Poetry Friday – Cherish

Today is Poetry Friday. Robyn has a delightful post about my favorite beverage, TEA.

Cherish is my word of the year. I just spent a week with my daughter and grandson at our home, cherishing every moment because they seem all too few.

Milo and I were playing a game in the picture above. Every time he slapped my Cherish rock, I would say “Bwue.” When he tapped my husband’s Explore rock, I would say, “Gumbo.” He composed little rhythms, like “Bwue, bwue, bwue, gumbo, bwue, gumbo, bwue, gumbo, bwue, bwue, bwue…” It was a favorite game of the week.

We had fun climbing rocks in Joshua Tree National Park.

And wearing hats and a million other things, as he had fun with everything he came across. I was exhausted when they left, but I was satisfied that I truly cherished each moment I had with him.

Ethical ELA’s Open Write begins tomorrow. Check out the prompts Saturday through Wednesday this week!

Friday is the third day of The Stafford Challenge. It was founded by Brian Rohr, storyteller and poet. We will write a poem a day, inspired by William Stafford, who had a daily poem-writing practice for decades. (One of Stafford’s famous poems is “Traveling through the Dark.”) The Challenge started on Wednesday, January 17, the anniversary of Stafford’s birth. Last evening in a Zoom meeting, his son, Kim Stafford, inspired us to have a daily writing challenge that includes four things: the date, a diary (boring prose of the day), an aphorism, and a poem. I’m going to give it a try this year focusing on my local environment. Here’s Thursday’s poem.

Lovely desert holds life, like this
little hedgehog cactus that counts its
blessings, holding onto hope in the
whispering cleft of boulders. Ready
to grow, even when soil is sparse.
Life calls to life,
that it won’t be stopped. Like the cactus
You are beauty and promise, and you
won’t be sorry if you
give it your all in living fully. Drink
up your fill of grace this fine day.

A Golden Shovel poem from Jeannette Encinias’ “Begin Again” that was sent in her email today. “Lovely little blessings. Whispering to life that you won’t give up.” 

Writing this poem also reminded me of the poem Kat Apel wrote for me a couple summers ago. Read “How to Be a Cactus” here.


23 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – Cherish

  1. Soaking up grandchild time and writing a poem every day. Your year of cherish is starting off just right.

  2. Denise – this post filled me with happiness. It was a combination of Milo’s sense of play and his grandparents words for this year: explore and cherish! Go explore and cherish every minute with Milo. Yes to carefree wild abandon!

  3. ooops! I wrote out a whole comment–and got the anti-spam word wrong so it vanished! LOL. Let’s see if I can re-create…I love the joy in this post. Your grandson is a lucky boy. I will go and check out the prompt links. Even though I try not to chase prompts, they really help me out in the doldrums of winter. See you tomorrow at ELA!

  4. I love your poem Denise! It’s beautiful and inspiring, and makes me want to seek out Jeannette’s poem too! (I love when one beautiful poem leads you to another ;-).

    It sounds like you had a busy time with your family, with countless experiences to cherish!

  5. So many thoughts, Denise, on the wings of this post! There is an annual William Stafford birthday celebration at the library tomorrow. I read his poem, “The Thread” at my son’s bar mitzvah for my parent remarks. That Saturday in New Jersey was only two weeks after 9/11 and one of my dear friends had just lost her son at sea. “You must never let go of the thread.” Stafford loved Oregon—and Kim remains here to speak truth. The spine of his book, Singer Come from Afar, stares back at me as I write this.
    Milo is precious; cherish is the perfect response to his presence. I said his rhythm out loud, “bwue, bwue, buew, gumbo…” Now it’s an ear worm. I am sharing Ethical ELA with our book study group. We are exploring verse novels and poetry collections. Thanks for this “lovely little blessings whispering” on a Friday morning.

  6. I’m so glad my mother lives across the street, the close bond she’s been able to build with my son is so wonderful to see. Cherish is a wonderful word to cling to, as there’s so much to cherish, even when the days seem dark.

  7. You are absolutely right to cherish those moments. What a blessing a grandchild brings. Ours have birthdays this month… 11, 14 and 17!!! Where did those years go? Your golden shovel is lovely! The cactus holding on, living fullty… yes!

  8. I feel as if my life has been fuller than it could have been after having grandchildren, one grown and working at his life’s goals, the others 14 and 12, all special kids doing great. I do miss the fun of them younger, so thank you for sharing your beautiful time with Milo. I love the picture of him in the rocks. And that brings me to your choice of the word, ‘cherish’, including Milo certainly, and a tiny hedgehog clinging on a bit of earth (I guess), showing us people a good idea for living: Cherish every bit and hang on! Thanks to you for sharing so much!

  9. “Cherish” is such a great word. I can feel it in my heart. I’m glad to be reminded of it.
    Your poem is lovely. I especially love what you did with “up” at the end: “. . . Drink/up your fill of grace this fine day.”

  10. A poem featuring a cactus in a crack is the perfect example of your striking line — it never gives up! I love “life calls to life.” I’m doing the Stafford Challenge, mostly with cherita and recorded in my IG stories.

  11. Oh, he is adorable! He makes you want to scoop him up and hug him! I am glad that you have him to cherish and what a fitting poem to accompany!

  12. I have great respect for plants like this hedgehog cactus, along with moss and lichen that survive in crack living practically on air. What a wonderful little grandson and he’s fortunate to have such a creative and generous grandmother!

  13. What an affirming poem, Denise. Thank you. I am glad to hear it today when I feel like the cold weather has finally gotten to me!

    That is a sweet, fun visitor you had, too!

  14. I love that you and your husband both not only have words for the year, but word rocks, too! And then it gets even better, with your grandchild composing his original songs, bee-bopping between explore and cherish, with his grandmother to give them sound. Heartwarming!

  15. Well that’s one adorable grandboy! Really enjoyed the details in your poem, especially “whispering cleft of boulders.”

  16. Denise – it’s wonderful to see the photos of Milo – a perfect alignment of “explore” and “cherish”! Thanks for so many fun poetry prompt links!

  17. Milo is adorable, Denise. You must have delighted having him with you for a full week. Good luck with your writing challenges. “Life calls to life:” I will take your advice: “Drink
    up your fill of grace this fine day.”

  18. Love your word, CHERISH. Thanks so much for sharing your grandson’s visit with us and your terrific poem. I’d never seen a hedgehog cactus before, the name looks fitting in the photo. Wishing you a blessed year!

  19. Beautiful, Denise. And I love the reminder that I can still cherish even the things that exhaust me. :>D

  20. Thanks for the tasty bwue gumbo, Denise! Your poem is lovely–“whispering cleft of boulders”–and you seem very excited to tackle the Stafford Challenge. Cherish your writing time!

  21. Milo is beyond adorable. How wonderful that he has grandparents who cherish him and encourage him to explore! ;0) “Life calls to life” – lovely. Thanks for sharing all!

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