Poetry Friday – Tree Love and a Mad Lib Poem

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily…
~Mary Oliver

I read this lovely poem by Mary Oliver for the first time today at Sharing Our Stories Magic blog, and it reminded me of the book I’m reading, The Overstory, which is a magnificent 500-page love letter to trees. Have you read it?

Read Oliver’s full poem “When I am Among the Trees” here.

On another note…

Who I Am

I was born in the year of the red security sweater.
My mother was an elegant upright piano
And my father, an unfiltered Camel cigarette.
Is it any wonder I grew up to be a kind of amusing
cross between a shy Daffy Duck and a stoic puffin bird?
Take a fluttering look at me—
I’m aloofly friendly, hope-filled, and wearing out.
Is it any wonder that at night
I have nightmares about
my sweet retirement life crumbling before it begins?

I wrote the poem above from a prompt shared by Taylor Mali–It is a fun foldable called Slam Poem Mad Lib. Did you see Taylor Mali’s Metaphor Dice are on sale right now for teachers for $8 instead of $20? (Thanks, Karen E.)

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is with Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core. Today she has written and shared a beautiful poetry primer with A to Z loveliness!

Poetry Friday – In Memory

Jeff, gentle giant
Your heart was big, but failed
Today you are gone

It was the summer Scotty died.
I flew back a month after I moved to Iowa.
After the funeral
we went on a road trip.
Your aunt, Scotty’s grieving mom,
your broken Grandma,
and your stunned Aunt Denise
(who was being driven back to Iowa
to start a new school year
in a new school and new state)
and you, his cousin —
teenage laugher and listener,
so bright-eyed and fun-loving,
with a sly shyness.
You, who made the trip fun,
instead of a drudge.
We drove in the camper,
saw some sights,
took funny photos,
and told stories of Scotty.
It was the year of the Blizzard–
a new ice cream treat.
We stopped
in every small-town DQ
for a new flavor.

Today, thirty-five
years later, you have left us.
Another nephew
gone too soon–death’s order in
this broken world, false again.

It is Poetry Friday, and Laura Purdie Salas has the roundup here, with tankas and a new picture book coming out: If You Want to Knit Some Mittens.

Poetry Friday – Testudinate

Hello, poet friends, I am honored to be collecting your sweet submissions today; it is my first time hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup. What a joy!

I keep a “Writing Ideas” notebook for inspirations, many of them gathered weekly from your posts. This week I wrote an “In One Word” poem inspired by April Halprin Wayland at TeachingAuthors.com on this August 13, 2021 post. Follow this post for April’s full directions for the “In One Word” poem.

Monday’s Dictionary.com word of the day was testudinate, so I chose to use that one word because it brought to mind the noble Galapagos tortoise with its familiar carapace. More reasons: they are one of my favorite animals, I recently learned galápago is Spanish for tortoise, and I had never seen the word testudinate before.

I used Wordmaker and wrote a list of words that interested me, which was easy to do from the 497 that were found. My poem has about 35 words derived from the letters in testudinate. I love word puzzles and poetry, so when the two intertwine, I’m doubly happy. (I realize I used daunt as a noun in my poem, one of the problems in limiting your word choice!)

Image by Parker_West from Pixabay

Attitudes of Testudinate

When God teased
animals out of dust,
the dust was sent
with extra attitude
into galápago, situated
and sainted
to be one imposing idea
nested in the sun and sand
near the sea.

Half ton of ease,
100+ years to tease adieus
and dine
or not, for they can hold their need
for food and water, the seed
of their last meal can sate
them a year. Their size not stunted
nor tainted
with daunt.

A prehistoric statue?
No, he is life united
a staid sedan
among animals. A titan
suited for us curious students
to attest
that this creation attends
to and attunes
our priorities, unstated
hurries and worries end.
Slowly, slowly the din
dims and we see.

Draft by Denise Krebs

Image by Raúl Blázquez Viedma from Pixabay

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Poetry Friday – When Faith is Tough

Today, I’ve had a friend on my mind today. Her daughter died in January of cancer, now she has the same kind of cancer. I wrote two poems today about faith in the dark times. I tried a Lai, inspired by Tricia, our host, who wrote one in celebration of Mary Lee last May. She shared the form details in her post, but I chose to write the b lines with three syllables in each.

The Light in the Dark
When the hoping ends
and our God-faith bends
What is right?

