Slice of Life – Losing and Finding

May 21, 2024 TwoWritingTeachers.org

I’ve missed the last few Tuesdays. There is a lot I would have been writing had I been here. First and most significantly, my older sister, Judi, died at the end of April. She wasn’t sick, but she just didn’t wake up that last Sunday morning. It’s been a month to think about her and my other siblings, about death and life. Next, I have been in the midst of our final home remodeling projects, new bedroom and bathroom flooring and new closet space in our bedroom.

In honor of Judi and all my siblings, I’ve been writing poems inspired by my siblings for the month of May. On Sunday morning, I sat on the back porch and felt like I was going to church with the birds, reptiles, and mammals that surrounded me. Chipmunks and squirrels scurried about grabbing dropped bird seed. The majestic jackrabbit sauntered in before darting off. The quail, seemed so anxious for their bevies to fill with the first hatching of summer. Lizards did pushups in the sunshine. Finches, thrashers, jays, and doves all shared the bird feeder together. While I sat in this nature church, I wrote a poem using a line from a Jack Gilbert poem.

We watch the quail as they
are ready for the first hatching.
Gleaners gathering seeds and also us
who watch them, noticing their
fill of the allurement of
the living. No need for a
barn or coop to raise their young.
For the green light of
the fragments of consequence, we
winter-on through loss and ends.
That is why what
comes next is all a gift
on this mystic mansion of creation.


A golden shovel from Jack Gilbert‘s poem “Moreover” with this striking line: “We are gleaners who fill the barn for the winter that comes on.”

Poetry Friday – Clunker Exchange Poem “Unchained”

It’s Poetry Friday, and Patricia at Reverie is hosting. She has a sweet poem about one of the sugar pine seedlings she planted in the forest. Thank you, Patricia, for your lovely invitation to new and old Poetry Friday people.  

Here is my clunker poem, thanks to Linda. As soon as I saw her list of clunkers, this line jumped out at me: “only sure of light pushing her brush.” I thought of this painting my mom made when I was in college. It has always held mysteries and some answers for me about my mom and dad’s relationship. She did tell me the dark square represented my dad’s death. (He died when I was seven.)

Unchained

She was unsure
before her partner
of the double chain broke
She didn’t put the darkness
into many words
only into paint
only into life and love
only sure of light pushing her brush
ever upwards

And here’s a golden shovel with the favorite part of Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” poem I shared on Jone’s blog last week:

I am here today and I
don’t know when I will go.
Know this: I am
exactly in the time and place of
what is graced in
a full and favorable life. A
prayer is what I give, a prayer
is an upward awe-gaze.
I am here today to rest and
do nothing better than to
know, really know, God is
how I have peace
to live the days left, to
pay homage in rapt
attention.

Sibling poems, one line, more or less (continued).

The Poetry Marathon is coming up! Write a poem an hour for 12 or 24 hours. It starts Saturday morning, June 15. Sign up here.

Finally, have you heard of Jessica Jacobs and Peter Metres? They each published a book of poetry with almost the same cover. When they learned of the other’s book cover, they started a conversation and realized they and their books had a lot more in common than just their covers. I’ve ordered both of their books after reading and watching their conversations.

Poetry Friday – Jack Gilbert

Today is Poetry Friday and Linda is hosting. She shares a whole list of clunkers in her annual clunker exchange. 

Jack Gilbert once said, “I’m not a professional of poetry, I’m a farmer of poetry.” I liked that. He could have been a popular professional poet, but he eschewed the limelight. Read more about his life here.

I am reading his collected poems right now, and I especially like his poems about love and loss. The ones about his wife, Michiko, who died in her thirties, are especially poignant.

Alone

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody’s dalmatian.

read the rest here

Another thing I like about Gilbert’s poetry is his well-developed sense of place when writing of a European city, a Greek island or the steel city of his youth, Pittsburgh. Last month, I wrote about Gilbert and Pittsburgh in this prompt by Wendy Everard called Inspirational Places.

