Delusions of Spring?

“Spring’s coming,” I announced happily.

“Molly,” Kurt replied in his patient voice, “it’s February.”

“Yeah, but it’s getting closer. I can tell!”

“Uh-huh,” he responded.

“Remember I told you how warm the sun was when I went running Sunday?”

He merely looked at me.

“And the finches! We haven’t had finches on our feeders in ages. Today there were three of them! Three!”

“Molly,” he repeated, “It’s February. In Maine. Spring is far, far away.”

“I think we’re turning a corner,” I insisted.

“Uh-huh.”

 

Advertisements

Maybe We Need to Clean More

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

I’m not sure what got into me yesterday, but I started cleaning out the upstairs linen closet. I pulled everything out into a jumbled pile of flannel and cotton and began matching up sets like pairs of socks. After a while, just like with socks, it became evident there were some incomplete sets. I decided to check the seldom-used downstairs linen closet.

Once I got started down there, I began wreaking havoc, pulling out sheets willy-nilly, triumphantly making a stack of the items to complete the upstairs sets. It was all going beautifully until I yanked on a sheet and a small yellowish item rolled across the wooden shelf.

What’s that? I wondered. I picked it up and brought it closer to my face to peer at it. Recognition hit quickly and unpleasantly. Ew! It’s a mouse head! (Well, to be more precise, a mouse skull.) How long has that been here?!?

“Ewwwww! Kurt, there’s a mouse skull in the cupboard,” I called into the living room.

He grunted.

“Did you hear me?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he grunted again.

Gingerly I pulled out a few more linens, realizing that laundry with hot water was going to the top of my to-do list. Then, nestled next to the striped twin sheet set, there it was–the rest of the body. A complete skeleton with long tail. Intact (other than the head/skull). In my linen cupboard.

“Kurt, there’s a complete skeleton in the closet.”

“Yeah.”

“A complete skeleton!” I repeated. “There’s an entirely complete skeleton in the closet!”

“Yeah, a Halloween one, right?” he asked.

What?! Clearly the man does not listen to me.

“No! It’s an entire mouse skeleton–right in the sheets!”

“Oh,” he said again, thoroughly unimpressed. “I thought there was one of those Halloween skeletons in there.”

What the heck is he talking about? 

“How long has it been there?” I wondered aloud. “I mean I don’t mind the occasional skeleton under the stove or in the wall, but this is pretty disgusting.”

“We live in an old house, ” he said. “It happens.”

“I don’t know. I think maybe we need to clean more,” I announced. He laughed and laughed and laughed.

Looking for a different reaction, I snapped a quick photo to send to my neat-freakish sister. I prefaced it with this comment: “So, I was cleaning out the linen closets–matching sheets, etc…And I think maybe I need to do this more often…Because this…”28175746_10214951435604663_38989311_n.jpg

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.03.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.03.10 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.22.55 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.07.16 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.04.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.13.08 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.05.16 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.04.25 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.07.21 PM.png

But, when it comes down to it, public embarrassment vs. a slice topic. Well, duh! That’s a no brainer!

February Poetry

unnamed

Supposedly February is the shortest month, but it sure doesn’t feel like it this year. It’s gone on and on and on….Laura Shovan’s February Poetry Project has been a welcome distraction from my mid-winter doldrums, although keeping up with the daily art prompts has been tough this past week. I think I might be three or four behind! Eek! During break next week, I’m excited to kick back and enjoy catching up and keeping up. Here are two of my recent efforts:

27752135_10215707102530503_1968403773788789931_n

unsigned needlepoint

Blessing for a Rabbit

May your path be smooth and easy
your soft fur free from clinging burrs
May you leap with grace
and land with certainty
and always be downwind
May you see farmers’ backs
more than their faces
and find warm shelter in stormy weather
May your days be carrot and parsley blessed
And when those days reach their end,
may you slip into peace
in floral scented shade
to wander midst the bounty
of McGregor’s garden

M. Hogan (c) 2018

 

27657320_1816633801720605_1856055533458117413_n.jpg

Monday by L.D. Wight

(I’m not sure about the ending two lines of this next poem. I almost left them off and am still pondering removing them.)

Mama’s Mad Again

Her anger roils from the porch
blasts us in the front yard
scours the grins from our faces
Her look could bleach sheets

We stop our impromptu
swirling washtub dance
hoist the heavy tub
and prepare to scrub
but soap and water
can’t remove all stains.

