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

This Week in DFABW – Slice of Life

13 September 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Life
After Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Life is an open question,
the way to learn anything new
unbreakable, unshakable support
from allies who help us belong
our hearts stay open
that’s the key

I got this
we got this
now we hope
all travelers are welcome
on this courageous quest

I neglected to read Dictionary for a Better World this week, but I spent some time this morning reading the six pages I missed last week. The poem above was put together by quotes (in italics) from Irene Latham and Charles Waters on the pages about Ally, Courage, Open, Hope, Belonging, and Question.

Here’s the latest on my kitchen. This side is almost finished. We worked on the pantry doors today, on the near left of the photo. (We have to wait for the new counter on the sink side.)

 


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. This week’s words were Ally, Courage, Open, Hope, Belonging, and Question. 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.

5 & 6 DFABW – Humility and Empathy – Slice of Life

6 September 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Lately I’m working with my sister every day. We are making some changes to our cabin in the desert. A pass-through window into the kitchen with a breakfast bar, a tile floor and, in process right now: a new pantry and cabinet to extend our kitchen. It has been so interesting to work so closely with her in brand new areas. My sister is a builder, and I’m enjoying learning so much from her, as her assistant. Of course, my husband is part of the process too. Tools have always been his department, but now I’m learning the names of all of them and even how to use power tools–a variety of saws, belt sander, and drill.

My husband and I are both finding and exercising new strengths in this adventure. Some of my husband’s many strengths: Muscles–when something big or heavy needs lifting, he is there. Shopping–when we discover something missing, he makes yet another trip to Home Depot. Nurturing and caring–He keeps my sister filled with his own version of a frappuccino and both of us with ice tea, sparkling water, and other delicious hydration methods. He fixes lunch (yesterday: Impossible burgers and corn on the cob) and dinner (yesterday: tostadas).  He seems to always know when we need a break for homemade soft serve chocolate-peanut butter-banana ice cream. Availability–whenever and whatever we ask for, he comes and helps. Often he creates a new way, breaks the too-tight bolt, finds the right tool, etc.

These words are a sweet guide in this new work I find myself in–humility, empathy, and curiosity. Here is a found poem from an article I read today:

The Beautiful Triad
A found poem

Humility is the soil of knowledge.
I don’t know.
Humility is the soul.

Curiosity is the water that helps it grow.
I want to know.
Curiosity is the mind.

Empathy is the sunlight that shows us which way to bend.
I know how you feel.
Empathy is the heart.

Source: The Beautiful Triad — Curiosity, Humility, and Empathy


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. Yesterday’s word was Humility. Today’s word is Empathy. 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.

30 DFABW – Compassion and a Slice of Remodeling Life

30 August 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Each day I enjoy reading just a page or two in Dictionary for a Better World. Today’s word was Compassion. When I read the page and saw Irene’s tender poem about two young girls’ compassion for their sick mother, I was touched. Here is a picture of the beautiful poem and artwork.

Today’s word reminded me of a text message I got yesterday that I had ignored last night. It was from Sandy Hook Promise. They were asking me to donate again to help them reach their back-to-school fundraising goal. This morning, after reading Irene’s poem, I thought about parents who have lost children to gun violence, and I had a renewed commitment to at least donate to this fundraising drive.

On the remodeling front:

August 12 – Before
August 30 – Today! Not finished, but on the way!

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 Compassion. 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.

Tuesday & Wednesday 23 & 24 August – Open Write

23 August 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today’s poetry prompt came from Ann Burg at Ethical ELA. It’s called “Poems of Perspective,” and you can read all the details here. Here is my poem of perspective based on our remodeling activities:

Hang on to Me

You call me your favorite tool.
I don’t believe it–
you can’t keep track of me.
I have no legs, so I’m not going
anywhere you didn’t put me.
Most important tool, you say?
Yeah, right! You say, but
I find myself in
every nook and cranny,
every crook and nanny,
places you’re not likely to find me.
Never where you need me.
How about getting some
bigger pockets?

Sincerely,
Your tape measure

Of course, here I am by the coffee
Down here, right where you left me
Oh, yes, you left me on top of the ladder too
Here, on what used to be your desk

Here’s an update on this week’s projects. The electrician has been here, and the wires in the window are not hanging down any longer.