My family in Pittsburgh, 2007

Pittsburgh’s in Jack Gilbert
by Denise Krebs

As we rode Duquesne Incline,
he already was old, living in Berkeley. Steel City
watches over the growing of knowing,
for heirlooms of progeny. But this
morning, the three rivers backdrop
for thunderstorms, Andy Warhol and
the bridges of a city bring light to our
dark, pathways of connections.
To this city we came just to
give our kids a taste of Primati Bros.
(way too much cole slaw for my taste),
and the Pirates, and Randyland, a
show of hue saturation and celebration.
His hometown was the
landfall of his view from Paris,
the eye of his childhood, always
new. As each of us have our own past, in city or
country, we are products of our nurturing.
His lifetime weaving carried the thread of his
native city, coloring the world, his poetry with
land-roots of comfort and claiming.


This golden shovel striking line is “As he watches for morning, for the dark to give way and show his landfall, the new country, his native land.” By Jack Gilbert in “Looking at Pittsburgh from Paris”.

Here are a few of the many lines he wrote that include Pittsburgh:

  • Even Pittsburgh will vanish, leaving a greed tough as winter. (“They Will Put My Body into the Ground”)
  • It was Pittsburgh that lasted. The iron and fog and sooty brick houses. (“The Spirit and the Soul”)
  • Whisper Pittsburgh with my mouth against the tiny ear and throw him higher. Pittsburgh and happiness high up. (“Trying to Have Something Left Over”)
  • So that all his life her son would feel gladness unaccountably when anyone spoke of the ruined city of steel in America. Each time almost remembering something maybe important that got lost. (“Trying to Have Something Left Over”)
  • The Pittsburgh lamps inside of him make it look maybe not good enough (“Carrying Torches at Noon”)
  • Smell of Pittsburgh after rain. Smell of winter steel and grease… (“Threshing the Fire”)
  • Is it because Pittsburgh is still tangled in him that he has the picture on his wall of God’s head torn about by jungle roots? (“A Taste for Grit and Whatever”)

See what I mean?

My May poems about my siblings continue here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Poems – Siblings: One Line, More or Less

Today is Poetry Friday, and Buffy Silverman is hosting with photos and a three-act drama mask poem about a hognose snake. 

In May I’ll be writing daily poems about my siblings, one line, more or less. I came from a family of seven siblings. Now there are only four of us left. In 2012, my oldest brother died, then in 2018, my oldest sister died, and last Sunday, I lost another sister. All have died without warning or illness. Judi just went in her sleep, and I am so sad. I’m going to spend this month updating this post each day with another poem remembering and honoring my siblings.

This one line, more or less process was inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. See the description of her month-long one line, more or less poems here. and all her crow poems are here. Diane Anderson joined Amy’s challenge and wrote a daily poem about robins in April. Here are Diane’s poems at newtreemom.

I

Small house, six siblings, steady shenanigans


II

Five girls between boy bookends
Full house of playmate dividends

couplet


III

Rick, Lynne, Chris, Judi, Lori
Then came me, followed by Keith
Mom laughed with great joy (and fear)

septercet


IV

Additions came, each nephew/niece contained
great hope and sustenance. Years of joyful gain.
Now I ponder losses; the inescapable pain
as I accede to this birth-to-death rhythm ordained.

quatrain


V

Home
Sisters and brothers abound
grow, move away,
still love
Family

elfchen


VI

after all night shifts, she slept on the beach
we swam in the ocean; just
once I needed saving

my young lifesaver, wanting a reward,

(I guess) woke her up and told
the tale. “Thank you,” she said.

kimo


VII

flying east
following love
“Do you want a return ticket?
Just in case?” my surrogate father
asked me.
big brother
love stays.