M. Hogan (c) 2018

And then a random poem popped up mid-week:

There is beauty
in yielding
says the birch
who, under heavy weight,
arches gracefully
to touch the snowy ground

M. Hogan (c) 2018

Jone Rush MacCulloch is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup on her cleverly named blog, Check It Out. While there, you can sign up to receive a Poetry Postcard from a student in April! Win-win!

More Ekphrastic Fun and an Epitaph Poem

unnamedSo far I’ve continued to keep pace with Laura Shovan’s Ekphrastic Poetry Project–well, mostly. It’s definitely keeping me busy and I’m enjoying the process, if not always the results. Here are a few poems from this past week.

Country Road

sneaky snake

I do not have permission to share a photo of the artwork that inspired this next poem. It was a sketch drawn in white on a black background, like chalk on a chalkboard. A person’s head rests on a table/board, and her eyes are closed. On the table beneath her is a line of chalk that meanders about to end at one of her hands, which still holds a pen (or pencil or stylus). The flow of that one line reminded me of maps and travel and it seemed to leak from her closed eye, like a stream of tears.  Even after I decided to work with the “House that Jack Built” form, I still wasn’t sure where I was going. This poem really took on a life of its own as I wrote.

The Map that Jack Drew

This is the map that Jack drew

This is the tear that started the map that Jack drew

This is the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

These are the words that seeded the sorrow
that fed the tear that started the map that Jack drew

This is the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

This is the mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

This is the man, vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

These are the men, wined and dined,
that propped up the man, so vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

This is the truth, much maligned
ignored by the men, wined and dined
that propped up the man, so vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

These are the people, bold and fine
who spoke up for truth, much maligned
ignored by the men, wined and dined,
that propped up the man, so vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

These are the roads that twisted and twined
that filled up with people, bold and fine
that spoke up for truth, much maligned
ignored by the men, wined and dined
that propped up the man, so vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

This is the map for all mankind
to take to the roads that twist and twine
to join the people, bold and fine
who speak up for truth, much maligned
ignored by the men, wined and dined
that propped up the man, so vain and blind
that spoke his mind, so unkind,
that moved the mouth that uttered the words
that seeded the sorrow that fed the tear
that started the map that Jack drew

M. Hogan (c) 2018

Finally, on a lighter note, after reading Michelle H. Barnes Today’s Little Ditty interview with Jane Yolen and J. Patrick Lewis last week, I was inspired by their challenge to write a funny epitaph. I think I’ll be trying a few more of these!

Epitaph for a Reader

She piled books beside her bed
Some to read, some already read
Throughout the years her book stack grew
Classics, mysteries, novels, too
The content of these tomes fulfilled her
Sadly a massive bookslide killed her

M. Hogan (c) 2018

Make sure to head on over to the Poetry Friday Roundup. It’s hosted this week by Sally Murphy, vivacious Australian poet extraordinaire, at her blog. You’re sure to enjoy her terse verse and you have to admire a poet who creates poetry during a dental procedure!

 

A Slice of Random Coincidences

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hAccording to Wikipedia, “A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims.”

Last month, I experienced a number of striking coincidences in my life.

The seed for the first one was planted during a conversation with my sister, who is a middle-school librarian. We love talking books, especially kid lit.  Over the holidays, as we traded recommendations, she asked, “Oh, have you read any of the Spy School books?”
“No,” I said, “I’ve never heard of them.”
“They’re fun,” she said. “They run a bit young for middle school, but your fourth graders might really like them.”

A week or so later, I was at the library. What was that series that Ellen recommended? Oh, yeah, Spy School. (Note–it’s truly amazing that I even remembered this!) I wandered over to the library computer which appeared to be in sleep mode. I clicked and the screen came to life. Locating the search icon on the desktop, I clicked again and after a moment the search screen appeared…along with the name of the last book searched for: Spy School. Crazy coincidence, right!?!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through Target’s Cartwheel coupons and saw one for Compound W. For some reason my mind went hurtling back about a decade, to a time we invested considerable money into that product.

“Hey, Kurt,” I called to my husband, “”Do you remember when you had all those warts on your hand that were so hard to get rid of?”

