Come in and sit down . . .

In 2010 I wrote a poem a day: blunt misshapen ideas left on this digital desk for anyone to peek over my shoulder. It was a diary, a discipline, and a delight. My two hundred fifty-nine un-edited poems taught me what discipline can do for a person hardwired to notice. I found if I would stop and write a poem, I was free.

2014 has poems, paintings, new art & photography. Feel free to come in and sit down.

Polly McCann

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I found this poem in my notes of a nonfiction biography project about Thomas Hart Benton, American painter. I often write a poem from the perspective of my main character to help me start a book, fiction or non fiction. I also wrote a tall tale about this character because he was so larger than life. 


I get up with the sun, but
it’s not to catch the light.
I pack my bag and beg
for a fight.  Out on the bluff
I brawl with the sun, with
shadows, barns, and everyone.
I stare at the sky
and the colors of the world
as the wheat crackles and spins,
curves and whirls.
I traipse down an old country
road, find some folks and watch
what they’re doin’.
Then I join ‘em
in a drink and a song.
Play my harmonica

all night long.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Invisible Lines

The black birds-- starlings most likely
because there are so many, and they sing
instead of call-- move in such a way, swirls
of flight, landing, and re-landing, the tip
of the conductor's wand carves a blind path
their wings so many sharp quills of invisible ink
Their traceless flight proves that if I could
see the wind, it would swirl and coil
like a snake in water. What is that place
in-between feathers, a kingdom
I, wingless, will never visit this side of
dreaming? No I will dig in the dirt and
cheer shoots of winter strawberries racing
towards the porch, hens 'n chicks with stead-
fast succulent hearts waiting out winter's breath,
a hollyhock leaf peeping out into the rare
December sun. I will tend my winter garden
and leave the winter sky for the birds
to dig up. We each have somewhere to

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Favorites 2014

the snore of my dog
the exclamation point on the welcome mat
the sunbeam refracted every morning by the front door
the abalone shell in my ring, mother of pearl
the red damask lampshade with beads
the priceless Japanese doll--waiting
the photograph of a perfect dandelion puff
the letters from two little boys
the sand dollars, three of them
which I will unpack, marked 2003,
when I finally settle down,
and the cinnamon freckles on your faces

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Psalm 23 or The Lord is my Mommy

Okay, so not many people know about shepherds anymore. But most people still know about mommies.  I think the 23d psalm works just as well as if the metaphor was God as our Mommy.  I mean the guy who wrote the 23d Psalm probably had a great mom because he did turn out so well enough to write most of the Psalms. I think maybe He would have thought it a little sissy to write a psalm this way, so he chose the more manly metaphor of shepherd.  His is a great poem, and I salute the writer with this other version I write just for myself. Even if only mothers get this one, maybe it will make you chuckle.

The Lord is my Mommy
I never have a need
before she tucks me in
or passes me my sippy--
My binky is never lost
because she finds it.
She always prepares
a big plate for me
she never lets the wolf
knock at the door. She just
stamps her foot and tells
him to go away. She makes
something out of nothing.
He looks in the window,
but he can't get in. That makes
 me laugh. My Mommy,
she makes everything sweet.
I have a feast, my bottle
is never empty there is always
milk and when it overflows
she helps me wipe it off the
floor. Her hand and voice
are my guide to
keep me from falling
to teach me to walk.
Surely, goodness
and sweetness
will follow me all the days
of my life both now and forever
and blankies without end.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


     I only need four poems this month to beat my personal record for 2011. So I need to somehow write four poems. Maybe you're like me and you think of ideas for poems every once in a while, or you think something and say, "That would make a good poem." Then you forget.
     To me writing poetry is mostly the act of remembering and noticing with enough rhythm and muscle to build a picture out of. The picture is built with words. And the result should clang, like a cymbal.
    I keep journals and notes, but poems are slippery like tadpoles.  They run away even as you sit down to write one. I have a note from a few weeks ago that reads, "poetry sneaks up on your like leaves collecting under a tree." I think that is true. I've never written many poems this time of the year. And I find that really it's a great time for it.  In the winter I'll revise them into book submissions. In this blog you find my first drafts, lucky you.


Today at eleven
in the morning
it looked as though
the sun were setting
the shadows ran
home for dinner
while we hadn't
a thought toward
Dunch was all
the shadows
said, a hard word,
just like them
to whip in
early to spoil
what narrow
light leaked from
the sun--
we ignored them
and walked like
it were summer
down the horse
trail, the dirt
soft under my boots.
How is that possible?
Through inches
of sole, something
home, home
The white air
chittered with
horse musk
sweet with alfalfa
and a black
ribbon of smoke.
Off the trail,
the bits of leaves
had little crunch
left in them--
like so many
poems blown
against the barn,
or stuck
in the fur
of curled up

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Buying Wine

Okay, so you need red wine
to cook purple cabbage. Red wine
plus red onions plus red cabbage
sautéed in butter, yes butter--
Yum, better than candy, it warms
up your cold winter heart from blue
 to red with it's purple splendor.
So you go to the store to buy
the wine and then you have
to decide which one. You think,
"It's a special occasion, so
let's buy a special wine.
Something magnificent,
something red, something
from a good year, a year when
something good happened.
So you don't even
try to for last year's wine,
and the year before that
wasn't that great either.
What about 2011
or 2010? No, no, and no.
And that's the oldest
wine they have at the
tiny grocery store
that offers cupcakes
and succulents at the
front entrance and frigid
flowers dyed blue and orange.
As though flowers didn't
already come in orange
naturally out of the earth
that way. And so then you
realize that even without
going back to a good year
you are out a huge chunk
of change. How much would
it cost to go back to a good
year?And so you buy the wine
anyway, the manger wondering
aloud why you bought the
"pricey" stuff, and you

saying it's for friends.
"You must like them a lot,"
he says. "I do." you say,
and you mean it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Purple Cabbage

So Pablo Neruda, of course, has probably written the best poem ever written about a cabbage. In one of his odes, Ode to an Artichoke, he talks about the cabbage: "The cabbage/ Dedicated itself/  To trying on skirts."  So true. But I can't help writing one too.

Purple Cabbage

Purple cabbage planted
into the flower bed
knowing you'd outlive
the deadly frost
I hate to see flowers die
And it was true they faded
to shadows after last
night's arctic breath.
Almost invisible.
But you, purple cabbage
your opened wide to kiss
the frosty stars--
your dress magenta
like the milky way
won wondrous surprise,
the praise of small
children who found
your rings of lusty laughter
a miracle and forgot
to cry over the others'