Friday, October 30, 2020

Poetry Friday: The Naani

The naani is a poem of four lines and 20-25 syllables, whose subject is often (but not always) the first line.
It was created (according to this post) by "one of India’s foremost poets, Dr. N Gopi."  

Like most of us, I had never written one. Or even read one. So I embraced beginner mind.  No expectations. No comparisons. Nothing but listening to what might arise in the quiet. 

Our theme was fall, or foresight, or both.

Autumn is blaze and decay;
A shuddering blow of the horn;
Split fruit; one tree stark,
One still singing. 

                         -----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My poetry sisters naani are here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by TeacherDance.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Poetry Friday: To an Image of a Hippo, or Ponderous, or Both

September's challenge pounced out of nowhere (where did the rest of the month GO?) so maybe that's why I laughed when I read our task: 

"write a poem using ponderous, or an image of a hippo, in whatever form we wish!"

Ok, I had to think quickly, about ponderous things! What to do? How to frame this? Where even to start? 

Well, that's always the question, no matter how much or how little time I have...right? So I leaned on my never-fail poetry approach: research. It's not something we discuss much when teaching poetic technique, as we focus on rhythm, imagery, word choice, and perhaps form, or even rhyme. But poetry must also be rooted before it can grow, and for me, that means digging into the connections my subject makes with the world. This time, that was two-fold:  the word origin of ponderous (and other pond words)...and hippos, of course. 

Research always saves the day. 


If a poet in a pond

were to ponder,

what ponderous

thoughts to weigh?

That “to pond” is to pool water; 

nothing to do with poundage,

still, arising from pound—

a place to hold livestock— so a water

version of that, to hold ducks, say.

Or carp. Or a poet floating

on her back to see what’s up

there, wondering who, in dialect, turned

pound into pond. So she can now write

about ponding, a hazard of low water 

at the dip of a path, or even make jokes

about pond scum, also called frog-spittle,

and joy! brook-silk….and yet, to ponder

is another thing, entirely: to think, to consider,

to weigh carefully. This she must do. 

Not simply float. Perhaps if she contemplates

the hippo. Now her thoughts bolt from her wet

coils of hair. To be a river-horse! To cry 

questions that carry through both water 

and air. To word-gallop as it can,

startling all, the terror of the mangroves, 

mating underwater, birthing crocodile

killers, not a ponderous bone

in its body of work. What then? 

What might pool in her ears? What might 

she say to her pod, her herd, her dale, 

her bloat? What if this pond weren’t 

all the world she knows? 

             ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

See what my poetry sisters did with this ponderous challenge here:








Poetry Friday is hosted today by Jone Rush MacCulloch

Friday, August 28, 2020

Poetry Friday: Full Circle

Today marks the end of my husband's service in the Air Force---thirty-nine years to the day he was commissioned.  And, by luck, we're back in the place where our married life began, thirty-six years ago, at Langley Air Force Base.  Today's poetry challenge was to re-visit an old poem, and this one from March 2009 seems most fitting.  

I do, and always will. 

Annus Mirabilis*

how close is

the edge where we gasp 

at the wondrous view

to the place where 

addicted to gravity

we fall, and fall, and fall

the attraction is mutual

the disasters are many,

the wonders placed as knots

on a rope. Hand over hand,

the shape of each day

fitting to our palms,

rough and knobby,

we pull our hearts,

tough as burnt sugar

out of the blackened scrape

we’ve gotten ourselves in;

each year a spin

around the sun, nothing

but a dust trail, an annulus,

a common ring, a promise

for years to come

and years past

and this year,

to make full circles

from disasters and wonders,

to hold each miracle 

as we fall.

                ----Sara Lewis Holmes  (all rights reserved) 

* Annus Mirabilis:  a year of disasters or miracles. In other words, any year in which love exists. 

My poetry sisters posts can be found here:








Poetry Friday is hosted today by Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe