Poem a Day: 30

The prompts today were Praise and Fruit. I included some new words I have learned in the last couple of days, defined at the end of the poem. Today is the last day of Poem-a-Day. Now for editing, now for reading.

I Have Two Daughters: A Beltane Song
(with gratitude to Eavan Boland for the first line)
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I have two daughters:
Their names are Memory and Loss.
Their names are Fearless and Anna.
Their names are Wisdom and Fate.

I have two daughters:
Their eyes are deep brown wells.
Their faces are carved from jade and quartz.
Their hands flutter like swallows when they dance.

Their names are Ylem and Horaios,
seed under soil and the moment of bloom,
potential and fruition, hope and beauty.

(My first living child arrived by the knife
a year to the day after I began to bleed
a lost land into nothingness.
We named him for his grandfathers.
The lost one lives in a garden with a name
too complicated for written word.)

Their names are Nile and Susquehanna.
Their eyes are the roots of continents.
Their faces are made of water and song.
Their hands sound like the wings of moths
whispering against the screen door.

The fruit carries within it the singing potential
of seed, of blossom, repetition of genes,
like we all carry within us the child we have been,
the daughters we are to ourselves, past and future.
The seed is the death of the flower,
and also the source of the tree.
That which was will be again.

I have two daughters:
Their names are Elizabeth and Praise.
Their eyes are mystery and vortex.
Their faces are the moon and Pleiades
Their hands are wings of mist and cobweb.

(ylem: the primordial matter, the essence of beginning
horaios: the beauty of rightness, the satisfying click
when everything falls into place)

Memories That Have Not Yet Been

Today’s prompt is to write a Praise poem. I have been thinking about the way the Future sometimes seems to be coming back toward the present to embrace us, so:

I Praise the Future
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

for she rushes back toward me from the bend in the road,
for she holds out her hands, calling, “Come! I have something
especially for you!” and holds me with her twinkling eyes,
for she embraces me and calls my name, and then
she whirls and races back to the turning,
leaving laughter in her wake–it rustles with the fallen leaves
as her feet stir them like memories that have not yet been.


Today’s Quotations all seem to be about the inside and the outside:
Adrienne Rich: “When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility of more truth around her.”
*
“Walked for half an hour in the garden. A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered about the distant mountains – a melancholy nature. The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.”
—Henri Frederic Amiel; 1821 – 1881
*
“Part of the tragedy of our present culture is that all our attention is on the outer, the physical world. And yes, outer nature needs our attention; we need to act before it is too late, before we ravage and pollute the whole ecosystem. We need to save the seeds of life’s diversity. But there is an inner mystery to a human being, and this too needs to be rescued from our present wasteland; we need to keep alive the stories that nourish our souls. If we lose these seeds we will have lost a connection to life’s deeper meaning—then we will be left with an inner desolation as real as the outer.” —Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


Gratitude List:
1. That very red oak tree down Ducktown, across from Flinchbaugh’s
2. The way the sycamores along Kreutz Creek raise their white arms upward
3. The Dawn Redwoods and larches, which are turning a sepia brown and getting ready to release their needle-leaves
4. The maples along the highway, which turn orange to red on one side, while staying greenish on the other
5. All the blues of the clouds today

May we walk in Beauty!

Nothing Belongs to Us

“Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.The warming of the planet is a symptom of a greater problem: the developed world’s indifference to the destruction of the planet as they pursue short-term economic gains. This has resulted in a “throwaway culture” in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.” –Pope Francis
*
Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
*
“Listen: Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” –Mary Oliver
*
“This might be the most difficult task for us in postmodern life: not to look away from what is actually happening. To put down the iPod and the e-mail and the phone. To look long enough so that we can look through it—like a window.” –Marie Howe, poet


Gratitude List:
1. Friday night game night
2. The voice of David Tenant
3. Hot tea on a chilly night
4. Even after a couple months, the cats are finding new levels of comfort. Sachs has decided that Jon is his person.
5. Building a bridge

May we walk in Beauty!

Praise

WORDSCloud

Psalm of Praise
(10 August 2015)

Yours is the music that enters our hearts.
Delight of you enlivens our voices to join in the song.
We are born to worship our Maker.

