Poetry Friday – Poetry Marathon Update

Today is Poetry Friday and the one and only Tabatha Yeatts is hosting with a fun interview with William Blake. Thank you, Tabatha.

Last Saturday was the Poetry Marathon, and I made it! Twenty-four poems in 24 hours. All the poems are early drafts for sure. Some took five minutes or less and certainly show it, like one where I listened to YoYo Ma play while I wrote down some words, and another is a found poem from the lyrics of Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

I followed one of the two suggested prompts for each poem during the marathon. Hour 23, the prompt was to write a poem with the title, “Tender, Tender.” I was thinking of my grandson who will turn two this weekend.

Tender, Tender

My hope for you is to be
Tender, tender–strong
And tender. To be
all you are destined to be
All the good, for which you
were created can fill the
tender spots in you.
The strong and tender
spots, filled with you,
filled with love.
This is my dream for you.


Another poem I enjoyed writing was during Hour 24. (I don’t know if I liked the poem, or if I just liked that it was the last one.) The prompt was to write about wishes.

Hour 24


My wish for all of us is to
see more sunrises.
(And each morning we see one,
we get to wish for more wishes.)
Today I am awake at dawn
because this is Poem 24–
24 hours in a day of poeming.
Would I have missed this layered sky?
Yes, this sky: where blue and
orange look so good together.
This sky was here so briefly
inviting us to drink it up.
It still would have come with
no witnesses at all. Any
other Sunday morning,
I would have missed it.
But this day, this poem
beholds the sunrise.
The birds are here too,
giving witness.
They just began their
Sunday morning
worship, rejoicing
together and alone.
My wish for you
(and for me) is to see
more sunrises–
together and alone.

The whole Poetry Marathon collection is here.

Slice of Life – Poetry and Family Times

18 June 2024 TwoWritingTeachers.org

This weekend was busy. First, we had the delight of seeing a niece and her family on Saturday and Sunday, but it was a quick trip for their family through our town. Saturday also happened to be the Poetry Marathon. Two wonderful events in one weekend!

I got behind and didn’t give the Marathon my all, but I did manage to write 24 poems in 24 hours. The best part, though, was seeing my niece. We had a chance to talk about family history and then some family dynamics that are painful to live with and hard to understand this side of heaven. It was a blessed time to connect.

This weekend also began this month’s OpenWrite. It’s still going Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe you’d like to join us.

Wednesday, 19 June 2024, with Jessica Wiley

Collected Poems
Louder than Hunger
Chaotic Thinking
Be a Maker
The Hurting Kind
The Carrying
The Fire Next Time
Big Magic

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, with Anna Small Roseboro

Let’s Be Better
Recalling the
Umbrage with which you
Make known your faith:
Is God so angry and
No longer willing to confer?
A just, loving God
Transferred all
Infallibility to
Only you? No, I think you do
Not really believe that either.

Recent ruminations have
Explored my
Capacity for holding the
Knowledge of the raggedness
Of our fear to take up trauma.
can do hard things.”
Now I choose to take the risk to
Grapple with those fears.

Monday, 17 June 2024, with Susan Ahlbrand

was not
the one I
would have thought would
go to dental school.
Sure, she worked hard as a
junior higher, stayed after
class, tried to retain toilsome
details. This month she graduated.
She’s Dr. S. (Of course, I should have known.)

Sunday, 16 June 2024, with Margaret Simon

Duplex for the Coyote Howling Nearby

What has hurt you so this evening
That you shout so raucously?

You shout so raucously
Is your baby safe?

Your coyote pup–is it okay?
You had been quiet lately

You had been so quiet lately,
But tonight your mournful bark

Tonight, your mournful bark
Makes me sad and lonely too.

Sad and lonely is passed on to me
As you scream your yip yapping elegy.

Is it an elegy you yipyap scream?
This evening that hurts with you.

