Playing with Words on a Snow Day

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Is there anything better than the sound of the phone ringing early in the morning on a wintry school day? Today, in my eagerness to hear the anticipated announcement, I fumbled as I picked up the trilling phone, almost dropping it. I finally answered and the dulcet tones of that recorded voice were sweet in my ear. “Today is Thursday, February 9th. There will be no school today due to forecasted inclement weather.” I quickly checked my e-mail to confirm it and then listened to the message again. “Today is Thursday, February 9th. There will be no school today due to forecasted inclement weather.” I’ll spare you more repetitions, but suffice it to say, I played it once more (or maybe twice or maybe…)  because even though I know I won’t be so happy about it in June, I can’t help rejoicing today.

Snow days send my inner child into a paroxysm of joy. They are a wonderful gift, offering a sudden expanse of unscheduled time–Time to sleep, time to read, time to write…. What can be better than that?  Then, I was further delighted when I realized that today is Thursday and there was a brand new photo prompt from Laura P. Salas for her weekly 15-Words-Or-Less Poems.

contrail

Photo credit to Laura P. Salas

Her filtered photo prompt featured clouds, the moon (that blue and white blob at the top in the center) and a dramatic contrail. With much-anticipated writing time in mind, my response went in a different direction:

Beginning…

I dip my quill
into the froth of possibilities
select one slender floss
and write

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

I’ve been itching to try my hand at Laura Shovan’s 5th annual February challenge and with my bonus time, I dove right in. This year’s challenge involves creating a poem each day from a list of 10 found words chosen from current news articles. Poems can use some or all of these words (or variations of them). I’ve looked at a few of the lists but have discovered that working with a found word list is definitely more difficult for me than working with photographs (last year’s challenge).

After looking at several lists this morning, I settled in to work on February 6th’s. The words chosen for that day were: ice, chasm, buoyant, exploration, relocation, disruption, buried, edge, tow, and weather. (They were selected from a BBC News article entitled, UK completes Antarctic Halley base relocation, by Jonathan Amos.)  Here is my first effort, using 7 of the 10 words, and it went in a totally different direction than I’d anticipated. Isn’t it wonderful how words can whisk you away on unexpected journeys? Although this one is a bit grim…

Too Late

Standing at the weathered edge
of the chasm
toes curled into gravelly dirt
at the brink of geographic disruption,
of destruction,
she pauses for
one
long
moment
then pushes off with gritty toes
into a
perfectly
executed
swan dive.

As she falls
some long-buried
errant emotion
erupts
melting her icy resolve

Too late.

She screams.

Her hair streams behind her,
buoyant in the breath
of the abyss.

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

dscn8841On a more pleasant note, the snow has just started here. A few soft flakes drift over the garden while a flock of finches feeds on the fallen seed beneath the feeder. A red-bellied woodpecker pecks the suet, cocks its head and flies off. Black-capped chickadees hop and weave through the tangled web of wisteria vines. Inside, the fire is hissing and popping and the cat is curled and sleeping on the hearth. Every so often the radiators emit a soft reassuring tick and my mug is filled with warm, fragrant coffee.

It’s going to be a beautiful day.

DSCN8848.jpg

Weathering the storm

 

If you’re interested in reading some poetry, Katie is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at The Logonauts. Bonus: She’s featuring the Poetry Friday books!

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27 thoughts on “Playing with Words on a Snow Day

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Oh my, I wish I had a snow day to write and read poetry all day. Loved your frothy feather and the diver is totally someone I can relate to. I also love your beautiful bird pictures. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Irene Latham says:

    Yay for your snow day! That cardinal weathering the storm is SO BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing it and your poems. Enjoy that “froth of possibilities.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay for prompts and poetry. I like your slender floss. My favorite part of the post was this prose poem: “A few soft flakes drift over the garden while a flock of finches feeds on the fallen seed beneath the feeder. A red-bellied woodpecker pecks the suet, cocks its head and flies off. Black-capped chickadees hop and weave through the tangled web of wisteria vines. Inside, the fire is hissing and popping and the cat is curled and sleeping on the hearth. Every so often the radiators emit a soft reassuring tick and my mug is filled with warm, fragrant coffee.” Ahhhh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I remember so fondly the complete and utter joy of a snow day – they’re very rare here, so they’re always reason for celebration! Though I don’t think we ever got a phone call – we just had to listen to the radio in breathless anticipation, hoping that our school would be among the schools named in the closing announcements! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoy your snow day! They’re not nearly as exciting now that I’m working from home instead of teaching, but I guess you could say every day is a snow day. I’m enjoy the 10foundwords challenge, but I also think it’s hard! Somedays, though, I am surprised by what comes out of my pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Snow days are the best! I love your response to Laura’s amazing photo. Selecting “one slender floss” is exactly right. I’ve also found the words more of a challenge than the photos, but am trying to keep up. Your cardinal photo is gorgeous! I’ve enjoyed watching the birds at our feeder, but my camera lens isn’t powerful enough to get a close up like yours. Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m definitely not keeping up on this challenge, but it’s been an interesting process. My notebook is full of starts, stops and stalls! Perhaps some snowy day they’ll serve as seeds for some other writing. I’ve so enjoyed your contributions!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s wishful thinking that we would have a snow day here in Texas at this point, but I’m wishing any way! Your poems are divine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, you’ve had a very productive day! Your swan dive was quite the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tara Smith says:

    I spent my snow day grading…much rather that I had been able to create
    “one slender floss”!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. maryleehahn says:

    Sigh. Thanks for sharing your snow day fun. We only got a dusting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful poetry, prose, and evocation of snow days! My dog is teaching me to like the snow more, as you show here, and we find in Joyce Sidman’s/Beth Kromme’s One Morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Jeannine!
      Dogs and snow are a wonderful combination. Have you ever read Billy Collin’s poem Snow Day? I love these lines:
      “In a while, I will put on some boots
      and step out like someone walking in water,
      and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
      and I will shake a laden branch
      sending a cold shower down on us both.”

      Like

  12. Wonderful! Your response to life is just wonderful! Love the froth! I wish you more words and more snow days.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Alice Nine says:

    I read your words: “Isn’t it wonderful how words can whisk you away on unexpected journeys?” And then I read “Too Late.” Wow! The crafting. The story. An unexpected journey for this reader! I must share with you my “noticings”: 1) the form–especially the enjambed lines– helps to build your story line; 2) great alliteration—gravelly dirt, geographic disruption of destruction / errant emotion erupts / buoyant in the breath; 3) bookending and parallelism of two lines: of the chasm / of the abyss, ties up the story; 4) the unexpectedness of “swan dive” drew me into the character, is she an Olympian? and finally, 5) your personification of the abyss (it has breath) made the whole poem into a metaphor. Great mentor poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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