The world is awash in color and music;
your works are enkindled in sparkle and dazzle.
Every bright bird, each flashing star,
the chirp of the cricket and drone of cicada,
roaring waterfall, quivering leaf–
all of creation sings your glory.

We have only to look up and outward,
and wonder will fill our mouths with praise.

Yet daily our hands reach out
for wealth and power and fame,
instead of rising to praise you.

Our eyes are set on the glitter and shine
of all the distractions that we have made,
and not on your grace and your beauty.

Our voices turn to bitter complaint,
to quarrels and bluster and grumbling,
instead of joining creation’s constant hymn
of praise to the Creator.

O God of wonder and beauty and grace,
open the eyes of our hearts,
awaken our senses to all you have made,
that our spirits may rise in wonder,
that our voices may open in song,
that our days may be filled with praise.

Gratitude List:
1. Symbols. The way images act like bowls to hold ideas.
2. Words. The way they act like bowls to hold ideas.
3. Blue. Is there are greater range of blues in the sky these days?
4. Rain.
5. Crape Myrtle. I saw so many on Chincoteague, but then since we have been home, I have been noticing them all over here as well. Sometimes you need to leave home to notice something you appreciate about it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitude and Praise

Gratitude List:
1. The first school events for the year are happening today.  First is a computer system training, and I always feel like I can use more training on the computer details.  And it will be delightful to see colleagues again.  In the evening is the New Student Orientation.  I’ll be sorry to miss my own children’s back-to-school night, but I’m really excited to get the room looking welcoming and friendly, and then to start meeting some of my new students and their parents.
2. Richard Rohr’s Mystics series.  I have always been drawing to the writings of the mystics, to their poetry, to the stories of their lives, but it’s only recently, in this series, that I feel as though I am beginning to understand a little of what a contemplative life might look like.
3. The Village that is helping us to raise our children: grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, friends, farm community, and teachers.  Tonight they will meet the teachers who will be with them through this year.  I am trying to get in touch with the anxiety I feel on behalf of my children: Will the teachers like them?  Will they be kind?  Will they understand my kids’ quirks?  Will they laugh with them?  This is one of those turn-around moments: So often, I think in terms of being the teacher that my students need; today, I commit to considering how I can be the teacher that mu students’ parents need me to be for their beloved young people.
4. Old friends and new ones.  I love you all.
5. The hunger, the ache, the longing for Beauty.

May we walk in Beauty!

Here is the second of the Psalms that I am writing for this series at my church.  One of my favorite ways to write poetry is to have an idea that burns in me, and then to suggest to that idea that it has a particular pathway to follow in order to come outside to play, and this project has three.  The parameters of this project are that the poems are: 1) They’re to be Psalms (I am free to interpret that as I choose–I am trying to make the language Psalm-like), 2) They each have a theme (desire, laments, praise, thanksgiving. . .), 3) They fit the Confessional moment in the church service.  Last August I was writing a short poem a day for a postcard project.  I didn’t do that one this year, but I am really grateful for this one: I am discovering that even when life is really busy, having a specific poetic task in the back of my head helps to frame the contemplative work of a season.

Psalm: Praise
10 August 2015

Yours is the music that enters our hearts.
Delight of you enlivens our voices to join in the song.
We are born to worship our Maker.

The world is awash in color and music;
your works are enkindled in sparkle and dazzle.
Every bright bird, each flashing star,
the chirp of the cricket and drone of cicada,
roaring waterfall, quivering leaf–
all of creation sings your glory.

We have only to look up and outward,
and wonder will fill our mouths with praise.

Yet daily our hands reach out
for wealth and power and fame,
instead of rising to praise you.

Our eyes are set on the glitter and shine
of all the distractions that we have made,
and not on your grace and your beauty.

Our voices turn to bitter complaint,
to quarrels and bluster and grumbling,
instead of joining creation’s constant hymn
of praise to the Creator.

O God of wonder and beauty and grace,
open the eyes of our hearts,
awaken our senses to all you have made,
that our spirits may rise in wonder,
that our voices may open in song,
that our days may be filled with praise.