Poetry Friday–Byr a thoddaid Prompt

Caladium Still life

Happy Poetry Friday!

My poem is in response to the Poetry Sisters June prompt to write a byr a thoddaid–”a welsh form” poem. And yes it’s as much a mouthful to write as it is to pronounce, but well worth the ponder there… Click on the link, provided graciously by one of the sisters, Tanita S. Davis, to find out more about the byr a thoddaid. Thanks to all the sisters for this challenging prompt, Mary Lee Hahn, Tanita S.Davis, Laura Purdie Salas, Liz Garton Scanlon, Andi Jazmon, Sara Lewis Holmes, and Tricia Stohr-Hunt.
Find more of these poems tagged #Poetrypals.

This week in my Watercolor class the lovely Caladium became part of our still life, and my students are all capturing their inviting leaves. I may add another stanza to this poem, haven’t decided yet and also ran short on time…


Pretty pink elephant ears float
light as a pirouette half note,
daintily waiting their riverboat entrance
of membrance time once wrote…

©2022 Michelle Kogan

Here’s a poem I liked by Mary Karr recently featured in The New Yorker.


By Mary Karr

I was pushing seventy and so was he
when his tall body stepped into the kitchen

air shimmering with garlicky gumbo.
And I stepped inside his lineated arms

and tilted my face up. How encircled I was.
The whole sparkling metropolis

around us revolved. Everything
rose up for the first time.

His tongue plush on the roof of my mouth,
our names undone. He looked

Read the rest of the poem here, and listen to Mary Karr read her poem.

Catherine Flynn at her blog Reading to the Core is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Catherine! Be sure to stop by for more poetry!

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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12 Responses to Poetry Friday–Byr a thoddaid Prompt

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    1. How does one pronounce that form? Oh, my goodness. How fun. I love the elephant ears and half-note pirouette and the riverboat entrance. All so wonderful. I’d be interested to see what you add. I like the poem as is…short poems are great!

  2. lindabaie says:

    I had to go through the explanation carefully. The example helped a lot! You’ve brought us to that caladium The lilt of “light as a pirouette half note,” – is wonderful! And wow, that Mary Carr poem, all life, isn’t it? Have a lovely weekend!

  3. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I am impressed that you tried the complicated form. Your title is such a good entry into your byr a thoddaid poem. I did not have time to even start but you gave me inspiration to try at some time. I was just as surprised as Sierra was when I helped her open the package you so neatly arranged for her birthday celebration. I plan on displaying it for her so she can remember this important birthday.

  4. tee+d says:

    Darn it, Michelle, you make it look easy! I LOVE that plant, and I immediately thought, “Pink elephants on parade!” from Disney. The half-pirouette is such a nice touch. Thanks for jumping in on this one!

  5. Tim Kulp says:

    Wow Michelle! I really like the last two lines of this poem: CALADIUM TIME TRAVEL. They really resonated with me. Thinking about time and writing stories has been on my mind so I think seeing these lines was perfectly timed for me. Thank you!

  6. Ooh, this is wonderful, Michelle. It practically dances on the page. The caladium is sorta big and ungainly, but so very graceful–we have some in a pot at the front of our walkway, and I’m tempted to print out your poem and attach it to the pot somehow. That “riverboat entrance” surprises and intrigues me–I need to do some more thinking about it and what it means, but that phrase is going to stick with me. Fabulous!

  7. margaretsmn says:

    Love how your poem rolls around on my tongue with pirouette, riverboat, membrance, a lovely dance. Caladiums are popping up in my yard that I planted last year. I love how they come back without any fuss.

  8. Elisabeth says:

    Your poem is beautiful! I especially like this line; “light as a pirouette half note,” what a wonderful metaphor – it creates such a beautiful image in my mind as I read the poem.

  9. maryleehahn says:

    No need to add another stanza, and not simply because I, too, wrote a one-stanza-er! It is perfect as is. Your words paint a beautiful picture, and I’m sure your students did, as well!

  10. You did an amazing job with this challenging form, Michelle! As others have mentioned, I love the floating elephant ears, “light as a pirouette…” Well done!

  11. katswhiskers says:

    I had hoped to transplant a caladium from my cousin’s… but time travel didn’t go so well for it. It gives completely new meaning to the term, still life. Your poem is wonderful – such unexpected but lovely lines. Well done. (Intrigued by the form!)

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