Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PO-EMotion -- Guilt

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dave Crosby


rain pouring
unclaimed umbrella 
I stay dry

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015

Carol, at Carol's Corner, will join me again this year as often as possible.

Kimberley, at iWrite in Maine, is joining me this month. 
Kay, at A Journey Through the Pages, is joining, too!

Steve, at inside the dog, is sharing his poems 
in the comments at Poetrepository.

Heidi, at my juicy little universe, will join us when she can.

Linda, at TeacherDance, will join as often as she can.
Check the comments at A Year of Reading or Poetrepository for her poems.

Kevin (Kevin's Meandering Mind) is back this year,
leaving poetry trax in the comments.

Carol, at Beyond Literacy Link, is writing alongside us when she can.

Jone, at DeoWriter, is doing a "double L" challenge. 
She and I are cross-poLLinating our challenges whenever possible.
Jone's word today is UMBRELLA.


  1. Yes, Mary Lee. One of those little guilts. And, is it rainy there today? Over an inch here yesterday. Cold and blustery, the kind of weather that will turn an umbrella inside out.

    1. We had our rain yesterday, too, and wind today.

      This is a fictional guilt! :-)

  2. I once knew a guy who liked to tell (and hear) stories. Here's mine that has stuck with me for years. When things get busy, and I can't shake the guilty feeling that there's more I should do, I think of the boss man I let in.

    Boss Man

    He told stories about those early
    days working the dredging rigs along
    the east Texas coast, bayous
    filled with rough men dressed
    in overalls and work boots, spitting
    tobacco juice between clenched teeth
    and drinking way too much
    beer: a prison of measured time, those

    long ago days. Now, he sighs from
    inside his responsible-job clothes,
    those were the days where a guy
    could, if he was sneaky enough, go
    out back behind the shed and goof off,
    out of sight of the boss man.
    Nowadays? He chuckles, tapping his
    head and pausing for effect, the boss man

    lives inside here. Ain’t no
    hidin’ from him now.

    1. I like the break between stanzas that bridges past and present. My thinking along line breaks is similar to yours. Sometimes I follow natural speech rhythms, sometimes I break to emphasize a particular word. I find myself experimenting a lot, too--putting a line break in and then combining lines to see what looks and sounds the best.

  3. Your poem reminds me of Mary Lee's poem about her dad's years as a pilot, and how he gave up his freedom for responsibility and family life. Your line breaks in this poem fascinate me, as they have several previous days. I'd love to know more about how you make the decision where to break your lines.

    1. Hi, Carol! About those line breaks...it's odd, but as I've been writing poems lately I've felt a very strong urge to break lines, but not in the places I've normally broken them (at the end of phrases, etc.) but to emphasize words in phrases or to indicate stress in speech. Like, for instance, early/days in the first line was early days originally (typical for me), but I wanted to be able to draw out the word early a bit longer...earrrrrly, like my buddy might have said it with his accent. Then I discovered that the second line sort of stood by itself, too: "days working the dredging rigs". Also, between the two big stanzas I wanted the memory of the past to drift into the present, so that's why I broke that one there.

      I'm not sure that these breaks are working or not, but I find it really odd how strongly I want to disrupt the flow, or, rather, create a different kind of flow nowadays.

    2. How are you deciding how to break lines? Is that something you think a lot about? Does that decision influence the wording ever? I'm curious. I don't have anyone to think about this stuff with.

    3. I went with conversational line breaks in yesterday's trillium poem. It started as a prose poem, but I lost my nerve (not really sure what makes a prose poem a poem and not a paragraph). Sometimes I count syllables for the breaks. Mostly I go with gut feelings. I think it's fun to play around with...and definitely good to know that there are other writers here who are thinking about the same things!

    4. Now that I asked the question, I'm not really sure how I do it myself. I read it aloud, again and again, and try to figure out where I want the reader to stop or slow down. Usually, I think my line breaks are pretty traditional and not all that exciting, which is why I am so intrigued by yours. I am fascinated by your prose poems and I have been messing around with different kinds of breaks. I really want to try a prose poem but I haven't quite worked up the nerve to do it yet.

  4. My Son's Easter Rabbit --- oops!

    That little Reese's bunny
    has been sitting
    for weeks.
    I watched it.
    Lonely it was.
    Cold it was.
    Resting on the shelf,
    waiting for someone
    to appreciate it.
    I did what I had to do.
    Nibbling the rabbit.
    First its ear,
    bite after bite,
    the bunny disappeared.


    1. Oh, the temptation! Oh, the guilt!

    2. Cathy- This sounds like how bunnies disappear at our house. And then I wonder why my jeans are feeling a little tight a couple of days later!

  5. Mary Lee, you get the terse award for today! Doesn't it feel good to cross out unnecessary words?

  6. Interesting line breaks conversation! I enjoyed hearing how Steve's line-break sensibility is changing, and yesterday in K we learned that poets CHOOSE where to put their words on the page, so it's very pertinent. : )

    I think a piece can be "just" a paragraph AND a prose poem. In other words, a prose poem will always be a paragraph, like a square is always a rectangle, but it will have special characteristics, like all four sides the same, that also make it a poem. Here is a REALLY good example by Ron Padgett that I just searched up...


    1. Thanks for the link and for your wise elaboration. Have you written a prose poem?

      Maybe now I'll trust myself to give it a go.