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A Poet’s Hymn, a poem by Martha Sherick Shen

A Poet’s Hymn

One day a tree grew    until

the ax drew


and the tree became pulp

                      became paper

                        became poem

                became crane

and flew away.


This flat life

       thin as paper

wings words

               a poet's hymn

and when folded fast

         by fertile hands:

                  a frog

                    an owl

                        a crane


to fly away on bended wing

        to seek    at   Least

10,000 words of peace

         no voice

will utter     save on soaring wing

         a silent prayer

              a wish to sing.


And so transformed

      i fly

this once flat life

        has died

  in peace

as she who wings her words 

a feast

      and folds her hands

    and then         became

a sign of hope:

           an origami crane.

Martha Sherick Shen is native to Iowa. Born into an  academic family, she was labeled a slow learner years before dyslexia was understood. She did not read until she was 13 years old. Suddenly, reading became her world of wonder and writing became her expression. It was a private blossoming, however, since it did not change the way people saw her. After raising her daughters and divorcing, she earned  a degree in Zoology from Iowa State University within a specialized  program for Neuroscience and Physiological Psychology. She graduated with honors in 2003. She has continued to write poetry privately throughout her life. Martha currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her daughter’s family and her French Bulldog, Judah. This is Martha’s first published poem.