NPM Day Eight: Introductions

National Poetry Month: Day Eight–Introductions

Here’s another prompt inspired by a Facebook game. Look up the meanings of your names, and introduce yourself formally, using the meanings, as a poem. Don’t like your name or its meaning? Make up something grand sounding. Give yourself a new name. Create a whole identity. Begin “I am. . .”

Loosely working with the definitions of my names,

I am the Oath of the Holy One,
I am the Graceful Eagle,
I am the Creator of Tapestries,
I am the One Who Clear the Land for Farming.

1. Driving down Ducktown, into the open, suddenly there is a sea of pink blossoms as Flinchbaugh’s Orchards spread out in front of you.
2. Across the road from the orchards, several frilly weeping cherries twirl their dresses in the wind.
3. At the bottom of Ducktown, a row of flaming forsythia sets the tree row aflame.
4. Turn right onto Lincoln Highway and a grand magnolia is beginning to explode into bloom.
5. Turn left onto Burg’s Lane, and a tapestry of richly saturated purple dead nettle calls for your attention.

May we walk in Color!

“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.” —Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” ―Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” ―JRR Tolkien

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.” ―June Jordan

“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ―Albert Einstein

“We are all the leaves of one tree.
We are all the waves of one sea.” ―Thich Nhat Hanh

“It is respectable to have no illusions―and safe―and profitable and dull.” ―Joseph Conrad

“I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ―Rainer Maria Rilke

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether they are worthy.” —Thomas Merton

Poem a Day: 3

Today’s two prompts were Blossoms and Follow ______.

I’m not really happy with this one. I got caught on the hook of the rhythm and I couldn’t tear myself loose, so I followed the trail. I followed the blossoms, I guess.

Follow the Blossoms
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Step, Golden Child, onto the pathway:
follow the blossoms strewn on the pebbles.
Pink-flowering trees and golden-bloomed bushes
line the trail that calls you to wander.

Follow the blossoms wherever they lead you.
Heed only the call of aroma and color
as your feet take the rocky trail into the wild-lands,
away from the village, away from the hearth-fires.

The stories will tell of your innocent spirit,
naive, how you trusted the universe,
never believing that anything
out in the wildwood could harm you.

But you, like the Fool, have kept your eyes open.
You know of the risks, you know of the shadows,
but something else calls you to step beyond boundaries
out to the wildwood, where dangers await you.

Ahead of you, waiting around every bend in the pathway,
are challengers, riddles and questions to answer,
witches to work for and riders to follow.
Now you will have come to the edge of your trial.

Step, Golden Child, into the clearing.
Now you are nearing the challenge you came for.
This is the moment you’ve trained your whole life for,
to follow the blossoms to where they may lead you.

Trying for a Thomas Poem

My father took this photo of me on Rusinga Island when I was five. A couple years ago, I wanted to take a picture of it for a project I was working on, but I couldn’t get past the crazy reflections that kept occurring. Then I realized I could use the reflections and put myself, 41 years later, into the photo.  (This is the same trip where my brother found an interesting stone on the beach and took it for his collection.  Forty-some years later, as he was reading about the tools of early hominids, a photo of a particular stone caught his eye and he remembered his Rusinga stone, which he had, still stashed away.  He knew how to make the right contacts, and his stone now resides in the Smithsonian Museum, a verified example of one of the earliest hominid tools to be found.)

Today is Easter 2, the day when we look at Thomas, who has come to us down the centuries as Doubter.  Something in me admires his pragmatism, his weighing of the truth and facts, his declaration that he needs to see the evidence.  He had a scientific mind.

Make space in this house
for all of the people you are.
Make room for the schemer,
the doubter, the cynic,
but open some space
for the credulous child
and the mystic, the dreamer,
the wild one, the quiet one.

Open a space within
for the glass-half-full to dance
with the glass-half-empty,
for the monk to sing songs
of revolution with the fury.

There in those rooms,
the One may enter
and speak your many names,
saying, Peace be yours.

Gratitude List:
1. Wild wind.  May I be wind-shriven, too.  There’s that song by the Medical Mission Sisters: “Blow, blow, blow till I be but breath of the Spirit blowing in me.”
2. Pink trees
3. Communities and circles of caring.  Knowing that other people get it, this work of holding our places in the web.  Knowing that you’re out there, doing your work while I am trying my best to do mine here.
4. The hope and promise of the seed.
5. How the answers we seek can sometimes enter through the locked doors and closed rooms of our fearful hearts.

May we walk in Beauty and Blossoms!