Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our Wonderful World: People

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.
30. People

Carol Wilcox at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Our Wonderful World

are absolute and true.

But none of it would matter much
without the likes of you.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

WHEW! We made it! A month of wandering the world, wondering about wonders, and writing poetry. 

Awards for collaboration, commitment, camaraderie and creativity go to Carol Wilcox and Kevin Hodgson. We stayed together through thick and thin, through narrative and haiku, through rhyme and free verse. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming on this journey with me! 

There are wonders to be found everywhere we look in our world. The ordinary variety can be found close to home. Scattered throughout the world are ancient, modern, engineering, and natural wonders amazing enough to make "The Lists." 

But none of the wonders experienced on their own are nearly as wonderful as they are when you can ooh and ahh with a fellow wonderer. It's this realization I tried to capture in my Hallmarkian poem today.

Thank you Carol and Kevin for writing with me EVERY single day (and also to Carol V., Catherine, Collette, Margaret, and Jone for joining in occasionally).

Kevin has a sound poem, "The Wonder of People," with which to end our month.

Carol has two poems today, one for the Poetry Club, and one for ME! Thanks, Carol!!

Happy National Poetry Month 2014!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Imagination

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.
Wikimedia Commons by Worm That Turned

29. Imagination

Because the whole time
you are gluing paper to sticks,
it is neither paper nor sticks.

It is wings and sky,
soaring and flight.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Here's to the impulse behind every single one of the wonders this month -- to the human imagination -- the ability to see beyond!

Carol has a very opinionated chocolate poem from yesterday at Carol's Corner.

Kevin has a haiku Notegraphy for imagination at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Carol's imagination poem is at Carol's Corner.

Catherine joins us with an imagination poem at Reading to the Core.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Chocolate Cake

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

28. Chocolate Cake

Abecedarian Cake Love

cake --
high --
notch --

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

This is not the first time my cake-baking has found its way into my poetry. Here's my Birthday Cake poem from NaPoWriMo12. And if you've visited A Year of Reading with any regularity, you've seen my cake in many a monthly photo mosaic.  My cake even showed up in a post on structure vs. freedom.

Today Kevin tells the story of the last chocolate in the tin at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Jone joins in with both a sunrise poem and a chocolate poem at Deo Writer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Sunrise

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

27. Sunrise

It's a
daily wonder
most people sleep right through.
I've sung sun's praises since childhood.
Still do.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

I'm a morning person. I love sunrise. We're good friends. I actually love the darkness right before sunrise almost as much as the sunrise itself. Anticipation, expectation...then...renewal.

And what I said about singing sun's praises? I meant that literally. I remember, at about 5 years old, running out into the middle of the back yard and belting out "Heavenly Sunshine" (a Bible School song) first thing on summer mornings. I remember standing at the kitchen sink with mom, singing "You Are My Sunshine." I remember, as a high schooler, playing my guitar and leading the Easter Sunrise Service congregation in "Morning Has Broken."

I grew up in a place where the most distinctive feature of the landscape is the horizon. Drive five minutes out of town in any direction and you can see all 360° of it. The upshot of this is that I grew up watching the sky, the sun, the clouds. Some people feel an emotional pull to mountains, some to ocean. But I feel most myself when I'm in that spacious open land with nothing around me and the bright blue bowl of the sky above me.

We're winding down the Our Wonderful World project and Poetry Month 2014. I'm glad I saved some personal wonders for these last four days. The big wide amazing world is one thing, but our small particular dear-to-us worlds are even more precious. Because they are ours.

Kevin has a sunrise/sunset mirror poem for today.

Carol's sunrise poem is at Carol's Corner.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Polar Ice Caps

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

The Birdhouse in the Sycamore Tree

The summer between 5th and 6th grade,
I fell out of the sycamore tree
that stood in the alley
outside the back garden fence.

There was a birdhouse in the sycamore.
I wanted to get it down.
I had climbed up to check it out
and the rope that tied it was weathered into a
rock solid knot.

