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 – 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.

 

 

 

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.

On Losing and 1/6

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host is Becky Herzog. She blogs at Sloth Reads. Thank you for hosting, Becky. Becky was the first to mention that today was going to be International Friendship Day, so I wrote the poem above. I also wrote a friendship villanelle and gave it to my dear friend for her birthday. She framed it and sent the picture below to me.

I wrote a different villanelle this week for the #PoetryPals challenge that Tanita described last month:

We’re writing villanelles on the topic of dichotomy – or, true opposites, if you will. Bifurcations. Incongruities. Paradoxes. Contradictions. We’re talking Luke/Darth (or is that a false dichotomy, and they’re two sides of the same coin??? Discuss), real or imagined, civilized v. savage, winter v. summer, function v. dysfunction. Interested? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering (or someone else’s) with the rest of us on July 30th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

But first have you taken the chance lately to read this classic villanelle about the art of losing, “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop:

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Continued here…

Here is my poem, about something I’ve been following breathlessly this week. I know that, though it is in its third century of experimentation, a republic is not a hard thing to lose. I’m praying we don’t lose it on our watch.

1/6

Commission underway–All facts, the prize
If left to some, our land may never know
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Afraid to learn who knew and helped devise
Perverse the plan to halt and overthrow
Commission underway–All facts, the prize

Bipartisan committee will reprise
This doubtful nation’s faith. Will Congress grow?
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Already testimony will advise
The Light of truth bears us out of shadows
Commission underway–All facts, the prize

Do leaders fear being duly scrutinized?
Our hope’s in newness — not the status quo
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Choosing to fight lies should not polarize
Awake to honor, revived faith bestowed
Commission underway–All facts, the prize
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

~Draft by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs)

Poetry Friday – A Striving Spanish Sonnet

It’s Friday! Time for Poetry Friday. Thank you to Kat Apel, who is hosting. You will be rewarded with goodness if you stop by and read her sweet snail and clever cat poems. She even started a new hashtag #petpicpoem. Alas, there are no pets in my house, but I may consider a snail pet.

This week I had to go back to last September’s Google Classroom archive and watch a first quarter sixth grade lesson at my school. I was doing research to see what pre-skills I need to include in my summer tutoring for a student going into grade 6 at our school next year. In the first and only lesson so far that I’ve watched, the students were writing a sonnet! There were my former fifth grade babies. Yikes! I know for a fact some of them were struggling quietly with that assignment, but as I looked around the Zoom room, I realized that many of them were also flourishing in this experience.

What was the hardest form I asked my students to write last year? I wondered. We wrote free verse, haikus, acrostics, metaphor poems, Fibonacci poems, and couplets. Some others too, but nothing as scary as a sonnet. I thought about my own sonnet experience. Can I even write a sonnet, I wondered? The last one I remember writing was in ninth grade. So, after watching that lesson, I wrote this sonnet. (If it even is! Haha! I didn’t even consider meter.)

Learning Spanish on Duolingo
Language learning is not easy
Duolingo helps me realize
Just how much my brain is breezy
True expression, my fancied prize
Even when I spend hours in study
I only make a pinch of progress
What’s missing is talking with a buddy
For now, Duo is the one I impress
I can buy a red dress: barato or caro
I can find a baño and get a table for dos
But could I help in one’s sorrow?
Would I ever speak to get close?
But like the tortoise, steady and slow,
I’ll build a foundation on which to grow

Today’s Poetry Friday host is Kathryn Apel at her blog, Thank you, Kat!

Poetry Friday – Caelestis Ars Poetica

This week I visited the website of teacher-poet-author Cristy Watson in British Columbia. On Wednesday I noticed she was busily writing comments on The Poetry Marathon site, so I stopped to read her bio. She is a poet and an author of hi-lo books for reluctant readers and English language learners — books I never get enough of in my context. I went to her blog to read more. She also likes poetry contests. The annual “2-Day Poem Contest” was one she entered in April. It’s one poem in two days using 10 assigned words.

I decided to try this poem challenge for fun because Poetry Friday was coming. The words for 2021’s contest were: palm, embank, sheer, wrest, lacuna, whizzed, runny, mustard, balter, and nubivagant. After spending some time with the dictionary, I decided to write an ars poetica (the art of poetry) poem. I used this poem by A. MacLeish for inspiration:

Ars Poetica

By Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,
continue reading…

Caelestis Ars Poetica

By Denise Krebs
After Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be still
with sheer force, until
that lacuna of hope
is filled within a frenzied soul.

A poem should embank the heart
with love and joy to impart,
to wrest the indignant and bitter
from the toxic tank of hate.

A poem should be a seed–
a mustard seed of faith to plead–
held in a child’s palm,
so easy to lose,
but so much to gain.

A poem should be slow and steady.
Not whizzed through like a tempest
taking out a swamped ship–
Instead a calm, nubivagant journey,
a shelter from the stormy blast.

A poem should be license to balter,
open, unchecked, dancing at the altar.
Dulcet and dauntless,
liberating to Wholeness.

A poem should be free-flowing,
without fear of knowing,
Molten, melted and runny
in all the right places.

A poem should just be
and let the heavens decide.

 


 

Allusions and Inspirations:
Stanza 1 – Mark 5:1-20
Stanza 2 – Acts 9:1-19
Stanza 3 – Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 18:5-7
Stanza 4 – Mark 4:35-41; “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”
Stanza 5 – 2 Samuel 6:14-16
Stanza 6 – Luke 10:38-42

Thank you, Margaret Simon, our host for today’s Poetry Friday at Reflections on the Teche.