trinet


VIII

Happy you
laughing through
thoughts of time
together
glad to claim
not so tame
share the name
bellwether

snam suad


IX

Statin talk after dinner of steak
makes us think about the soundness
of our arteries. Loved ones
gone too quickly remind
us of life’s risk here
on earth. Playing
Balderdash
distracts
us

nonet


X

Sweet
eldest
sister, more
obligations
than one should endure.
Swimming upstream alone
surviving abuse, widowed,
raising boys alone, losing dreams,
abusing alcohol. Lifelong rise
up to recover for one more dear day.

etheree


XI

We’re dropping like flies,
we have been known to say
around here. My heart has sunk
into a deep wetland of tears and
sadness. Clearing the distant
memories, bridges between
earth and heaven. Thoughts of
you explode into this book
of your hidden life, endless
treasures of love continuing.
Your silent star shines.

Poetry Sparks


XII
Sisters and brothers love’s boon
Life together as one invite
Argue or delight?
Both were normal
No thought of the mournful
end of the seven of us quite
Sisters and brothers

We didn’t always play in tune
but the bond stayed tight
and all seemed right
wondered I of death immune
Sisters and brothers

Rondeau Prime


XIII

You Were Always My Favorite

  • You painted my fingernails
  • You taught me to read using Go Dog Go
  • You and Ken came to my softball games
  • You worked as a telephone operator
  • We had matching dresses once
  • You brought K.C. into our lives
  • Your daughter Amy’s middle name is Denise
  • I got your room when you got married
  • My daughter Maria’s middle name is Christine
  • You would have been my kids’ guardian if we died

When You Weren’t

  • I cut my foot and you said, “You better not have picked a scab.”
  • You hit my head with the bristles when you brushed my hair.
  • You wouldn’t accept that my use of “Hilary’s word” deplorable
    could be a legitimate criticism of your candidate’s actions.

List poem


XIV

Rick was the father I didn’t know
Wedding day he walked me down the aisle.
Lynne married young and bestowed
Gifts like a rich Santa Claus–that style!

Chris is a sister so frank and refreshing
Now lives in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Judi was a quiet, deep, book-loving blessing
She loved and valued others so humbly.

Lori is now my neighbor and friend
skillfully helped us remodel our dwelling.
Keith is the one on whom we depend
Loves to travel, in family ties excelling.

Six siblings had always been there for me
Three remain–relish each other, I plea.

sonnet


XV

She was born
in Gaza–
tiny spit
of land in
Israel–
an at “home”
alien.
And I have
the birthright
to mourn the
loss of one
elder while
she loses
everything
everyone?


XVI

I remember just one family vacation
we took with my dad and mom and
six of us kids. (My older brother
was in the service, I think.)
We went to the Grand Canyon.
There were a few tiny
photographs of our trip:
Attending a pow wow.
Looking over the edge of the canyon.
Staying in a hotel with a pool.
Going out to a restaurant.
Then I remember I bought
two polished stones
at the gift shop.
When I was getting my hair brushed,
I dropped one and picked it up with my toes.


Where I start writing one less line each day…

XVII

My dad bought the little house
for my mom. Two bedrooms
in the suburbs. She wasn’t happy.
She had a son and two daughters
and one more on the way.
By the time I came along,
they had built another bedroom.
Eventually they pieced together
more bedrooms by transforming
the garage and laundry room
into two more. I remember a time
when all siblings were home
and rooms burst their seams.
As they married, we played musical
bedrooms, filling in the gaps.


XVIII

Pink sky morning brings chirping
Warming liberates reptiles
emerging from winter cold

Hope in this new day will stay
lifetime bow of family
ties up love like rose-tinged clouds

Queue up the crescendo
dulcet and devout playing
on this blooming day in May

Life is a bouquet of kin
to rejuvenate the soul

septercet sonnet


XIX

We watch the quail as they
are ready for the first hatching.
Gleaners gathering seeds and also us
who watch them, noticing their
fill of the allurement of
the living. No need for a
barn or coop to raise their young.
For the green light of
the fragments of consequence, we
winter on through loss and ends.
That is why what
comes next is all a gift
on this magnetic mansion of creation.

golden shovel

From Jack Gilbert’s poem “Moreover” this striking line: “We are gleaners who fill the barn for the winter that comes on.”


