Poems, Poetry Prompts

License

I was completely uninspired by yesterday’s “Write a license poem” prompt, and so I left it, again, until the last minute, and here I am the next morning, awakened by cats and a disturbing dream, writing yesterday’s poem. I decided to write a blessing for a new driver.

Blessing for a New Driver
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

May you be wise behind the wheel.
May your eyes be clear and undistracted.
May you feel your freedom hitched
to real responsibility.
May you be safe.
May you be safe.
May you be free.

Gratitudes, Musings

Into the Dark, December 14

Every year at this time, I feel the anxiety and restlessness begin to rise within me, and the cold settles into my bones. Every year, I need to consciously ease my spirit into the season. This year, from the beginning of December until Epiphany, I will set it down here on the blog. May we journey into the darkness with intention and tenderness.

Yesterday was St. Lucia’s Day. I usually try to bring in holidays and celebrations from around the world in the first few moments of the class. By the end of the day, I was a little tired of repeating the story of her martyrdom–Diocletian had her eyes gouged out before she was killed. She has come to represent inner light, inner seeing. The tradition of wearing a wreath with lit candles represents that fact of life: that we have many forms of light, many ways to see. Even the St. Lucia buns that people eat on December 13, with the raisins swirled into the ends, represent eyes.

Yesterday I was preoccupied with a certain kind of seeing, of keeping my inner eyes on the beloved one who was in the hands of competent doctors. Prayer is a form of seeing, of watching, observing. Today’s word will be Seeing with a capital S: that watchfulness of what is happening inside, of keeping our beloveds and our world in that prayerful inner focus.


Gratitude List:
1. The sure hands of doctors. Medical technology. All went well in the surgery yesterday.
2. Painting with my small person
3. Eyes to see, and inner eyes to See
4. Fridays
5. Stories and ideas that percolate through the layers of dream

May we walk in Beauty!


“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
—Muriel Rukeyser 
***
“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”
—Alan Alda
***
“And love is always the bottom line.” -—Cynthia Bourgeault

Gratitudes

Simple List

stump

Gratitude List:
1. The shining eyes of my students. I am carrying some of them a little heavily these days, as I become aware of the weighty anxieties that some of then hold within them.
2. Last night’s dinner. Jon cooked small shells, and mixed them with peas and spinach in a cream and parmesan sauce.
3. My new pen. I finally did it. I ordered myself a real fountain pen. It is sleek and shining and beautiful. (Unfortunately, the ink I ordered is coming in a separate package, so I need to wait a little while to try it out.)
4. Challenging and respectful conversations. I really like when people respectfully challenge my ideas. It helps to keep me honest, for one thing, but it also helps me to hone and define the ideas which I do find most compelling.
5. I know I say this one often, but it is two of my daily moments of delight: Crossing the Susquehanna on the way to and from school. I love this River. I love how it holds not only the idea of place but of time, how you can see the remnants of the ancient fishing weirs that the Susquehannocks used for catching fish.

Gratitudes, Musings

Opportunities for Practice

special

Sometimes it seems as though the Wildest One (you might call her God, or the Universe, or Love) is actively meddling in the affairs of mortals, like I am given a thing to learn, and then immediately after am handed the situations necessary for practice and integration.

Last weekend, I took part in a training with the Center for Community Peacemaking on Restorative Circles with Kay Pranis, a thoughtful wise woman who gave us many tools for using the idea of a circle to bring restoration to broken relationships when harm has been done in a community.

In the two days since I have been back to school, I have encountered several situations in using a circle tool in the classroom helps to facilitate the discussion or to ensure that a student expressing a feeling or opinion feels safe. Yesterday at the beginning of class, one student began sharing her concerns about the political process. Other students began to jump in and talk over her, encouraging her and debating her points. She is very soft-spoken, and I was afraid that her moment of vulnerability would disappear into the fray, so I took a stone to her desk, said that while she had the stone, the rest of us were empowered to listen, and she continued. When she was finished, she just naturally handed the stone off to the next person, and a relatively respectful circle ensued.

In another class, the sharing of papers can get tedious, and some of the students tend to be anxious about sharing their writing. I handed a talking piece to one of the boys who seems to take a quiet leadership role in the class, and said that we’d send the talking piece around the circle a couple times. People could share parts of their papers or pass. In the first round, the girls (it’s a very small class) both passed, and I thought that maybe it was a bad choice to do it this way, but in the second round they both shared, and a boy who strongly dislikes English class also shared, making up an answer to one of the writing prompts on the spot–it allowed him to use his verbal strengths in community, so his sense of inadequacy about the writing was suddenly moot. Again, the students seemed to have a natural understanding of the process of the talking piece and turn-taking.

Along with those delightful examples is situation of harm that needs to be addressed. I need to work through with the student in my class who was at the receiving end of a very harmful comment whether a circle might be the place to address the harm that occurred.

So. Along with the learning comes the opportunity to practice. May I be open and ready to use the tools I have been offered.

Gratitude List:
1. The way the mists and fogs hang about the fields in the mornings
2. Practice. Opportunity to practice
3. The shining eyes of my students
4. Poetry. Yes, again. Yesterday after I had read the Dawna Markova poem I had chosen for my opening poem, a boy asked if I had ever heard of Langston Hughes. I told him that yes, I had even posted a Langston Hughes poem to my Facebook page the day before. I will have to bring a Hughes poem to class this week.
5. The hope of restoration

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Gratitude List

1.   Coming away from a funeral inspired to be a better person.
2.  The eyes of my friends–sparkly, thoughtful, wise, twinkling, tear-filled, winsome, deep, compassionate. . .
3.  Singing with my siblings.
4.  That Moon and Jupiter last night.
5.  Pancakes.
Namaste.