November Ethical ELA Poems

Ethical ELA’s Open Write for November is going on now. You are invited to join in the Open Write. Learn more about it here.

20 November 2021
A Nocturn Poem with Margaret Simon

To those who think our president is a devil:

When you lie down at night,
you know those quiet moments you try
to get comfortable before falling asleep?
But you notice that achy wrist
and the indigestion from tonight’s dessert,
and maybe your knee’s been acting up again…
At those times, do you ever doubt?
Do you ever feel a bit of shame
for worshipping that former
“perfect physical specimen”?

Do you ever wonder
if maybe this one,
who admits to reflux
and isn’t ashamed
to have a colonoscopy,
might really be more legitimate?

21 November 2021
Metaphor Dice Poem with Margaret Simon

Memory is a reluctant drum
and sometimes sporadic,
memories like Dad’s death
are regular beating bass drums
down to my foundation,
other sweet or sad memories
pop up irregularly like a
tiny tom tom,
which is to say
memory is no one’s
metronome.

22 November 2021
See – Think – Wonder with Linda Mitchell

Look at my sea.
I am master of the waves
and their sparkly constellations.
Why do you call me a scarecrow?



23 November 2021
Tricube Poem with Linda Mitchell

Roast chicken
Potatoes
and gravy

Casserole
of green beans
Pumpkin pie

So much good
to savor
Thanksgiving

24 November 2021
Nature Muse with Maureen Ingram

Soon Jackrabbit will bound on legs of spring, cooling ears alight
Soon Quail parents, adorned with topknots, will herd their little ones to safety
Soon Rattlesnake will own the back porch whenever he passes
Soon cunning Coyote will create a trap for bounding Roadrunner
Soon Ants will scurry up and over, in and out, busily taking crumbs home
Soon Hummingbird will flitter around our feeder, showing off her feathers

Later, if we don’t act, all will be quiet in the Mojave Desert

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Gratitude

Continue…
To let gratitude be the pillow
Upon which you kneel to
Say your nightly prayer

~Maya Angelou’s in “Continue” Read the rest here.

Continue gratitude.

Is it cliché to focus on gratitude in the month of November in the U.S.? Perhaps. But here I am doing it again, with no regrets. This Spiritual Journey Thursday group’s theme last November was gratitude, too. I wasn’t part of the group then, but I did join others in writing daily haikus of gratitude, #gratiku. That experience led me to choose “gratitude” as my one little word for all of 2021, and I have tried to practice being more grateful always for the little things as well as the big things. If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll read Maureen Ingram’s touching poem about being grateful for a small big thing.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I signed up to host the Spiritual Journey Thursday group, the theme of Gratitude was on my mind. I decided to celebrate November again this year by writing a small poem of gratitude each day, focusing on one of the gifts of that day. I’m choosing to write small poems of any kind, but with three lines, like haiku (modern or traditional), blackjack / septercet (scroll down to Jane Yolen’s description of the septercet at this link), sijo, and hay(na)ku (as well as free-from-form poems where we don’t count syllables or words of gratitude!)

Here are my first days of thank you poems for this month of gratitude. I will keep adding to this post daily throughout the month. Please consider joining me by sharing your #gratitudepoem and #gratiku on social media.

1

Ten
days of
staycation with Keith

2

Mango
And Blueberry
Yogurt for dessert

3

Clear-eyed observing
No longer seeing the world
through sepia lenses

4

181 students completed
with DIBELS screenings
Sixty-eight to go

5

It’s all, all a gift
Our spiritual journey’s
glow of gratitude

(Thanks to Ruth Hersey and Chris Margocs for inspiring this found poem.)

6

Old friends smiling at
the airport–John and Barbie–
Here again, once more

7

A breakfast with felafels Always a bright wonder, one of my choice Bahrain delights

8

walking
at the
seaside at sunset

9

You
gave us
our daily bread

10

Cleaning
cupboards while
audio book listening

11

One unknown soldier
100 years ago rests
in peace. Thank you, sir.