XX

This journey is full and sweet
Thanks to those brothers and sisters
who shine in our life-creating, as
the abounding world glitters

stories of memory
stories of faith and joy
stories of unease
stories of safe convoys

We are finer for having had years–
years and days and moments
Together stronger, together better
Full with beloved proponents

Patrol Poem

Poetry Friday – #Verselove 2024 – A Week of Poetry 4

Today is Poetry Friday with Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town, where she is dreaming of her beloved Haiti.

What a fun surprise I had in my mailbox this week! Thank you, Marcie, for the Haiku Zine. The photos and haiku are so precious and life-affirming.

Here are a few #Verselove poems from this week at Ethical ELA:

22. Thank You Mother Earth with Donnetta Norris

Who would have thought–
more than we wanted, more
than we needed of
the gifts of Mother
Earth would have led us here?
Has she not
bled enough to get our attention?
For she is speaking to
us not just on Earth Day.

The worry is every word on
Earth can’t poem enough,
is not loud enough for
the masses to do something
right here. Is there any hope that this
side of gasolinism and of consumerism and
of lithium and of greedium
history will ever not destroy us?


This golden shovel has two lines from Andrea Gibson’s “Homesick: A Plea for our Planet” for the striking lines: “Who, more than the earth, has bled for us” and “The earth is the right side of history.

Another Earth Day Blitz poem, where I tried to be more thankful…

Earth for Earth

Thank you, Mother
Thank you, Earth
Earth rising
Earth boiling
Boiling too much
Boiling in anger
Anger of depth
Anger justified
Justified this day
Justified forever
Forever creation
Forever healing
Healing despite
Healing strength
Strength to bury
Strength to overcome
Overcome indifference
Overcome pollutants
Pollutants of attitude
Pollutants of consumption
Consumption of greed
Consumption of fear
Fear of sharing
Fear of caring
Caring for earth
Caring for our mother
Mother of grace
Mother of mercy
Mercy rainforested
Mercy extended
Extended throughout
Extended worldwide
Worldwide growth
Worldwide grace
Grace of comfort
Grace of care
Care to try again
Care of renewables
Renewable energy
Renewable creation
Creation of hope
Creation of green
Green and blue
Green comfort
Comfort in our hearts
Comfort for Earth
Earth is our Mother
Earth is our choice
Choice
Mother

23. April Showers Bring May Flowers with Anna J. Small Roseboro

Louder than Hunger

Jake longed to be
Invisible. He heeded
the Voice shouting hate

FOOD’S THE ENEMY
His demons screeched their deceit
But Frieden listened

Step by step, sometimes
Back, finally crossed the bridge
Rejected the troll

Embraced poetry
Musicals, healing, light, hope
Grandma’s strength still here

John speaks up and out
To youth and all: Find your voice.
Find your people. Peace.


About this poem: I finished the book Louder than Hunger by John Schu, and the character’s life experience (and the author’s, as well) fit the prompt of April showers turned into May flowers.

24.  Writing the Night Sky with Kevin Hodgson

We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.

~Ada Limón (“In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa”)

Great Bear

We were traveling yesterday at about 550 mph
(Too fast for us to comprehend this 737’s power) but
Are we really? I am reading Edward Hays who

Made this book called Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim
Of whom I am one, I hope (she actually
Wonders as she writes this poem). It is

Of interest to remember the 3 constant movements of our
Great earth: 1) spinning on its sweetly-tilting axis at 1000 mph,
And 2) journeying in order around the sun at 66,600 mph

(Ordinary for us, for we hardly recall it.) And 3) Mother
Loves sailing together with the whole family
Of our solar system at 43,000 mph. That last

Small miracle means we hurtle further into the
Invisible space over a million miles a day, into
Worlds not yet in existence, daily new creation

Of our Divine Mystery. And yet, here we are in
A jet, feeling humanity is mastering science. We
Need to look up and remember, in awe

To live both body and spirit, day and night, to
Call to the creator within, and to live
Out loud in our exterior life. Ursa Major

Through time, has become mostly
The Big Dipper. We see his tail and rump, but
Dark on his head and legs, yet he’s all still there.


