Poem a Day: 24

I had to rush around today to do some sudden work that came up, so I rushed the poem. The prompts are Anchor and Nature.

Anchored
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

feet bare on bare earth
breath in sync with breeze
heartbeat rhymes with
the beating heart of sycamore

on a breath send roots
down and down through
soil through loam around
stone around bone

anchor to the core
of the mother

Bring Forth What is Within You

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.” —Coretta Scott King
***
“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.” —Gospel of Thomas
***
“If a child is to keep alive [her] inborn sense of wonder, [she] needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with [her] the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
—Rachel Carson
***
“The ultimate measure of a person is not where [he/she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [she/he] stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
***
“The weight of the world is love.
Under the burden of solitude,
under the burden of dissatisfaction
the weight, the weight we carry is love.”
—Allen Ginsberg
***
“What have you done for color?”
—Henri Matisse
***
“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
***
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” —Rachel Carson
***
“waging peace
with tender ferocity
and ingenious empathy
and wild compassion”
—Rob Brezsny
***
Have you caught the rustle of wings
as the train rushes through,
hardly slowly to stop at the station?
Have you felt the breath in your ear
as the quiet sun leaps from the ridge
and touches your face like a lover?
Have you noticed the shadow that darts
just at the edge of your vision
as the river flows with purpose
under your ancient bridge?
And suddenly, before you–
before you can take another breath,
the madness is upon you,
the craving has taken you,
the pen is in your hand,
the words glow and bleed
beneath your fingers.
—Beth Weaver-Kreider
***
“Dreams make the inner life substantial, giving it dimensionality, colour and form. Ritual is the further enfleshment of the unseen; a way of feeding that which is nourishing you so that your living conversation with the holy in nature grows in strength and vocabulary.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa


Gratitude List:
1. Snow sure is pretty
2. By hook or by crook, I am ready for the new semester to start today. Now if only I can find a few hours to finish up last semester’s grading. . .
3. I’m getting a whiteboard in my room, which will be nice and easy. I will, however, miss the beauty of chalk work. I’m a secret chalk artist, and I do love to leave little drawings on my board. But the surface was really rapidly wearing away. The other sad thing is that one of my own high school memories of this room is of walking into the classroom and seeing the same green chalkboard filled with Mrs. Banks’s neat and beautiful cursive notes. There were some of us who sought to emulate her handwriting. The more notes, the better–we got more practice copying the beauty.
4. The way you can’t keep a group of English Teachers on a focused conversation because everything comes back to grammar and pedagogy.
5. Chocolate. You know how it helps Harry Potter recover from the dementor attacks? Yeah.

May we walk in Beauty!

Wear Gratitude Like a Cloak

Following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it, doesn’t mean knowing where it might lead. Bliss beckons us every single day. At first, it may come in a small voice, out from under a great heap of rubbish, but it definitely knows your name. It starts with a dream that you may not even remember, and it grows into a déjà -vu, a surge of emotion, an inexplicable familiarity in a stranger’s face. Rather than getting caught up in finding “your purpose,” take the risk to talk to that stranger, follow your feeling and trust your dreams, and before you know it, as Rumi says, “your living pieces will form a harmony.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” —Rumi
*
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
—Annie Dillard
*
“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet. “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet. “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.” —AA Milne
*
“The aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.”
—Mary Oliver
*
“Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion?”
—Rumi
*
“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”
—Danny Kaye
*
“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”
—Maya Angelou
*
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
—John Muir
*
“I started going for long lone country walks among the spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end, giving myself up to the earth-scents and the sky-winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.”
—L.M. Montgomery


Gratitude List:
1. The Holy Moment of telling story, of powerful vulnerability, of the hush of listening, of voices found and reclaimed, of grit and resilience. How our stories bless each other.
2. Blessing the babies. I love the way my church blesses the babies. I think that part of my pastors’ job must be the best job in the world.
3. Spicy Korean noodles for lunch
4. Now we go from golden to orange and red
5. The Water Protectors. Lancaster Against Pipelines. People who stand up, speak up, put themselves on the line.

May we walk in Beauty!

Remembering How to Dream

“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”
–Claude Monet
*
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” –Vincent van Gogh
*
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those downstream do unto you.” –Wendell Berry
*
Every step you take is a doorway to somewhere new,
a choice between what was and what will be.
Do not fear the darkness behind you
nor the mists that rise in your path.
Pause on the threshold a moment.
Take a deep and aching breath,
and straighten your shoulders.
Release the past with gratitude
for all that it has taught you,
and step forward in strength and beauty.
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
Mary Oliver:
“Soon now, I’ll turn and start for home.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be singing.”


Gratitude List:
1. Rest
2. Dreaming
3. Work
4. Play
5. Silence

May we walk in Beauty!

