Directions: How Not to Have a Revolution

How Not to Have a Revolution

The elephant went rogue in the forest,
stepping on the ant hills,
destroying everything for the sheer pleasure of destruction.

The ants began to mobilize.
They organized a thousand little Armies of Resistance,
each with powerful leaders and Solid Plans.

Here is a Truth:
There were enough ants in the forest
to carry that old elephant away.
All their united strength and energy
could have saved the forest.

Instead, things went south
pretty much from the beginning.
The ants could not check their tribalism.
They were suspicious of all outsiders,
even (particularly) among their own kind.

On the ruined mounds of their separate anthills
they began to call, not for the removal of the elephant,
but for the annihilation of enemy tribes.
Only when enemy tribes were dealt with
would it be possible to remove the elephant, they said.

By the time the ants had dealt with their own internal battles,
the elephant had won the day,
and the forest was utterly destroyed.

(Today’s Prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a Directions Poem.)

Still the Child in the Forest

Today’s prompt is to use a city or town name as the title of a poem.

Wrightsville
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

A ferry-step across the Susquehanna
from the town where Suzy Wright bought acres
and lived among her men: brothers and father,
though she never let herself be tied to any man.

Did she cross, too, here at the shallows,
where the Susquehannocks made a weir,
where they strung nets between rocks for fish,
waded out to gather mussels from their beds?

And this side became the wild frontier,
the land beyond the river-boundary.
These hills were wild, untamed, and game-full,
the lands beyond European civilization.

Like Suzy who lived on the other side,
the town on this side grew up unfettered,
wilder, more free than its married cousins
which tamely reside in pampered grace.


“Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. There is no practitioner of love who deceives. Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love’s path is communication.”
― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
*
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”  ―Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
*
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

Amen.
―Rabbi Harold Kushner
*
I place in the hands of Time these stones:
the story of this day,
the people I have been near to,
the songs the Fates have whispered in my ears,
the colors that haunt me.

See how they turn to mist,
how they glow for a moment–
red, then golden, then blue–
then dissipate like ash blown by a wind
before I can register
that they have lost their substance.

Where does memory go
when it flows out with the tide,
when it slips down the drain,
when it is blown out with the morning fog?

I am still the child in the forest,
walking blind through the swirling mists,
under the shadows of the great trees.
With each forward step on the trail,
a little bird flutters from the pathway behind,
a bread crumb in its beak.
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“When I stopped trying to change you, you changed me.” ―Rachel Macy Stafford


Gratitude Lists:
1. Guidance Counselors. Some of my students carry so much pain. I am grateful knowing that when I send a distraught student to the Guidance Office, she’ll receive the tender listening and help that she needs. Thank you to all my friends who are Guidance Counselors: You are saving the world.
2. Lasagna. Jon made a delicious spinach lasagna for supper tonight. We devoured it.
3. A heated house
4. Living with cats. I’m conflicted about what we humans have done to cats and dogs in domesticating them and breeding them, treating them like things we own. But we have co-evolved, and we are now responsible to care for them. I love the daily inter-species interaction.
5. That view of the hills of York County as we crested Mt. Pisgah on the way home: golden field of corn, then a green field, then a fringe of brown trunks of leafless trees, blue mountains behind, and a tangerine sky in the back with a fringe of migrating geese.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Same Precious Love

Today’s Prompt is to write a “Whosoever __________” poem. I’ve been having a little fun today with friends doing some predictive text play, so I think this poem will be a sort of controlled predictive text poem:

Whosoever shall shake the valley
Whosoever shall meet at the crossroads
Whosoever shall I inform of the trees that bloom in the fall

Whosoever shall ramble in the meadow
Whosoever shall receive the message
Whosoever shall walk with Beauty

Whosoever shall linger in the forest
Whosoever shall dance with time
Whosoever shall speak the names of the Mystery

To her shall the valley be haven
To her shall the crossroads tell their story
To her shall the trees let down a crown of leaves

To her shall the meadow sing with golden pollen
To her shall the message be a word of grace
To her shall Beauty open its doors

To her shall the forest be golden and green
To her shall time whisper with longing
To her shall the Mystery open its secrets


Each of these quotes has a partner. The pairs sort of dance with each other:

