Friday, February 24, 2023

Inspired by Art

 Outside the Dayton Art Institute, stands "Pathway," by John Safer, always reaching skyward with energy and beauty, and looking different in every season and from every angle. It draws the eye up and the mind in.

Here is a closeup I took on one visit last year:

The lower part seems to blur the sharp architecture of the building, while the upper part seems almost transparent.  Here's where that combination took my imagination:

This is an Ekphrastic poem. Poetry inspired by art is called Ekphrastic.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Taking Down the Tree


after “Taking Down the Tree” by Jane Kenyon

“..​​.If it's darkness
we're having, let it be extravagant.”

We took down the tree
packed it in its box
swept up the plastic needles
carefully stored the ornaments
shelved the quiet holiday we’ve
learned to make our own –
mostly pagan and secular
yet there are angels and carols –
though the images and words
burned deep in memory
now hold no truths.
We took down the tree
coiled and stored the lights
added another blanket to the bed
welcomed juncos to the feeder
pulled on hats and scarves
while we wait for longer warmer days
that come a minute at a time
as the earth flings itself
towards tomorrow.

© Mary Lee Hahn, draft 2023

Thursday, January 5, 2023



Our planet's slow, interconnected natural changes are sharply contrasted by the selfishly rapid changes humans have caused, presumably to benefit our species, but which in reality are destroying our home.

Friday, December 30, 2022



This is a 4 x 4 poem. Read about the form here.

This is a square poem. Read about the form here.

Thursday, December 8, 2022



Crows own the morning sky,
the naked treetops, too.
Clouds both amplify
and muffle their sharp-edged caws.
Below the grey they fly
on a mission to who knows where
or why.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

Friday, November 11, 2022


Cajun Prairie Grass by James Edmunds


Seed your world
like Cajun

prairie grass —
sending stars

So beauty
will expand,
sow beauty.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

I’ve only written a couple of tricubes. Until this one, I didn’t really like the form. Moral of the story: don’t give up too soon!

Thank you, Margaret, for “This Photo Wants to be a Poem,” from whence the image and inspiration came.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Wordy 30 Poems


A Wordy 30 is a poem using exactly 30 letters. Each line should have the same number of letters. Each line should use one word. You might have 6 lines with 5 letters in each line (like Wordle), or 5 x 6, 3 x 10, 10 x 3, 15 x 2, 2 x 15, 30 x 1, or (most unlikely) 1 x 30. Mine are a 5×6 and a 6×5.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Radiant Spendor


Radiant Splendor

Chrysalis comes from Greek.
“Chrysos” means gold.
A diadem is a crown
perhaps worn by a monarch, 
who is a king, queen, emperor,
or butterfly.

The diadem
of a monarch’s
is adorned with
flecks of flashing gold:
breathtaking effulgence.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

A definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.

photo via Unsplash

Friday, September 9, 2022

I'm Just Calling Things What They Are


Four of us Poetry Friday Peeps read and discussed THE HURTING KIND one section at a time in August. It was the best #sealeychallenge activity ever. We got more out of this book with a slow read and deep conversations than we ever would have by plowing through it in a day and checking it off our to-do list.

If you haven’t read THE HURTING KIND, I highly recommend it. Here is the book trailer with Ada Limón reading the final poem in the book.

This is a cento I made with almost all of the poem titles in the second section, Summer. The words in italics are the only words I added.

Friday, September 2, 2022



The striking line, “You can’t sum it up. A life.” comes from the poem “The Hurting Kind” from the book THE HURTING KIND by Ada Limón.

The poem itself, in response to Margaret Simon’s gorgeous photo, is a “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem…” poem.

The photo is via Margaret Simon.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Six Strands


summertime clothesline
sun-bleached swimsuits and towels
functional design

taming tough jute
after follow-the-diagram 
precisely forming each
every creation now
to time. Unraveled.

Simplicity patterns and fabric on bolts –
Orth’s Department Store –
a place for dreaming.
Later, pinning pattern pieces –
cutting carefully –
no place for dreaming.

counting cross stitches
design emerges slowly
time-lapse with needle and thread
if you follow the pattern

The Conundrum of Patterns

They are everywhere.
They are beautiful.
They teach discipline.
They limit creativity.
They encourage innovation.
They connect us.
They are thread;
we are needles.

one thread
at a time
to unravel
the apron string's knot --
a tangle of patterns,
precision, and perfection.
Examine each beautiful strand.
Make them into something


© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

To Be Human Is To Bear Witness


To Be Human Is To Bear Witness

Spiral milkweed pushes up green shoots
And dirt is blowing
And turbines are spinning

Oak flowers dream of acorns
And glaciers are melting
And panels are absorbing

Dandelions spread rampant joy
And wildfires are raging
And coal plants are shuttering

Hummingbirds return all abuzz
And extinctions are accelerating
And bald eagles are rebounding

This world within a world within the world
And all the excruciating truths
And every glimmer of hope

To be human is to bear witness.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

Friday, April 29, 2022

My Chlorophyll Heart


My Chlorophyll Heart

I’m for photosynthetic optimism –
the bulbous kind you plant in the fall
in spite of squirrels who dig ruthlessly
and urban deer who nibble indiscriminately,
the kind that seed packets hold through the winter
believing in butterflies and hummingbirds
before they’ve ever known sun and rain.

Here’s to the blazing green energy of plants–
from the toughest blade of crabgrass
to the most tender spring ephemeral,
from the massive trunks of riverbed sycamores
to the tiniest pond-floating duckweeds.

I’m for the plants –
for the roots who go about their work
silently, mysteriously,
collaborating with mycorrhizal fungi.

And I’m for the leaves of trees –
especially sweet gum’s stars
and ginkgo’s fans.

I’m for the way we share the air with plants –
us breathing out, plants breathing in.
I’m for the generous chemistry of leaves,
combining carbon dioxide with water and sun,
creating carbon building blocks for itself, then
sharing the extras back into the soil for the microbes.

What moves me?
What plays me like a needle in a groove?

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

This poem is an attempt to write in the style of Taylor Mali. The poem I used as my mentor text is Silver-Lined Heart.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Nature Has Something To Say


Nature Has Something To Say

My name is Mary Jane.
I have a twin.
Don’t treat me as property.
I am alive.
I can hear and hold memories.
I have rights, too.

Save my neighborhood.
Save our lake lives,
our woodland and wetland lives.
If your corporations have legal personhood,
so should we.

We are alive.
Do not treat us as property.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

"Threatened by development, five bodies of water are suing the State of Florida, making the unprecedented argument that nature has legal rights, too." -- Does This Water Have Legal Rights?

Mary Jane and her twin, Lake Hart, along with two other local waters and a marsh in Orange County, Florida have filed a lawsuit that would protect their neighborhood. Shifting the legal system to recognize personhood is not new. We did it to recognize slaves, women, children, corporations, and Indigenous people as citizens. Ecuador, Columbia, India, and New Zealand are leading the way with earth law. Shouldn't we ALL be on board?