Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

PoeTree

Years ago, during the month of April, I kept a poetree. Two dogwood trees stand on either side of my driveway. I would hang poems from the branches of the one closest to the house. Rain and snow caused problems until I got smart and hung them in plastic sheets. Since I have been teaching school, I have not had time to tend and April poetree, except on my bulletin board in the classroom one year. The year of this photo, 2013, I called myself the laundress of poetry, hanging my fresh sheets in the sun every few days.

Today’s prompt is to write a temptation poem. This year’s poems feel more solid than some years in the past. Fewer toss-offs, fewer place-holders. Today’s poem might fit those categories, but it has a little promise, I think:

Lead me not into temptation,
not into the Faculty snack room,
not into the valley of Facebook,
not into the sleepy arms of the recliner.

Lead me not into the second pot of coffee,
not into the bargain bin at the yarn store,
not into the library book sale,
not into the place of shiny stones.

Lead me into the long afternoon walk,
into the quiet seat in the spring sunshine,
into the circle of the oriole’s song,
into the embrace of a weeping pink tree.

Lead me into a whole classroom of laughter,
into the smile of a child,
into the room of your song,
into the twinkling space of your gaze.


Gratitude List:
1. Pink
2. Yellow
3. Yellow
4. Pink
5. Pink

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Nobody Need Wait a Single Moment

“We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.” ―Hildegard of Bingen
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“Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions,
beneath our religion or lack of it,
we are all vulnerable both to the storm without
and to the storm within.”  ―Frederick Buechner
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“The vulnerability of precious things is beautiful because vulnerability is a mark of existence.” ―Simone Weil
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Here is how we make the world:
I will say fire and mean wisdom.
I will say wisteria and mean my thoughts are tangled.
I will say the river is flowing and mean that time is passing.
I will say grandmother’s quilt and mean that the work is love.
I will say house and mean your heart.
I will say spiderweb and mean the prayers are holding you.
I will say the eagle flies and mean my thoughts are with you.
I will say the daffodils are blooming and mean you are healing.
I will say song and mean dream.
I will say dream and mean prayer.
I will say prayer and mean poem.
Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“When an elder dies, a library burns.” African proverb
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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
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“But how could you live and have no story to tell?” ―Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Gratitude List:
1. All those songs yesterday. Every single one moved me.
2. Remembering that it all begins with Goodness.
3. Getting back to sleep. I usually wake up several times in the night, but lately getting BACK to sleep has not been a problem. That’s usually my bugaboo.
4. The young people of my life. Waking up at 5:30 is pretty harsh, but it’s bearable because it means preparing for a day with teenagers.
5. Dreams of gifts and fresh ideas.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Everything is Sacred

The Goblin Rumpus began at exactly 2:48 AM with a sweet falsetto yawp from Little Thor. I went out into the hall to see what was happening, and about a dozen cats were zooming through the halls, bouncing off the walls, skittering down the stairs. My daytime brain knows that there are only two cats in the house. My nighttime brain knows that there were at least a dozen cats performing the Goblin Rumpus–a couple of them were indigo gray with shining golden eyes, and the others were orange blurs.


Today I am turning fifty. Growing up. I’ve completed a half-century here.

If you follow the numerological significances of things, five is the number of the hierophant or teacher, and zero is the number of the fool.  Doing a little wizardry with the numbers of my birthday and birth year, my birth number reduces to 5, so it appears that I am coming into my own this year, and carrying the madcap, free-spirited nature of the fool with me. This is the year to focus on my work as teacher and fool. I’ll take it!


I feel like this is my birthday poem:
“The Seven of Pentacles”
by Marge Piercy

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the lady bugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.
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“In these cataclysmic times, living in what Michael Meade calls the ‘slow apocalypse,’ despair can be dangerously seductive. Our lives may feel inadequate to the terrible momentum of our times, but it is in those moments that we must remember the difference between despair and grief.
While despair traps us in the bog of despondency, grief carries us into life. Grief calls us into a deeper engagement with those things that we love. And even as we are losing them, grief wants to exalt their beauty.

“If we let grief move us into expression, it will sing the blood into our songs, colour the vividness into our paintings, and slip the poetry between our words.

“Rumi says, “All medicine wants is pain to cure.” And so we must cry out in our weakness, our ineptitude, our beautiful inadequacy and make of it an invitation that medicine might reach through and towards us.” Toko-pa Turner
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“I have always been spiritually promiscuous, lying down with any God who will have me. When I drop down into these ancient texts, I feel the breath of the God of Love on my face. It makes me crazy. In the very best way.” —Mirabai Starr
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“By virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see. On the contrary, everything is sacred.” —Teilhard de Chardin
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“A library is infinity under a roof.”  —Gail Carson Levine


Gratitude List:
1. Fifty mostly satisfying years on this Earth.
2. Okay, even if I am working on less sleep today, the delightful thrill of a springy little cat walking begging for attention in the night–walking all over me, bringing me his new favorite toy, purring and snuggling.
3. Goldfinches: how they fly, how they twitter. Their purpose is joy.
4. Everything is Sacred, indeed. Grateful for the words of Teilhard de Chardin
5. The promise of a massage sometime in the next few months when I really need it. My guys gave me a gift certificate for a friend who is starting up her own business. Win-win! I love it!

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

I Love My Library




Art at Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center. It’s a tiny library, but such big things happen there. It is truly a community center.

I jumped the starting gun again yesterday on Solstice. Apparently it’s become my pattern. Happy Longest Day to you! May your seeds grow. May your pathway be clear. May your light shine brightly. Blessed be.


“Now, on the longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into dark. We turn the Wheel… for we have planted the seeds of our own changes, and to grow we must accept even the passing of the sun… Set Sail…See with clear eyes…See how we shine!” Starhawk
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“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science.” —Albert Einstein
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“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?” Michael Jackson
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“Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world. The visible became invisible, merging with the soil.” Robin Wall Kimmerer
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We who prayed and wept
for liberty from kings
and the yoke of liberty
accept the tyranny of things
we do not need.
In plenitude too free,
we have become adept
beneath the yoke of greed.
Those who will not learn
in plenty to keep their place
must learn it by their need
when they have had their way
and the fields spurn their seed.
We have failed Thy grace.
Lord, I flinch and pray,
send Thy necessity.
—Wendell Berry
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“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea. ” —Isak Dinesen


Gratitude List:
1. The boys are becoming fanatical readers. We went to the library yesterday, and they’ve already read most of their books.
2. Yesterday’s inspiring keynote speech by Hasan Davis (you can google him). His message was that all children need at least one adult to believe in them, to believe that they’ll become their best selves in spite of the odds.
3. Summer days. This is one of the first days of summer for me that doesn’t have some plan or process or meeting in it. I do have something to prepare for tomorrow, but really–I get to schedule today as I want to. I am giving myself at least an hour of writing, and an hour of schoolwork and some cleaning/tidying/organizing. These boys may need another trip to the library. I think we’ll have to take another long walk.
4. The library. Libraries. The public library system in the US is a national treasure. I am grateful that my taxes go to support libraries. Support libraries, not drones!
5. We’re still sniffly in this house, but since the trees are no longer blooming, we seem to be getting out of the worst of tree-allergy season.

May we walk in Beauty!