Eight of Arrows

<Prompt 7:  Write a Hardship poem>

Such a fragile light
you carry in the blizzard
through the growing dusk
stumbling over the arrows
of the day’s grievous battle

Now you must endure
and slog your way to safety
knowing the struggle
is actually the point
step by agonizing step

Gratitude List:
1.  Back to working at Radiance!
2.  Lancaster City, even on (especially on) rainy mornings when the gingko trees are yellow (I copied you, Sarah!) and the happy little oak tree on the corner of James and Water is getting all burgundy and I can look in the window and see the light shining on the bookbinder’s hands on the corner of Water and Grant.  Little magical bundles of street art nailed to a light post.  Artfully painted rain barrels.  Crosswalks–people actually stop for you!  (I know I am SO cheating here because this one alone is more than five. . .)
3.  This one is going to seem strange to you if you know me well and how ranty-ravey I get about the news, but: Tonight’s News.  On the way home from work, I heard a story about people fighting to keep recess in their schools, another about a big food manufacturer that is responding to consumer demand and removing the yellow dyes from its products aimed at children and adding more whole grains, and a third about how the FDA is considering removing the Generally Regarded As Safe label from foods containing trans fats.  The people are finding their voice.
4.  That focused kingfisher sitting on the wire above Kreutz Creek yesterday.
5.  Letters of acceptance.  Even if I might go ahead and publish the book myownself, it sure is nice to be accepted.

May we walk in Beauty.

The Bookbinder’s Hands

In memory of my Aunt Elizabeth Weaver, and in honor of the Bookbinder of Water Street, whom I have never met.

The bookbinder’s hands have always been there,
golden in the glow of the lamp light,
curved over the book’s curling skin,
over the cover of an ancient volume
of German poetry, or an Ausbund, perhaps.
Smoothing the pages of a treatise
on divine rights of liberty written
when this was still Penn’s Woods.

The bookbinder sees with fingertips
the miniscule tears, the frayed edge,
the embossment like landscapes,
fingers gently curling like Kwan Yin’s
in a sacred mudra, touching holiness
with tenderness, while the dust
of centuries twinkles in the lamp light
above the bookbinder’s careful hands.


Final Prompt of January

Friends, this has been for me a marvelous month.  Thank you for your kind words and responses and “likes.”  During February, I will weed and edit and cultivate this month’s crop of poems, and some others which I have been hoarding.  Yesterday, my friend Kelsey Myers sent me the link to this poem.  Thematically, it’s a challenging read–breezy on the surface and brutal at the heart.  I love it, and I want to do my own version of a definition poem for my last poem of the month.  Join me for one last romp through the word-meadows?  (Oh, there will be plenty more after I have had my little break.  Meanwhile, I will continue to create poem-fodder in the shape of Gratitude Lists, and write some little poems here and there.)


Gratitude List:

1.  I gave myself a gift–signed up for Flame in the Hand, John Terlazzo’s writer’s workshop.
2.  Serendipity
3.  Synchronicity–I woke up thinking of an Idea, and turned on FB to read a message by a friend asking me whether I had ever considered this Idea.
4.  Face cream and body oil and glasses of water and rain
5.  Muffins

May we walk in beauty.

Marvel and Wonder
Photo by Michelle Johnsen

Jan. 4 Poem, Jan. 5 Prompt, Gratitude List

The Poem
Here is yesterday’s (Jan. 4) post. This is a pernicious flu. It hits you like a Mac truck, then watches in the rear-view mirror until you pick yourself up and start to dust off, then it guns into reverse and knocks you down again. I think I heard it laugh diabolically yesterday as it ran me down.

Here is yesterday’s found poem, a little slapdash. I took it from page 179 of Starhawk’s Truth or Dare. I really want to do more found poems, but they’ll have to be on healthier days for me! This one feels unsatisfactory, but it at least fulfills the exercise.

New Dimension
to be silenced is to be
i s o l a t e d

telling our stories
telling and hearing our stories

create intimacy

when we speak our experiences
we make contact

real selves:
seen, mirrored, affirmed
we can know we are valued

our lives take on a pattern
and new dimension of meaning.

Today’s Prompt
I need to rest today. Today’s poem will be a tanka, a syllable count poem. Five lines of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables. If I am inspired, I may write several. Please join me! Post here in the comments or on the FB thread.

Gratitude List
1. Looking in the window of the Bookbindery on the corner of Grant and Water and seeing a light shining on the hands of the bookbinder as he tenderly restored the cover of an old book.
2. Memories of Aunt Lizzie repairing books just as lovingly.
3. 12 hours of sleep–all four of us!
4. Elderberries
5. Memories of my father-in-law, Ellis Kreider, who died 4 years ago on Epiphany.
May we walk in beauty.