About this poem: That was a journey and a half through all the thoughts in my head this morning. I read Ida Limón and had to use her precious last stanza in a golden shovel and her form of three line stanzas. Then I was reading this expansive thought book yesterday that reminded me of today’s prompt “Writing the Night Sky.” Third, I picked the well-known Ursa Major as my constellation and couldn’t let him go, so they all just collided into this mess. I’ve trusted Edward Hays for the stats within. I love the Big Dipper, and even though the stars are great out here in the desert, I rarely can make out any other constellations. I learned today that the Big Dipper phenomenon (a part of a bigger constellation) has a name for that, an asterism. I’ve never been able to figure out the whole Ursa Major, even though its the largest northern constellation.

Photo by Nadiia Ploshchenko 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

25. “Where I’m From” with a Twist with Tammi Belko

I am Demon Copperhead
(After George Ella Lyon and Barbara Kingsolver)

I am from somewhere in Virginia
Southern Appalachia
from a too-hungry teen mom and a drowned father
whose demon was spawned by starving hearts
from a single-wide rental
and a soon drug-satiated dead mother
From the Dog of America getting kicked
I am from fucked up foster care,
child labor, and a dog urine bed
I am from snakes and hillbillies
(and with up-yours pride I wear the label)
From lovers of my broken life–
from Maggot and the Peggots
from June and Emmy
and from Dori and Angus
from my youth being used up way early
and my brief football stardom
I am from art pencils and markers,
the release found in creating
I am from busted knees, pain killers,
and sports doctor malpractice
I am from lost boys in a Dickensian tragedy,
from Fast Forward and Swap-Out
from big corporate greed
who blow the tops
off our mountains
who strive to remove
the cooperative land economy
of my once-thriving people
and green growing place,
from companies who demand
we use the taxable cash system of the city
I am from Redneck superheroes, like Tommy Waddles
I am from the moments marked from the get-out to lose
but turning out happier-ever-after than most


Italicized phrases are direct quotes from the book Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

26. Poetry as Billboard with Scott McCloskey

The 21st Century Art of Poetry

The art of poetry according to Horace
is complicated and intimidating (my assessment).
In a 476-line poem, he instructs young poets,
“Whenever you instruct, be brief…”

Oh, he gives lots of instruction. One example,
A poem should have charm as well as beauty.
He gives ancient Greek lessons
on iambus and spondee,
Oracles and orchestras,
Wisdom and leeches, Diana
and how a play should have exactly 5 acts.

“If I fail to keep and do not understand
these well-marked shifts and shades
of poetic forms, why am I hailed as poet?” he asks.
(Actually, that is a translation of what he asks.)

I think poetic forms are great myself.
I like having parameters that help me write.
Maybe you do too.

But I would suggest that poetry
can be billboard length, as well.
(Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.)

“Cut a good story anywhere and it will bleed.” ~Anton Chekhov

“Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.” ~Robert Frost

“When you put your words to paper, they live inside my head” ~Jennifer Guyor-Jowett

“Every little thing is gonna be all write. Just write.” ~Fran Haley

“If someone says you aren’t good enough,
Laugh and write a limerick about them.” ~Leilya Pitre

“Take life by the shoulders…Write it a poem.”  ~Joanne Emery

A poem is a what we need right now,
And you are hailed as the poet.

27. Sounding Off with Jessica Wiley

I just read an article by Robert Reich, “Elon Musk’s Grotesque Distortion of Capitalism” so I am channeling Reich’s sounding off, as this is mostly a found poem.

