Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Promise and Power

Like the green of spring,
poetry is a promise
unspoken, yet heard.

(And on the flip side,
power is a glorified mirror.
Enough said.)

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Progressive Poem is Here!

Here is the poem so far:

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles
No time for school- just time to play
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day
You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today:
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue

Before we get to my line, let me just say that this whole idea of a children's poem created with lines found in songs has made me shake in my shoes. It's been a lifetime ago that I listened to music with words. Our radios are tuned to the classical stations. My ride to and from school is narrated by audio books.

When I got Ruth's line, though, I decided to quit being intimidated and just give it a whirl. Dan Fogelberg was my favorite poet-singer in the day, so I pulled out the two CD Innocent Age album and took a trip down memory lane, looking for what else might be outside that window on a summer day. I didn't have to look far.

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles
No time for school- just time to play
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day
You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today:
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue
it's the chance of a lifetime

Found Lines:
L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, "Kodachrome," "Dazzling Blue"
L8 Dan Fogelberg, "Run for the Roses"

And now, I hand the poem off to the capable pen and musical ear of Rebecca at Sloth Reads!

Check out the back stories and process notes to date and watch the poem progress:

1 Matt @ Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
2 Kat @ Kathryn Apel
3 Kimberly @ KimberlyHutmacherWrites
4 Jone @ DeoWriter
5 Linda @ TeacherDance
6 Tara @ Going to Walden
7 Ruth @ thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown
8 Mary Lee @ A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @ Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @ Live Your Poem
11 Dani @ Doing the Work that Matters
12 Margaret @ Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine @ Dori Reads
14 Christie @ Wondering and Wandering
15 Robyn @ Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Carol @ Beyond LiteracyLink
17 Amy @ The Poem Farm
18 Linda @ A Word Edgewise
19 Heidi @ my juicy little universe
20 Buffy @ Buffy's Blog
21 Michelle @ Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @ Reading to the Core
23 Penny @ a penny and her jots
24 Tabatha @ The Opposite of Indifference
25 Jan @ Bookseedstudio
26 Linda @ Write Time
27 Sheila @ Sheila Renfro
28 Liz @ Elizabeth Steinglass
29 Irene @ Live Your Poem
30 Donna @ Mainely Write

Light, Peace, Joy

Light, Peace, Joy

Yes, light is a peace of joy.
And so is the single daffodil at the base of the oak.

Yes, light is a piece of joy.
Sun streaming through the blinds onto the kitchen table.

In piece, we dazzle.
In peace, we glow.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

(Prompt provided by one of my students.)

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Blessings and Curses

Last Friday, I put out the poetry tools I've been using for this year's NPM challenge and let my students test drive them.

Magnetic Poetry

Paint Chip Poetry

What a blessing I received! Leave it to 10- and 11-year-olds to remind me how to really PLAY with these "tools!"

They didn't have time to draft full poems...all except this guy, who asked for permission not to switch stations so he could finish a poem, which turned out to be a heart-wrenching tribute to his mother on the theme of "appreciate what you've got while you've got it."

Other blessings I received as I played alongside them were snippets of poetry they gave me permission to borrow. Yesterday's metaphor was created by our class' member of the school dodgeball team. The competition was last night (they wound up holding onto their championship for the third year in a row) and he was thinking more literally about curveballs than I was! I have a line of magnetic poetry to work from for tomorrow's poem, and today's poem started at the paint chip table. A quiet sweetie showed her spunky side by pairing these:

That got me going on curses. I made a few of my own while we played, and then this morning, I took a page from my students' PLAYbook and dumped out all the paint chip cards on the kitchen table to find more.

I jotted them in my notebook, then went to my Merriam-Webster app and jotted down all the synonyms for CURSE.

Malediction Incantation

I curse you
with cheese puffs in your eyes!

May there be a muddy puddle pox
on your blue suede shoes!

I bestow a hex of sticky nectar
in your genie lamp!

A plague on your bright ideas --
may they slip away like quicksilver!

May your bull's-eye be blighted by

and your starship be scourged by

Your happy ending? May it be jinxed
by an unforeseen

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Memory Throws a Last-Minute Curveball

Memory Throws a Last-Minute Curveball

your name, the punchline,
why I'm standing in this room --
all veer out of reach

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Friday, April 05, 2019

Haikubes with Hem (and Rhino)

Rhino wanted in on the act this time. But just like the last times, the minute I dumped the Haikubes on the carpet, Hem came at a gallop.

He and Rhino worked amiably to help me pick out my cubes.

Almost ready!

I found a poem that's a wish for sleep tonight. I made the mistake of drinking a cup of hot tea after school yesterday, and I woke up with a busy brain at 2:00 AM. I read for an hour, then only dozed until the alarm went off just before 5:00. Please come, honest sleep. Bring me grace!

This first week back after spring break was ridiculously hard. I just couldn't get caught up enough with school work and writing my own poems to get out and visit much. Finally, on Wednesday, I got our Poetry in the Halls posters put up. It's so fun to have many of my Poetry Friday peeps on the walls in our building's hallways!

Karen has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Karen Edmisten: The Blog with the Shockingly Clever Title.

Thursday, April 04, 2019



The optimism of cream --

The power of frog legs --

The cheer of sunny sides --

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Wednesday, April 03, 2019



Is time an organized file
brimming with figures and facts?

Or is time a play in the theater
with lines and scenes and acts?

Is time a glorified drum
beating the rhythm of life?

Or is time a well-honed blade
cutting through age like a scythe?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


I have lots of magnetics to choose from for my Magnetic Poetry play day. I got a little crazy and chose one word from every bag. I'm not going to do that again!

people, teacher, ball, stare, yesterday, everlasting, catches the worm


History catches the worm
in an everlasting dance with destiny
while Future's teacher gets the ball rolling
past crowds of people
who simply stand

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Monday, April 01, 2019


Hemingway helped me launch Playing With Poetry by reminding me to PLAY with the Haikubes. He LOVES the sound they make. When I dumped them on the carpet, he came running. At first he supervised while I made my choices.

But pretty soon, he wanted to click the cubes himself, then carry one away to hide under the couch.

Here's my haiku for April 1:

we, you, us...all wrong:
fortune will flock to places
parallel with peace

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019