Lai-ing About with Poetry Princesses [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

This month, we Poetry Princesses wrote lais (a 9‑line, aabaabaab poem) on the theme of hope, light, or peace. I had done the little drawing below before thinking about this month’s poem. Then I started thinking about how the sight of chimney smoke on a cold winter’s day always makes me feel both hopeful and peaceful. Something about knowing someone else is there, doing their little bit to warm their world while I’m doing mine, is very comforting to me. Even if I don’t know whose house it is and don’t expect to see an actual person. It’s just proof of life. A connection. When you live up north, even in suburban areas, you can go weeks without seeing your neighbors outside! So the curling chimney smoke is a reminder I’m not alone, even if it feels at times like I’m living in some post-apocalyptic blizzard world :>)

I adapted the form a little and used knot/not as my b word every time. It’s really meant to be three different rhyming words. But I knew early on that I wanted not/ alone to be the ending of the poem, and I really liked using not/ my own, as well. So then I rearranged my opening lines a little to describe the house as a knot/ of stone.

I wrote this on a car ride home from Green Bay, WI, where we spent a fun weekend with family. Here are some pics of my notebook pages.

And here’s my final poem:


Passing by a Winter CottageEager to see what my Poetry Sisters have come up with!



Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

And, as always, don’t forget to visit the Poetry Friday Roundup with Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading. So wonderful to see Mary Lee at NCTE–and grateful to her for keeping us organized with Poetry Friday!





17 Responses

  1. I love the way you wove your thought into this poem to pass it along to us. The line “smoke a wispy thought” spoke to me. Something about the scent of a distant fire is comforting, too.

  2. I’m a huge fan of your poem sketches, Laura. The images and words make magic together. I couldn’t manage to make my lai be about peace (it’s stormy at my blog) but you.…you nailed how peace is passed from one heart to another. LOVE.

      1. Also, if you saw the Northern Lights in Iceland I AM GOING TO BE JEALOUS FOREVER. We went out for HOURS and never saw them — but got some great photographs of stars and planets and the odd meteor…

        1. We did (I’m sorry?). We went on a Northern Lights boat tour and froze our tushies but only saw the barest hint of green a couple times. The next night, we just drove out to the lighthouse (supposedly where the locals go) so city lights were behind us, and we got a pretty spectacular showing. It was simply incredible. Maybe next time…?

  3. Oh yes, I love seeing smoke curl from a chimney. Your poem captures that feeling for me, too. And I always appreciate your generosity in sharing your thinking behind the poem you write. I learn so much from it.

  4. I like the way your words meander along, speaking of what that smoke means to you. It is like a walk, that “lit a spark that caught” and all in your imagination. Lovely thoughts, Laura.

  5. Seeing your drafts is always so inspiring to me — it makes me feel like you’re letting us in on your poetic secrets 🙂 Also, I LOVE the little house as a knot!!!

  6. Love the imagery here, and I continue to adore your artwork paired with poems!

  7. I like reading your wintry thoughts, especially when I can be warm at the same time here at home! Ruth,

  8. Love, love, LOVE. (Especially the process notes!!!) (No, wait…especially the painting!!!) (No, wait…especially the way you bent the rules so beautifully!!!)

  9. Yes, that is exactly why. And also it smells good, smells safe despite the threat of fire, as if (no, not “as if”–it probably is bioevolutionary truth) that woodsmoke is the smell of home, the cave the den the tribe.

    Now then, dear Laura, I do love your process posts, but it has just occurred to me to wonder whether showing all the sleight of mouth behind the poetry curtain is like a magician giving away secrets to the uninitiated…but don’t worry. We won’t exile you from the tribe! <3

    1. Thanks, Michelle–I always welcome feedback (not just positive) from an artist. I am going to do some silhouettes today on washes that I don’t like the way the washes came out. We’ll see if adding silhouettes and poems (eventually) transforms them or just makes them worse!

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