I decided to order the book based on her blog post. However, now that I’ve seen the book in all its colorful glory, perfect size, and beautiful poems and ideas, I’m all the more excited to join Kim in digging into this beautiful book. Join us, if you would like!
It’s Poetry Friday. Thank you, Mary Lee Hahn, for hosting us today. Enjoy Mary Lee’s poem entitled: “That’s What You Wrote About the Green Beans.” It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, so it is good to be here with you all.
I was excited to participate in the summer poetry swap for the first time ever. I was paired up with Tabatha Yeatts. What a joyful experience!
“You shouldn’t make friends with crows,” he’d told her…“They don’t have any manners.” ~Leigh Bardugo
The crows surprise me with what they know and what they don’t know. What
they don’t know: what it means when I hiss at them to be quiet. Stop it, I
say, as one rushes another, dagger-beaked and screaming. I learned
that they disgorge pellets –food less digestible than my oatcakes– from
watching one produce such a gift. Later, a second crow, spotting the offering, cast another. The
crows who aren’t brawlers strive to follow etiquette. It is these silent, solitary birds,
these sleek shadows willing to wait to be noticed, who stop me from putting the oatcakes away and
spur me to leave the curtains open. We can persist, trying to fathom each other– me and you.
Do you believe it? She has befriended the crows, and though it seems true most of them lack manners, Tabatha feeds them anyway. I believe it is a good metaphor for loving the unlovable. I have crows in my town too, and I do look at them differently this week, striving to learn from them.
Thank you, Tabatha, for the wonderful gift. It was so fun to get it in snail mail and open it to see your beautiful poem, written for me, as well as the lovely postcards and stickers! My water bottle is enjoying the new decor!
Here’s the poem I wrote for Tabatha. You can click on each link to read ten of her poetry treasures!
I see a bobcat
moving across the yard,
Tawny and whiskered.
It strolls in front of me.
At first I thought it was my neighbor’s dog.
Then when I realized it was a big cat,
I began fumbling
for the camera button on my phone.
It stops for a second and looks at me,
(A quick pose, maybe?)
I’m still mishandling the camera,
as it gives up and saunters on.
I stumble across the yard,
Finally getting the video going.
I capture 35 seconds of
the Joshua Trees,
still waiting for me,
Emptiness’s last red is debt,
Its easiest fade to free.
Its late root’s shriveled;
And commonly so for years.
Before root rises to root
So squalor rises to bliss,
So dusk goes up to night.
Everything debt must go.
I Have No Ideas
Five lines I get to poem anything,
But my ideas are all second-string–
the ransom of a king? a tire swing? how to sing?
that bee sting? my made-up trip to Beijing?
Maybe next time the well will spring.
I am the green
that hurts your eyes,
brilliant and dazzling,
bright and ubiquitous.
Here in the Emerald City,
the sprinkles come in
a circadian rhythm of sogginess.
Moss carpets wood and stone.
Ferns pop and ivies creep
Green, the only color.
The tangles of yarn
Are becoming a blanket.
Right now, they are sitting by
my Mother’s Day gift of board books—Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,
and I’ll Love You Forever, (yes, I will)
that I will read to you,
Sweet baby, on Facetime.
But now we wait for your arrival, Healthy and whole
Bearing life and
To our world
When I’m by myself
And I close my eyes
I want more
I’m a bore
I’m full of ambition
but short an ignition
I’m focused, but hazy
I’m the wind, I’m a daisy
I’m whatever I want to be
An anything I care to be
And when I open my eyes
What I care to be
I spent hanging out
with boys every recess,
I was one of two girls
“allowed” to play baseball
in the sixth grade lunch recess league.
Every day I wore
the same rag tag jeans
with patches on the knees.
When I went to our larger junior high school,
I decided to embrace my femininity.
I thought I had made
changes in my appearance,
that summer I started
growing my hair out. I
bought new girl clothes
and wore some that first day
of seventh grade.
But as Mrs. Sykes
called out my name
during roll call,
I came forward
to get whatever
she was passing out.
“No, this is a girl.”
Or something similar.
I said, “That’s me.”
Or something similar.
In a better world,
she would have known
The past is a glorified gauntlet,
Where one side of the challenge
is a ready stream of if-onlys and wishes
beyond the hope of tomorrow
But on the other side is
a source of joy and pride in
a life well-lived, strength
sustaining me into the future
Which is to say, it is punishment
only if I walk the gauntlet
letting that side beat me up
Today is Poetry Friday and time for another roundup of my #Verselove poems from this week. Thank you, all, for the lovely April poetry showers. you’ve been sharing at your blogs. Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche. She is sharing news of the Kidlit Progressive Poem for 2022 and adding her own safe place, mysterious and magical line to the poem.