I got the silver bottle opener –
the one with the shiny sharp triangle
for poking and prying –
out of the kitchen gadget drawer.

I climbed the fence and then into the sycamore
with the bottle opener
clenched between my teeth.

I remember the surprise I felt
when the branch broke,
but I don’t remember falling
or hitting the fence on the way down.
I came to with the bottle opener
still between my

My right arm was a different matter.

I began 6th grade,
already awkward and buck-toothed
with a full cast on my right arm.
I’m right handed.

And on the first day of school,
Mrs. Bonner,
cold as the polar ice caps,
made me pass out the Scholastic book orders.

I struggled with those tissue-paper fliers,
stared at and and snickered at
but stubbornly refusing to ask for help.

I can’t remember if I ever got the bird house
out of the tree,
but I’ll never forget how Mrs. Bonner
treated me.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

I couldn't bear to write about human destruction of the polar ice caps.  Kevin came through. He wrote a passionate ode to the ice caps that includes a fierce warning to humankind. Powerful.

Carol's polar ice cap poem is just as powerful as Kevin's, but in a "take you by the shoulders and shake you" kind of way.

Carol has an abecedarian for Victoria Falls over at Carol's Corner.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Victoria Falls

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

25. Victoria Falls


Wide river, sauntering fluidly,
serene, unaware of the fault ahead,

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Be sure to stop by Carol's Corner and check out her Rainforest Rainbow poem from yesterday.

You'll feel like you're riding over Victoria Falls with Kevin's poem today at Kevin's Meandering Mind!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Amazon Rain Forest

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

24. The Amazon Rain Forest

Leaf Cutter Ants


Ant agriculturalists
harvest leaf bits,
feeding them to fungus,
growing their food source.

But there's more.

The fungus needs the ants.
Mold threatens the fungus,
so worker ants wear 
a coat of bacteria --
living antibiotics that protect their food.

But there's more.

The rainforest needs the ants
who prune vegetation
which stimulates growth;
who break down leaves
which renews the soil.

But there's more.

The earth needs the rainforest.
The green, 
jewel of biodiversity
which holds keys to the balance
of life on earth.
Keys that may be lost 
before we even know how much we need them.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Some aurora poems from yesterday:

Carol's at Carol's Corner

Catherine's at Reading to the Core

Margaret's (Reflections on the Teche) can be found in yesterday's comments.

Kevin's Amazon poem is here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Aurora

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

23. The Aurora


Luminous curtains veil a backdrop of stars.
Swirling green serpents of light,
wingbeats of unseen mythical beings,
dancing spirits take the stage.

Swirling green serpents of light
demystified and explained by science, but
dancing spirits take the stage
in my imagination.

Demystified and explained by science, but
evidence of mystery and magic
in my imagination.
Luminous curtains veil a backdrop of stars.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

I wanted to try a pantoum today. It seemed the perfect twisting swirling form for The Aurora Borealis. I'm not sure this quite captured the feeling I wanted, but there are only so many hours in a day and that stack of papers I've been carrying around long...needs to be graded!

My students are writing with me again this week. Hopefully by week's end I'll have some of their poems to share.

Carol gives the mountain a voice in her Mt. Everest poem.

Kevin "surfs the solar wind" in his Aurora poem.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Mt. Everest

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

22. Mt. Everest


Snow slide,
snow slip,
rapid flow
of snow
down a slope.

Neither rare,
nor random,
a natural hazard
of destructive


Snow slide,
snow slip,
rapid flow
of snow
down a slope.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Carol's Great Barrier reef poems are here.

Kevin's Mt. Everest poem is here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Great Barrier Reef

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

21. The Great Barrier Reef

Do you care
If the
Vitality of the
Earth is
Reduced by
Slow degradation of ecosystems?
It should
Tear at 
Your soul,

Making you feel the loss
As if a part of you were

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Carol's Grand Canyon poems are as metaphorical as mine was, and deeply spiritual.

