Friday, 19 February 2016

It’s Day 19 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 3 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

As I’ve mentioned before, often in the middle of this month of daily writing, I get a little silly. Okay, a lot silly. I have a stretch of days when I don’t have much to say, and what I write turns playful, even if I’m not 100% happy with it. It’s good practice for me to share these poems anyway, to put the focus on effort instead of outcome.

PLEASE NOTE: This year, a few friendly bloggers have volunteered to host a day or two. I am visiting family this weekend. Tomorrow’s post, which is DAY 20, will be at Jone Rush MacCulloch’s blog, Deowriter. Leave your Day 20 responses here, in the comments, or you can leave them at Jone’s blog. We will both make sure your poems get posted.

deer skull


FOUND: Deer Skull

Today’s FOUND OBJECT is in the nature category. It is a literal found object — found and brought home by my friend, the poet Mike Ratcliffe.

As you know, I love hearing about people’s writing process — the journey from prompt to idea to poem. Mary Lee Hahn left us a message about her response to the deer skull:

“When I started writing, I had no idea how this poem would go with the skull and antlers. I had the phrase ‘There’s ___, but then there’s ____’ in my mind and I opened the post and started writing from that. Somehow my brain gave me pride and hubris. We’ve been noticing similes and metaphors in my 5th grade class, so I had fun making a simile-metaphor-vocabulary poem that will hopefully teach my students a new word. When I was finished, I looked back at the skull and wondered what HE knows about pride vs. hubris, sitting there on the sidewalk for all to see…”


There’s pride —
(nothing wrong with pride)
a warm sense of self-worth
sitting quietly inside you
like a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter morning.

But then there’s hubris —
a venti double mocha latte with whip and extra sprinkles
standing there beside your computer in the cafe
while you pose with your earbuds
open notebook
fancy pen
empty page.

The trick is knowing the difference.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016


I am so excited to see the return of Herman the Hermit Crab! We were first introduced to Donna Smith’s invention on Day 8. Donna says, “I didn’t have a clue what to write, but then I heard Herman talking from inside the skull, as he tried to cross the sidewalk.”

Herman, the Hermit Part 2

Yes, sweet, yes, dear,
I know I’m slow
But the first one was lighter
And smaller to tow!
This one won’t fit me,
It’s harder to walk;
I barely can breathe and
It’s harder to talk!
No, it’s all right, dear,
Ill try to adjust.
I’ll carry it, dear,
If you think that I must.
But I really don’t see how
This shell’s any better.
It won’t keep out wind,
And in rain I get wetter.
I know I look handsome,
But can’t I come out
And get my old shell back?
I don’t mean to pout.
But maybe I just need
My small house to carry
And then, my sweet dear,
I’d not have to tarry.
I can still do it, but
Perhaps I’d not linger
To get you a ring
To wear on your finger.
Oh, sorry, not finger –
I meant one of your claws
As I try to propose here
Can we put this on pause?
For I’m out of breath
I just have to rest.

It’s okay, dear Herman,
You’ve just passed my test!

We’ll get your old shell back
‘Cause it’s cozy, though drab
You can wear it on weekends
And I won’t even crab.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Linda Baie is in with a lovely haiku today. I’m noticing the contrast between the natural skull and the cement sidewalk.

the skull reminds
as we walk our cement path –
whose passage was taken

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved



Abstract Cactus by Jessica Bigi

Jessica Bigi’s poem is meant to curve and waver down the page. I’ll try to update the formatting if I can figure it out. I’ll also be adding artwork from Jessica soon.

Of one

by Jessica Bigi


I’ve been enjoying Matt Forrest Esenwine’s short poems during this project. Love the play on words here.

“Hunting Season”

Been hunting these woods
for whitetail deer,
and wouldn’t you know –
the buck stopped here.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


antlersAnd Carol Varsalona posted today’s digital creation to Twitter.


Patricia VanAmburg has been on vacation, but wrote in, “I was really drawn to this skull which reminded me of the significance of horned animals in antiquity, and I hoped to write a pantoum.  But life has been a blur—so here is a haiku of sorts—because I cannot pass this particular object without response…”

I was lucky enough to hear Patricia give a wonderful talk on mythology and art recently. I see those same themes reflected in this haiku.

By Patricia VanAmburg

Bone without flesh but
Consort to his goddess still
Grazing on her walk


With more shootings in the news, Charles Waters’ poem hit home for me today.

By Charles Waters

Two shots of rock salt,
one corpse stripped of her spirit,
one family gorging on her flesh.
Another innocent life … gone.


I’m so pleased to introduce you all to poet and YA author Heather Meloche today. Heather is one of my fellow 2016 debut authors, part of the Sweet 16 group. Her novel is entitled RIPPLE.

Heather wrote, “I am a poet before I am a novelist, and my debut novel was written in verse before it was edited into prose. After editing prose for long hours every day, I feel like sentences and words all feel the same. I forget how full and satisfied poetry makes me feel.”