Small Town Walking
Go from here to there in a small town
and you are likely to run into people.
We stopped at the outlet store and
bought an umbrella and a bag for my
crochet projects. We talked a long time
to the clerk we hadn’t seen in five years.
We went across the street and had coffee,
chatted with our friends, proud owners of this
new establishment. We drank chai and
espresso and ate complimentary macarons
because we were back in town.
We chatted about the brokenness in
politics and church politics.
We walked to Ace Hardware to buy
a hairdryer to replace the one I forgot.
We stopped in the entryway there, hugging a
person we knew, but what was her name?
I finally came up with it.
As we talked, I called hello to a passing mom
of a second grader I taught 35 years ago. How’s he doing? What’s he up to now?
Then the eye doctor came in and my husband
talked about eyes and how he was
the best eye doctor he’s ever had.
Then we walked to the grocery store and
bought a few things for dinner.
We were gone for four hours.
Grateful our minds didn’t fail us
as we remembered names,
our hearts full of good people.
Embrace those short leaves.
Don’t try to grow anywhere but the Mojave Desert.
Grow just 2 or 3 inches a year.
Tangle your arms and legs into a giant Twister maze.
Enjoy a long 500-year life.
Feed and shelter your animal neighbors.
Show off your springtime flowers and summertime fruits.
Don’t hang your head when others say you are from a Dr. Seuss book.
Stand up as tall as your potential three stories,
And tallest among all yuccas.
Don’t be prickly, but wield your desert dagger with zeal.
Treasure your protected status.
Pray for the humans to stop ruining the world.
She was born a century too soon
to have the right to an education
without a serious fight for it–
working class and female
worked against her dreams
She wasn’t a scrappy seizer of opportunities
or she may have had a different life, following
drafting class in high school,
(she aced it, the only girl)
college and a degree in architecture
(No, how could I?)
She followed culture’s expectations
“I always just wanted to be a wife and mother,”
she said many times,
trying to believe it for herself.
There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children
she didn’t know what to do.
Mother Goose, that is,
not my mom.
She wasn’t old—just a young widow,
and we didn’t live in a shoe.
We lived in a small house
with a lot of kids.
We shopped for one pair of shoes,
just one pair of shoes,
at the beginning of each school year.
We’d drive down to the shoe shop
next to McCoy’s market, and
start browsing the Mother Goose shoes.
We would then sit, ducklings in a row,
as the clerk measured our feet.
Then they’d bring out the footgear
we wanted to try.
The little leather Mary Janes…oxfords…loafers…
I didn’t know or care what they were called.
I had found my favorite pair.
It didn’t matter to me that
they needed to be a half size bigger,
and that the store didn’t have that size,
nor did they expect to get it before school started.
School was starting, and I was ready for
to go with me in the dresses
I would wear to second grade.
She bought them for me,
this stressed-out mama,
but she did say to me,
“If you outgrow them
before you wear them out,
I’ll cut the toes out to make room.”
She never had to,
I just scrunched up my toes
From remarks by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
April 8, 2022
Meaningful notes from children
speak to hope and promise of America.
232 years for a Black woman to be selected to
serve on the Supreme Court of the U.S.
We’ve made it,
We’ve made it,
All of us,
All of us.
Here in America anything is possible.
Inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all.
All Americans can take great pride in this moment,
A long way toward perfecting our union.
Calling things by their 18th century names How about the quirk you have of calling things by archaic names? Like Chest of drawers instead of dresser Ice chest instead of cooler Bathing suit instead of swimsuit
How was I supposed to know?
At least I don’t call a sofa a
Felicity is a friendly word,
Four syllables of fabulous–
Felicity is a jubilant songbird
Fortunate enough to have lungs
to be heard above the heartache
Fruitful and fertile,
He willingly warbles
a skillful tune of trust
Adroit in his happiness
Sleep in a crib in my parents’ room until old enough to know it was weird.
Scootch over in the big bed, so as not to lie in my sister’s nighttime accident.
Watch Mom sledgehammer a hole in the wall.
Watch her frame the hole into a doorway to the garage to make another bedroom.
Help make nine salads on individual plates for dinner.
Dry the dishes my sister washed when it was our team’s turn.
Always have someone my age to play, fight, and ride bikes with.
Always have someone older to teach me to read, do my nails, and comb my hair.
Never be home alone.
Never feel unworthy of love.