Gratitudes, Poems

Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Made Me Happy Today
(Another way to say Gratitude):
1. The chenille bedspread. It’s so comforting to snuggle up under it.
2. My Best Bird, the Oriole, flitting in and out of the honeysuckle vines all morning.
3. The holler is filled with the scent of honeysuckle.
4. Reading Bud, Not Buddy with the kid before he headed off to school this morning.
5. Completing the grading for four of my six classes. Only two more to go!
6. Talking on the phone with Sarah this morning.
7. The way the sun dapples the pathway the deer have made in the bosque across the stream.
8. How Ellis hums to himself wherever he is, like his dad.

What brings you joy?

Poems, Poetry Prompts

Shackles

Oh dear. It’s getting late, and I have been grading or reading all day. The prompt is a two-fer: Write a Free/Not Free Poem.

I wear these papers like shackles,
dragging the ankles of my brain
into a constant state of bondage.

Teachers develop a seventh sense,
an awareness, always, of the piles
that wait in a bag or on a table,

so even when I walk in the sunlight
or finish the novel I have been reading,
the shackles of inadequacy hold me down.

Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

Making Family

A year ago today, Jon and I went to the Walters Museum in Baltimore. It is now one of my favorite museums. This is a filter-altered photo of a marble lion in the Egyptian antiquities section.

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem about family.

Sometimes it all comes ready-made,
like seeds, like sunshine, like rain.
But sometimes you make it yourself.
Take a little clay, a palmful of water,
sculpt and carve, shift and caress,
with great care and concentration.

And sometimes it all just gets
tossed in your direction,
bits and pieces scattered on the wind,
and you take the threads into your hands
and begin to weave. And you chant,
and you dance, and then it happens.

There’s no single formula for family,
no direction manual, no guide.
Blood’s one sacred element, certainly,
but water will do it, or wind,
whatever hold the souls together,
like laughter, like tears.


Gratitude List:
1. Celebrating Chester’s 100th birthday. Harmonica, singing, family, trees, stories, and a picture of Sarah Jane. She was there, of course. I know she was there.
2. Grades are all done and marked ready to submit, and it isn’t even midnight!
3. Reading Susan Cooper’s books with the boys. I love when they get so into the reading of a book that they stand up and start to pace, and talk back to the book.
4. Little bits of tidiness.
5. The warm times are coming. The birds tell me so every morning. I can wait.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Transformation

Gratitude List:
1. Wise voices. I am grateful for the people who are willing to take their time to wisely and compassionately and fiercely and gently mentor others. The ears of my heart are listening. This week has brought some important wise voices my way. If you are one of these people, you likely know who you are. I am holding great gratitude for you.
2. The first semester grades are in. I have been a bit of a mess, either scratching away furiously at the grading or avoiding the grading or being anxious about the grading. Now I am here, in this moment, in this semester. I can live this teaching space now without dragging a bagful of yesterday’s teaching around with me.
3. Images of transformation: the snake shedding her skin, the turtle diving down to sleep in the winter mud, the caterpillar hardening her chrysalis.
4. Hot tea
5. This work. I do mine, and you do yours, and our webs connect, and the world changes. Thank you for being part of the web.

Namaste!

Gratitudes

Gate’s Open

“The Wild Mother whispers, ‘Have you noticed? I left the gate open just for you?'” ~Anonymous


Gratitude List:
1. Grades are done and marked ready for the Registrar. Weight off my shoulders.
2. Anticipating summer fun.
3. Hearing the voice of one of my Beloveds on the phone today.
4. Full moon
5. Crocheting. It’s like poetry–making meaning from a simply meaningless string is like making meaning from a seemingly meaningless collection of words.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

I Just Love that Kid

I wonder if my students sometimes find themselves filled with a warm feeling out of nowhere, as if someone has just whispered, “I just love that kid,” and they can feel the vibe like a gentle breeze across their souls. I always feel a little frustrated with myself at the end of a semester when I still have a stack of grading to finish, and I wish I could have handed the papers directly to the students for the feedback; still, I also love to have these final moments of quiet, thoughtful contemplation of each one of them, bringing them back into my mind as I read their last words of the school season. Often, I catch myself whispering, “I just love that kid.”