12
Biryani
and curries
conversation even better

13
Sitting
outside, breezy
shady coffee spot

14
Dinner
with friends
delicious and healthy

15
Helping with a Zoom workshop
Three to seven, before dawn
Just the birds and I awake

16
Lumees
for dinner
Delicious vegan koshari

17
Almost
finished with
your yo-yo gift

18
Good
comprehensive health
care and insurance

19
Jesus-full Gospel of Mark
Filled my morning, as children
had fun and showed their learning

20
Birthday
party surprise
full of laughter

21
Teacher friends over
I’ll miss these cherished colleagues
Laughter, food, flowers

22
Unbirthday
party: teachers
over after school

23
Gifts to
Lina and Hanan

24
Started
cooking for
ten for Thanksgiving

25
Lovely
time with
friends like family

26
For the beauty of
the verdict that helps Dixie
forge a new future

27
Garden
party with
Church School teachers

28
Reflective
time with
Thomas and Katie

29
Another
chapter finishing
today. Then more.

30

 

“We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.”
Audre Lourde

How will you share gratitude today?

 

 

Inktober / Poemtober Small Poems, Week 4+

This week I decided to double my random poetry process. I went to a favorite inspiration post: “141 Ways to Play, Process, Stretch, Express, Disrupt Words and Form” and chose #23-31, without previewing them. Each day I attempted the linked prompts (below) and then also included the Inktober word of the day.

23 October, Saturday

Your surprise party today
did not leak, so you were blessed
with laughter and memories

24 October, Sunday

I am a mending people-pleaser
I don’t mind being an appeaser
but my own wishes are indistinct
May my imprecision become extinct

25 October, Monday – The word was splat, and I wrote about it for Tuesday’s Slice of Life Challenge at this link.

26 October, Tuesday

I miss you and can’t wait to
see you. In the meantime, your
painting helps connect us.

27 October, Wednesday

On her deathbed, my mom
got up again.
With a welcome spark,
she lived longer–
in her wheelchair,
at the dinner table,
with her kids all around.

Later, she said,
“I think it’s time for bed.
The wine’s made me a little tipsy.”

“Good night, Mama.
See you in the morning.”

28 October, Thursday

We’re here!
On the way over,
we made a plan for the day.
First, we’ll build pyramids.
Later we’ll have a pan band.
When it’s lunch time, Coconut
wants to eat crispy carrots.
(He can’t really eat, but I’ll eat them.)
You said we can have pancakes.
May I make my own pirate?
We have to build a zoo
with habitats for all the animals.
Then we’ll decorate gingerbread,
do the Makey Makey piano,
build a tower with the straws
and those yellow connectors.
If our dad comes too soon,
we’ll save some for next week.
OK?

29 October, Friday (A life memory, yes, but not from high school.) 

My mom had worried
when she saw her newborn
with a patch on her eye,
a port wine stain birthmark
I’ve hardly noticed.

30 October, Saturday

That approaching rattler isn’t a worry; it can’t bite and slither
at the same time. My coffee isn’t finished, but I guess I’ll
make a move. Wouldn’t want to find out if his opinion differs.

31 October, Sunday

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Summary Poem

Too much rain, crabs flooding into the courtyard,
A very old man with enormous wings appears in the mud,
And the new baby has been feverish for days.

Neighbors say the man is an angel coming for the child.
The priest thinks he’s a faker, just a carnival trickster,
But pilgrims come to pay five cents each to get a view.

A woman turned into a spider comes to town, so
Everyone loses interest in the old man angel.
The spider woman is a better storyteller.

The angel continues to live in the chicken coop
Until the hen house collapses, and the angel wanders
like a stray man, here and there, barely staying alive.

Years later, after a vulnerable winter, miraculously
his health improves, and his wings repair.
The angel flaps them clumsily, takes a risk and flies away.


Today is Poetry Friday, and Linda Baie at Teacher Dance, has the round up. She has written two sweet Halloween poems at her “Poetry Friday – Costumes Welcome!” post.

