Poem of Gratitude

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org – Say YES to writing with #TWTBlog and #SOLSC

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

~e. e. cummings

November has been a month for me to consciously say “thank you”. I think I shouldn’t wait for American Thanksgiving month to be thankful. (That has been one of my takeaways this month.) It is good to practice gratitude for a lifetime. As Meister Eckhart said centuries ago, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Here is my gratefulness prayer today inspired by e.e. cummings and 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Thank You

I thank you God for most this amazing day–
for the dancing tingling cooling ocean of breeze
and the great green born of
gossamer petrichor and dusty dreams.

Limitless and welcome breath of God,
thank you for swelling my sails
to bear me
through the storm
safely to the other side
of the Bay of Blight.

For the mellifluous music of the ages
Singing softly from the
treetops of joy: It is the birth
day of olive branches
and of keys and of openness and hope.

My eyes have not seen
My ears have not heard
My mind has not thought of
All the delicious dazzling dulcet days you
have prepared for those who love You.
I do love you and I thank you.

Prompt 118 for The Isolation Journals by Suleika Jaouad.

Write a poem of gratitude. Write from your deepest senses. Write of the “great happening illimitably earth” and all its strange wonders (including me, including you). Write with the ears of your ears awake, and the eyes of your eyes open.

Mentor texts:
e. e. cummings “i thank You God for most this amazing

1 Corinthians 2:9: “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'”

Breathe Out the Stress Breathe In the Peace

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Brokenness and heartbreak, loss of job
Bickering teachers overwhelmed
Safety protocol mistakes
Covid deaths and counting
White House renegade
Friend triangles
Knotted neck
Breathe out
Breathe
Breathe in
Peace and hope
Healthy dinner
Thanksgiving (really)
Strolling along the shore
Cooperating with Truth
Foaming bubble bath to my neck
Leaning on the everlasting arms

That nonet duo I wrote today for Ethical ELA captured my day, unfortunately minus a lot of the “breathing in” remedies. No strolling along the shore, healthy dinner, or foaming bubble bath for me today.

It was a stressful day of relationship overload. I am an introvert, and I try to steer clear of controversy. I don’t like to be put into situations where I know two sides of a difficult situation. I always try to mitigate conflicts, not to add to them. But today, I felt overwhelmed with so many problems.

Covid restrictions are toying with our mental health. This day was for the birds, and my neck is tense now.

Death

Death

For you, the pandemic is only a
history lesson owned by
old folks who shudder about
having gone to Zoom school
when they were kids.
The fear of fundamentalism
was in its prime back then
And it happened at a time when some
in our country were so poor
they didn’t have
homes, enough food or health care.
Do you believe it?

I am your ancestor and you know little about me
No reason for you to imagine the problems I helpfully solved
or my taste for sweet juicy mango
No reason for you to know that I was a storyteller
and a story writer or that I tried
to help children
own their learning

You will live your life well without knowing how I
could bake chocolate chip cookies as well as Mrs. Field,
nurture sourdough for years without killing it, and
edit videos for online church services.

All my digital files were
put into the Recycle Bin
with one click of
a mouse,
(do you still call them that?)
maybe two clicks.

I remember how I died,
and because I couldn’t stop myself,
Death kindly came for me.

He slowed down for me to smell the
jasmine in the garden,
to eat the spicy rice,
ignoring the chicken.
He let me say goodbye to the butterflies
and cheetahs, the puffins and the elephants
He let me hold a newborn baby, pet a fluffy puppy,
and write once more with a fine pen.
He let me listen to favorites by
Simon and Garfunkel,
Gordon Lightfoot,
and Carole King,
like an old person.

He told me
the unfinished paper piles,
collections of “important” stuff,
unfinished to-do lists
could all be left behind
and no one,
really, no one,
would care.

All those things I had spent decades counting as gain,
I finally was able to count as loss
Looking back,
I can see how
taking Him by the hand
gave me more than
I could ever imagine

Prompt 116 by Mark Wunderlich:
Write a poem in which the speaker is dead but still possesses a consciousness and is capable of thought and speech. Include rich description and concrete physical details, as if the speaker is greedy for the sensory experience of life on earth.

Mentor texts shared by Mark, including one of his own poems. I used ideas or phrases from each of these in my poem:

“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

“Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh” by Thomas James

“Our Dust” by C.D. Wright

“To Whom It May Concern” by Mark Wunderlich

and a Bible verse that inspired me Philippians 3:8

November #OpenWrite

Today’s prompt, “Heal” included the invitation to go back to another prompt I didn’t write before. I went back to April 1, 2019, both prompts from Sarah Donovan.

What is Good?”

