Thursday, 25 February 2016

It’s Day 25 of our month-long daily writing project.

This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

How is everyone feeling now that there are only five days of found object prompts left (counting today)? I’m still trying to catch up on a few days I missed last week. This may be the first year that I don’t complete my own challenge!

Hawaii 088FOUND: KEYS

As usual, I haven’t revealed any details or background information about the Day 25 found object until now.

This photograph was taken on our 2009 trip to Hawaii. I “found” the keys while we toured a submarine museum at the Pearl Harbor Memorial site. If I had shared that fact, would your responses to the keys have changed?

I was interested in the fact that the keys are numbered up to 144. In addition to being the square of 12, 144 happens to be the 12th number in the Fibonacci sequence. That inspired me to write a Fib poem today. The title can be read as part of the poem.

By Laura Shovan

on board,
each one tagged,
each numbered, labeled: PANTRY, TOOLS.
How many hands lost at sea long ago used these keys?


The keys reminded Donna Smith of a favorite literary character, Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

Donna says, “This poem is way longer than I’d had visions of… it just kept going and growing… a little like Alice…”

Key to Happiness

Alice to herself:
“Which do you pick, Alice
Which key will you choose?
If you pick the wrong one
You could stand to lose…”

“There’s really no wrong choice,”
She heard Cheshire Cat say,
“So pick any one;
Don’t think, don’t delay.”

Alice to herself:
“Be cautious, my dear,
Use careful detection;
One key could be lucky,
So take care in selection.”

“Please, go on,” said Cheshire,
“And make one your choice;
One key’s for a clock,
One’s for a Rolls Royce.”

Alice to herself:
“If you pick the wrong key
Don’t pout at your lot;
Perhaps it will still be
A pretty good spot.”

“Which one?” asked the Cat,
The big or the little?
The left or the right?
Or one in the middle?”

Alice to herself:
“One key may unlock
The best kind of thing,
Or maybe the worst
Is what it will bring.”

“There’s really no wrong choice,”
Cheshire Cat said once more,
“So pick any one, dear;
Just not 74.”

Alice to herself:
“Well, here goes nothing,
I’ll just take the dive
And say I want key number
One hundred five.”

“Oh, very good choice
You’ve done very well,
For this is the key
For something so swell!”

Alice to herself:
“Something that’s swell
Sounds pretty great!”
And with that CC handed her
Keys to some skates.

Then Alice went swiftly
Off down the street
Rejoicing that she’d
Picked a key that was sweet.

It wasn’t a Rolls Royce
Or other grand treasure
But a smallish-foot-sized

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


A short poem from Jessica Bigi today. This one pairs nicely with Donna’s Alice theme.

By Jessica Bigi

Keys inside of keys
Unlocking doors


I see the repeating keys showing up in the repetition Heidi Mordhorst uses in her poem today.

The action of attraction

There are screws that hold us tight
there are hooks on which we hang
there are locks that shut us in
there are keys that shoot our bolts

whichever way the waves rise
whichever way the wind blows
whichever way the ship rolls
whichever way the floor jolts
we’re shot, we’re shut, we’re hooked, we’re screwed
our brassy hearts hang hard and cold
waiting for a touch, a hand
waiting for the warmth of skin

and when it comes we leap to it!
we buzz with loosing, waking need
to staterooms, quarters, lockers, deck —
and now the crossing can begin.

©Heidi Mordhorst 2016


Charles Waters is using the key not as a physical object, but as a metaphorical idea.

The Key
By Charles Waters

The key to unlocking
my heart is easy.
Be nice to others,
be nice to me.


I remember thinking that Carol Varsalona’s nest poem yesterday might have been written about today’s keys. Today, I’m thinking that Mary Lee Hahn’s keys poem has elements from  yesterday’s Phoebe nest.

The Key to Today’s Room

Listen for the first wren
who sings in the dark
at the end
of an endless

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Blogging alongside at:


Speaking of Carol Varsalona, she created a great key-shaped Wordle to go with today’s found object. Check it out here:

Keys unlock doors to learning.
Teachers hold the key.
Students respond
in cultures
of trust and engagement
where passion
mixes with purpose
to evolve.

©CVarsalona, 2016


It’s great to see Molly Hogan joining us again. Glad you’re back, Molly!

A Constellation of Keys
By Molly Hogan

Common key cards
have no romance,
slipping into a pocket
without a wrinkle,
silent and disposable.

Carved metal keys
have character
and reassuring heft.
They clink happily
in a pocket,
socializing with spare change,
or if you please,
they sit in hand,
guaranteeing imminent access
or denying the same.

Patiently waiting on hooks,
a constellation of keys
has purpose,
power and potential,
silently offering up
an array of possibilities.


I like the way that a different setting in Diane Mayr’s poem changes my ideas about the keys.

Key Rack at My-Big-Heart Hotel

You asked for the key
but, typically, you
neglected to provide
your room number.

You take for granted
I know where you’ve
decided to settle in.
Not so.

This is no tiny inn.
I have singles,
the standard rooms,
and a Royal Suite.