Saturday, 15 June 2024, with Sarah Donovan

These poets
are the impetus of identity
the providers of peace
in knowing myself
loving myself
more honestly
the seekers of truth
in finding my way
in the world as it
really is and not just
as I always knew it

These poems
are the tingling fingers
of an adventurous
and risky

These interactions
are the honeyed

Poetry Marathon 2024

June 15, 2024

Hour 1

After the surgery, I woke up
feeling fine, but I wondered
why I didn’t feel anything in
my knee. Did they give me
pain pills? I thought they
weren’t going to because
of the baby. But my knee
didn’t even have a bandage.

The nurse came in, taking
my vitals, quiet.

I spoke first, shouted really,
“Where is the bandage on my
knee?” Your knee?
“My knee!” I threw off the
bedsheet and showed her
the Sharpied X on my right
knee. Let me get the doctor
for you.

In the hallway, fierce whispers
and silenced gasps, but I
made out the one word
that mattered, Abortion.


Hour 2

We have lost our way again
We’re not on Route 66
any longer. Only dirt.

The impetus for this road
trip to hell? The Grapes of Wrath
My dad’s favorite novel

I was a kid when it raged
onto the best seller list.
My dad wanted to feel it.

So we drove from home toward
California. Now we keep
getting lost along the way

Because he takes every one
of the diversions that come
along the Route. Wait, what’s that?

My dad has pulled something out
of his pocket. A mirror?
A shiny, but black mirror?

There’s a button on the side.
He pushes it and bright light
floods the mirror. “Hey, Google?”


Hour 3

These poets
are the impetus of identity
the providers of peace
in knowing myself
loving myself better
and in finding the truth
about the world as it
really is and not just
as I know it

These poems
are the tingling fingers
of an adventurous and risky
ascent into knowing

These interactions
are the honeyed
story of life


Hour 4

We live off a T-Circle. Turn right
at the mailboxes, then left after
the electric box. Go until you get
to the house. Beep the horn and
I’ll come on out.

Today the road is clearly marked
Hamilton Road–
that’s what Grandpa always called it,
after his own family name.
When the sign posting division
of the County came by and asked,
we told them the road’s name.


Hour 5

The Dress Aunt Thelma Made Me for the Beginning of My Sophomore Year

This: a new way to express
myself in high school. Address
the tomboy–wear a dress.

It had been a minute, yes.
I was ready to impress
A new hairdo and fresh dress.

Aunt Thelma, her steady bless
of me, took my fear and mess
And stitched for me a dress.

A new chapter, to assess
what end hair and a brace-less
smile could have on me, your guess

But this dress! I was princess
No fame, just her love accessed


Hour 6

I’m climbing into that ginkgo-
reflected car hood, climbing
that tree of my youth and my
children’s childhood.

As I climb, I tie all the loose
ends together—the places
we have loved and left and
moved again to love anew.

Some yards grew ginkgoes,
and some, only cactuses.

If I could go into that heaven
and stitch together the memories—
home would become one, and we
wouldn’t feel homesick again.

Hour 7

Flying breezily is not the description for this swan. This swan is melancholy and woeful and yet full of peace and harmony. Peace, peace to all who enter in. There is joy and hope and everlasting consolation in the things left undone, the things one has broken and left the pieces unclaimed. A future of neverending growth and renewal.

Hour 8


For every chapter of our lives–

All the heart- and mind-breaking

Mistakes made–and yet you and

I remain together and that

Leaves me believing again that

Yesterdays remain into the future


Hour 9

Thank you for the waterfalls.

Thank you for the bike crash falls

where I escaped with only a bruise.

Thank you for the babies.

Thank you for not getting rabies

When the dog bit me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Hour 10

In the shadows of the high rise,

The old mill rests its bones after

A century of carrying

the employment load

of the growing county.

It’s earned a greening

rest now in the hollow.

The high rise will

takes its turn.