All About Money
for mercurial idiot savant
unprincipled robber baron
sociopathic leader who
demands vast
wealth and power
scoffs at norms
wants total control
no regard for anyone
but self–demanding $47
billion salary package
with threats if
shareholders don’t agree

Tesla laid off 14,000
without warning
(parking key didn’t work
one day)
minimum severance package
with stipulations–
no lawsuit
no arbitration
no publicly defaming
Tesla.

American capitalism
coming apart because
of people like Musk,
extorting shareholders
and shafting workers

28. Strike & Write Poem with Glenda Funk

For Grandma  Mom
I’ve been writing this since
I was six years old born and we
young ones had to climb
and you had to handle into the brokenness of life
with really without a partner window
to unlock the door to get all
into the house where the birds
had taken up residence
then after Dad died you
became the go-to giver
of all things for Grandma,
one being to restore
the bird and rodent infested
old homestead
for her.

I’ve been writing this since
that house homestead Grandpa
built in the 40s became your home
after Grandma died in the 80s
and that kitchen where she used to cook
became where you cooked,
we watched you make
popovers being just one of your masterpieces–
you gently beating the eggs and milk
and stirring in the flour
until just moistened.

I’ve been writing this since
your index finger spatula-ed
out every last bit of the batter
you poured the popover batter
into the mismatched custard cups
not caring about wasting that last bit
(a clapback at the not-so-great Depression
of your childhood, perhaps)
and baked them for what seemed
(to my children) like hours
at two different temperatures

I’ve been writing this since
those popovers, with their custardy
interiors and crispy toasted outsides,
came out of the oven
into the history of a new generation
who broke them open and enjoyed
and added
honey
or boysenberry jam
or syrup
the steam rising as honey drizzled
and boysenberry jam glopped
thank you, Jennifer
and We ate our fill
on those slow moving much faster
deserty mornings
at first Grandma’s house later your house

I’ve been writing this since
I found those old custard cups
high on a shelf in Lori’s laundry room
and she welcomed me to take
them home, and now I’m
I became the grandma who bakes popovers
in the desert. And you would be glad
wouldn’t care at all to hear
that I’ve got your
Grandma’s magic spatula
finger so I don’t waste a drop

29. First Time for Everything with Fran Haley

Firsts I Considered Writing About Today
my first sister-in-law who died last month
or all the ‘firsts’ from this week alone:
     the first time I started an official bird watching life list
     the first time our cabin bedroom got a closet
     the first time I ripped out sticky vinyl tiles
     the first time I got myself stuck on a sticky vinyl-less floor
or any of the “firsts” on the list of memories
I wrote this morning before I got word that
my third sibling died yesterday

30. Congratulations, Verselovers 2024

I lost another sister this week. Three years ago I wrote a poem about my sisters here during Verselove: https://www.ethicalela.com/24-30-snapshots-in-time/#comment-38674 Today I used that poem to write a blackout poem, and it’s attached as an image. There were 7 of us in my family, and now there are 4. Each sibling has died suddenly, no illness and no warnings. While it certainly can be counted as a blessing not to die by inches, it’s still shocking for those left behind. It’s also humbling to see my own expiration date on the horizon.

Slice of Life – A Saturday in St. Paul

23 April 2024 TwoWritingTeachers.org

This year's 10 words are: verklempt brackish fossicking lodestar parrot sickly glossy rag flush pickle

I woke up on Saturday to an email in my box with the ten words I needed to use in a poem for the 2 Day Poem Contest. (If you think you might want to participate, you can subscribe to get their email updates for next year’s contest.) I like to try this challenge because it’s like a puzzle.  A two-day version of Wordle or Connections, perhaps.

I took this screenshot and sent it to our family group. My son-in-law and I looked up the words, and he started making jokes about how to use them. Then we continued on our day: out for coffee in glossy mugs, hiking, out to a deli for Reubens or matzo ball soup, on to a consignment shop fossicking for treasures, then home and out to ie Italian Eatery for the best meal in a long time! I think Minneapolis has some of the best food opportunities I’ve ever had the joy of eating.

