2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 11 – Poetry Friday
We’re also celebrating Poetry Friday. This week’s host is Kimberly Moran at Written Reflections. If you’re enjoying the poetry community we’re creating with this project, I know you’ll have fun getting to know the Poetry Friday blogging community as well.
This week, we’ve been talking about some of the categories our FOUND OBJECT prompts fall into. There were many contributions (a few of them my own) of toys. These weren’t ordinary playthings, though. The found objects were toys in odd settings, like the window full of antique dolls we wrote about on Day 6.
Linda Baie of the blog Teacher Dance contributed this interesting little plaything. There will be a few more toys to come in the weeks ahead, but this is the last doll we’ll see. She’s an unusual object — I’m glad to be able to write without any information about her. She’s going to raise quite a few questions in today’s poems.
Linda Baie is first up today with an acrostic poem about our little lady.
What I Had
F ound– faded flowerdy cloth from Mama’s scraps,
O verlays a piney piece of wood in Papa’s workshop.
U nder the backyard shade tree, the walnut–
N ear perfect color of my face.
D oll delight, looks like me.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved
Carol Varsalona, who is blogging alongside our project at Beyond LiteracyLink, wrote: “As a lover of antiques and history, I was drawn to this prairie doll that brought back memories of Little House on the Prairie books and the television show.” I hope you’ll stop by Carol’s blog today. Her post includes a wonderful list for the classroom entitled, “Broadening Elementary Students’ Awareness of Prairie Life.”
I was born,
just an ordinary doll
of plain homespun fabric
stitched by Ma’s loving hands.
As odd as this seems,
I was given a walnut
for my head.
Just an ordinary doll,
They tell me that my family
weathered many a storm
as their wagon wheels
slowly moved west
to Walnut Grove.
Here on the prairie,
I was loved
as the ordinary doll
that I am.
Living in a soddie
under a sun that
beat and blistered
was a way of life
while winter snow
drove us indoors
to wait out the
My days with
my little owner
were full of
simple prairie life
and prickled by
of pioneer days
were filled with
and homespun charm.
Time has turned over.
Centuries have passed on.
grace museums and
I sit on a shelf
reminding all of
and ordinary dolls
loved by ordinary families.
Jessica Bigi wrote in to say, “This doll made me think of a craft you would find at a county fair.” This should be a concrete poem, everyone, but I’m having trouble capturing its shape with WordPress. Please excuse the technical difficulties!
by Jessica Bigi
I imagine walnut dolls
Lemon tarts Pecan pies
Red ribbon Ferris wheels
I had a difficult time finding an “in” with the object — the thread that would lead me to a poem. So I tried one of the exercises I use with students when we are working with an image. First, we list all of the “facts” of the picture, the things we can see with our eyes. Then, we make a second list. This time, we write down all of things we imagine about the image. What’s the story? What is the person or people in the picture doing and thinking?
By Laura Shovan
A bonnet covers her white cotton hair.
Her face is wrinkled and round as a nut.
I call my scrap doll Grandmother Daisy
for the meadow flowers dotting her dress.
She wears a white apron with squares of blue
same as the apron I wear to do chores.
Grandmother Daisy’s bag is filled with songs.
She sits with me as I churn the butter.
Together, we sing her songs, pass the time.
“I let my kid-self out today,” says Violet Nesdoly. I think we have to make space for play during a project like this, to keep the daily writing from feeling like a chore.
On a Visit to Red Riding Hood
This is a memory
of Grandmother dear,
who outsmarted the wolf
when he came by here
with the gunny and muslin
she stuffed in her bed
and the pumpkin she used
to mimic her head.
It’s here on the shelf
and reminds me each day
better activate wits
than be someone’s buffet.
– Violet Nesdoly
Diane Mayr has a talent for combining images and poems. With another birthday coming up next week, this contribution spoke to me.
Le Secret d’un Visage Naturel
By Diane Mayr
the back door,
scan the ground,
find a whole new
face to put on for
the day. Tomorrow
you can switch
it out again.
Who need be
The doll brought up an old memory for Donna Smith. “This struck me as such a stark contrast to a pink, delicate ballerina doll I once had… that my brother broke… not that I’d remember that after over 50 years…”
Prima Donna ballerina
Could bend and point her toes;
Her arms were curved so gracefully –
No walnut tip for nose;
She wore a satin tutu
And on her feet toe shoes;
She smelled of sweet vanilla –
Not of smoke and bread and stews.