Poetry Friday – Inktober / Poemtober, Small Poems Week 3

16 October, Saturday

Jesus napped in the windstorm
No compass needed for his route
to invite friends’ faith to transform.

17 October, Sunday

I love when languages
collide and I hear cognates
in Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic–
kashyu, teléfono and limun

18 October, Monday

Fickle moon,
what shape
will you take
today?

19 October, Tuesday
(“My Mother’s Eyes” prompt by Andy Schoenborn at Ethical ELA)

After Marjorie Agosin

I

My husband’s eyes
Are pools of hope
Where falls
Sing, dreaming of a tomorrow
Where kindness
Comes to rest
Where raindrops are friends
Of his nourishing stories

II

My husband’s eyes
Are pools of hope,
Of waves simply
Trying to find their way
In a new chapter.
I approach them
And on the threshold of his eyes
She is looking
For herself in the green streams
That forever flow

In my husband’s eyes
I also encounter myself
Because into them
I loop, basking
Again and again
As I have found my own
pools of hope.

20 October 2021, Wednesday
Sevenling (Somebody’s Daughter)

Somebody’s daughter–a sprout
of hope–vulnerable, bountiful,
and strong.

Relationships of imperfect perfection,
being loved in her truth telling,
an introspective and worthy storyteller.

Ashley C. Ford writes a memoir.

21 October, Thursday
A Lazy Sonnet about Addie LaRue

starkness
fuzzy
Darkness
was he?

Addie LaRue
strife
breakthrough
life

bookshop
remembered
backdrop
dismembered

coping.
hoping.

22 October, Friday
A Wedding Memory

Gift of words to each other.
Your hearts open between you.
Thankful to witness the adoration.

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is over at Jama Rattigan’s blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Enjoy an October cup of hot chocolate and a beautiful pumpkin cookie with her and other Poetry Friday friends.

More Open Write Poems for October

Wednesday, 20 October
Embrace Your Why with Andy Schoenborn

Why I Bake

So I can enjoy the
smell of chocolate chip cookies
lingering in my home, I bake.
When I crave rhubarb crisp
with ice cream, I bake.
When I want to tear my hands
into a warm crusty loaf
of sourdough, I bake.

I bake for myself.

I bake for others, too,
so I can spread out
the fat and happiness.

I bake to reach back
across generations.
I bake warm, flaky biscuits using
Grandpa Sockwell Leodore Hamilton’s recipe,
biscuits that can’t hold all the
honey and butter dripping off them.
I bake Aunt Thelma’s corn bread
and Grandma’s foolproof pie crust.

And I bake into the future
to create the best peanut butter brownie
for your wedding and
vegan carrot cake muffins
for yours.

I bake for you.

Tuesday, 19 October – My Husband’s Eyes 

Monday, 18 October
Abecedarian Poem with Cara Fortey (There are such clever poems by the others; I hope you will check them out at the Open Write Ethical ELA site.)

The ABCs of Bahrain

Al Raja School and
Bahrainis, so helpful and kind,
Camping in the desert and
Doctors at American Mission Hospital,
English Language Congregation and
Freedom to worship here,
Galleries of arts and crafts and
Hummus at our favorite restaurant,
Indian food in the homes of dear ones,
Juices, freshly squeezed,
Karak tea at
Lumee and
Mango gelato at
Naseef,
Onions from India for thirty cents a pound and
Petrol for less than $2 a gallon,
Quality friendships are family now,
Rava dosa with dried fruits and nuts at
Sangeetha,
Table crowded with friends and
Unceasing hospitality,
Vinolia and Victoria, dear friends, and
World Trade Center of Bahrain,
eXpatriates bringing their cultures here,
You–should you want to come and visit–and
Zaatar and labneh on khubz

Sunday, 17 October
20/20 Poem with Anna Roseboro

Before cataract surgery
I thought the world
was shaded in umber.
Now my eyes remember
too many colors
to number.