Anyway, my poem got sent in without much thought except for the joyful time I’ve been having this long weekend with these dears: my daughter, her hubby, and mine. Today we fly home.

Someday, I hope to write a 2 Day Poem with something more than solving another word puzzle.

A Saturday in St. Paul (Ars Poetica)

Poetry, I’ve always said,
is full of the awestruck
Quietness of emotions
In a verklempt rag doll,
Moldable and mending.

Poetry is best served in
glossy, big-handled mugs,
along with a Reuben sandwich
and a pickle spear on the side.

Finding a good poem is
like fossicking at the
vintage store, most items
ignored for others to mine,
but some long for me,
treasures of life to embrace.

Poetry is a bowl of
matzo ball chicken soup
when one is feeling sick,
and reconciliation for the
one who remains sickly.

Poetry is a nature preserve
wrapped up in the big arms
of a lodestar of grace.

When all I feel I can do is
parrot other poets, it is their poetry
that intervenes and freshens
the brackish tears of my heart.

Poetry is the royal flush
of life and literature, a hand of
beauty and hope among
the high and low cards of my history.


More 2 Day Poems: 2021, 2022, 2023

#Verselove 2024 – A Week of Poetry 3

15. To Elegize or Not to Elegize? with Angie Braaten

Today I will
write a poem about
a worthy Cecropia moth
on Arizona Avenue in Orange City

It will not be about surviving my first blistery-cold and snowy winter in Iowa, having left Mediterranean-mild LA

It will not be about that woody cocoon carefully woven during the brisk fall, along the rim of the back porch step, surviving frostbite all winter long, while the water pipes in our old farmhouse couldn’t do it and burst

It will not be about the moth’s two-minute life, a being created to live a full two weeks on earth with a wingspan the length of my hand

It is not about its juicy abdomen–a fat soft thumb–holding big bright eyes on its winged back, (which did not camouflage the moth the first and only time it needed to be) as the Cecropia rested on the sidewalk drying its wings and gaining strength

It is not about a bird with a good appetite that didn’t care about the irony of biting into that abdomen, this fresh singing newness of moth.

Rather it is about the ethereal, ephemeral sense of living a life of praise.

16. Sevens Up with Dave Wooley (Kwansaba)

I wake up to the quails singing
praise. After a winter of denned-down
waiting, they make their sweet company known:
In the flutter and rhythm of wings
In the scurry of food-enough pursuit
In their joy of dusty dry bathing
I remind myself to live this day.

The Kwansaba I meant to praise today:

Each April morn, a friend places a
gentle lure in my box. I cast
my line into the boiling, teeming ideas
of the day, the week, the life.
When its hooked, I land–not the
dying–but the living words of life.
Praise prompt makers and those who witness.

17. Echo Sonnet with Erica Johnson

Finding Voice

What do you have to say? (Sway)
Do you mean side to side? (Hide)
Hiding your truths, you mean? (Keen)
Really, you can be true. (Poo!)

Your voice is dear (Fear)
We want to hear you. (Who?)
You! All your angles (Strangle)
I don’t want you to hide (Tried)

Keep trying. You can do it. (Sit)
Yes, waiting here, I will. (Hill)
It’s beautiful on top (Flop)
We all make mistakes (Stakes?)

Yes, they can be high (Try)
Great! You’ll cope. (Hope)

18 Nobody but You with Shaun Ingalls

This morning
as I fill the
hummingbird feeder
with sweet nectar,
thinking I should
clean the bowl with
soapy water first
(but I don’t)…

I am brought back to my
childhood.
I’m in the backyard
changing the water for K.C.,
our loud and wild beagle
who scares the neighbors
when he gets out, but
always makes us feel safe.
K.C. who adores us.
On all fours,
I bend over
and put my whole mouth
into the water,
taking a long
and green-cool
drink from his mossy bowl.

