Poetry Friday – Mini Sealey Challenge and Secrets

Today is Poetry Friday, and Mary Lee Hahn has the roundup with a GoGo’s song, Nancy Kuhl, Sandra Cisneros, secrets and more.


I have enjoyed taking part in The Stafford Challenge, writing a poem a day. A nice benefit of this challenge is I have been reading more poetry as well. This week it felt a little like August, as if I was in my own Mini Sealey Challenge. I’ve read William Stafford (reading a poem or two a day), Ada Limón, Margaret Gibson Simon, and Karah-Jo Procak, a young adult woman who pours her heart out in this, her first book.

Have you read the poem “Sacred Objects” by Ada Limon? Here is a video of her reading this powerful poem. I chose this one today because I love it, and, also in honor of the Inklings, for the phrase “in this secret shadowed place.”

Secret
In holds of shame,
this is true, an unshared
secret binds a heart,
shadowed and pinched in a
place of cruel captivity.


Has reading more poetry helped my writing? I definitely get ideas; that’s good. I hope I will learn to write better poetry during this year-long experiment writing a daily poem, but I’m not counting on it. I’ll keep writing nonetheless, like Stafford said, “Lower your standards and keep writing.”

Poetry Friday – Cherish

Today is Poetry Friday. Robyn has a delightful post about my favorite beverage, TEA.

Cherish is my word of the year. I just spent a week with my daughter and grandson at our home, cherishing every moment because they seem all too few.

Milo and I were playing a game in the picture above. Every time he slapped my Cherish rock, I would say “Bwue.” When he tapped my husband’s Explore rock, I would say, “Gumbo.” He composed little rhythms, like “Bwue, bwue, bwue, gumbo, bwue, gumbo, bwue, gumbo, bwue, bwue, bwue…” It was a favorite game of the week.

We had fun climbing rocks in Joshua Tree National Park.

And wearing hats and a million other things, as he had fun with everything he came across. I was exhausted when they left, but I was satisfied that I truly cherished each moment I had with him.

Ethical ELA’s Open Write begins tomorrow. Check out the prompts Saturday through Wednesday this week!

Friday is the third day of The Stafford Challenge. It was founded by Brian Rohr, storyteller and poet. We will write a poem a day, inspired by William Stafford, who had a daily poem-writing practice for decades. (One of Stafford’s famous poems is “Traveling through the Dark.”) The Challenge started on Wednesday, January 17, the anniversary of Stafford’s birth. Last evening in a Zoom meeting, his son, Kim Stafford, inspired us to have a daily writing challenge that includes four things: the date, a diary (boring prose of the day), an aphorism, and a poem. I’m going to give it a try this year focusing on my local environment. Here’s Thursday’s poem.

Lovely desert holds life, like this
little hedgehog cactus that counts its
blessings, holding onto hope in the
whispering cleft of boulders. Ready
to grow, even when soil is sparse.
Life calls to life,
that it won’t be stopped. Like the cactus
You are beauty and promise, and you
won’t be sorry if you
give it your all in living fully. Drink
up your fill of grace this fine day.


A Golden Shovel poem from Jeannette Encinias’ “Begin Again” that was sent in her email today. “Lovely little blessings. Whispering to life that you won’t give up.” 

Writing this poem also reminded me of the poem Kat Apel wrote for me a couple summers ago. Read “How to Be a Cactus” here.