Hour 11

“The tall, majestic redwoods standing high above the ground
Hundreds of years of living, never making a sound”
That’s what she wrote in high school.
And now she knows these trees do make sounds–
Sounds of splintering and cracking in icy winds
And sounds of crying out for their lives.
Crying out for us to do something
To do something to reverse
The global climate catastrophe
We have created.


Hour 12

Use 5 or more of these words: Wave, Sneakers, Yell, Stew, Linger, Ginkgo, Soft, Math, Sliver, Magazine

So much depends upon

The soft lingering touch

Of the ginkgo leaf

In your hand as it

Brushes my cheek

And the sliver of

Coconut cake we eat

On the back porch

after we have our fill of your

homemade chicken stew


Hour 13


Sweet sorrow

Juicy bone

CatDog borrows

Only choice

Genuine fake

Loyal opponent

Controlled chaos

Random order

Silent scream

Quiet roar 


Hour 14

You can dance,
Watch the lights out
they play
You come to look for anybody
the music’s everything fine
mood for a dance
get the chance
You can dance,
Feel the beat 
Oh, yeah
Having the time
of your life

Found poem from Abba’s “Dancing Queen”


Hour 15

Satisfaction is knowing life
And contentment with
The gifts of this world.
I have always been easy to
Satisfy. I can
Fill my cup with gladness
And joy and still have a
Cup full to give away,
Tonight the moon
Is half full and highlights
Orion’s belt. The wind blows
Northeasterly and all is well.


Hour 16

I just answered this question from my niece at dinner.
She wondered how and why so many of our family
Ended up in the desert of California. “Your great
Grandfather started it. After WWI and mustard gas,
He was advised to come to the desert.” We went on,
Telling how others in that generation came–her great-
great uncles and aunts. Then two more generations,
Joined them. Now there are two more generations
who have been born and raised/being raised here.
We didn’t discuss who the land originally belonged
To before Grandpa homesteaded it, but that should be
Our next discussion. 


Hour 17

These breezes are delicious
And cool the sweat on my neck
As we climb the summit

These wildflowers are gentle
And rainbowful of fragile petals
Promise we’ll reach the summit

These bottles are quenching
Hydrating each cell to help us
Reach the summit

These feet are strong
And walked all the miles
To enjoy the summit

Hour 18

We cut the wall out
between the living room
and the kitchen.
We left the small, dark
space back
where it came from.
We opened a window
into family gatherings,
laughter, listening,
rubbing elbows
with our guests
as they sit at the bar
and visit while we
finish preparing
the meal.

Hour 19

Their Eyes Were Watching God* 

(A Double tetractys)



Time, their bent

Perspective grew

Until God became small enough to tame

So God said, wait a minute, let’s try that

Again, shall we?

God took care




*From book title by Zora Neale Hurston


Hour 20

Home is where our hearts grow fonder
After four decades spent to wander
We settled back, the state of our birth
Came home to rest, our home of worth


Hour 21

Love of Tea
My sweet drink
Hot milky

Spicy cold
Green Matcha
Flavors bold

All the teas
Bring me joy
Tea of love


Hour 22

I fought the law
And the law won

I fought the sleep
And the sleep won

I fought the hunger
And the sleep won

I fought the poem
And the sleep won



Hour 23

Tender, Tender

My hope for you is to be
Tender, tender–strong
And tender. To be
all you are destined to be
All the good, for which you
were created can fill the
tender spots in you.
The strong and tender
spots, filled with you,
filled with love.
This is my dream for you.


Hour 24


My wish for all of us is to
see more sunrises.
(And each morning we see one,
we get to wish for more wishes.)
Today I am awake at dawn
because this is Poem 24–
24 hours in a day of poeming.
Would I have missed this layered sky?
Yes, this sky! Where blue and
orange look so good together,
this sky was here so briefly
inviting us to drink it up.
It still would have come with
no witnesses at all. Any
other Sunday morning,
I would have missed it.
But this day, this poem
beholds the sunrise.
The birds are here too,
giving witness.
They just began their
Sunday morning
worship, rejoicing
together and alone.
My wish for you
and for me is to see
more sunrises–
together and alone.