Kevin is pondering metaphors in his post and poem today.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Grand Canyon

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

20. The Grand Canyon

For the Grand Canyon (and Franki)

You're amazing.
I like to watch people's faces
when they first experience you.
There's no mistaking the power of your energy.

You're inspiring.
We see what you've accomplished,
the vigor and potential in all you do,
and we know we could do more and be more.

You're incredible:
the reach of your influence;
your stamina, your spirit, your passion;
the bubbly joy at your core.

You're a wonder.
You make the world a better place.
You are a force for good.
We are lucky to have you in our world.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Carol has two poems and a process post about Chichen Itza at Carol's Corner.
Catherine joins us with a Grand Canyon poem at Reading to the Core.

Kevin pays tribute to the Colorado River in his poem at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Colette's Grand Canyon poem at 100 Words a Day will give you gasps of wonder AND fear. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Chichen Itza

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

Dominating the North Platform of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulkan (a Maya feathered serpent deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl)...On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulkan. --Wikipedia

What To Do If You Are a Feathered Serpent Deity

Wear plumage to mitigate your fangs
to imply flight
suggest softness

Wear scales to camouflage your tenderness
to announce might
define dominance

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Kevin has an amazing interactive poem today at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Machu Picchu

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


No wheel for rolling,
or draft horse for pulling,
and hills too steep,
with trees thick and deep.

So how to move countless
stone blocks up a mountain?
A hundred-man force
up an inclined plane course.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

After a week that featured wonders of the modern world chosen by The American Society of Civil Engineers -- the Empire State Building (my favorite of my poems this week), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works, and the Panama Canal (I cheated and wrote a non-wonder poem that day) -- it's been nice to return to some ancient wonders: Petra yesterday and Machu Picchu today.

And what fun to learn about unknown or little-known places around the world, and to marvel, day after day, at the ingenuity of the human race!

Kevin wrote a pensive ransom note poem for today. It's at his blog,Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Carol Wilcox's poem for today focuses on a tiny detail to get at the big picture. It's simply masterful.

Carol Varselona at BeyondLiteracyLink wrote a poem for the Panama Canal.

Carol Wilcox's poem for Petra is at Carol's Corner. I immediately thought of the cliff-dwellers of the American Southwest when I looked through the pictures of Petra!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Wonderful World: Petra

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

17. Petra


The rose-stone buildings stand
with their backs to the mountains

shot by Bedouins
ransacked by tomb-robbers
photographed by tourists
shaken by earthquakes
eroded by flooding

disappearing as imperceptibly 
but as certainly
as the dimming of our sun.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

It was nice yesterday to have a break from writing about the Wonders of the World, and instead write about the wonder of my world. The insatiable urge of humankind to build, build, build (and in the process destroy, destroy, destroy) was wearing me out. At the same time, the enormity of our planet makes our little human scrapes and scratches, ditches and dams and monuments seem tiny and temporary. I am sorry that the amazing city of Petra will not last forever, but at the same time I am heartened that the desert will reclaim its mountains.

Carol's poem from yesterday, "On Building the Panama Canal" is a powerful metaphor.

Kevin's poem today is "Rose City," which you can see in final draft and in process at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Panama Canal

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Snow is falling --
a mid-April joke
not meant to do real harm --
just a jest,
a parody of the pollen
that will soon sneeze up the air.

Bright green grass grins
through the dusting of snow.
Magnolia blooms chuckle
under caps of white.
Daffodils sigh,
sorry to be gone so soon.

Muffler and mittens snicker
at shivering shorts-wearing Springsters.
Forsythia half-heartedly bloomed
only just last week.
Everyone knows her punchline is
one more snow.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Yeah, I know. That poem has exactly nothing to do with the Panama Canal. But it's the poem I wanted to write, and it's the poem I wrote, and there aren't enough hours in the day to write another.

Yesterday I didn't get Carol's poem in two voices for the Itaipu Dam linked in, nor Kevin's flowchart poem for the Delta Works. Be sure you check them out. Both are amazing in their own unique ways.

