Poetry Friday: “Afternoon on a Hill”

“Sunny Days” by Lawrence Alma-Tadema,1874
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund

“Afternoon on a Hill”

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down
the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be
And then start down!

by Edna St.  Vincent Millay

School ends in three days. Then I will be “the gladdest thing under the sun!”

Please be sure to visit Michelle Kogan for the Poetry Friday Roundup.


Poetry Friday: Grandma’s Syringa

Syringa, which is also known as mock orange, is in full bloom here in my corner of Connecticut, and it always reminded of the massive bush in my grandmother’s yard.  I grew up next door to my grandmother and spent as much time playing in her yard as I did in my own. Our shrubs and flowers were grown from cuttings and divided clumps of her shrubs and flowers, and I loved them all. So when my parents sold the house I grew up in, I divided as many of these heirlooms as I could. I still have peonies, iris, and poppies that once bloomed in both yards. The only plant that didn’t survive the move was my grandmother’s syringa (also known as mock orange).

We moved when
Grandma’s syringa
was blooming,
its branches curved
earthward by the weight
of a thousand snowy blossoms.
Their sweet, heady scent,
the scent of my childhood
is now tinged
with sadness
and longing for
a home that exists
only in my heart.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit Kiesha Shepard at Whispers from the Ridge for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: A Villanelle for Mother Earth

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by my friend Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. About a month ago, Margaret invited Poetry Friday regulars to participate in “More Than Meets the Eye,” a photo swap “in which we’d send a photograph from our own geographic area for our exchange partner to write a poem about.” Margaret paired me up with Amanda Potts, who hails from Ottawa, Ontario. Amanda sent me several photos to choose from, but I was drawn to this photo immediately:

Mother Nature Sculpture, MosaiCanda

I chose to write a villanelle because I wanted to capture the cycle of the seasons. Also, as a French form that is now widely used by English poets, I thought it would reflect two cultures of modern Canada. You can learn more about MosaiCanada, a “horticultural wonder” that commemorated Canada’s 150th birthday last year with scenes from Canada’s past, here.

A Villanelle for Mother Earth

Seasons come and seasons go,
there’s not a thing she doesn’t see.
Through her hands, all life flows.

She wears a crown of rainbows,
perfumed by butterfly and bee.
Seasons come and seasons go.

Abundant gifts she bestows,
plenty pours from every tree.
Through her hands, all life flows.

Across the land wild winds blow,
an echo of her melody.
Seasons come and seasons go.

Rivers fill with melting snow
beneath bald eagle’s aerie.
Through her hands, all life flows.

Her gifts are ours to borrow;
“Care well for me,” her plea.
Seasons come and seasons go;
Through her hands, all life flows.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Poetry Friday: “The Tornado”

Before VHS, DVR and DVDs, favorite movies were a once-a-year treat. Each December my mother looked forward to White Christmas. And even though it terrified me, I couldn’t wait for the annual screening of The Wizard of Oz.

Because of that movie, I have always lived in fear of tornadoes. They aren’t common in Connecticut, but they aren’t unheard of, either. On Tuesday, my area experienced at least four tornadoes and two microbursts. My family and home were unharmed, but many of my friends and neighbors weren’t as lucky. A poem about these powerful storms was the only logical choice this week. Thank you, Irene Latham, for having the perfect one on your blog!

The Tornado

By Irene Latham

The story comes grumbling
over the hill. It tumbles
hailstones and cracks tree-trunks.
It craves front-page news,

so it musters all speed
and muscle. It tears across
Main Street, steals shingles
and un-parks cars.

It whirls, whistles
screams and teems with twists
no one sees coming.

Read the rest of the poem here.

The calm after the storm.

Please be sure to visit Rebecca Herzog at Sloth Reads for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Outside My Window

Last week, poet Julie Fogliano visited Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty and left readers with this challenge:

 “…just stare out the window and write what you see.”

Some months, I ponder these challenges all month. But I’d been watching this robin for a few weeks, so this month I knew immediately what to write about.

Bedecked in fresh leaves,
delicate and lithe,
an old apple tree,
its limbs loaded
with fat pink blossoms
ready to burst open,
stands outside my window.

Concealed within
this veil of green,
a robin sits on her nest,
still as a statue,
guarding her eggs
from the jays and crows
who screech and caw
in the branches above her,

right outside my window.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Spring is Here!

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe,
the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
~ Rachel Carson ~

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you read or hear about a topic and then, suddenly, it’s everywhere? The connection between science and poetry isn’t news to Poetry Friday regulars, but in the past week, this relationship was gloriously celebrated by Maria Papova, Janna Levin and friends at the second Universe in Verse, “an evening of science-inspired poems read by artists, writers, scientists, and musicians, part protest and part celebration.” The event, which was livestreamed, was dedicated to the legacy of Rachel Carson and included readings of poetry celebrating everything “from the oceans and trees and volcanos to bees and kale and the armadillo.” It was a truly inspiring event.

Then I found this article about the intersection of math and poetry, which led me to JoAnne Growney’s blog, “Intersections–Poetry with Mathematics.” Growney writes about both mathematical forms, including Fibs, and poems about math and declares, “let our STEM be STEAM.” Indeed!

Further inspiration came from my poetry pal Christie Wyman, who wrote poems about vernal pools every day in April. (Congratulations, Christie!) Thanks to her, I’ve recently been paying close attention to a vernal pool near my home. After two days of above-average temperatures, this scene greeted me on my morning walk yesterday:


The unfortunately named skunk cabbage caught my attention. Kale, armadillos, even skunk cabbage, all are worthy subjects of our attention, our words.

“Fib for a Skunk Cabbage”

and veined, skunk
cabbage leaves unfold,
arise from hidden vernal pools
boldly proclaiming, “Spring is here! Spring is finally here!”

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit Brenda Davis Harsham at Friendly Fairy Tales for the Poetry Friday Roundup.



Poetry Friday: The Poemporium

Recently, while driving in an unfamiliar town, I passed this sign:

Maybe because I’m often thinking about poetry when I drive, I misread the name of this store as “Poetporium.” (Never mind the dog and cat silhouettes; I missed them completely!) What a store that would be, I thought. Then of course, the wheels really started turning. What kind of poem could advertise a Poetporium? After renaming this imaginary store the “Poemporium,” I came up with this draft of a promotional poem.

“The Poemporium”

At the Poemporium you will find
Verses and rhymes of every kind:

A wide assortment of
Couplets and quatrains,
Repeating roundels.
Odes evoking the sacred muse.
Soaring sonnets,
Tanka, haiku,
Iambs or trochees,
Cinquains and more!

Poems that make you giggle,
Poems that make you cry,
Poems that heal a broken heart,
Or make you wonder why?

So don’t be shy!
Just open the door,
come and explore
this enchanting poetry store.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit the lovely Irene Latham at Live Your Poem for the Poetry Friday Roundup.