Saturday, 16 October – A poem using anagrams of my name

Anagrams of My Name Poem

Today’s Ethical ELA poetry prompt is by Anna J. Small Roseboro “Mixing Them Up Today: Anagram Poetry.” She had us find anagrams for our name and use them in a poem about a person or event in fiction or in real life, or a concept we’ve taught. I wrote about Cora, the main character in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Cora redressed as Bessie 
wasn’t able to kiss freedom
on her underground rides.
She resided in sirens
of berserk oppression,
misery and evil her forced drink.
Cora’s chosen kindred died,
Desires denied,
Seeker of choice,
Risker of hell,
Her end.

The powerful
sneered and reeked 
of the monstrous beds they made,
Serene skies their lie.

Stand beside Cora’s memory,
America’s dressed in this history.
May a keen sense of ownership
indeed send us to our knees
to repent, rise, and render hope
for a new day.

Poetry Friday – Inktober / Poemtober Small Poems, Week 2

I’m writing a small poem each day using a word from the Inktober prompts (a word, I’m finding, that is great for sketching but doesn’t always inspire poetry).

However, I was inspired last week by this Poetry Friday community. Thank you, Heidi (Saturday), Karen (Tuesday), and Alan (Wednesday)! And thanks to the inspiration of Birdtober friends, Ruth, Michelle, and #writeout announcer, Margaret, I sat outside at the medical clinic and enjoyed listening to the birds for Sunday’s poem.

9 October
A Definito

This is applied
to urge
or compel
one to do what you wish–
to push, insist, drive, impel
another.
Pushed into a corner,
With arm twisted–
Pressure

10 October
Healing

Dear finches,
Take your pick
in this safe garden.
Do you want your nest in
bamboo, cedar, olive, or plumeria?
There are aloe vera
and snake plants, too.
Here you can be fruitful and multiply.
Thank you for your sweet psalms.
They help patients heal.

 

11 October
Sweet and Sour

acids sharp and zesty–
lemon, cranberry,
rhubarb, gooseberry,
tamarind, tart cherry.
add sugar to taste
for the tang to marry.

12 October
After Jane Hershfield
Inspired by Karen Edmisten

I would like my living
to be full and free–
not stuck in regret,
but ready for today’s
unexpected word.

13 October
A Leaving Clogyrnach
Inspired by Alan J. Wright

Our goodbyes will arrive too soon
We’ll fly into the waning moon
Our farewell’s the proof
But still seems aloof
A new roof
A new tune

14 October
Tick Tock

Tick tock, tick tock
Jack and the Beanstalk
Tick tock, tick tock
Neil and the moonwalk
Tick tock, tick tock
Patriarchy bedrock
Men’s suits round-the-clock
Time to stop and take stock
For women’s rights to unlock
Tick tick tick tick tick

15 October
Helmet

As the sun rises,
put on your
faith and love
breastplate,
and your
hope of salvation
helmet.
……………~I Thessalonians 5:8

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at wee words for wee ones. Thank you, Bridget Magee, and big congratulations to you for the two birthdays in this TENth month!

I’m conTENt after reading Bridget’s inTENse message. In a senTENce, she inTENds to exTENd a TENder-hearted opporTENity you will want to atTENd to.

Inktober / Poemtober Small Poems, Week 1

Maybe someday I will try inking all the prompts for Inktober, but for now I am going to follow Jone Rush McCulloch’s lead and write a small poem each day in October.

My new lens is like
a clear crystal burning in
the light of sunshine

What new suit will you wear
when all your defenses fall away?

Vessel
A ship at sea, airtight
’37 dirigible crash at night
Chalice holding wine of Light
Internal river of lifeblood
Person who holds extraordinary love

When we said ‘yes’
more than 38 years ago,
I never knew the knot of love
could keep getting stronger.

White supremacy,
raven of oppression,
unmerited power through
hatred, fear, injustice.
Never satisfied.

Holy Spirit,
To your church,
come and clear it
Make them hear it
God, be near it

When I see a fan,
I think of you, Mohammed H.
You were my Kindergarten fan fan–
now growing up still charmed
by the hum of the bladed whirligig.
Future engineer.