Carol's poem for the Delta Works is here, and Kevin's Panama Canal poem is here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Delta Works

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

The Delta Works along the coast of the Netherlands are fascinating works of engineering. 

I have a couple of Fibs for today.

The Netherlands

diked and dammed.
From sea, polders rise:
a Mondrian of tulip fields.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Delta Works

blocked up,
barricaded shut:
the Netherlands holds back the sea.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Itaipu Dam

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Hungry for energy,
we sacrifice wild splendor,
harnessing the river's power,
taming it with concrete and steel,
satisfied with this compromise.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

When the Itaipu Dam was built, the sacrifice was the GuaĆ­ra Falls, the world's largest waterfall by volume. Was it worth it? Depends how you determine worth, I guess...

image from The Misanthrope's Journal

Carol wrote two poems for the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. They are atCarol's Corner.

Kevin has an unusual poem for today. But it's also perfect for the wonder. The Itaipu Dam converts the energy of water into electricity. To understand Kevin's poem, you'll have to translate it. Check it out here. For more poetry fun, check out the Grant Snider's Poetry Posters that Kevin is highlighting.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Wonderful World: The Golden Gate Bridge

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


I'm photogenic
posing with waves, fog, sunsets
expensive "steel harp"

©Mary Lee Hahn

Carol has a pair of poems for the Empire State Building at Carol's Corner.

Kevin also has a haiku today for the GGB.

I wanted to write short today so I would have time to share some of my students' writing.

For our Poetry Friday lesson, I shared my poems for the week with my students. (They didn't write with me this week. They were doing micro-research cause/effect paragraphs on slow and fast processes that change the earth.) I announced the theme of "Places" for their Poetry Friday reading or writing of poetry and sent them off to work. As always, they blew me away when we got back to share.

We heard poems from a wide range of poetry books:
Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian (the one about the T-Rex, perhaps at a museum or on site at a dig)
Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School by Laura Purdee Salas (the one about getting lost in a new school -- very appropriate since they visited their middle schools this week and are a delicious mixture of excitement and dread)
Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space by Amy Sklansky (the one about blasting off -- our space expert has read a poem from this book just about EVERY Poetry Friday all year long!)
A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis (I don't remember which poem, but perfect choice of books, eh?)

And we heard these originals (among others a bit too rough for publication just yet):


Here I go
off by myself
just a donkey
without a doubt.
Then I tripped
into a place.
It felt as if
I went 100 feet deep.
Then I realized
it was a tomb.
Three cheers for the donkey!
They thought I didn't have a clue.

by HF


I am at a place where you can get whatever you desire.
You can have something as cool as the wind, or as spicy as fire.
I bet you will admire
the ones we have hired.
So can you guess where I am?

(Subway..."eat fresh")
by CS

If You Use Your Mind

China holds a conga line,
Egypt makes chocolate kisses,
Home is what's yours and mine,
America has famous Miss-es.

Earth holds land, sea, and sky,
but it would be nothing without creation.
Earth holds those who walk, swim and fly,
creatures of all ages.

Jungles are a line of I's,
pines are cones of ice cream,
snow makes lands of sparkly white,
ice cream that stands on tall mountains.

Liberty is a welcomer of copper green,
the sea is a place you long to see.
Palms hold food and water, too,
all these things are on earth for you.

by MC

Here's another MC wrote, inspired by Stonehenge:

Rain was falling on me,
only one place left to go.

I sat against the smooth stone,
shaded slightly from the rain.

The place seemed erie,
I wondered if anyone was there.

I thought I could hear whispers,
it's just my imagination.

I thought I could see figures.
I thought I could feel hands.
I thought I could hear voices.

I thought.
I knew.

I knew there was someone --
it's not my imagination.

I knew I could see figures.
I knew I could feel hands.
I knew I could hear voices.

I knew.
I wondered.

I wondered if it was my imagination --
maybe not.

I wondered who the figures were.
I wondered if they were like me.
I wondered what they were trying to say.

I wondered.
I thought.

by MC