Friday, January 01, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Inspired By

The poem of the day today from is Day 29 (2020) by Jamila Woods. Her poem was inspired by Things I Didn't Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet.

My poem-draft is inspired by both of them.

image via Unsplash

Things I Didn't Know I Loved

it's January 1st 2021
i'm sitting at the kitchen table
my hands are cold
but the space heater warms my feet
i never knew i liked
being warm and cold at the same time
it's like
winter lap swimming
the steamy heat of the natatorium
the shocking cold of the water
the satisfaction of having swum

it's also like sweet and salty
i've always known i liked
sweet and salty
pancakes with bacon
chocolate pretzels
icing on crackers

it's nothing like clutter and order
or is it
i used to hate the clutter in my mother's house
my apartment was clean and empty
i was young
now i'm sitting at the kitchen table
my hands are cold
i'm crowded by books lists mugs 
pencil case glasses case stacks of mail
pens in a cup headphones cat toys and
only the words on this page
have any semblance of order

at least my feet are warm

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021 (draft)

Ruth has the first Poetry Friday Roundup of 2021 at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.


  1. Definitely an inspiring idea - it's already got me thinking! I'm especially fascinated by your mention of clutter and order as a function of age. Something to ponder...

  2. HAHAHA! Ah, well. Warm feet are nothing to disdain. It's been such a time of contrasts that we're all learning new weird things about ourselves, aren't we!?

    Happy New Year, cousin!

  3. I enjoyed the journey of the three poems and the change in your poem and through time from "my apartment was clean and empty" to the stacks and piles. Thanks Mary Lee, Happy New Year!

  4. I hope it's ok if I use your poem (with credit to you of course) to show my students what happens when you don't have commas in a list, and why a writer might choose to not include them. Great writing!

  5. I love that you wrote inspired by Jamila Woods. I did, too. Something about the conversational tone, the juxtaposition of cold and warm, and then the clutter. I feel like I know you so much more.

  6. Mary Lee, this is wonderful! Icing on cracker is a favorite of mine from childhood...saltines, of course. I also keep extra socks around because I cannot STAND cold feet. Thanks for sharing a bit of your day. I so relate to the clutter and the contrasts. Happy New Year to YOU!

  7. Hi--I started writing a comment, but it disappeared, so I'm not sure if this is a repeat (sorry if it is). But I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your poem and the joy of experiencing opposites at the same time--hot and cold, sweet and salty, order and disorder--I especially like the last line about the only semblance of order being the words on the page. I often feel that way--that my writing brings some kind of order to a disordered home/world/mind. Thanks!

  8. I love how your poem, Mary Lee, and the two mentor poems you referenced, guide us to consciously acknowledge the contrasts around us, but then appreciate the value and beauty in the friction.
    Thanks for this poetic pondering, Mary Lee, and happy New Year!

  9. Finally I am back reading others' poems and you are starting my day wondering what I would like if I wrote, too, perhaps about this year of goodbyes. Your poem, with the others, feels so honest, something it feels like we all need to be during this time. Beautiful, Mary Lee, and best wishes for a NEW year ahead of all good things loved.

  10. I love the contrasts in this poem-- hot and cold, sweet and salty, and clutter and organization. I have spent the entire vacation trying (and failing miserably) at decluttering, and wishing I was one of my sisters, who are both organization goddesses. And yet, like you, I find comfort in the piles of books and notebooks, pens in a can, markers, dog gear. My whole world at my fingertips. I want to try this format.

  11. Hahaha--the ending of this poem made me laugh. But there's so much truth in it, too--both physical (I love an open window while the fireplace is going. I don't do it often because it's wasteful, but...) and emotional. Happy New Year, Mary Lee!

  12. Mary Lee, your mentor poems were wonderful and just right to follow up with your own poem. As I read the poems, I realized how reflective this type of thinking is. I am a sock-wearer to bed this winter because sleeping with cold sheets does not make it easy to fall asleep. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Oooh, yes. There's something delicious about being warm and cold and the same time. Happy new year, Mary Lee!


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