Ethical ELA Open Write – Two Poem Prompts by Tracie McCormick

Golden Shovel for Monday, 19 July 2021

Striking line is from James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes” – You can sing the song when I’m gone.

My sweet daughters, you
have grown into activist women who can
and will join God to sing
justice over the
brokenness. Singing a new song
to fight injustice for Earth and her children. When
you are old and have left the world better, I’m
going to smile from the long gone.

Villanelle for Tuesday, 20 July 2021

In an opinion piece by Kate Cohen today: “The two numbers that could get people to take the vaccine” at The Washington Post. I found not all, but most of the words and phrases for this poem.

Numbers Tell the Truth: Deaths of Vaxxed vs. Unvaxxed

Life-saving vaccine effective and free
Urging us to avoid it is a powerful campaign
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

“Politicizing [this] is an act of outrage and frankly
moronic,” said Mitt Romney, his repute retained
Life-saving vaccine, effective and free

A running tally of who is dying would decree
the truth of the disinformation as inhumane,
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

Right wing lawmakers and talk-show hosts on a spree
to lie about microchips that will put us in chains
Life-saving vaccine effective and free.

Succeeding to a spectacular degree
is the lethal propaganda created to entertain
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

History-making, world-saving efficacy
Look at the facts; truth will remain
Life-saving vaccine effective and free
Opposing it, against all reason and morality

The final post was by Tracie and Mo: “A Moonlight Experience” I didn’t have much time, so I just wrote a few lines about a full moon I saw in the high desert that woke me up one night. I went outside and walked around thinking it was a cross between sunshine and moonlight. I had never seen such a bright full moon.

ripe as a pumpkin
full moon beams and shines
as bright as serene sunshine

Sharing our Stories Magic – No. 63: regroup

Sharing our Stories Magic #sosmagic

This regroup prompt came out from The Sharing our Stories Magic just after I pressed submit on my very last step in earning a TESOL Advanced Practitioner Certificate. Earning that certificate was a process that should have taken six months, but took me two-and-a-half years thanks to the pandemic and changes in my teaching status. I feel quite free today, and ready to regroup and think about the next big thing. Here is a post I wrote just two weeks ago with my summer to-do items (along with some to-feel items).

Instead of writing about the next big thing, though, I was reminded of a big thing that happened in my childhood. In reading Glenda Funk’s Slice of Life from last Tuesday, I was reminded of my brother-in-law, who helped me regroup after the death of my father when I was seven. Though my father was not very involved in my life, his death was quite a blow to a family of seven, five of them still at home. I wrote a decima, a Spanish poetry form, created by Spanish writer and musician Vicente Espinel. It has 10 lines of 8 syllables each with a rhyme scheme of ABBAACCDDC. It was the Ethical ELA poetry prompt today, hosted by Mo Daley.

Superlative Supporter

Would I have ever played the game?
What would I do after Dad’s death?
Wait for adults to take a breath…
And then: “Let’s play catch,” you exclaimed.
Soon-to-be brother, fanned the flame
My passion for softball began
Every game…you, my greatest fan
Ardent and lavish cheers ensued
While the shells of the seeds you chewed
Piled, like pictures, at your feet

Pictures of playing in the street
Your eager “Yes, let’s!” on repeat.
Giving me the glove of your youth
Did not make me catch like Babe Ruth,
No matter what you said. Upbeat
always in your belief in me,
Credibly, not hyperbole,
You were there to help save my life.
Softball, with its fun and good strife,
Has stayed my love and helped me be.

Name and Place – Open Write 17 July 2021

Ethical ELA “Name and Place” prompt with Mo Daley

My Name

Denise, mon amour,
You are loved in
English or French
or Greek
regardless of
what your name
suggests.

My mother and father
(if he paid any attention),
chose a name that was
popular in the fifties.
The run was short-lived,
not like the
longer-lasting
popularity of Lisa–
the other name on Mom’s
short list,
which did not
make the final cut
on my birth certificate.