Poetry Friday – A Sacred Seven and Poetry Opps

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned contributor to Poetry Friday, Welcome!

We are a community of poets, writers, teachers, librarians, students, mothers, fathers, grandparents, lovers of literature, friends. We live around the country and around the world. Some of us know one another in person; others are connected via technology.

Every Friday (and Thursdays for some!) we share poetry. Please join us! If you have poetry to share, you can add your blog link at the bottom of this post. Leave a comment and then enjoy the wealth and richness of poetry offered this week at each of the links included.

That was the beautiful introduction Patricia Franz wrote a few weeks ago. I liked it so much, I asked her if I could use it today since I’m hosting. She graciously said yes, so here we are. WELCOME!

This week I learned a new form: the sacred seven. (I wonder if the name may have been inspired by a line in “Brahma” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.)

A Sacred Seven Poem
by Denise Krebs
inspired by Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese

My place in this world is given home and rest
as Mary Oliver declares my soft body in our
world, my body, myself, is safe here. No matter
that I may at times feel regret for the sad
consolation prize I won in being less than
on target in love and longing. Mighty hope
is found in this family of wild geese and me.

I learned about this form, called the sacred seven, in the Look Deeper Contest at the Florida State Poets Association that Jan shared last week. – In the sacred seven, “Starting at the left margin, take 7 lines from a poem you admire (not your own) and use the first letter in each line, in order, to begin each line in your poem about why you admire the other poem. Give credit to the other author.” I used the first letters of the last seven lines of “Wild Geese” to start each line of my poem. It’s funny how such a small constraint in a form (a prescribed beginning letter) can lead me places I would never have gone on my own: “regret for the sad / consolation prize” Hmmm…

Speaking of poetry contests, I looked up the California State Poetry Society contests and learned they have an annual and monthly contests. You do have two more weeks to submit a poem to the annual contest should you be interested. I wonder what contests are going on with poetry societies in your state/country?

This weekend I’m so busy with poetry and family times. The Poetry Marathon is on Saturday–Wish me luck! (Who’s joining me?)

The June OpenWrite begins on Saturday too. Do join us! Learn more here. There will be prompts and a writing community there to support you each day for the next five days. Margaret Simon will be hosting us on Sunday.

Finally, please leave your link in a comment below. I will round them up the old-fashioned way. Thanks!

Jama’s shares two Barbara Crooker poems and signing off for a summer blog break.

Karen Edmisten, in her powerful relationship poetry series, shares a lovely poem by January Gill O’Neil about being in the company of women.

Jane shares a very catchy and fun song that she and her child both learned in preschool. Have you heard it?

Marcie won an award! She is also spending the summer with Naomi Shihab Nye.

Tabatha shares an intriguing poem, “Death of an Irishwoman” by Michael Hartnett, as well as a sweet reminder that we don’t have to be good at things to do them.

Michelle has two poems, one is about flowers for fathers we hold dear and another about monarchs and their beloved milkweed. Complete with beautiful artwork.

Linda B. has some great stories about the fathers in her life, past and present. She’s such a good storyteller.

Kat got out her good camera, and she caught some magical small moments. She’s added sweet poems, just for us.

Sally and Matilda wrote a poem together. What a joyous time when one remembers to stop and listen. Be sure to watch Sally’s beautiful road trip video.

Amy had quite the experience this week, an experience she captured in a poem to remember. Also so many delicious third grade color poems!

Irene stepped back into early spring with a joyful quilt poem. And don’t miss this excellent reading list.

Matt has a wealth here, among them, a catalog of reading lists, a poem and song to encourage you to try something, and an opportunity for you to claim by the end of August if you want him to come for a classroom visit.

