Love and its Opposite

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Today’s Prompt is to write a Love/Anti-Love Poem. I realize that I am pooping out on these. Much work to do, and little time for poeming. I’ll leave it at this for tonight.

Love and its Opposite
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

The opposite of fire is not more fire,
we know that–just like Frost’s desire–
his opposite was ice, which like him I suppose
would dim the fire until it froze.

Gratitude List:
1. I have great gratitude for Sam Ovalle of Sam’s Auto in Akron. Finally, we have the Prius back with us in working order. We’ve been driving my dad’s car for six weeks, the last one with the Service Engine Soon light on. Tonight I had to learn the Prius all over again. I tried to honk the horn when an approaching car passed in a no-passing zone, and accidentally turned on the radio (“You really showed him!” said Jon).
2. Mist on the River
3. Mist in the fields
4. Mist caught in the trees
5. Mists in the little River Towns

May we walk in Beauty!

Taking the Measure

imag2382November hosta

Tomorrow, in mid-afternoon, we are invited to join the Water Protectors at Standing Rock to pray and meditate. I will pray for their safety, for the success of their cause. I will pray with thanksgiving for the work that they have done and are doing, in gratitude for their fearlessness and resolve. I will pray for the continuation of the movement. I will pray that the hearts of those who must hear will be softened, and that the people who have the power to protect them and their lands and waters will have the courage and wisdom to do the right thing.  Join me?

Today’s Poetry Prompt is to write a tape poem.

Taking the Measure
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Along the top of the green shelf my father made when we moved here,
I’ve lined the three jars of herbs the demolition crew found in the wall
of my grandmother’s house, a rambling old Victorian taken down
the month after we bought this place in the hills west of the River.

My great-grandmother’s butter paddle, an ancient pair of reading glasses,
an onyx vase from India full of goose feathers from the pond
near my parents’ house where the children like to look for baby swans,
and a tall, thin ebony carving of a Maasai warrior in a beaded skirt.

Coiling around and through them all, like a frayed yellow snake,
my mother’s mother’s tape measure, which used to wrap around a waist
or along a length of hem to perfect her stitching and mending,
now takes the measure of the memories I’ve collected.

Gratitude List:
1. Senses. Color, hue, and texture–in sight and sound and smell, in taste and touch. How being human is a constant exploration of the complexity of senses. The more I pay attention to color, the more color I see. The more I notice scent and aroma, the more fully I am able to distinguish the subtle shifts and changes in the smells around me. The more carefully I listen, the more easily I can begin to sense changes in the temperature and color of sound. I love this business of being in a body.
2. All those handsome and thoughtful raptor youngsters standing sentinel on posts and poles along the highway today.
3. Crowdsourcing. Whether it’s where to buy local goat meat, how to handle the post-Downton Abbey blues, what poem to read to my classes, or what to do about a flagging Prius battery, I’ve gotten very helpful advice from my friends on social media. We saved ourselves from making a potentially very expensive bad choice by researching the Prius battery situation with friends on Facebook.
4. Sam at Sams Auto. We sent him a Facebook message the night before Thanksgiving, and he responded in five minutes. He is a real expert on the Prius, and perhaps a little obsessed. We are in good hands, and we should finally have our car home a driveable by Tuesday.
5. Reason. Clear logic. But also emotional intelligence. Heart logic. Gut reasoning. Intuitive intelligence. Wise instinct.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Flow of Meaning

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Sun splintered by the trees by the Millstream this morning.

Today’s prompt is to write a paper poem:

The Flow of Meaning
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Your thoughts, like birds
will flow
across the clear sky
of your mind,

like marks of a scribe
will seep
across the white page
of your dreams,

and meaning will form
from the patterns
that resolve as words
upon the page,

that whirl in the dusk
like a flock of starlings,
separating,
merging,
flowing as one being.

Gratitude List:
1. Pippi the Prius is fixed and out of the shop. It felt sort of like going to pick up a beloved old dog at the vet. There’s something not quite right with the battery. I’m hoping that it’s just because she’s been sitting so much of the time that she’s been getting fixed, and it’ll work itself out. The man at the shop said that it was within 75 cents of being totaled, so they put the detailing stripe on with a decal instead of paint, and gave that to us for free. I am grateful for that quarter we had to spare. And for the crew who fixed her up good as new.
2. Autumn sun, morning and evening, sparkling through the trees, skipping down the fields.
3. Making plans, fortifying, resolving
4. Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus”
5. Finding my way into the new dreams

May we walk in Beauty!

A Long Weekend

stones-or-eggs Eggs or stones?

Gratitude List:
1. Hooray! Pippi Prius can be fixed. It took a while to get the details worked out with the insurance company, and the damage was apparently almost equal to her value, but they’ve agreed to go ahead and do it.
2. My colleagues. Yesterday was an in-service day, and much as I always wish I could just have those days to decompress or catch up on work, I always come away feeling energized and inspired for the work ahead–also, grateful for the earnest, positive, playful energy of my colleagues.
3. Our school superintendent, Richard Thomas. Since he announced his coming retirement last winter, it’s been disconcerting to think of the future of the school without him. He has helped this school system to shape a vision of itself as a community, as a place where students and teachers and staff work to become our best selves, to create a place of shalom. Yesterday we had a chance to try to tell him a little bit about what he means to us.
4. The Search Committee, who had a huge task in a short time. They listened well, heard our concerns and our hopes for the future, and found someone who seems to have vision and determination and savvy enough to step into the superintendent’s role.  They have been careful to be confidential when confidentiality has been necessary, while staying as transparent as possible. Yesterday they carefully led us through their process of the past six months and shared the ways in which our new superintendent fits the values and ideals that we gave them.
5. Today. I can work all day to catch up. I didn’t get as much done last weekend as I wanted. I plan to go to school on Monday with no late grading hanging over my head.