Will the Shepherd tend?
Will the breaks God mend?
Yes, all night

As our pathway wends
Dark our way attends
God is Light

And one based on Mark 4:35-41:

W.W.J.D.
What would Jesus do? the bracelet asks.
There were two things Jesus did that night 
two thousand years ago in a storm.
He slept peacefully on a pillow, and
after napping, he rebuked the wind.

Unlike his disciples,
who had just one thing to say:
“Teacher, don’t you care…?”

Lord, I want to grab my pillow and join you,
join you in resting and then rebuking.
Help me in my unbelief.

Tricia, at The Miss Rumphius Effect blog is rounding up Poetry Friday posts today. She has shared a beautiful poem about grief by Barbara Crooker, as she is grieving the loss of her own mother. Please visit her post here.

Poetry Friday – What’s Not on My Résumé

It’s Friday, getting later, and time for another LaMiPoFri post today. I just finished creating a slide for a podcast I’m doing tomorrow with Tim Cavey @TeachersonFire, and it reminded me of a post Karen did back in July: “Things You, Karen, Didn’t Put on Your Résumé­”­­

This is my first year not starting out teaching full time. I’m feeling a bit lost, as the children are coming back to school on Sunday. I won’t be there, but I’m still a teacher.

Anyway, I wondered if there were things that I didn’t add to this slide, things I’ve never put on my résumé, that I could write about today. I used Karen’s poem as a mentor text.

Things You, Denise, Didn’t Put on Your Résumé­­­
­­­–that you were an aunt at the age of seven, and you have had a fierce love for all children ever since
–that you traveled from southern California to Alaska and back for six weeks on a few hundred dollars and the hospitality of a lot of friends
–that you love to read maps and have noted that the port wine birthmark over your left eye is shaped like Australia
–that you are a lover of fresh fruits and you never tire of shopping for, squeezing, sniffing, and eating fruits from around the world
–that you are a recovering collector, and you are having modest success at dismantling the lie that more is always better
–that you enjoy reading, writing and listening so much more than speaking
–that you can brew a delicious karak tea, bake exceptional chocolate chip cookies, and juggle leftovers to avoid waste
–that after all these years, you still respond in situations how you think others want you to instead of taking the risk to be honest
–and, of course, that you are beloved, a walking mercy, and you are thankful every day for the gifts given to you

Today’s Poetry Friday post is hosted by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. Head on over and learn more about Poetry Friday and all the participants this week.

 

 

 

Poetry Friday – This is What the Jasmine Flower Knows

Today is Poetry Friday, hosted by Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections. Elisabeth wrote a poem about what the marmot knows. Check out the other posts on her blog and see what other Poetry Friday poets are up to. Many are following the prompt inspired by Jane Yolen’s “What the Bear Knows.” Read more here on Mary Lee Hahn’s blog post.

This week I helped plan a surprise Zoom party for my dear friend and ministry partner. One stop I made was for her favorite flowers. I went to a little shop just outside the Hindu temple and purchased a string of jasmine flowers. The shop keeper, Raj, gave me a snip for my hair. (In my thin hair, it didn’t stay very long, but I do keep it nearby enjoying the scent as a work.)

Today we had the surprise Zoom party with friends and her family members, some in India and some here in Bahrain. I wrote my poem for my friend.

Ode to My Friend Vinolia,
Who Has Learned to Live Life Well
From What the Jasmine Flower Knows
To light up the room with love
And spread gentle perfume of
This gift of God, beautiful and pure,
Strong and full, savoring to cure
This is what the jasmine knows
Comfort of sopping up your tears of prayer
Later the warm caress of hugging your hair
as you hold the gaze of your mum and dad,
adult sons on life’s launching pad,
husband and daughter by your side–
The shepherding Way as your forever guide.
This is what Jasmine knows this year,
as your milestone birthday appears.

 

 

Riddle Poems for Poetry Friday

Thank you, Carol, for hosting Poetry Friday today with this lovely post at her site, The Apples in My Orchard.

I almost didn’t get anything written, but then I saw Margaret’s LaMiPoFri post. I hadn’t heard the term “Last Minute Poetry Friday” before–coined by Kat Apel in this sweet post. Now, here I am, Friday evening, needing just such a concept. I had nothing except a conversation with my husband this morning over tea/coffee. So, in honor of LaMiPoFri, I decided to write a poem about that conversation.