Patricia and time for dancing at the fourth wedding, preparation of the fifth wedding, and a new sugar maple seedling.

Jone snapped a gorgeous photo in a garden that takes me into our whole universe of connections.

Ramona shares a delightful children’s book full of all sorts of ways to start a poem.

Karen Eastland wrote a sweet limerick about her dastardly (though darling) garden visitors.

Carol L. had an early Father’s Day visit with her dad and a winner in a drawing for a copy of Picture Perfect Poetry, along with a sweet dragonfly haiku.

Carol V. has a lovely book review of Bless The Earth and a call to have Earth Day every day!

Poetry Friday – Musical Musings

Today is Poetry Friday and Tracey is our delightful host who has cooked up a thought-provoking post about inspiration.

My husband is the best playlist creator, and we’ve had a winner for this road trip. Today, as he drove, I pondered some of the sweet tunes I was listening to. I was feeling contemplative about my children, the mistakes I’ve made along the way in this life, and my lifelong commitment to love and hope. I chose lines from two of the songs and wrote this double golden shovel about my thoughts.

I’ll not give up, for I’ll pray and
carry hope for us–Hope of sunny yellow.
You will continue to draw your lines
home whatever that is like, and
tonight may finally be when we all tire.
We will still make our tentative marks.
Are there enough remaining days of sun:
Young– and old-kissed?
So, to be true in our skin
let’s no longer hide ourselves and
set impossible ideals to handle
the pain and fears, the prison bars,
world-wide eternal collisions and
on and on and on where
fire once burned our resolve and I
We came there and firmly stood.
Can there still be hope where fear was?
Burn the clouds to where
Brighter days will surprise us. More I
Than. More you than. Starting was
the culmination of longing, to
sun shining and all of us free to be.

Striking lines:
Lyric from “We Are Young” by Fun: “I’ll carry you home tonight. We are young, so let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun.”
Lyric from “Once Upon Another Time” by Sara Bareilles: “And yellow lines and tire marks, sun-kissed skin and handle bars, and where I stood was where I was to be.”

Now, if you’d like, please  join me for a few moments on this musical road trip. The first song is by Sara Bareilles, “Once Upon Another Time.” I find it so hauntingly beautiful to listen to, and then to watch her sing it at the Kennedy Center, surrounded by all the gentle and mostly quiet musicians is mesmerizing.

The second song was “We are Young” by Fun. (Have you seen this fun scene from the movie Home Team? Harlan and his team mates sing “We are Young” to the girl he likes.)

Slice of Life – A Road Trip Abecedarian

4 June 2024 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Our road trip is winding down. After a lovely two-week trip of fresh fields and leaping streams, we’re on the road home today. I came to share a trinet poem by my daughter about the beautiful Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon, and an abecedarian grid that we all contributed to.

Powerful melt
Loud, strong
Solid snow turned to dangerous flow
White noise background music for hiking
Wild, crisp
Tumalo Falls

By Katie

A Road Trip Abecedarian Grid

Applegate River

Banana slugs and Bend and Birthday party

Crater Lake and Corkscrew tree

Deschutes River and Dudley’s Book Store


Fried Egg I’m in Love

Golden Mantle Squirrel and Gelato

High Desert Museum and Haystack Rock

Ice cream and ice and snow

Jacksonville, Oregon

Kinney Creek

McKee Bridge

Lava Beds

Mariners, Milo and many Mountains

Newberry Volcanic National Monument

Ocean on the Oregon coastline

Portland and Pilot Butte and Pike’s Place Market


Quality time together

Rhododendrons, Redwoods and Raptors

Sourdough and Co. and Seattle

Tov Egyptian Coffee, Tent Caterpillars and Tumalo Falls



Unbelievable sites & Umpqua National Forest

Views and vistas

Waterfalls and winding roads, Water Taxi to West Seattle,
Winning weather
eXcellent company

Yarn bombed tree in Bend

Zoological wonders and zigzagging wind surfer


Poetry Friday – On the Road Poems

Today is Poetry Friday. Janice Scully at Salt City Verse is hosting us today, patiently waiting for her flowers, as well as some gems from Picture Perfect Poetry. 