“Yeah,” he said, coming into the room. “That’s so weird that you ask. I think one of them might be coming back. I just noticed it yesterday.”

Ok, not quite as startling of a coincidence, but still!

Finally, that same day, I read Rebecca Herzog’s Poetry Friday post. She linked to a song called “Langtree’s Lament.” I listened to it and thought it would appeal to my daughter, Addie, who lives in Philadelphia and who’s recently bought a ukulele. So, I sent her the link.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 6.22.14 AM.png

I mean, really, what are the odds?

So, what does it all mean? Are there supernatural, occult or paranormal forces at hand? I don’t know, but I’m wondering. And I’m keeping my eye out for wart-handed spies strumming ukuleles and singing encoded songs. But perhaps the message is more subtle…

PS Langtree’s Lament is well worth listening if you have a few minutes to spare.

 

A Few Ekphrastic Poems

unnamed

Today marks the official beginning of Laura Shovan’s 6th annual February Poetry Project. Each year, in celebration of her birthday month, Laura invites writers to join her in responding to a poetry prompt.(Thanks, Laura!!!) This year participants have signed up to share photos of art from within their homes. The task is then to write ekphrastic poems, which are poems inspired by or responding to works of art. The quick turn around time on these can be a bit cringe-inducing, but it’s all about writing, sharing and growing. (Or at least that’s what I tell myself!)

Since January 25th, there have been daily warm-up opportunities. It’s been challenging to keep up with writing and with reading all the shared poems, but it’s also been so rewarding. Here are a few of the poems I’ve created in response to a lovely variety of art.

Lady in the Moon

Paradise Bird.jpg

Did it hurt

This week’s  Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by fellow Mainer, Donna Smith, at her blog, Mainely Write. She’s sharing a bouquet of poetry postcards and you’ll find links to a whole garden of poetry. Enjoy!

 

It all started with my icy driveway…

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

dscn8752-1

One day last week, as I was rushing around getting ready to leave for school, I glanced out the window. The sunrise was reflecting beautifully off my steep driveway. Ugh! Once again the recent weather had transformed it into a sheet of glistening ice. With our 4WD and AWD cars, we can make it up the hill, but no other vehicles can–including the oil company’s delivery truck, a sadly common and vital visitor these days.

On my way into the bathroom, I grabbed my phone and quickly texted our plow guy:

unnamed (1)

I set the phone down, completed my bathroom business and then grabbed it and headed out to the family room to continue packing up my stuff. I glanced at the phone and saw a response.

Version 2

Hmmmm…What’s that? It looks like an audio file. Is he responding to me with a voice message? 

I clicked on the play icon. Faint whooshing and rumbling sounds emerged.

Is he in his truck?  I set the phone down and grabbed my books and papers, intent on stuffing them into my over-flowing tote and getting out the door.

Why isn’t he talking? 

I continued to pack up and listen to the whooshing sounds.

This is odd. Can you butt dial an audio? 

Brush. Brush. Brush. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Now, that sounds like he’s brushing his teeth. I just brushed my teeth, too. We must be on a similar schedule. 

Step. Creak. Step. Creak.

Hmmm…His floor is as creaky as ours is! 

A millisecond later the mental audio dots connected to form a very ugly picture….

OMG! I was just brushing my teeth on a creaky old floor! He wasn’t!

I pushed the stop button on the file and stared aghast at my phone. The audio was me…in the bathroom! How did I even do that?? What exactly had I recorded? 

And then my plow guy’s words appeared:

Version 3

My thoughts raced. Has he listened to it yet? OMG, what else did I do in the bathroom? Did I say anything??? Did I brush my teeth before or after….The first raised audio “spikes” must be me tapping my toothbrush. But what is that second group of audio spikes???  AAHHHHHH!

Increasingly horrified, I stared at my phone. How did I even make that recording? Is there any way to delete it? Suddenly, I noticed a small blue button beneath the file:  “Keep.” Oh, thank goodness. I can just keep this. I felt a surge of relief and quickly clicked on the button.

Whoosh!

Uh. oh.

In an instant a notice appeared on my screen–Delivered.

Oh, dear God! I just sent it!!! Quickly, in a panic,I typed,

Version 5

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 8.09.32 AM

He never responded, and I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to the rest of the recording. Fingers crossed that he didn’t either!