Poetry Friday – A Sacred Seven and Poetry Opps

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned contributor to Poetry Friday, Welcome!

We are a community of poets, writers, teachers, librarians, students, mothers, fathers, grandparents, lovers of literature, friends. We live around the country and around the world. Some of us know one another in person; others are connected via technology.

Every Friday (and Thursdays for some!) we share poetry. Please join us! If you have poetry to share, you can add your blog link at the bottom of this post. Leave a comment and then enjoy the wealth and richness of poetry offered this week at each of the links included.


That was the beautiful introduction Patricia Franz wrote a few weeks ago. I liked it so much, I asked her if I could use it today since I’m hosting. She graciously said yes, so here we are. WELCOME!

This week I learned a new form: the sacred seven. (I wonder if the name may have been inspired by a line in “Brahma” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.)

A Sacred Seven Poem
by Denise Krebs
inspired by Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese

My place in this world is given home and rest
as Mary Oliver declares my soft body in our
world, my body, myself, is safe here. No matter
that I may at times feel regret for the sad
consolation prize I won in being less than
on target in love and longing. Mighty hope
is found in this family of wild geese and me.

I learned about this form, called the sacred seven, in the Look Deeper Contest at the Florida State Poets Association that Jan shared last week. – In the sacred seven, “Starting at the left margin, take 7 lines from a poem you admire (not your own) and use the first letter in each line, in order, to begin each line in your poem about why you admire the other poem. Give credit to the other author.” I used the first letters of the last seven lines of “Wild Geese” to start each line of my poem. It’s funny how such a small constraint in a form (a prescribed beginning letter) can lead me places I would never have gone on my own: “regret for the sad / consolation prize” Hmmm…

Speaking of poetry contests, I looked up the California State Poetry Society contests and learned they have an annual and monthly contests. You do have two more weeks to submit a poem to the annual contest should you be interested. I wonder what contests are going on with poetry societies in your state/country?

This weekend I’m so busy with poetry and family times. The Poetry Marathon is on Saturday–Wish me luck! (Who’s joining me?)

The June OpenWrite begins on Saturday too. Do join us! Learn more here. There will be prompts and a writing community there to support you each day for the next five days. Margaret Simon will be hosting us on Sunday.

Finally, please leave your link in a comment below. I will round them up the old-fashioned way. Thanks!

Jama’s shares two Barbara Crooker poems and signing off for a summer blog break.

Karen Edmisten, in her powerful relationship poetry series, shares a lovely poem by January Gill O’Neil about being in the company of women.

Jane shares a very catchy and fun song that she and her child both learned in preschool. Have you heard it?

Marcie won an award! She is also spending the summer with Naomi Shihab Nye.

Tabatha shares an intriguing poem, “Death of an Irishwoman” by Michael Hartnett, as well as a sweet reminder that we don’t have to be good at things to do them.

Michelle has two poems, one is about flowers for fathers we hold dear and another about monarchs and their beloved milkweed. Complete with beautiful artwork.

Linda B. has some great stories about the fathers in her life, past and present. She’s such a good storyteller.

Kat got out her good camera, and she caught some magical small moments. She’s added sweet poems, just for us.

Sally and Matilda wrote a poem together. What a joyous time when one remembers to stop and listen. Be sure to watch Sally’s beautiful road trip video.

Amy had quite the experience this week, an experience she captured in a poem to remember. Also so many delicious third grade color poems!

Irene stepped back into early spring with a joyful quilt poem. And don’t miss this excellent reading list.

Matt has a wealth here, among them, a catalog of reading lists, a poem and song to encourage you to try something, and an opportunity for you to claim by the end of August if you want him to come for a classroom visit.

Patricia and time for dancing at the fourth wedding, preparation of the fifth wedding, and a new sugar maple seedling.

Jone snapped a gorgeous photo in a garden that takes me into our whole universe of connections.

Ramona shares a delightful children’s book full of all sorts of ways to start a poem.

Karen Eastland wrote a sweet limerick about her dastardly (though darling) garden visitors.

Carol L. had an early Father’s Day visit with her dad and a winner in a drawing for a copy of Picture Perfect Poetry, along with a sweet dragonfly haiku.

Carol V. has a lovely book review of Bless The Earth and a call to have Earth Day every day!

