Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Poetic Forms and Hodags

I recently came across a challenge in the latest Writer’s Digest magazine to write a poem with ten lines, with each line having ten syllables; rhyme scheme optional. So I gave it a try and used an ab ba rhyme scheme with an aa scheme for the middle stanza. I happened to be looking out my bedroom window at the time and saw a hodag. A hodag, for the uninitiated, is when a stump or branch or any formation looks like something else, usually an animal. I don’t know how localized this word is. Possibly it’s a northern BC thing. Anyway, there I was looking at a branch stub that looked like a little cat and I started writing.

The broken branch resembles a grey cat
Perched, waiting, twig tail twitching in the breeze.

“Hodags” he calls them. Lurking in the trees
And at the corner of your eyes. Leaf bat,

Bear stump, moss toad; visual delusions
Bark owl, shade wolf; optical illusions.

Hodags. He calls them when we go walking.
Turn again to leaf and moss, shade and bark.

To stump and branch, silent now, but after dark
Hodags wake, smell my scent, and go stalking.


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