Somehow, I assure myself
if this bowl is clean
enough for me,
it will do for him.

I coach myself
at this new moment,
again an eight-year-old.

Continue to care
for the creatures,
like you do yourself,
for they are creators
of wonder
and of colors
and of love.

19 Deibide Baise Fri Toin with Stefani Boutelier

here I am
sleeping in, it’s time to scram
hubby’s birthday, kids are here
cheer

try again
counting skills I can obtain
this form has rules I to heed
need

 

20 Noteworthy with Susan Ahlbrand

For Vinolia

It’s taking me minutes to scroll through
all the What’s App messages–
Back to the beginning of our friendship.
At this late hour, I thought I would just
look for something funny
we had said to each other.

As I start to write this, I’m still scrolling.
When the rolling stops, I roll again,
like a gambler–through dozens,
Hundreds. No, it’s got to be thousands
of messages we have sent since 2014.

Starting when we lived in the same town,
now 7000 miles apart, and we are
still texting. Instead of something funny,
though, I’m finding all the messages
are making me homesick for you.

As I remember all the mischief,
all the memories, all the ministry fruit,
all the fancy foods, all the plans,
all the prayers, all the purple,
and now these messages are
tonight’s balm for my tears.

21. Memories from Mama’s Kitchen with Stacey Joy

For Grandma

I’ve been writing this since
I was six years old and we
young ones had to climb
into the broken window
to unlock the door to get all
into the house where the birds
had taken up residence

I’ve been writing this since
that house became your home
and that kitchen became where
we watched you make popovers–
you gently beating the eggs and milk
and stirring in the flour
until just moistened.

I’ve been writing this since
your index finger spatula-ed
out every last bit of the batter
into the mismatched custard cups
and baked them for what seemed
like hours at two different temperatures

I’ve been writing this since
those popovers, with their custardy
interiors and crispy toasted outsides,
came out of the oven
we broke them open
and added
honey
or boysenberry jam
or syrup
and ate our fill
on those slow deserty mornings
at your house

I’ve been writing this since
I found those old custard cups
high on a shelf in Lori’s laundry room
and she welcomed me to take
them home, and now I’m
the grandma who bakes popovers
in the desert. And you would be glad
to hear that I’ve got your magic spatula
finger so I don’t waste a drop

Poetry Friday – Sourdough Dansa Poem

Today is Poetry Friday and our wonderful host is Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. She shares a treasure chest of poems by young poets–so inspiring!

This week, I have another poem inspired by Alan j Wright; it’s the dansa. Today I flew to my daughter Katie’s. I thought it was  appropriate to write on the topic of sourdough, since Katie and I have flown cross country with our sourdough starter, Stanley Beast. It was born in Bahrain during the Covid pandemic, April 2020 and survives today, thanks to some creative transporting. Read more about the dansa form at Alan’s post with his dansa, “Whistler in the Winter Wind”. More info on the dansa at Writer’s Digest here.

Sourdough

Living, breathing sourdough
Bacteria and natural yeast
Join for bread’s height increase
In French it’s levain. Hello,
Living, breathing sourdough!

Freshly baked bread, thick piece
Complex and worthy of a feast
Smell the bread, crust all aglow
Yum! Living, breathing sourdough!

Covid time birthed in the Middle East
Then to America you came, Stanley Beast
Two years later after a slight, deathblow!
No more living, breathing sourdough

But Stanley lived on, at least,
For I had shared it, so Katie beefed-
up my starter, mostly nouveau
again living, breathing sourdough

Stanley is again free to release
his magic—careful not to decease
It’s easier to digest, did you know?
It’s living, breathing sourdough


Here’s a little (read a lot) Sourdough Science that may have helped me a bit as I composed.

Clockwise: 1) Jar of Stanley Beast sourdough starter 2) 100g for a loaf of bread 3) Loaf of sourdough 4) Sliced sourdough