Poetry Friday – Clunker Exchange Poem “Unchained”

It’s Poetry Friday, and Patricia at Reverie is hosting. She has a sweet poem about one of the sugar pine seedlings she planted in the forest. Thank you, Patricia, for your lovely invitation to new and old Poetry Friday people.  

Here is my clunker poem, thanks to Linda. As soon as I saw her list of clunkers, this line jumped out at me: “only sure of light pushing her brush.” I thought of this painting my mom made when I was in college. It has always held mysteries and some answers for me about my mom and dad’s relationship. She did tell me the dark square represented my dad’s death. (He died when I was seven.)

Unchained

She was unsure
before her partner
of the double chain broke
She didn’t put the darkness
into many words
only into paint
only into life and love
only sure of light pushing her brush
ever upwards

And here’s a golden shovel with the favorite part of Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” poem I shared on Jone’s blog last week:

I am here today and I
don’t know when I will go.
Know this: I am
exactly in the time and place of
what is graced in
a full and favorable life. A
prayer is what I give, a prayer
is an upward awe-gaze.
I am here today to rest and
do nothing better than to
know, really know, God is
how I have peace
to live the days left, to
pay homage in rapt
attention.

Sibling poems, one line, more or less (continued).

The Poetry Marathon is coming up! Write a poem an hour for 12 or 24 hours. It starts Saturday morning, June 15. Sign up here.

Finally, have you heard of Jessica Jacobs and Peter Metres? They each published a book of poetry with almost the same cover. When they learned of the other’s book cover, they started a conversation and realized they and their books had a lot more in common than just their covers. I’ve ordered both of their books after reading and watching their conversations.

Poetry Friday – Evidence and Morning Glories with Mary Oliver

Today is Poetry Friday, and our host is Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities. She has a successful first reverso poem to share! 

My husband has been reading Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. In this book, Keith is finding much truth about his second half of life. Rohr claims: “Poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Denise Levertov, Naomi Shihab Nye, Rainer Maria Rilke, and T.S. Eliot now name your own inner experience…” My husband jumped right in, especially to Mary Oliver, and he has been devouring her collection Devotions. This morning I woke up to have him right away share the poem “Evidence” with me. Here’s just the very beginning:

Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the same town as the lilies of the field, and the still waters.

I couldn’t find the poem “Evidence” online, but it is in the book Evidence and in her Devotions collection.

It’s been very rewarding to read poetry about the second half of life with my love.

Here’s another Mary Oliver poem, and a response poem by me.

Morning Glories

Blue and dark blue
     rose and deepest rose
          white and pink they

are everywhere in the diligent
     cornfield rising and swaying
          in their reliable

finery in the little
     fling of their bodies their
           gear and tackle

Read the rest of her poem here

 

Desert Weeds
A Golden Shovelish Poem after “Morning Glories”
Draft by Denise Krebs

After Hilary came 
     through with four inches of 
          summer rain, weeds

have been popping up
     around here, but
          they are weeds without

a season, short-lived– 
     for the days will grow shorter 
          and cooler, but they add value

to this desert of sand 
     and value to my vision–
          eyefuls of glorious humorous

green to surprise us 
     in the heat of summer 
          bridges of the beautiful

will we ever take the  
     lessons and learn from 
          our friends the weeds 


Striking line is taken from the last two lines of Oliver’s “Morning Glories” poem: “weeds without value humorous / beautiful weeds”

April 2023 – Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject

I’m participating in the Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject. You can find links to climate poetry prompts from your favorite children’s authors, poets, and Poetry Friday bloggers right here. 🡠

Today, we’re going to write an invitation poem about something in nature.

Here is an invitation that Mary Oliver wrote asking her readers to take time to enjoy the goldfinches:

“Invitation” by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

Read the rest of Mary’s poem here.

Choose something in nature. It can be outside (a favorite tree, an insect, an animal) or inside (a plant, a spider, a fly, a pet). Take a moment to really see it and be grateful for it. Then we’ll use part of Mary Oliver’s poem to get us started.

My poem

“The Ants”

Oh do you have time out of your busy and very important day
for the ants, the black ants in their colony
that have come up foraging for food
in a dart-dashing, run-rushing hurry

 

Your turn – You can copy the following and finish your poem:

Oh do you have time out of your busy and very important day
for the
that have
in

 

If you’re doing the #ClimatePoemProject with a group, be sure to share or post your rough draft, read other people’s poems, and cheer for their efforts. Or leave your poem here, in the comments.