Shalom.

Stories Will Hatch

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Bird in a tree.

April is finished.  I need a break from the daily poem for a while, time to let the words deepen before I spew them out onto the screen.

Gratitude List:
1. The car did start on Saturday night.  In the parking lot after the play, I saw that Pippi the Prius’s lights were doing a weird blinky thing, and she was making a parping sound, like she was on some sort of alarm–I don’t know whether she has any such features.  I pushed the unlock button several times and she settled down, but when I tried to start her, she was on the lowest battery bar, and she just turned herself off.  I called AAA, but after the call, I tried turning her on again, and she purred to life.  Her battery bars were really low, but she slowly recharged herself, so I cancelled the AAA call and went home.  Because she’s so different from anything I have ever driven, I didn’t feel like I even had the ability to assess what’s wrong.
2. One boy is writing a report on Dave Brubeck for music class.  Yesterday afternoon, I realized that the thing he’d been humming all day was “Take Five,” and that the odd clicky thing he does with his tongue was marking some of the stressed beats.  I’ve got a kid who genuinely likes Brubeck–we’ve done at least one parenting thing right.
3. Yesterday’s sermon: The Disruption of Healing.  There’s a lot to think about in there.  Do I really want to be healed?  I have gotten pretty comfortable with the status quo–healing/growing/becoming requires change and change can be itchy and painful.  But my healing is bound up with the healing of others, with the planet.  So we forge ahead.  We push for new growth.  We shed the old dragon skins.
4. The ways stories hatch.  Maybe I will grab the momentum of this one and get it onto paper before it fades.  I need to listen to my own advice.  I am really good about telling students to write down their ideas, to play and tinker with the elements of a story, to fearlessly jump into it.  I guess I had better put my money where my mouth is. . .
5. You.  You who read my blog, you who notice a flash of color or a beautiful set of words and point it out, you who cast your nets of compassion out into the world, you who make that almost alchemical connection between idea and word–putting thought into hearable form, you who twinkle when you smile, you who think deeply before you speak, you who chatter and chuckle and keep everyone happy, you who feed others, you who hold babies, you who strive and strive.

Much love!  May we walk in Beauty!

Vision and Re-Vision

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My classroom door.  Perhaps it’s time to tidy it a bit.

What of Little Red’s mother?
She had to know the child would wander,
had to know the natural curiosity,
the inborn politeness that would not scorn a stranger,
toothy as he was, and oily with charm.

Did she lie awake at night,
heart pounding,
plotting how to protect her child
from wolves and poison and brambles?

And when the strange news reached her,
of her child and her mother
rescued from the ravenous belly of death,
did she quake with the knowledge
of all she could not protect them from?

(We’re practicing poetry revisions in Creative Writing right now.  This is one that will need the scalpel, but I might be able to pull something out of it.  Yesterday, I took one of my poems from a few days ago, threw it up on the Smart Board, and did some revisions right in front of them.  They were really quiet.  I hope that it gave them courage to work their own poems into shape.)

Gratitude List:
1. Re-vision.  Re-shaping.  Re-creating.  Re-making.  Re-forming.  (I am thinking that Visions and Re-Visions might be the name of my next book.  I wonder if it’s been done already.)
2. Fifty miles to the gallon.  I have only driven the Prius for a day now, but I have become what Jon calls a hyper-miler–I drive to get the good mileage.
3. Zesty greens
4. The yellow tulips outside the office at school.  Red stripes through the petals.
5. Phoebe and white-throat sparrow, plaintive and insistent.

May we walk in Beauty!

Laundress

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It has been a couple years since I have had the time and energy to maintain a Poet-Tree in the yard, so I made one on my bulletin board.

Today’s poem is a threading together of fragments of Facebook posts from years gone by on this day.  A Facebook Found Fragment poem.

Doozy of a storm.
The poetry is shredded.
I will be such a laundress today
and fix up my tree.
I have a fierce attachment to hope.

Sleep is such a magical elixir. And elderberry.

The trees are taking that last inbreath
before they explode into bloom.
My heart is breaking. And healing. And breaking.

Soak up the energy,
give yourself a break from perfectionism,
sample a bit and see what it tastes like,
become a drop of sunlight
and whisper in on the breeze.

See? There you have it:
Sometimes I feel so awkward
about who to be, how to be.
But that means there is always something to learn,
always a new path to explore.

Gratitude List:
1. Anniversaries.  Our wedding anniversary may be in September, but today is a special anniversary.  Here is how I said it three years ago: “This day, [29] years ago. Pizza, pool, and a penny for good luck. I decided that it was time to tell that cute shy boy how much I liked him. Turns out, he liked me too. He’s still cute, and sort of shy, and I like him a whole, whole lot.”
2. New car!  When you try to run your vehicles just to the point before they become more expensive to maintain than it would be to buy a new one, then the purchase of a new car is a really big deal.  Roxanne Rustbucket has served us well for many years–she’s the only car our children know.  Hopefully, Pippi (yes, as in Longstocking–we were thinking of VillavillaCoola) Prius will haul us safely through another decade.
3. Having a day of lesson plans that just follow simply from yesterday’s lesson plans and don’t need a huge amount of planning.
4. Mary Oliver
5. All the shining eyes of the day–thoughtful, hopeful, tricksy, needing, giving, knowing, compassionate, connecting. . .

So much love!  May we walk in Beauty.