Thursday, January 4, 2024

Yuletide Poetry Prompts


generosity: the urge to share what we have with others 
(prompt: ask what generosity really means)

laughter: the singular human ability to convert the unexpected into joy
(prompt: capture the sound of laughter)

Thursday, December 28, 2023



stereotypically blanketing
December’s morning sky
no warmth, and yet

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2023

warm, frisch
mit Schinken, Käse,
und natürlich viele Butter:

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2023

Friday, October 20, 2023

The scratch of pencil on paper is the poem

Written after the Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets, “The warble of melting snow is the river.”


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Diminishing Verse


Basil, oil, pecans, and garlic all go into the blender.
Summer is a giver, not a lender –
her heat the beginner, her pesto the ender.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2023

Diminishing verse: blender -- lender -- ender.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Portrait of My Mother With the Letter S

Portrait of My Mother With the Letter S

Seamstress is the first word that comes to mind. She sewed so many clothes: Easter dresses, guitar recital outfits, twirling competition costumes, matching Western shirts for Dad and David for the fair, doll clothes. All of this on a Singer Featherweight.

She was no chef, though she was a foodie through and through. I remember the smell of scorched lima beans, and the macadamia nuts she secreted away on a top shelf. For a treat, we had broiled spare ribs. I know now that “spare” is the word for “this is a treat even though there’s hardly any meat on the bone.” 

She was a saver. A collector. Almost a hoarder. Miniatures, Hallmark house ornaments, glass boxes. And scissors. If I could turn back time, I would ask her – why so many pairs of scissors? Shears (sewing and pinking), embroidery, children’s, vintage, modern plastic-handled Fiskars, and so many manicure scissors. 

She was a reader. Mostly mysteries, she bought books at the library sale by the sackful. A secret code in the back cover let her know if she’d already read the book and donated it back to the library.

She gave up salt when she was pregnant with me. I don’t think I can fully appreciate this sacrifice.

She bought me private swimming lessons when I was four because I wasn’t old enough for Red Cross lessons, but I was ready to swim.

She bought me private sewing lessons so we wouldn’t squabble (she the perfectionist, me the good-enough-ionist).

I don’t remember being swatted or spanked, but there was one memorable slap when I disobeyed and walked home from school in my good shoes and was sassy about what the big deal could possibly have been. 

One winter, she drove with me out into the country to escape the lights of town so we could see the Ursid meteor shower. We lay on a blanket on the hood of the ‘60 Ford Falcon and watched shooting stars as the car’s engine warmed us, then cooled off until we had seen enough and were shivering.

By the end of her life, her body was covered in scars: hysterectomy, knee/hip/shoulder replacements, double mastectomy. Her soul was scarred by a hateful father and the early loss of her mother. She had a high pain threshold for all the kinds of pain she carried. She wanted for us the childhood she never had, failing to see us as individuals who needed our own childhoods, not hers.

I remember her standing at the kitchen sink, admiring the sunset, often calling me to come and see.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2023
After the poem Portrait of My Father With the Letter V


Friday, August 18, 2023



In the dry garden
we contemplate raked ripples
around the rock.

In the pond
turtle raises her head.
Look! More ripples!

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2023

Thursday, July 20, 2023



The photo of the hawk is via Unsplash, and the photo of the “lion” is our very own Hemingway (aka Hem).

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Love Really Is the Answer

This poem was written in response to this quote by Robin Wall Kimmerer in BRAIDING SWEETGRASS.

“If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.”

Love Really Is the Answer

The world is broken.
We have done it.
No dissembling –
we must own it:

global warming
mass extinctions
plastic pollution

Damage done;
blame accepted.
Now next steps:
how to fix it?

Many challenges: 
multiple solutions.
Some are obvious,
others unproven.

Proceed with a love
that fuels all decisions
to save species, biomes, 
habitats, and oceans.

Love your yard,
your street, your city.
Love with science
and responsibility.

Love takes commitment,
collaboration, and work.
Exactly what’s needed
to repair our Earth.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2023

Thursday, June 1, 2023

No Vacancy


I saw this Sudoku poem in the Rattle newsletter, and I knew I had to try one.