Open Write “Do You Remember?” 21st of September 2022

Today is the 21st of September. The prompt is “Do You Remember?” with Susan Ahlbrand. Do check it out, and see all the forms she has pointed us to.

And take a moment to listen to Earth, Wind, and Fire singing “September.”

I thought of the 21st of June and wrote a nonet about the birth of my grandson.

Remember the first day of summer?
Just two drove to the hospital
Your dad stayed home with Covid
Breathe, push, rest, repeat. You
arrived, perfectly
untroubled by
viruses,
Babe at
peace

A Slice of Hope

20 September 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

This week it is time for Ethical ELA’s Open Write. It’s a five-day poetry writing bonanza. There are always great prompts, classroom-ready for you to glean from. Please join us today and tomorrow, if you are so inclined.  Visit here, all are welcome.

Today’s prompt was “This But Not That” by Susan Ahlbrand. I wrote about Hope, as I often do, like here and here.

Hope
(After some literary friends)

Hope is a thing with feathers
But not a broken-winged bird that cannot fly
Hope is not a feathered frenzy
Dropped in a pot of boiling water

Hope is a tree of life
Taller and fuller; yes, taller than we ever dreamed possible
Not a stunted, stingy, small-minded shrub

Hope is a smile from the depths of cold December
Not filled with regrets—
Not a sea of stories, excuses to drown in

Hope is good and honest and worth the wait
Hope is not a white-washed façade called good

Hope is a shelter of rest and safety
Not a storm without a Captain

Hope is dark night with a sky full of stars
Hope is not bright daylight (when the same stars
are there but unknowable)

Hope is improbable beautiful,
Afraid of nothing
Like a bird that sings and never stops at all

They called to Hope, “This could
have been about anything,
but it’s about hope”

Now there’s a glimmer
A hint of hope


In order of appearance above…

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
― Emily Dickinson

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.
–Langston Hughes

(…of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
e.e.cummings

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’
–Alfred Lord Tennyson

All human wisdom is contained in these words, ‘Wait and Hope.’
–Alexandre Dumas

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
–Job 11:18

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.
–Martin Luther King

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”
–Mary Oliver

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
― Emily Dickinson

September 18-19 Open Write – Writing Poems in Multiple Languages and a Sestina

On Sunday, I hosted the Ethical ELA poetry prompt again. The prompt was using multiple languages in poetry. You can read more here: Multiple Languaged Poem. My sample poems have already been published here: Mi Cuchara Favorita and Into the Door.

Monday’s prompt comes from Wendy Everard: Sestina (and Semi-Sestina). She gives some good advice for how to choose the topic and words, which I did not know about when I wrote my first sestina last year about racism and the other -isms that divide our nation. Today I wrote about remodeling and life.

Remodeling Life

Our home now is full of sawdust
As my sister and I design novel
Remodeling, finding solutions
From found articles. (So, very few checks
Are needed.) Useful creations custom-
Made with each nail pounded.

Before this, I could barely pound
a nail, and now I have left in the dust
that person who had a custom
of letting others do the work. Novel
idea—that, at my age, I can check
my assumptions and create new solutions

Like cutting a hole through a wall, solutions
Like reusing old materials to pound
Out a new piece of cabinetry. Check.
Satisfied in learning new skills, dusting
Off my old goals of creating. A novel
Way to live and be. A new custom.

Remodeling as metaphor, a customer
Of thinking. How can my new solutions
Inform my living and thinking? A novel
Longing as I reach up and pound
Another nail amidst the flying dust.
Remodeling: House? Life? Check.

After almost a life, time to check
Up and check in–what customs
Do I keep? And which go to dust?
Time is limited, the solution:
To let go of fallacies and pound
Every good word into the novel

Life is like a mostly good novel
Each chapter written, a check
Paid for by Grace, pounds
Of grace and goodness, custom-
Fit for each person. A solution
Of spirit and hope and dust.

So, I want to check the progress of the novel
To live not according to custom, but to pound
Good life into the dust; that is, Grace’s solution


I’m so happy that I found my voice when writing poetry. As Irene and Charles say on today’s word: “Words have power.” I have not always been kind and cautious in my use of words. Today I am practicing realizing the power of words.

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Voice. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

September 17 Open Write – Ode to a Childhood Love

Today the Ethical ELA Open Write begins for September. Five days of writing, reading, and commenting on poems. It’s a five-day period each month that so many of us look forward to.

I had the privilege of leading today’s prompt. Because today is both National Play Doh Day and National Cinnamon Raisin Toast Day, I was inspired by those and other things I loved. I wrote this poem about one of those treasures I loved as a child.

Ode to My Cinderella Watch

You were there for me in first grade.
You kept running on and on,
even with all your facial blemishes and bumps.
Your pale pink hands went round and round,
And I learned to carefully wind you up
at the end of the day. Not too much.
I admired you, even though I had no idea how to tell time.
I begged older siblings to help me
buckle the pink strap on my wrist before school.

And later, when I was too old for you,
My mom bought me a replacement band–
A black patent-leather mod hippie watch band.
I rocked that band until you finally stopped.

Now, you sit in my keepsake drawer–
Fifty years later.

 

Read more here at the Ethical ELA site: “Ode to a Childhood Love

Monday, 22 August 2022 – Transforming Art into Words

Transforming Art into Words was the prompt today by Margaret Simon. She challenged us to use space as we created our poems today, in the form of Dean Rader, “Did You Walk to Oklahoma” written “After Edgar Heap of Birds, “Ocmulgee” (2005).” I enjoyed the process of trying spaces and turn words over. I will come back to this idea and spend more time on it next time.

 

Sunday, 21 August 2022 Open Write – This Photo Wants to be a Poem

Margaret Simon has created the prompt on Ethical ELA today. She posts a regular feature on her blog called “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem.” and today we all wrote about this photo on Ethical ELA.

Her regular feature is open to anyone who would like to participate. Check out Reflections on the Teche each Wednesday.

Here is Margaret’s post on Ethical ELA. 

Photo by Margaret Simon

fuzzy, glowing seed pods
readying for the next generation
held by a green nest of elders

Saturday, 20 August 2022, Open Write – Leucocholy

Today’s prompt by Gayle Sands is a wordplay poem. She gave links to Merriam-Webster where there were lots of uncommon words to choose from. Then we went to WordHippo and looked for antonyms, synonyms, rhyming words, and more. Read more about her prompt here at Ethical ELA’s “Wordplay for August.”

Leucocholy – “a state of feeling that accompanies preoccupation with trivial and insipid diversions.”

Doom scrolling, gaming, searching,
YouTubing, following on social media
Time spent dabbling in drivel,
Nonsense, insignificance, trivial
Pursuits and amusements.
Distractions, beguilement,
Frivolity, levity, jejune whoopee
Busyness with characterless
Banality, the bland, ho-hum ordinariness
Of tired and vapid diversions.
Oh, the mind-numbing, eye-blurring,
Wasteful feeling of leucocholy.

Poetry Friday – Dictionary for a Better World

I wasn’t going to post for Poetry Friday this week, but look what I got my hands on this afternoon!

It’s Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. On Tuesday, Dr. Kim Haynes Johnson shared her plan for doing a study in August and September and invited others to join in “a time of deep personal book friendship, sharing insights on the words and the response opportunities that the authors create in the book.” Read more here on Kim’s blog, as she has been writing daily posts of introduction. Here is a Padlet page that Kim has created for us to share our blogs and insights.

 

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!

Thanks to Marcie Flinchum Atkins for hosting Poetry Friday today. Read more at her blog about the Sealey Challenge for August.