Challenges and Challengers

Another busy day has gotten away from me. I have lost steam. Here’s a small thing, another place-holder.

She monitors her monsters
with her motion-sensor heart.
She has started watering her flytraps,
battering the packs of flatterers
for flinging stacks of lies.
She will not grasp or grovel.

Today was Poem in Your Pocket day, a celebration of spoken language. What will the Fool learn about words, about language, about communication?

Gratitude List:
1. Mama Goose is such a fierce and patience mother.
2. Music chapel this morning. It’s always really good. This morning it was kind of sublime.
3. All those things I see as I drive out in the mornings: baby greens, dogwoods in bloom, the fierce goose, violets.
4. The scent of lily of the valley as I came home this evening.
5. Knowing my limits.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Guardians

I am extremely tired tonight after a long dress rehearsal for Saturday night’s Spoken Word performance. I am extremely excited about this. The other poets and storytellers are marvelous. I am always awed to hear my words interspersed with the words of such intrepid and creative wordsmiths. Tonight’s poem on Guardians will be something of a place-holder so I can get more quickly to bed.

First was the angel with golden wings,
then a wild crone with her hair on fire,
and a tiny owl with a fierce bright eye.

Next came a pair of wee folk whose names
were as melodious as their meanings,
followed by a dark and silent woman with a silver pen.

A ginger-haired gnome on a chicken came next,
with an ebony goddess in a yellow dress,
and a wave, and a stone, a feather, and a flame.

Today we met the Guardians. Tomorrow is the day for the Challengers. Who are the Challengers you Fool faces on her Journey?

Gratitude List:
1. The compliment fest. This afternoon, a boy in one of my classes suggested we go around and give each other compliments. I was a little reluctant to put people on the spot, so he took a piece of paper and spent the study part of the period writing a compliment for everyone in the class, and then before the period was over, he went around the room, looking everyone in the eye, and told each of us something he liked about us. These were deep and thoughtful compliments–he clearly sees us. Such a powerful inspiration. My week was made.
2. This preppy spring with its stylish pinks and greens
3. The emotional wisdom of young people
4. Spoken Words
5. Revisions

May we walk in Beauty!

Ode to a Flock of Crows

Too much in a hurry to seek out a birdy sort of photo for today.  Here’s a picture of the late fall farm season.

On the Two-for Tuesday prompts, I usually try to combine the two pieces of the prompt, to let the opposite ideas create a dynamic tension in the poem.  Plus, I hate to feel as though I am missing out on any part of an experience.  Today’s is a little more complicated, and I might just have to settle for one piece.  We’ll see what happens.  Here’s the prompt:


  1. Take the phrase “Ode to a (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.
  2. Take the phrase “(blank) is for the Birds,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

How they wheel and settle,
wheel and settle.
Their business is their own.

When the trees along the tracks
have lost their leaves,
and reach their naked branches
into the salmon-colored sky,
their crowns fill with crows.
Connect the dots,
a web of birds fills the world.

These are the people of the wind,
the warriors of autumn.
Watching them, even I
can turn my face toward the winter.

Gratitude List:
1. The crowd of crows.  I always feel like I have to qualify this for the people who have to live more closely with them, because I, too, get tired of the purple pokeberry splotches all over my car from the starling flock in the hollow, but I love the crows that wheel and settle in the trees near the mall.  I love seeing them just as the sky is beginning to turn orange, and they dot the treetops and electrical wires.
2. Challengers.  They give you a chance to look at your internal world, and remind you to keep checking in with yourself and to be faithful to your inner truth.
3. Compassionate hearts.
(I wasn’t really going for a C theme today, but now I think I need to finish it out.)
4. Coffee.  It gets me through the morning.
5. Creativity.  Building up and creating are a great antidote to despair and rage.

May we walk in Beauty!

Meeting The Guardian

Girl With Death Mask, by Frida Kahlo

I have never seen this one before.  I post it today because it is one of the images that Robert Brewer offers as inspiration for writing an ekphrastic poem (a poem inspired by or connected to an image).

You have been walking through desert for centuries,
walking for hundreds of miles toward mountains.
Suddenly there in your path stands the guardian.

Every quest, every dream, every task has its challenger–
She who will stand at the gate of your destiny,
waiting to ask you the questions you came for:

What is the thing that you fear?  Can you face it?
What is the name of the monster that haunts you?
Can you look death in the eye and say, “Feed Me”?

If She reveals Herself at your parting,
you must be ready to hold what She offers you:
a small golden aster and three white-hot stones.

Gratitude List:
1. The principals at my school.  They’re thoughtful, supportive, restorative, and they have a keen and careful vision for the school community.
2. This morning a small boy asked me to do stretches with him, like they do in school every morning.  I love that his teacher is teaching them to stretch as well as to read.
3. Challengers.  I am trying really hard to turn this one into a gratitude.  Deep, deep down, I truly am actually grateful for yesterday’s challenger moment.  (Perhaps I need to do some more stretches to help that bit of gratitude bubble upward.)
4. Autumn wind: it calls me to adventure.
5. The helpers.  All those people in Paris and Beirut who ran to help, who offered safe houses, who hugged and held and helped.  It seems to be too much of a truth today that some people will lash out and try to harm.  But as much of a truth and greater is that more people will rush in to help and to heal.  May it always be so.

May we carry healing with us wherever we go.