 

Our window to the kitchen is coming along!

Wednesday’s poetry prompt was by Scott McCloskey called “Today Years Old.”

The hour is late and
I haven’t learned much in a
month of Sundays, but
today I may have learned that
you can hammer one nail
53 times before it goes in.

16 DFABW – Laughter and a Slice of Life

16 August 2022 from TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today’s word is laughter. In Dictionary for a Better World, the laughter page has a sweet nonsense poem about a hippopotamus.

The nonsense limerick I wrote today is filled with jabberwocky, and it’s about a chiskly:

There once was a chiskly named Brox
who metted when he snit his regox.
With kepkug and koof
then taptug and toof
He just prates to go to the quox.

I hope you smiled, at least, on this National Tell a Joke Day.

In another slice of my life, we are beginning a do-it-yourself kitchen remodeling, or perhaps I should say a “kitchen opening up”. Fortunately, I have a sister who is helping with the impossible parts that we would never be able to do. We are getting pretty good at dismantling, though:

How we started
How it’s going (that is a new fridge, since ours went out this week)

This monsoon season has been fairly wet in the desert. I’m just sitting on the back porch enjoying hearing the rain hit this metal roof on the carport. I love that sound:

Then I had to move to the front because I was getting too wet…

Now I’ve finally come in the house for a while because it is even getting the porches wet. This is the most rain we’ve had all summer. It is so lovely and refreshing. I hope you are having a good summer day (without flash floods, that is).


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 Laughter. 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.

I Have a New Grandson

TwoWritingTeachers.org for 26 July 2022

They Covid-dodged for two and a half years,
and waited for vaccines before getting pregnant.
They vaccinated, remained cautious,
but somehow Dad contracted Covid
the day before Mom’s water broke.
I was the second-string support person
ready and on-call at 2:00 a.m.
I drove my daughter to the hospital,
where our room was designated a Covid
isolation room. Of course, we thought
we were fated to get it too, since we were altogether
several times before we knew he was infected.

After 36 hours of making labor a career,
my daughter dilated enough to start pushing.
I was juggling my duties as cheerleader,
Zoom meeting computer holder for Dad,
and chief (actually, only) photographer…
all at the same time.

But when that sweet baby boy,
firstborn of my firstborn,
and my very first grandchild,
entered the room, I stopped in awe.
Just like that, a whole other person
came into the world,
a new personality, I knew our lives
would be forever enhanced
having known him.

Because it was an isolation room,
I wasn’t able to leave (or if I did, I wouldn’t
be allowed to return). However, we didn’t figure out
that directive until I had gone out and come back in
with a celebratory McDonald’s meal.

We stayed in the hospital for two more nights
with the baby because he had jaundice.
His dad came to the hospital and met his son
through the window. It was a bittersweet honor
for me to get to spend so much time
with my daughter and their baby in those first days.
Who cares that I wore the same clothes from Tuesday 2 a.m. until
Friday at 7 p.m.? At least I had packed a toothbrush.

Maria tested negative for Covid a couple more times,
and we kept our fingers crossed.
After we got home, Dad kept isolating.
We would bring meals to his room.

When the baby was four days old, I took Maria
to the hospital to rule out high blood pressure
because of her bad headache.
While we were there, they said her BP
was fine, but we needed to do
a Covid test because headache was a common symptom
of the new variant. We sat in the exam room,
wondering, knowing it was still very possible.

Praise God, the test was negative, as our future tests
continued to be. We managed to avoid it again.
This sweet baby’s dad got to join him in just a few days,
a wonderful encounter of joy and awe.

Now, he is healthy and growing and over a month old!

Our sweet little jaundiced baby talking to me while we waited for his mom’s Covid test results.

Slice of Life Travels

26 April 2022 Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

In the last week I’ve traveled through nine states. California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota. Here’s my route:

We weren’t on a tour of the beauty of our country as we were on transporting ourselves across the country, but here are a few photos I’ve taken along the way.

California Desert
Utah Desert
Dinner in the park in Beaver, Utah
Beaver, Utah (I wish every park had a Musical Park)

What adults asked “Generation V”
if it was ok if they invented
something so deadly for them?

After two hot and humid days and a bit of green growth, we then had snow in Iowa. Will the tulips make it for the tulip festival in three weeks?