Yesterday in an email from Dictionary.com, the subject line read: What 3-Letter Word Has Over 600 Senses? It led to an interesting article for language lovers that identified “thirteen weird and wondrous facts about English.” My husband and I brainstormed some of the uses of the said word. I remembered the following poem I wrote in April where the title was important to the poem, but I saved it for the end of the poem to read afterwards. Try it…

Put it on the table
A staging of a fable

Donkey deity in the desert
Matching pants and shirt

Pieces in a collection
Go in that direction

Arrange the type for print
Vinegar will keep the tint

Pick it up and make it right
A string of LED lights

Hunting dog points
Relocate bones and joints

Concrete gets hard
Groups that score in cards

Earth’s star sleeps
That camera pose keep

Part of a tennis match
A whole cohesive batch

Start a campfire
A car’s new tires

Get ready and into the blocks
All the tools in your box

Your heart yearns for that
A suit with a matching hat

Pieces played in the band
Moving the clock’s hands

Direction of the wind
Rows of teeth above your chin

Choose a wedding date
Fix the value at a rate

We could go on for days and days
There are four-hundred, thirty ways

To use my little title word
Three letters–how absurd!

Double click or highlight the title after the colon: Set

Here is another riddle poem.  The title is at the end…

What Word Am I?

To the right and left,
Around and through,
To and from, in and out,
Up and down, forward and back,
How many ways to unpack
Just three little letters?

  • Depleted supply
  • Will surely pass by
  • Working mousetrap
  • Water at the tap
  • Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, tees
  • A prisoner flees
  • Crash into a pole
  • Health in the hole
  • Gallop and lope
  • A candidate’s hope
  • Duration of a show
  • Lies of a beau
  • Sequence of cards
  • A narrow dog yard
  • Blood veins flowing
  • Rich to poor going
  • Do a quick task
  • Tip over the flask
  • Cheap shirt’s dye weeps
  • The friends you keep
  • Manage a shop
  • Reboot the laptop
  • Drip from your nose
  • Ruined panty hose
  • Unraveling sock
  • Faster than a walk

They say there are 600 ways–
But I’m running out of plays.
What is my poem about?
Just a little word that shouts!
But 600 ways? I doubt!

Double click or highlight the title after the colon: Run

Here is the interesting article I read. I saved it for down here, so you could try my riddle before looking at the article: “Say What? 13 Weird, Wondrous Facts About English

Poetry Friday – Mary Oliver

Today is Poetry Friday. Thank you to Christie Wyman for hosting us today at her Wondering and Wandering blog. Be sure to read the community poem she compiled called “Poetry Is…”

This week I’ve been reading Mary Oliver.

I’m finding that poets are among those I want to keep company with. You, Poetry Friday friends, “who say, ‘Look!’ and laugh in astonishment and bow your heads.” Thank you for helping me see the wonder.

I love that poem, “Mysteries, Yes” by Mary Oliver in her book Evidence (2009). This week, I read her collection, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver.

I’m not two weeks late for the #theSealyChallenge to read a poetry book a day in August. I didn’t even try to do the challenge. However, Margaret Simon has been inspiring me this month, so I thought I would read at least a couple of poetry books in August. I have 3-4 that idly and open-heartedly wait for me on my Kindle. This week it was Mary Oliver. Her collection is filled with beautiful hope, faith, love and nature. What could be better?

I went through my notes and wrote out some of the highlighted lines in my favorite poems. (I didn’t get very far into my favorite lines because of the sheer volume of them). I chose about twenty, cut them apart, and then arranged them in order until I was pleased. The results are a cento poem exclusively made with Mary Oliver’s words.

A Cento of Gratitude for Mary Oliver

Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then love the world.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving

Is this the place?
What would do for you?
And have you changed your life?

You have a life–just imagine that.
That the gift has been given–
Yes, yes, we are the lucky ones

to dance for the world,
all that glorious, temporary stuff
of this gritty earth gift.

You don’t hear such voices in an hour a day
Sometimes I want to sum up and give thanks,
and so, no doubt, can you, and you.


Sources for each line (in order)

      1. Don’t Hesitate
      2. To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
      3. To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
      4. I Wake Close to Morning
      5. Evidence
      6. Swan
      7. To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
      8. The Gift (from Felicity, 2014)
      9. I Know Someone
      10. Prayer
      11. On Meditating, Sort Of
      12. To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
      13. At the River Clarion
      14. That Little Beast
      15. The Poet Compares Human Nature to the Ocean From Which We Came

Oliver, Mary. Devotions. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.