Newberry Volcanic National Monument

This week I’ve been on the road with my husband, my younger daughter, and her husband. We are seeing so many wonders and beauties of nature.

There was at least one bit of nature that wasn’t so beautiful, though. The western tent caterpillar. We had spent the afternoon hiking around the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, where the caterpillars of the western tent moth were ubiquitous. They begin to wrap themselves up in community tents when they first hatch into a 1/8 inch caterpillar, their first of seven moltings. We learned more details about the moth from the ranger–that they are a nuisance more than a destroyer, moths live their whole adult life in four days, they have many attackers–parasites and predators–and most larvae don’t make it to adulthood. We were grossed out by seeing them along the trails. We even continued to see them as we drove down the highways.
So far on our trip, when we get back to the car after seeing something amazing, I have been asking my family to give me words to describe what we saw. When we got into the car this time, I asked them to give me words–but not about the beauty of the glaciers and volcanic mountains in the distance or the otherworldly, gigantic lava beds we were hiking through. Instead, I asked for words to describe the western tent moth larva that had just been revolting us. Here’s what they said:

*Western Tent Moth Larva* • driven • brevity of life • deadlines • developing • independent • target on its back • prolific • stanky • ambitious • instinctual • clustered • crowded • squiggly • squirmy • restless • busy • unsettling • unsettled • paranoid • pre-metamorphosis • web of busyness • time is short • colorful

That night I suggested, “I have a bedtime activity. Let’s each write a haiku about the tent moth caterpillar.” I sent them the words and photos in our WhatsApp group. They are such good sports; everyone wrote their own haiku and shared it:
Katie: Unsettling cluster Brevity of life, thank God Stanky little worms Thomas: You know what I think What is more stank than one worm A million worms Keith: Brevity of life Restless merging into prolific Life is too driven Denise: Clustered web of larvae Instinctual ambition Time is short, slow down

Then the next morning, I finished up the collection of Jack Gilbert poems I’ve been reading. I came to a poem called, “The Sixth Meditation: Faces of God.” Jack Gilbert speaks of all of creation being made in the image of God–“rocks and galaxies, mathematics and rust” “slugs and grubs, nematodes…” And “Tent caterpillars, high in the trees, swarm out from their offensive shrouds to eat the green luxury bare.” What imagery!

I definitely prefer Genesis 1:27’s version, though, that says it’s humans who have been made in the image of God, not all those other stanky creatures.

"tent caterpillars, high in the trees, swarm out from their offensive shrouds to eat the green luxury bare" By Jack Gilbert

Slice of Life on our Road Trip

28 May 2024 TwoWritingTeachers.org


Newberry Volcanic National Monument

Greetings from Oregon, from where today’s slice is served up. I’m on a road trip with two of my kids on the way to see our other kids. We’re having a blessed and beautiful time.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California

After visiting a place of wonder, I ask them all to give me words for my next poem. I list them while they brainstorm, and then I use their words and compose them into a poem. I  managed to use all their words (plus some of mine) in the following two poems.

Corkscrew Tree

Shivering in the misty morning
strolling across the padded floor,
forest filled light and shadow
variations on jade,
kelly, lime, mint, greens
ever alive
ever green
redwood giants
like the Corkscrew Tree
endearing, enduring
we stood in its ancient heart–
in gnarly cavernous silence
witnessing this glorious fine day

double nonet

Corkscrew Tree

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

The deepest blue
snowy, slippery edge
a treacherous fall
waiting at the cliff
into the
lake of the depths
the wizard’s hat
rises from the lake
to greet the nations
coming together
to behold the wonder

Many people oohing and ahhing in many languages