Friday, April 03, 2020

The Flipside: My National Poetry Month Project for 2020

My Joy

I see
you on my screen.
Hear your voice, check your work.
But I miss the reality
of you.

Your face --
pixilated --
so close, and yet so far.
No matter the distance, you are
my joy.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

This poem is a pair of cinquains. They were written in response to Liz Garton Scanlon's prompt.

So much about the world right now is scary and uncertain. That was always true, but it is in-our-faces true now. At the same time, there are amazing acts of generosity, compassion, connectedness, and creativity that are happening because of These Unprecedented Times. For myself, for my students, for my readers, I wanted to write poems this month that remind us what's on the flipside of the scary uncertainty.

Heidi has the first Poetry Friday Roundup of National Poetry Month 2020 at her blog, my juicy little universe.


  1. You captured the 'flipside' perfectly, Mary Lee. We had our first video calls with our grade one students yesterday. Actually seeing and hearing them (as opposed to just the work they have been producing on Seesaw) made the reality of this situation that much harder. 6 year olds are funny on camera - lots of dog sharing, which I love. :)

  2. As always, you are brilliant. Your quiet voice, so loud and powerful during this crazy time. I didn't know that Liz was doing poetry lessons until I read the one you did yesterday. I may have to steal this idea immediately, like in the next ten minutes. I have zoomed with my kids three times every week, but it's not the same as having my kinda grown sixth grade kiddos leaning on my shoulder or back, as we talk reading and writing. I miss them!

  3. Your Flipside theme is brilliant. Thank you so much for helping us keep the faith, never lose hope, and express gratitude.

  4. This is a clever title, Mary Lee-The Flipside. Your poem is joyful, sad, and hopeful all in one. If you have a poem for your theme that fits mine, Nature Nurtures, I would love to share it on my newest upcoming gallery. Thanks.

  5. No matter the distance, Mary Lee. Thank you for this loving poem.

  6. Oh, those pixilated faces. They are so excited to see each other. My district cut me off from doing Zoom meetings. Argh!

    1. We use Google Meet. So far we haven't had the meeting crashing...not that I know of...

  7. I love your theme of the flip side. I think your poem speaks to so many teachers. We cannot have video conferences so our communication is through messages only. I envy you seeing their "pixilated" faces.

  8. My youngest granddaughter, 2ndgrade, had a zoom meet with her teacher last week. My daughter said that they both cried. I am sorry for many things, but especially for teachers, challenging always, but missing the good parts is just terrible. Beautifully poignant, Mary Lee.

  9. Your poem is perfect, Mary Lee. Seeing the smiling faces of my students does bring me joy, even if they are pixilated. Nothing can replace the work we do in person, though. My colleagues and I are driving through town on Monday for a safe-distance hello to all our students.

  10. This is perfect for these Unprecedented Times. My heart goes out to teachers and students and parents trying to navigate these big changes in the middle of all the fear and disruption. Best to you. Stay safe.

  11. What an excellent theme and intent. We have to look for the flipside in these disturbing times.

  12. Looking forward to your "flip side poems, spreading bits of hope, and "joy" within the chaos, thanks Mary Lee!

  13. These are beautiful, and YES to flipping things right now. We must. I have to say that, pixelated or not, I love the human connections everyone is prioritizing right now...


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