My name sake:
Dionysius–
Greek god of wine,
and all things wine-ish–
like the grape harvest
and winemaking.
It doesn’t stop there though.
Dionysius was busy.
He is also the
god of fertility,
orchards and fruit,
vegetation,
drunkenness
insanity,
chaos
ritual madness,
ecstasy,
festivals,
parties
and the
theater.

I don’t think my mom
chose Denise because she needed
a daughter named after a Greek
god with a French twist.
There was no familial
or cultural ribbon
tying a bow on this name.

Denise was
a loved
little one
needing a name,
the sixth in a home
full of kids needing
names.

Today I live in a land
where my name was
mostly unknown before
I arrived.
I answer to Denise,
as well as
Dennis,
Denies,
Deeneez
and anything
similar.
Still loved.

“Mandalas with Metaphors” Poetry Prompt with Anna J. Small Roseboro

Today’s prompt comes from Anna J. Small Roseboro. She asked us to choose a flower, an animal, a bird, a color, a place, a person I admire and a line or quote. I found poems I had written about each of these things, and used snippets and ideas from each to write a poem about who I am. The poems that inspired me are linked below.

Mandala about Me

I’m back in the compost pile today,
Not a pile, but a prayer bouquet
Of soil and poems, promises redeemed.
Be fruitful earth and poets, God beamed.

I went back and found the flowers,
The animals, all that fill my hours—
Topics I have written poems about–
Mirrors of life, here each gets a shout

On not being able to make up my mind
The flower that speaks of me are all those that have bloomed, fed, and shriveled to produce ripe sweet fruit. I am a whole fresh fruit atlas.

On knowing when to speak
Coyotes make their mark stealthily, except when they don’t. Then they make their yip-howls fill up the neighborhood, making people take note.

On not being flashy
Pigeons coo, unconcerned that they aren’t showy, but they know they are well-tended.

On finding color
Secure blue and sequins sought out and gathered these bits of nature in this dry and dusty land.

On going home
Through the door from one place to another. But either here or there, whispers from God point to life-drenched promise of home.

On being wise
Dr. Solomon servant of the upside-down realm of Jesus, did not stop his work in the urgent care clinic for poor and sick people. Covid killed him one year ago this week. Now the clinic where he worked has been dedicated to his memory.

On living upside-down
The last will be first, and the first last.
The greatest among you will be your servant.
Sometimes living with upside down values doesn’t seem to make sense, but clawing to the top of the pile makes less.

Composing from Compost

Anna J. Small Roseboro had the prompt for today at Ethical ELA: Composing from Compost. She asked us to think metaphorically about compost and how we can revisit writing to improve it. “Often what we have written in the past can provide nutrients or seeds for future writing.” I loved this line from her poem: “That even when scared, we still can be light” I added it to my compost for today’s poem.

What fun it was. I felt like a gardener! I went to my own compost bin and dug around old poems I had written. I found a poem I wrote at the end of April 2020, a ode to the #verselove community after writing with them for my first month. It’s the second poem in this post. My Golden Shovel below is made with these lines from that poem:

Your poems are cathartic
for the arctic
sea in me
reminding me of open wounds
yet to be restored when
given your remedy

I also took from the compost and planted an idea from Emily D’s dream poem this week in her lines:

I dream a world healed
where your scars are beauty marks.

Another thing I added was something my Arab friend translated for a speech I was helping her edit: “bouquets of prayers” From what I’ve learned, the Arabic language is filled with beautiful figurative language, poetry, and beautiful images like these. I keep thinking of bouquets of prayers, so you will see it here too.

A Letter to the Open Write Community

Your writing nurtures me. Your
poems bring healing. They
are catalysts of courage and
cathartic for the hurts we have endured.
For bringing hope,
the poems are warmth that thaws the
arctic of my soul, this
sea of iced-over emotions. Investing
in each other takes time, a gift to
me, and mine to you–
reminding me of family.
Me, the one who only wrote for the audience
of my students, but now I am
open to writing in this space and beyond. My
wounds become shared. The scars
yet to become beauty marks, multiplied
to become divided. They will
be claimed as victories, life
restored and filled with joy.
When ideas have dimmed, and I have
given up out of fear, the fragrance of
your poems, these bouquets of prayers, will be the
remedy and light for my heart and pen.