Back To National POETRY MONTH

Last year, when I made this with the help of an AI model, I called it “St. Martha Tames the Dragon.” Today, I am calling it: “St Martha Re-Wilds the Dragon.”

I have been away from the blog for a time. I am practicing living shamelessly, so this is a recognition of the hiatus and not a confession of neglect. I have missed this space. Somehow, the shift in my life has meant I don’t head here as often to voice my thoughts and ideas. I have been settling for the immediacy of conversation and Facebook, both of which are satisfying, but which don’t leave a record in the way that the blog does.

Today was a hard day, remembering how my world began to crumble this day last year, remembering how naive I was to think that someone with more power and say-so would help me to navigate the waters of a focused stalking and attack, to protect me. I’ve been on the edge of panic a couple times today. Small things, like worrying I had made a calendar mistake for the family–an oh-shucks moment became an I’ve-let-everybody-down moment. I’m pretty good at talking my brain out of those panic holes, and I’ve become good at focused breathing to get my body out of the fight/flight/freeze moments. Still, I’ll be glad to get through the visceral memories into calmer space.

On the other hand, today was a really pleasant day: My students bring me joy, the weather was great, I managed to do some excellent planning work for a couple things I am responsible for in the next couple of days, supper was delicious, I picked up my kid at track on time, I wrote a poem I am proud of. When I told a friend how on this day last year I was suddenly outed as a tarot reader in the Christian school where I taught, shamed and interrogated, and eventually forced to resign, she asked me to read a card for her, and afterward sweetly wished me a happy anniversary–turned it upside-down. And, a colleague offered some wonderful professional development tips on how to help scaffold and support anxious students to do the hard things instead of excusing them from doing the hard things–more strategies for my inner work as well.

All this to say, we CAN do hard and scary things. And it’s going to look different for everyone. A beloved of mine sent me a little cartoon yesterday of a person in a fetal position, hugging a pillow. It said, “Sometimes this is what resilience looks like.” I opened up the text right as I woke up from a nap, so it fit.

Great, great gratitude to all my beloveds who walked the hard road with me. You’ve modeled how to be Present to someone in grief and anxiety and rage. We are all, as Ram Dass says, walking each other home.

So it’s day 5 of National Poetry Month. Although I have not yet posted here, I have been writing a poem a day. Emily Dickinson wrote, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” a week or so ago, I read my first batch of CAConrad poems, and I knew exactly what she meant. It was like a total revelation. CAConrad makes poems that are sculptures on the page, and I have begun playing with making my poems more sculptural, not with the physical-representation of a typical concrete poem, but with a sense of abstract structure. Some of these are attempts at poetic sculptures.

2 thoughts on “Back To National POETRY MONTH

  1. Oh Beth…I did not know that you walked that journey last year and faced it so valiantly. I am glad that you are on the other side of that history.
    Without knowing any of this I’ve been re energized with my poetry and have had several Tarot experiences after years of distractions. I may send you some of my recent efforts once I’ve done some revising. I’m certainly in the last quarter century of my life and it’s still good to be alive and able to reflect. Much fondness Reni


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