I loved my doll until it broke
And then threw it away.
What good is a dancing doll
If it can’t tour jeté?
My grandma’s doll, so precious,
Has stood the test of time;
She never went to dances
But with Grandma she would climb
The big old tree beside the house
To make up wondrous tales,
And then go wading in the stream
To look for baby whales.
My grandma’s doll upon my shelf
Still dresses in humble style;
And looking down at me from there
I think she’s cracked a smile.
©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved
Remember when we wrote about the antique shop dolls on Day 6? Writers were split between those who found the playthings dark and creepy, and those who felt nostalgic about dolls from their past. I see a similar pattern happening with today’s found object.
Mary Lee Hahn says she not sure where this poem came from. I see a definite ripple between this poem and Diane Mayr’s contribution. Mary Lee is blogging alongside us here.
to keep her face blank,
made her shoulders tense,
took her breath,
An unimaginable future
©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015
Matt Forrest Esenwine is back with us today!
The Old Woman in the Yard
We’d walked this way for years.
Each time, we’d see her there
in burlap dress and bonnet,
hands clenched, as if in prayer.
Her back was always turned,
head bowed in silent thought;
we wondered (rather, worried)
should we bother her, or not?
So every time we passed,
we never said a word,
we never slowed our pace;
the woman never stirred.
And then one day we came upon
an empty, hollow space…
we never knew her name.
We never saw her face.
© 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
Margaret Simon’s poem reminds me of Raggedy Ann, with the heart sewn inside her body.
How to be a Walnut Doll
By Margaret Simon
Wear your walnut with pride
Flaunt feathery fabric
Make time stand still
Love is your sacrifice
Feel the beat of a young heart.
Catherine Flynn is blogging alongside us today. Like many of us, today’s object evoked a place and time for Catherine. You can find her full post here: https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/poetry-friday-found-object-poetry/
Bouncing along this rutted trail
toward a great unknown,
I clutch my dolly, Susan,
keeping her corncob body close.
Ma saved one cob
from last summer’s harvest
to make this dolly, just for me
after I helped her husk
the bushels of corn
Pa hauled from the field.
Corn for us to eat,
corn to grind into meal,
corn to feed our brown swiss, Bess,
so she’d share her sweet, creamy milk.
Ma sewed a little dress from scraps of calico
soft as a cloud,
blue as the summer sky,
sprigged with pink and white daisies
like those in our yard.
Fashioned a tiny muslin bonnet,
just like mine,
it’s wide pleated brim shielding our faces
from the blazing sun
as it leads us westward,
toward our new home.
© Catherine Flynn, 2016
Isn’t it lovely that Jone MacCulloch gave our doll a name in her poem?
hidden in the attic
grandmother’s worn out
from the backyard
to the market
with an empty
hidden in the attic
© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved
There’s wonderful sensory imagery in Charles Water’s offering today.
By Charles Waters
This walnut body of mine
gets hugged every night by Laura,
my heart beating, apple cheeked
forever friend. She fiddles with my
flowered dress, stitched up tan apron,
tattered handbag, homemade bonnet.
“I love you Dolly,” she says every nigh
before bed as shades of moon slice
through her alabaster curtains.
If only I had the heart to tell her,
“The feeling is mutual.”
If I missed your poem today, I apologize for the oversight. Please leave me a note in the comments and I will add your response ASAP.
See you tomorrow for Day 12.
Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:
Sunday, February 7
FOUND OBJECT: Blood Letting Knife
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Catherine Flynn, Linda Baie, Molly Hogan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine.
Note: You will find links to all of the Week 1 poems at this post.
Monday, February 8
FOUND OBJECT: SCULPTURE IN THE WOODS
Poems by: Laura Shovan, Jessica Bigi, Heidi Mordhorst, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Donna Smith, Diane Mayr, Joanne R. Polner, Kay McGriff, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Catherine Flynn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.
Tuesday, February 9
FOUND OBJECT: TIRE TRACKS IN SNOW
Poems by: Molly Hogan, Jessica Bigi, Linda Baie, Violet Nesdoly, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Catherine Flynn, Kay McGriff, Charles Waters.
Wednesday, February 10 at Reflections on the Teche
FOUND OBJECT: LOTUS PODS
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Jessica Bigi, Molly Hogan, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Carol Varsalona, Violet Nesdoly, Heidi Mordhorst, Donna Smith, Mary Lee Hahn, Margaret Simon, Charles Waters, Buffy Silverman, Catherine Flynn.