We are all bone, dear.
When I left you standing on the crooked
porch steps, the weed and drink diffusing
your clarity, you waved goodbye to the neighbor, not me.
But I saw you, shucked and shivering, the simple white
of calcium phosphate and running nerves, the hollows
built by oxygen and form. I had breathed you
in a thousand times, draped your structure through
mine for months that grew to years, until we made
a horrifying skeletal thing, a mish-mash
of splinters and fragments of ourselves.
We would have fossilized there, creaked and
cracked into later adulthood, then blamed
the other for our fractures. My packed bags
tore against my ligaments that day I left, the lightness
of the air between us ripped at tendons, popped through
the joints your fingers had caressed in the dark. And in the hollow
of my new apartment, I had to search and scrounge for the minor
cells that became true bone, and crawl through a maze of
connective tissue that brought me to today. When I heard
from a friend you still stand, straight and angled, marrowed
by your own doing. I sensed in me a cell of yours still
remaining, fibrous and tough along a deep membrane. But I asked
for no details. Let the rush of osteoblasts and blood take
you from me again. Because we are all bone, dear. Breaking down.
Renewing. Solidifying. Before we fall
to the parched rigidity of age.

by Heather Smith Meloche


I’m going to add my poem early tomorrow (UPDATE: Ha ha! That’s funny. Still haven’t written my poem yet). I had a full day of teaching, yoga, and a poetry event with Eamon Grennan this evening!

My students and I were looking at a photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe. I have a feeling the skull in my poem will be Georgia’s famous deer skull.

Finally… my Georgia O’Keefe-inspired poem.

Deer Skull with Flowers
By Laura Shovan

After Georgia O’Keeffe

He brought it home,
left it in our yard,
so I filled its eye sockets
with white hibiscus,
the red center of each flower
like a pupil. I did not know
how else to tell him, I have seen
spent flowers curl themselves
into their own shrouds
and drop like sailors
wrapped in canvas, pushed
into their ocean graves.
He brought it home,
so I placed between its antlers
three blue morning glories,
The rhythm of their opening
and closing reflected blue
on white bone, like a bruise
spreading and healing
across its cracked skull.


IMPORTANT NOTE FOR EVERYONE: Hey, poets. It’s Day 19. I know we all feel like we’re running out of steam. First, skip a day or two if that’s what you need. Second, *push through.* By the time we get to Sunday, Day 21, you’ll feel like we’re all cascading down a mountain of words together through the last week of prompts.

If I missed your poem for today, please let me know. I will add it ASAP.


DAY 20 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT (February 20 at Deowriter)

Reminder: Tomorrow, we’ll be spending Day 20  at Rush MacCulloch’s blog, Deowriter

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 14
Poems by: Violet Nesdoly, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Charles Waters.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 and Week 2 poems at this post.

Monday, February 15 at My Juicy Little Universe
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Donna Smith, Julieanne Harmatz, Jone Rush  MacCulloch, Charles Waters.

Tuesday, February 16
Poems by: Victoria Costa, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Catherine Flynn, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

Wednesday, February 17 at Mainely Write
FOUND OBJECT: Hot  Pink Sandal
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Mary Lee Hahn, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst, Margaret Simon.

Thursday, February 18
FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine.

5 responses to “2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 19”

  1. Diane Mayr says:

    I’m in awe of Mary Lee’s definition of hubris. She should write a whole dictionary’s worth of definitions!

    I fear I’m running out of steam. Day 19 never came together despite several attempts.

    Day 20, although complete, is too horrible to put my name on, so, I’m afraid I’m going to miss two days. I have Day 21 ready, however, so I’ll be back on Sunday.

  2. I am crunched for time so I created a quick digital composition for Day 19 that I thought I left in the comment box. Since I do not see it my comment, I will try again. I sent the digital photo/poem via Twitter and Facebook but here is the shortcut to it.

    Antlers for Sale?

    Left alone along the curb
    I think an explanation
    I deserve

  3. Donna Smith says:

    Day 20


    I breath life into
    My smokey gray
    dappled steed.
    He’s a prancer,
    A dancer;
    Hooves clack
    and smack
    the concrete.
    I ride, my hand
    On his back,
    And we fly like
    The wind
    To the edge
    Of the sidewalk
    And back,
    Until we reach the river.
    He drinks the cool water;
    I give him some oats.
    I eat beans
    From a tin plate
    By the blazing campfire
    Until the coyotes howl;
    And I know it is time
    To go inside.
    I tuck my horse
    into my pocket.

    ©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

  4. […] Friday, February 19 FOUND OBJECT: Deer Skull Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Carol Varsalona, Heather Meloche. […]

  5. […] Friday, February 19 FOUND OBJECT: Deer Skull Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Carol Varsalona, Heather Meloche. […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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