Denise Krebs is an educator and writer who lives in the Mojave Desert in California, where she enjoys ants, quail, road runners, rabbits and squirrels in her yard. She has written poems with students from Kindergarten through adults. She is also the co-author of The Genius Hour Guidebook. She likes to hike, crochet, read, cook, bake, write, and play with her grandson.

 

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 – 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.

October Open Write with Ethical ELA

Ways of Looking with Susan Ahlbrand

Seven Ways of Looking at Time

I
When it began

My childhood prayer
growing up in a
“Thief in the Night” church:
Jesus, please don’t return
until I grow up and
get to have my own family.

II
When it’s focused

Softball practice in the park,
softball games every Saturday
and one evening a week,
playing catch in the street until even
the streetlights didn’t make it
safe enough to continue.
Ironing, (yes ironing!) my
Bobby Sox Softball uniform,
getting it ready for tomorrow.
Begging someone to play catch again.

III
When it’s squandered

We never found the time
to sit together regularly and
talk about faith and life
and the Bible
like we always planned to.
What happened?
Now those high school years are gone.

IV
When it’s lingering

That falling asleep time being held in your arms
after we make love is the best sleep of all.

V
When it’s not enough

Saying goodbye to my Mom in 2010,
a brother in 2012, a sister
and sister-in-law in 2018. No
more “see you laters.”

VI
When it’s unsettled
Covid-19 in 2020, 2021? 2022?
What does the future hold?

VII
When it ends

Will I be ready?

Tritina with Susan Ahlbrand

Reading

Do I choose or am I chosen by reading?
Sometimes I am lifted out of myself, with a stab
To my heart. Unexpected riches that grieve.

Riches that turn into empathy as I grieve
The axe for the frozen sea within is my reading
As Kafka wisely said books are to stab

Not to make me happy, but to stab.
Books to affect me, allow me to deeply grieve
It is not for the faint of heart, this reading.

Quick pain of the stab and subsequent grief comes from reading.

Take a Word for a Walk with Anna J. Small Roseboro

Hope
Is Hope a winged bird perched
Or flying? Hope who owns nothing–
Makes room for joy, love, grace–
She’s able to soar, Hope filling
the heavens. God, please more Hope

Allusion with Anna J. Small Roseboro

Rights attacked
Racists backed

Covid fear
What a year

Vote them out
Make it a rout

Good Jesus
He sees us

Swamped boats fill
“Peace, be still”

Calms the storm
Hearts transform

True Jesus
He frees us…

“Don’t fear the deep
I’m not asleep”

Bodies in Motion with Sarah Donovan

Each of us scrambles to borrow a bicycle. Not that many years
Ago I would hop on my own bike and pedal to the start
Of the Go Pink ride. I am in a new time and place, though, so I
Borrow one.
Sorry, there’s only one gear that works, my friend tells me.
We ram the old broken thing in my van and drive it
Home.
It needs a new seat, says my husband. Ride it down
The street to the shop on the corner, and we’ll see if he has one.
 He
Walks along, I ride. The crank arm breaks
On the two-block ride.
Two, three or three-and-a-half for the saddle;
Five for the gear shifters, ten for the crank, five for the
Derailleur. Why not take
A new one? Only 45 BD, 
the shop keeper says.
OK, says my husband.
This one is foldable, good for the car, the little man says, as we
Wheel it out of the shop. Back home,
We put it in our car. I set my alarm for
4:00 a.m. The alarm goes off, I stumble and
Pull on my pink tee-shirt backwards, extra wide shoes to
Alleviate pain from Morton’s neuroma, eat a banana and drive
To the Cycling Bees shop. Bahrain
is flat, the trip is ten
Kilometers, the seat is wide and cushy, my borrowed helmet is too big. I
manage to finish, in all my out-of-shape glory, at the end of the pack.
Thoughts of coronavirus
Haunt me as we talk, sometimes too close–them without
Masks. This is the first bicycle ride of my
Sixties. I remember rides in my
Twenties a bit differently. I devour
Huge plates of pasta at the campsite in Half Moon Bay,
Gorge on ice cream in Monterey—so much more gratifying
to fuel up on a bicycle than in a
Fossil-fueled vehicle. We pedal up
Hills, race down, and try to avoid semis through Big Sur,
80 to 100 miles a day. We do it all
Again the next day.

That was fun! The Cycling Bees have another ride next
week, how about it? The route looks charming,
 my friend says.

Nah, I’m OK.