“Both when we fall and when we get up again, we are kept in the same precious love.” ―Julian of Norwich
*
“What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved–what then?” ―Carl Jung
****
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”
―Eleanor Roosevelt
*
“If I had influence with the good fairy, I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”
―Rachel Carson
****
“Your problem is you’re too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” ―Ram Dass
*
“In giving of yourself, you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.” ―Cesar Chavez
****
“While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
―Eugene V. Debs
*
“I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too. Ma Joad: I don’t understand it, Tom. Tom Joad: Me, neither, Ma, but – just somethin’ I been thinkin’ about.”
―Tom Joad, from the movie Grapes of Wrath


Gratitude  List:
1. The Little PrinceBoth the book and the movie. I tried not to freak out the children with my weeping tonight when we watched the movie. I guess I knew what the whole snake part was about, but tonight it was so real, and I could hardly watch. Still, it was beautifully done.
2. The autumn sun slanting through autumn leaves of old oaks at the Masonic Home. Stone buildings with slate roofs. The smell of chocolate in the air. (Thinking of you and your family tonight, Miss Jan.)
3. It was warm enough for me to grade at the picnic table for a couple hours this afternoon.
4. A warm hat
5. An extra hour.

May we walk in Beauty!

dscn9222

Today’s poetry prompt is to write a poem about something that happens again and again.

This is a poem in hope that the cycle will continue for many years to come:

The Monarchs Return to Mexico
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Every year they find their way back.
Through the veils of mist that hover
over the mountain passes they flutter.

Their flaming wings set the woods afire
as morning sun sparkles through the canopy.
The forest breathes with orange light.

Gratitude List:
1. The music in church today. “Kyrie, eleison.” Supporting each other in song. Sitting next to Nancy and harmonizing with her, blending our voices.
2. A wonderful set of interviews at LMS this afternoon: Phyllis Pellman Good interviewed nine alumni about their work, how LMS prepared them for their lives, and what touchpoints they use for making ethical/moral decisions. Profound.
3. Seeing people’s safety pins.
4. The poet Andrea Gibson tweeted something about remembering how music heals. Yes.
5. Making salt dough with the kid.

May we walk in Beauty!

More Advice from Aunt Eliza

<Prompt 14:  Write a poem of Exploration>  This is yesterday’s poem–I was too tired last night to wait for my turn at the computer.  I can’t get out of the fairy tales.

It doesn’t always have to be so,
but it seems to be the way things go:

When the sunny trail ends at that dead ash tree,
when the sweet-scented grasses turn to brambles,
when the radiant butterfly flits into shadows
and out from behind the tree pads the wolf–

That is when the story really gets started.

Epiphany can be those shiny angels,
those glittering kings bearing gold,
but it also comes in shadows and cobwebs.

One day you are sleep-walking
through your dreamy life,
not paying attention to where the path leads,
and epiphany comes in the form of a crow,
calling your name from the topmost branch
of a lightning-struck oak.

Or you find the sweet cottage
but wake up surrounded by bears
or tossed head-first into the furnace.

Or an old woman in tatters and rags
swoops into the clearing, chattering,
demanding to know who you think you are,
demanding your service, your heart.

And that’s the key, isn’t it?
Who do you think you are, meddling in this story?
Can you give your whole heart to the process?
What are you doing here, in the heart of this forest,
this landscape of your life?
What is your real name?
Are you ready to fight for it?
To go on a quest, answer the riddle,
do the three impossible tasks,
risk your own dissolution, your death,
just to claim it as your own?

You thought you were so brave,
following the path to explore the woods,
though you’d been warned,
though your skin prickled,
though you knew the stories
of those who never returned.

Now is the time for bravery.
Now is the time for fierce
uncompromising joy.
Now the real exploration begins.

Gratitude List:
1.  That gentle cooing sound my hen Sunny made when I brought her down into a cage in the basement and gave her medicine water.  She  has been stoically enduring whatever is making her sick, but she perked up a little when she found herself in the hospital cage.
2.  New ventures.  Taking steps.
3.  This book: Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, by Renee Peterson Trudeau
4.  The dream I had last night that brought back to mind another book someone recommended to me weeks ago, but which I had forgotten to look up.
5.  My boys’ excitement at the wheat grass and lettuce shoots coming up in the pots on the fish tank.

May we walk courageously in our forests.