Lift Up Your Faces

“Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.” —Maya Angelou
*
“With dreamwork, we are endlessly tenderising ourselves to subtletly. When we begin to know its dimensions, pain can no longer envelop us in an indistinct mass. It’s not that we are ridding ourselves of suffering, but rather learning its name, which is the prelude to befriending it.” –Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
Humility
by Mary Oliver
Poems arrive ready to begin.
Poets are only the transportation.
*
“On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree.” —W. S.Merwin
*
“Nature never repeats itself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.” —Elizabeth Cady Stanton
*
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” —Kabir
*
Mirabai Starr said, “Poetry is a gateway into unitive consciousness. It knocks on the doors of the heart and the heart opens. Poets speak truth in a very naked way that bypasses the rational mind. Poetry evokes, rather than describes.”
*
Kathleen Norris writes, “Poets understand that they do not know what they mean, and that is their strength. . . . Writing teaches us to recognize when we have reached the limits of language, and our knowing, and are dependent on our senses to ‘know’ for us.”
*
“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories . . . water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
*
“Every seed contains the potential to save the world. Each seed can keep millions of people from starvation. Each seed is a mirror and guardian of the world’s future. Each seed is the ecology that can sustain the economy. This is why seeds are sacred…”
—His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
*
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough
to make each hour holy.
I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough
to be simply in your presence, like a thing–
just as it is.

I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones–
or alone.

I want to mirror your immensity.
I want never to be too weak or too old
to bear the heavy, lurching image of you.
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.

I want to stay clear in your sight.
I would describe myself
like a landscape I’ve studied
at length, in detail;
like a word I’m coming to understand;
like a pitcher I pour from at mealtime;
like my mother’s face;
like a ship that carried me
when the waters raged.
—Rainer Maria Rilke


Gratitude List:
1. Teenagers: Asking open, thoughtful questions. Offering deep honesty. Sharing stories.
2. Cats. I know I am obsessed with the cats these days, but they really are caretakers of the soul of a home, and these two are settling into their role beautifully. (Though it can be a little hard to sleep with one on my chest and the other on my feet. I am a tosser and turner.)
3. Did I say teenagers? The energy of this UNICEF club at school, young people who are eager and intent to make a difference, to help a hurting world. They teach me so much about jumping in with an open heart.
4. October morning mists. Surreal and magickal. Moody.
5. Feathers. Guardian angels. Reminders to fly. Messages from Spirit. Invitations to stand in the presence of Beauty.

May we walk in Beauty.

To a Thorn Tree

Today’s thematic prompt is to write a nature poem.   Perhaps, even with its thorn tree image, this is not exactly a nature poem.  It is a poem I have been needing to write.

Small tree,
torn and twisted
in the sun of the savannah,

I have seen the small scars
lining the tender inner branches,
the places where thorn buds emerge,
where thorns have been torn
from your soft bark,
lines like tally marks:
surviving this one,
and this one,
and this.

Adept at catching and tearing,
you hold and you scratch,

with a need as big as the world
and a horror of needing.
Notice me, notice me–
Oh, don’t

notice me.
Little tree,
torn from your source,
your roots cling in this soil
even as your scarred and stunted arms
reach and grasp the passing breeze.

Gratitude List:
1. The smell of spring blooming in the hollow
2. Mockingbird on the chimney-top, singing me home
3. Playing harmony on the violin with the Ellis the cellist
4. Josiah’s Earth Day Party
5. Being present

May we walk in Beauty.

When He’s Gone

Day 9 Prompt: Use the phrase When he’s gone. . .  Twelve hours in the car gave plenty of time to ruminate.  This, from the napkin scribble:

When he’s gone, they will sing their songs into the silence to fill up the empty rooms.
When he’s gone, they will tell his stories around fires in the wilderness.
When he’s gone, someone will place lanterns along the pathways where he walked.
When he’s gone, the fields will explode into yellow flowers.

When he’s gone, you will hear the sound of bells and be filled with wonder.
When he’s gone, a single rose will bloom in December.
When he’s gone, dances and children will be named in his honor.
When he’s gone, all my poems will say Remember, remember, remember.

When he’s gone, we will raise our glasses in toast after toast
to his great good humor and his kindness.
When he’s gone, we will laugh through our tears.
When he’s gone, our hearts will shatter like the breaking ice in springtime.

Just Beneath the Words

Day 4 Prompt: Begin with Just Beneath________

Just beneath the words
which you have placed with such care
into the bowl on the table
there is an empty room
with walls of blue
and a folding chair.

Just there, outside the window
is a tree with three small leaves
which quiver in the winter wind.

Just above the tree a crow is flying.
You have been speaking its name
into the wooden bowl.
Its name is not Despair.

Just inside the sun-whitened skull of the crow
in the leaves on the hillside
squats a tiny brown toad.
It listens for the sound
of your name in the wind.

Mention the Moon

Poem-a-Day, Day 2 Prompt:  Write about the Full Moon.

You need not wade through the mists and bogs to reach the moon.
You need not climb a ladder of cobweb.
You need not ride the stallions that wicker in the sea’s pounding surf.

Draw back the curtain and open the window.
Breathe the bracing air and listen:
The whinny of an owl, the click of the bat,
The grunt of a buck and the distant roar of the train.

The full moon will spill a milky road before you.
That is all the pathway you will need.