The Poetry Hut

How to Make a Poetry Hut

First, read through some of the thousands of poems you’ve copied down over the years. Do not be surprised when you end up spending the entire morning doing this.

Find this one, by Hafiz:

With that Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world
is dying to hear?

Think about it, that great pull to connect. Think about how the longer you live, the more your life winnows itself down to wanting only that. Only connection. How it happens more intensely now, maybe because when you feel that pull toward someone, you don’t try to hide it. You talk, you listen, you touch. You don’t hold back.

Decide then and there to build a poetry hut. Ask your handyman friend Doug to build one for you. Laugh when he says, “I would consider it a public service, Alison.”

Paint the poetry hut when Doug delivers it. Dig a hole in your front yard with a spade, and when the hole gets too deep to lift the dirt out, kneel down and dig it out with your hands. Dig it as deep as your arms are long. Be glad that you manage to avoid utility wires and pipes.

Nail the hut to a 4×4 post. Heave the whole thing, hut and post, into the hole. Tilt it this way and that until it’s straight. Or straight enough.

Go buy some Quik-crete. Pour it into the red pail in the basement. Add some water. Stir it up immediately  with a spoon. As soon as it’s mixed, scrape it into the post hole and mound it around the post.

Go to Hunt ‘n Gather and wander around the clutter of rooms until you find enough old children’s blocks to spell out P O E M S. Go to Bryant Hardware and buy some blue putty, the kind used to stick posters to walls. Stick a blob of blue putty on the back of each letter block and then press the puttied blocks onto the front of the poetry hut.

Go back to your labyrinth of poetry, found everywhere in your house: in books, on scraps of paper, in your computer, in your heart.

Choose a few of your favorites and jigsaw-puzzle them into a columned file labeled Poetry Hut Poems. Print them out on colored paper. Scissor them apart.

Roll them up like tiny scrolls, offerings to the gods, and tie them with scraps of ribbon. Put them in a basket. Make a sign that says “Help yourself to a poem” and put the basket and the sign in the poetry hut.

Peer into the hut every day or so. Realize that 10-15 poems are disappearing per day. Replenish the basket when the supply dwindles. Be surprised and happy when small notes start appearing in the poetry hut, thank-you’s and smiley faces and even a “Haiku 4 U.”

Watch unseen from your porch as a woman with long burnished hair walks by with her dog, stops, opens the poetry hut door, selects a poem, unscrolls it, reads it, shakes her head and smiles, puts the poem in her back pocket.

Keep thinking about it, this great pull in us, to connect. 



  1. Denise Herman · August 28, 2013

    Such a great idea! Little gifts that connect. I want to do it too!

    I’m so enjoying your posts this summer, Alison. I don’t often comment, but each one is a gem. (Loving “Shadow Baby”, too). Thank you!


  2. Karen · August 28, 2013

    The next thing I’m going to do is copy down that poem. I can’t visit your poetry hut, but I want to take this one as my long-distance scroll. It parallels a decision I made maybe three years ago, and keep making, and I want to read these words daily. Thank you, Alison!


  3. alison · August 28, 2013

    Thanks, Denise. I so appreciate your kind words. Make a poetry hut! It’d be so cool if they spread throughout the land.

    Karen, it’s one of my favorite poems, too. The only word in the translation that bugs me is “cops,” and I always wonder what the original (in Persian) sounded like.



  4. Clay Carmichael · August 28, 2013

    Our German translator, Birgitt, sent me the link for this post today. Love the Hafiz poem & the poetry box idea. And God Says Yes to Me is a longtime favorite. Here’s one I will be putting in my box one day:


  5. alison · August 28, 2013

    Clay, I love that Naomi Nye poem. So many of her poems hit a chord. You already know “Kindness,” I bet. That might be my favorite of all her poems.


  6. Tessa · August 29, 2013

    Love love it.


  7. Karen Grost · September 1, 2013

    I dearly love this idea. I will not be building a weather resistant hut for the outdoors, but offering them on a tray in my school library. No seriously…… I am in love.


  8. alison · September 1, 2013

    Karen, have at it! The more poems, the better. Maybe you could put up a little indoor poetry mailbox in the library. I can picture it.


  9. Misha Jameson · June 30, 2014

    You are kind of magical.


  10. Doug Clow · October 10, 2015

    Goodmorning Alison-Waking up on Saturday and finding this post: What a great way to start the day. My lovely connecting friend you are the best.
    Doug and Lucie


  11. Shaye Areheart · November 15, 2015

    Every week you give me a remarkable gift and I send loving thoughts your way. I often share the week’s poem with others. And every time I need a poem to send to a friend or other loved one whom I feel could use a lift or an “ah-ha” moment or another way of seeing the world, I go to the poems you’ve sent–I have them all–so, as I am about to give, I have the delight of receiving all over again. I admire you so much. Thank you.
    Love, Shaye


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