioned that it irked her that men were taken seriously when they were any age, but with her white hair and her songs for children, she became known as "The Singing Grandmother." Anyone who's been listening along through this month knows without a doubt that Malvina Reynolds was much much more than a "Singing Grandmother."


The beaded coin purse
full of loose change,
mostly pennies,
bulged on the kitchen counter
beside the mug full of leaky pens and
pencils with dried out erasers.

In the top dresser drawer
beneath silky slips
that hadn’t been worn in decades
was stashed a plastic bag of pennies.
All wheatheads,
collected because perhaps they’d become valuable.

Mom’s laudable thrift,
learned at the knee of necessity
makes my lack of frugality
appear extravagant.
Her someday was always out of reach.
Mine jingles in my hand.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Sing It, Malvina!

April 1 -- Working for Change
April 2 -- A Lifetime Filled With Change
April 3 -- Red
April 4 -- Little Red Hen
April 5 -- Childhood Dreams
April 6 -- Lonely Child
April 7 -- Quiet

April 8 -- Storyteller
April 9 -- Troublemaker
April 10 -- Girl Power
April 11 -- Choices
April 12 -- My Gal, Mother Nature
April 13 -- Not a Joke
April 14 -- I Don't Mind Failing

April 15 -- What is Feminism?
April 16 -- Holes
April 17 -- They Can Have Their Cake and Eat it, Too
April 18 -- We Won't Be Nice
April 19 -- Grass is Persistent
April 20 -- Ticky Tacky
April 21 -- Regrets

April 24 -- Rain
April 25 -- I Live in a City
April 27 -- Current Events
April 28 -- Pennies

Joann has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Teaching Authors.


  1. I listened to the song twice and loved it. What a wonderful message. You are so right Mary Lee, she is much more than a "singing grandmother." I wish older folks in this country were more appreciated. I'm teaching a writing class through our local arts council. My students range in age from 76-84. They write some amazing stories. We all need to listen to them more often.

  2. So true, so very, very true. With age, men become "experienced" and "wise", while women become "endearing" and "grandmotherly". The reality of course is that there's no reason why a woman can't be all of those things, and more! Sadly, in our youth-obsessed culture, we don't respect our elders or learn from them nearly as much as we should.

  3. I will miss these songs each morning, Mary Lee, and those small bits about Malvina. The response poem today touches me, is perfect. Showing that generation learning "at the knee of necessity" reminds me of the rubber bands on the doorknobs. They lived in a very different time.

  4. Here's to somedays and todays.

  5. Love the song and your poetic response. I'm afraid we're guilty of stashing pennies in odd jars and boxes around our house.

  6. I love the song, the vivid details in your poem, and especially those two final lines. Our son saves wheat pennies for my husband--an old habit.

  7. O.M.G., I grew up singing "Magic Penny" church, no less! I had no idea Malvina Reynolds wrote it. Somehow I feel I've just come full circle. :) Your response poem is fabulous, Mary Lee. The last two lines are brilliant.

  8. I love how Malvina's song sparked your penny poem and the wonderful memory of your thrifty mom. (If I wrote one of those, it would be an elegy, as now in Canada the penny is out of circulation and not being made any more... wouldn't you know it, I still have a jar of them somewhere, waiting to be rolled!)

  9. I love this! What a fun song. And your poem, so touching, so memorable. My maiden name was Reynolds!

  10. Anonymous4:39 AM

    Mary Lee, your imagery in this poem brings me back to my grandmother's kitchen. I wish I had more of her "laudable thrift/learned at the knee of necessity". Thank you for sharing Malvina's "Magic Penny." It would be a perfect theme song for Poetry Friday!

  11. These are both beautiful, like a song from a bird, there all the time waiting for us. Thanks for sharing Malvina's songs this month and your response poems Mary Lee!


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