Where would I put you?
I’d say utility closet
between the elevator
and the ice machine.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved


The more responses I read today, the more I realize that keys have deep connotations for many of us. A key is a symbolic object. Here is Linda Baie’s poem.

More Than Door Openers

Success shortcuts
Heart pathways
Kingdom streets
Happiness highways
Castle trails
Failure dead ends
Victory alleys

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved



DAY 26 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT (February 26 at Michael Ratcliffe’s Poetry)

Reminder: Tomorrow, Poetry Friday, we will be at Michael Ratcliffe’s new blog for Day 26.

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

Sunday, February 21
FOUND OBJECT: Antique Sewing Machine
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1, 2, and 3 poems at this post.

Monday, February 22
FOUND OBJECT: Stick Insect
Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Jessica Bigi, Charles Watesr, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Linda Baie, Diane Mayr.

Tuesday, February 23 at BOOKSEED STUDIO
FOUND OBJECT: Library of Congress Cart
Poems by: Jan Godown Annino, Jessica Bigi, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Diane Mayr, Mary Lee Hahn, Charles Waters, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Heidi Mordhorst.

Wednesday, February 24
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Heidi Mordhorst, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona.

16 responses to “2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 25”

  1. Diane Mayr says:

    These are all so different!

    I especially like Molly’s

    in a pocket,
    socializing with spare change,

    The image tickles me and reminds me once again how I hate those key cards that only seem to work every third or fourth try. It’s not amusing when you’re standing outside your room doing an awkward slip-in-the-card-slam-the-handle-down-and-push dance.

    • Diane Mayr says:

      Day 26

      Late Late Afternoon

      Rain has ended.
      Dissipating clouds stretch thin and thinner.
      Layer over layer slowly fading until suddenly lit
      from below in desperation by a sun that didn’t take kindly
      to the theft of its time to shine.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Day 25

    More Than Door Openers

    Success shortcuts
    Heart pathways
    Kingdom streets
    Happiness highways
    Castle trails
    Failure dead ends
    Victory alleys
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

  3. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 26

    Jessica Bigi

    Sunday Server

    Ear descent golds
    Sun engraving
    On Turkish skies
    Folding of papers
    Painting cool wings
    Unfolding paper fans
    As the crores sings
    One last song

  4. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 26

    Jessica Bigi

    Sunday Server

    Ear descent golds
    Sun engraving
    On Turkish skies
    Folding of papers
    Painting cool winds
    Unfolding paper fans
    As the crores sings
    One last song

  5. Laura, my name was inadvertently left off of the Day 24 list but I know that you read it. The link is at

    I will submit Day 26 for Poetry Friday and am trying to backtrack a few that I left off.

  6. Molly Hogan says:

    Laura, if we are catching up on a few poems, is it best to post them to the comments on their particular day?

  7. I posted at Michael’s blog, but I’ll put Day 26 here for you too.

    Sister Sun Sets You Straight

    You thought the all-powerful
    was a god? A hot-blazing,
    fire-roaring, staff-wielding god?
    Helios Apollo Huitzilopochtli
    Surya Toniatuh Ra–
    ha! I am goddess.

    I do not blaze so much as simmer;
    I do not roar so much as sing
    (some say singe);
    I do not wield a mighty staff;
    I waft my hair of flame.
    I coax the sweetness out with legendary heat:
    from soil and branch, maple
    from stem and leaf, strawberry
    from pod and bean, chocolate
    (I do not claim the cookie dough.)

    I forgive your errors–
    my charms are hard to judge from lowly earth.
    So every now and then I descend, all dulcet warmth
    and eyelashes, to wink at humankind
    from unexpected spots.
    Don’t forget the recycling.

  8. Donna Smith says:

    Sent this to Michael via email, but will post it here, too!

    The sun and the blue shape above it, along with the white box as cloud…all became a picture of the sky to me…and of course because this is a stack of cardboard recycling, and day and night are a cycle…well, that’s where this came from (including the “moon” in the base poem!)

    Cycles (to the Cow Jumped Over the Moon)

    Hey, tacky-tacky
    This paper is stacky.
    The jet flew over the sun.
    Though sunset not pink
    The orb gave me a wink,
    “I’ll return when recycling’s done.”

    ©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

  9. Laura Shovan says:

    Thanks, everyone, for leaving your poems at Michael’s blog too. I know it was a huge help as he updated the post today.

  10. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 27 poem By Jessica Bigi
    Could you change my text to look like handwriting – cursive Thank You

    Ivory sentences Framing
    Wall of pages
    Rich mossy words
    Turning under fingertips
    Bookmarker memories
    Sipping tea we sit reading
    In life’s library

  11. Jessica Bigi says:

    Wall’s of pages

  12. Jessica Bigi says:

    plus the pic I sent you
    Day 29
    Poem by Jessica Bigi


    C alligraphy horses marching
    A B C –colors
    R acing rhymes across paper
    A cerbating around circles
    C ursive horses prancing
    A lphabet arena
    L etters laughter learning

    Calligraphy-fancy writing

  13. […] Thursday, February 25 FOUND OBJECT: Pearl Harbor Keys […]

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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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