Gratitude List:
1. My own schedule. Sleeping when I want. Working and taking breaks when I want.
2. Planning for next year. While I am doing this last bit of grading, I am thinking about how to make next year’s classes even better. How to define my assignments more clearly. How to ask more effective questions. How to get them interacting with each other more. How to elicit critical thinking. How to stimulate curiosity and creativity. How to challenge them without creating frustration.
3. Indigo bunting
4. Nettle/mint/dandelion/wild chamomile/catnip/plantain tonic. Good for what ails you.
5. Solitude

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Space Between

A little ditty:

in the space between
we settle in
to watch for visitors
seen and unseen

we offer tea
and conversation,
ask our questions
and tell our dreams

Gratitude List:
1. The chortling whistle of a blue jay
2. The call of the white-throated sparrow is the definition of plaintive. If the womenfolk don’t respond to that cry of longing, they must be deaf. Even I want to be a sparrow and fly to his side when Sweet George Peabody sings his spring song.
3. A second day in Time Out of Time. Blessings on the snow
4. The wisdom and resilience of teenagers. I don’t know how I would have gotten all those Memoirs graded without the two extra days. I needed to give them their full time, such precious tellings of their lives. I am honored to be the teacher of this bunch of young folk.
5. Hot tea. One of the great pleasures of my life these days. Coffee is my drug, but tea is my comfort.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Bring Forth What Is Within You

macaw

Must be quickish tonight. Tomorrow is the first day of a new semester. I have pushed off the desperate grading in order to get ready for the new semester, and the new semester is upon me in a matter of a few short hours.

Gratitude List:
1. Safe spaces
2. Working at hard issues, together
3. French fries
4. Good stories
5. Synchronicity: Today, I came across the same obscure quote from the Gospel of Thomas in three separate situations. “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.”

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Treasures in the Haystack

Today as I was walking down the hall, I noticed a small group of first years huddled in a little cluster not far from a grove of tree-like seniors.  The freshmen looked so young and innocent and small compared to the sturdy and confident older students.  I realized that it was only partly about their respective heights; it was also about their carriage and body language.  The blooming from childhood to young adulthood really seems to happen in these few years that they walk the halls of high school.  I also realized that those particular freshmen, who seemed so small in comparison to the seniors, were actually all taller than I am.  Heh.

I should be grading.  I have a big stack of essays that really need to be done by tomorrow.  But my gratitude list today is sort of centered around that stack.

Gratitude List:
1.  All these stories.  Perhaps it’s a little brutal, a little brusque, to ask these young folks whom I don’t really know to write essays for me, describing something that brought about a change in their lives.  Oh, how tender, how vulnerable, their responses.  I hold them like eggs, like butterfly wings, like whispers.  Tales of joyful tears at the birth of a niece or a nephew, of tenderly nurturing small creatures, of leaving their homes to travel to the US to study, of deciding to care about their futures and their dreams.  Oh, the stacks of grading can be a teacher’s bane, like mythological challenges to be overcome, but they hold such treasures.  Such powerful and fragile treasures.  Have I said how in love I am with these people who fill my days?
2.  How a little bit of unplanned time in the classroom can sometimes turn into powerful discussion time.  Yesterday, it was about how, when you stand up against something wrong, it makes it easier for the next person to do so.  Today, it was parenting techniques, and helping children to develop intrinsic motivations to choose the “right” option instead of forcing them to follow the extrinsic motivation of threats of parental punishment.  Really.  These are wise and thoughtful folks.
3.  Monarchs on the move.  I keep seeing them–it’s migration time.
4.  Wild geese.  The ones that fly overhead.  The ones in Mary Oliver’s poem.  The ones in Mary Black’s song.  The one some call the Spirit.
5.  Tomorrow we go to the beach.  The farm work will go on here without us.  The school work will get done in the cracks and spaces.  And I will have a day and a half to breathe seas air and refresh and rejuvenate.  Blessed be.

May we walk in Beauty.