Good Work

Good work–
Work, purposeful work,
Work that builds,
Not diminishes
I work with all I am–
Never just punching a clock
But I pour myself into the work

Good work–
Work, created especially for me
Good work assigned
Work and care for Eden, Adam
That was God’s directive
That is God’s directive to me

Good work–
Work, more than you did
Yesterday
Take care of the earth
Work to heal
To bring Her
Back from defilement
Take care of people
Work for justice
Repent
Plant peace–
Seeds of peace, that have
Not been planted–
Yet

Good work–
Work good
Get ready
Do good work
And get into
Good trouble

breath with Sarah Donovan

Brokenness and heartbreak, loss of job
Bickering teachers overwhelmed
Safety protocol mistakes
Covid deaths and counting
White House renegade
Friend triangles
Knotted neck
Breathe out
Breathe
Breathe in
Peace and hope
Healthy dinner
Thanksgiving (really)
Strolling along the shore
Cooperating with Truth
Foaming bubble bath to my neck
Leaning on the everlasting arms

receiving with Sarah Donovan

I couldn’t seem to do this prompt today, so I will use my Death poem I wrote this morning for The Isolation Journals.

giving with Sarah Donovan

Giving Learning

What I say to students:

Yes, yes you can!
I love your work.
I’m such a fan.

Do you know?
I don’t.
Let’s give it a go.

Please do.
I am not sure.
Yes to you
and you
and you.

thanks with Sarah Donovan

thanks

seeing my phone
slip from my hands into
the hearty
tomato saucy
goodness of
Amy’s Organic
Vegetarian
Baked Beans
in the microwavable
bowl

Was like watching
a phone
tumble over the railing
on the upper floor
at the mall but
Instead of smashing
on the tile
below, it
slipped
sidled
slunk
slithered
stole
shrinkingly
into the sauce
so smoothly
so stealthily

My first reaction
was to pull it up from
its shallow bath
It only took a half-inch dip
My phone barely waded in
Hardly got its feet wet
I don’t know beans about
how to save a phone
in a cooking calamity

So
It will be fine
I told myself
I took a quick lick
across the bottom
where the speaker
and charge port sit
because the slits were
looking crimson
and congested

I gave the whole phone
a once-over with the dish cloth
I sucked on the end to
extract more tomato sauce
Just to be sure
Then I promptly forgot about it

The phone worked fine all day
But on seeing the
15% battery warning.
I went to plug it in

Nothing
No power
No lightning bolt
I checked the plug for
electricity
I wiggled the cords
Beans!
Oh yeah, the beans

As my husband and I sat
through the rest of the Zoom
meeting, I thought about telling
him. (Our mic was muted.)
No, I better wait.

When we finished, I nonchalantly said,
I dropped my phone into the beans at lunch.
He said, You need a new phone anyway.
What? I said. No I don’t. THIS is my phone.
I just need it to charge.
He plugged it in and
I switched the cord
to a different outlet.
It worked.
It’s up to 83% now,
so I think the beans are history.

#Gratiku

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Last Tuesday I read about #gratiku poetry on Erika Victor’s blog.

Gratitude + haiku = gratiku. I thought gratitude was an important thing to have these days. Take time to be grateful. That’s what I will be doing each day in November.

30

Always just on-time
Now God arrives again–though
Waiting’s not easy

29

Spicy karak chai
Rich milky goodness for me
Grace in a teapot

28

Mashed potatoes and
Gravy for dinner will do
Tasty comfort food

27

Petrichor sweetness
Rains have arrived in Bahrain
Greetings, third water

26

25

Early Thanksgiving
Fried chicken and pumpkin bread
Welcome gifts from friends

24

I thank you God for
the dancing tingly cool breeze
and green that bests gray

23

Welcome breath of God
swelling our sails to get us
to the other shore

22

Yes, leadership and
learning are vitally joined
How else can one lead?

#gratiku #JFK #berlinwall

21

Heaven comes to earth
Go further up, further in
Renewing this world

20

Mr. President,
Full of gratitude today
Love, the U.S.A.

@JoeBiden @POTUS

19

all are created
equal–great task remaining
before us–new birth

#GettysburgAddress

18

17

16
clicking send before
sleep causes me to wonder
how will you reply?

15

14
Prayer freedom washed
Competition relaxes
Fear becomes mercy

13
Open write with friends
Ethical ELA starts
Anticipation!

12

11
Education, yes
Wanted: critical thinking
More education

10

9
Holding your hand at
Night after hearing bad news
Love always trumps fear

8

7

6

5
Knowing life goes on
I’m just one replaceable
Rung in a fine wheel

4
Thankful for counting
Calculate the election
Every single vote

3
Nadia praying
Guiding us through voting day
Centering on God

2
Afternoon naps with
A blanket on my cold feet
After that, iced tea

1
Pausing and thanking
When I forget all the good
Help me refocus

Celebrating democracy when the race was called for Biden on Saturday