My Friend’s House — A Poetryaction to In a Cave

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

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

Howdy, everyone! Thanks for your nice comments on last week’s poem, the dreaded monotetra :>D Several of you mentioned your favorite line was the one about twilight singing in plum. I have to tell you this made me so happy! I wrote that line strictly because I did NOT want to use “hum,” figuring in my poem about sounds, “hum” would be the expected rhyme to go with “thrum” and the other “um” words I used. I already had lots of cliches going on, so I looked at a list of rhyming words and asked myself, “Which word would not be expected in this stanza?” The line felt and feels a little clunky to me because of the syllable count, but I’m really happy that line resonated with y’all. It was probably my favorite line of the poem, too!

This week, I’m sharing a poetryaction. I recently read Heather Kinser’s In a Cave. Her beautiful language reminded me of how much I adore caves! Together, Randy and I have been in the Soudan Mine (very deep taconite mine in northern Minnesota), a lava tube cave in Iceland, a salt mine in Austria, and several other gorgeous mines. Last year, my visiting sister and I went to Spring Valley Cave in western Wisconsin. Hadn’t been there in many years. It was a terrific tour. And she bought me this beautiful rock specimen from the gift shop. So every time I look at this, I remember both the mystery and beauty of caves and the joy of her visit. Isn’t it gorgeous?

For this poetryaction, I decided to describe a cave as if were the home of a good friend–the earth. (You can see all my poetryactions here.) Oh, here’s my brainstorming and my first two drafts, too.


Two more things:

  • Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten is on sale this month for the Kindle edition for $2.49. Check it out!
  • For the Sealey Challenge, I started with:
    • This Rocking Motion of Time: adult poetry by my friend and storytime co-conspirator, Yvonne Pearson. The parenting poems were my favorite. Kind of gut-wrenching at times!
    • Keepers: an old favorite that I first read when I was just exploring children’s poetry, by Alice Schertle and Ted Rand. I love how Schertle makes poems with imperfect meters work perfectly!
    • The Path to Kindness, edited by James Crews. Like most anthologies, many poems are lovely but don’t blow my head off. But a few…really enjoyed poems by Tricia Knoll, Joy Harjo, Jacqueline Jules, & Susan Moorhead. That’s the joy of anthologies–you find poets whose work you want to explore more or whom you needed to be reminded about. I ordered this one a while back after reading about it on someone’s Poetry Friday post. Thanks, whoever you are :>)

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted this week by creator of so many beautiful things, Mary Lee Hahn!


24 Responses

  1. What a thoughtful artist you are…so much goodness here and love for your friend, our friend. I’ve been in caves and mines as well, usually with my kids or students. It’s always a good idea when I’m on top of the ground. But then, underneath, I become acutely aware of how much earth is over me!

  2. Just in time with this poetry action as I prepare to meet students next week. I want to make poetry a daily focus. I love how you personified the cave as a home. (Is that the right literary term?) Climate is such an important focus at this time. And I love imagining slipping into the cold earth for some respite from this heat.

    1. Yep, sort of personification, sort of extended metaphor…Thanks, Margaret!

  3. I love everything about this: the prompt, the way the title is part of the first line, the way each line has a full stop. Those full stops make each line like a step down into the cave. They slow down the reading and make us think and feel and imagine. It is this kind of love for all of our Earth that might save her for future generations.

    1. I hadn’t thought consciously about why I wanted those line breaks, but I love this result. Thanks, Mary Lee.

  4. Thank you for this cave-home poem, Laura! I wrote a cave collection of poems some years ago, and this reminds me of that mystery and magic…probably the favorite cave I’ve visited is Ruby Falls in Chattanooga. xo

    1. I think I went to Ruby Falls in Unicoi as a child. Or my parents did and told us about it? I’m going to have to ask my dad. Thanks, Irene :>)

  5. I love your call to poetry action, Laura, and the way you meditate on the concept of “home.” Thanks for the peek into your process!

  6. Favorite line: “The art she hangs is always stone “ This makes “her” real for me. And how wonderful to celebrate Heather’s book with a poetryaction 😊

  7. Oooh. Clever Laura. There was just so much you could use in the caves recognisable formations, to link with homely furnishings. Well done.

  8. I love idea of varying things as homes, Laura. Our zoo has a “created’ cabe with bats. I think that they would like the “wet darkness”. I have been to several caves, wonder at that feeling of mystery! Your posts are always inspiring! Thanks!

  9. Oh I’m excited to read Heather’s book! And I’m so excited that others are doing the Sealey Challenge. I read another anthology edited by Crews awhile back–HOW TO LOVE THE WORLD.

  10. Laura, I always appreciate your Poetryaction posts. This is a good challenge. I love what Mary Lee said about the title spilling down to the first line and then the full stops. Each line digging deeper into the cave. Her insights help me enjoy your poem more. And I love that you love caves. It seems an oddity that I’m pondering and appreciating now.

    1. Mary Lee’s insights helped ME enjoy my poem more now. I’m constantly amazed at how much of the meaning of writing (especially poetry) comes from the reader. And then there’s the wondering of…did I subconsciously chose those line breaks for that same effect ML noticed? Or for some other reason, but ML’s noticing of the effect just deepens it for me…it’s such a mystery, writing poetry! Thanks, Denise!

  11. Earth has many houses, of which a cave is just one kind…there’s a trail to follow! My favorite lines is “her chandeliers drip with wet darkness.” It was not wet and drippy in the caves I visited here in South London on Friday. They are chalk mining caves that go wayyyy back, but also served as bomb shelter for 15,000 during the Blitz. You do make me want to write a cave poem!

    1. I love that you visited a cave Friday. Yeah, most mining caves that I’ve been to are dry. Chalk mining. Gosh. Limestone is so soft, it seems like mining would be as easy as scraping the walls! Thanks for the link. On my way to read this.

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