Write a list poem.
When I first began writing Gratitude Lists, I quickly became aware of the fact that each one is really a little poem, that the seemingly unconnected items on the list spoke to and informed each other, created a magic in the randomness. And some days I would order them so they would either flow or crunch up against each other, intentionally poeming. I took up the discipline of gratitude lists at the same time I took up poetry as a discipline, and the two paths began to teach each other and to become intermingled.
In a list poem, what happens if “buy red ink for the printer” sits next to “write an apology to X for yelling at them” or next to “seek World Peace”? I’m fond of to-do lists as poems, but you can make a grocery list, a gratitude list, a vengeance list, a how-to-solve-the-problems-of-the-world list. Try a list of your favorite things, or things you see out your window.
Here’s mine, spontaneously:
is violet grape hyacinth
bluebells we called them
gill on the ground or the grass
is golden forsythia flaming
in every hedgerow
yellow teeth of the lion
dotting the lawn and
a dozen kinds of daffodil
is pink skirts of cherry trees
whirling in breezes
rosy magnolia stately queen
pink orchards preparing
the fruits of the summer
is green almost glowing
life force in everything
growing new life
emerald grasses and new tender shoots
green vines weaving the season to come.
1. Purples and violets
2. Pinks, roses, and fuschias
3. Greens, emeralds, and viridians
4. Blues, ceruleans, and indigos
5. All that carries color
May we walk in Beauty!
“We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. We have all loved someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. it is an intrinsic human trait, and a deep responsibility, I think, to be an organ and a blade. But, learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. We make horrible mistakes. It’s how we learn. We breathe love. It’s how we learn. And it is inevitable.” —Nayyira Waheed
“To me, it’s all right if you look at a tree, as the Hindus do, and say the tree has a spirit. It’s a mystery, and mysteries don’t compromise themselves—we’re never gonna know. I think about the spiritual a great deal. I like to think of myself as a praise poet.” —Mary Oliver
“When you hold a child in your arms, or hug your mother, or your husband, or your friend, if you breathe in and out three times, your happiness will be multiplied at least tenfold.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“I stuck my head out the window this morning, and spring kissed me BANG in the face.” —Langston Hughes
“In the morning, wonder and be generous like the sun.
In the evening, meditate and be kind like the moon.”
“There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven.” —Meister Eckhart
“Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment.” —Ellis Peters