Beginnings and Endings

It’s November! Time for a Poem a Day! I am following Robert Lee Brewer’s Prompts over at The Writer’s Digest. Today, he suggests a Beginnings/Endings poem (or one or the other). The art is a collaboration between me and the Wombo Dream AI.

Another Month to Feed
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Perhaps it’s always rabbits
at the mouth of the month
because beginnings come
so often timidly, twitching noses
in the shadows, marking a small
moment in the never-ending
spiral of time, one birth in
an incandescent infinity
of new beginnings, yet
another meal for the wolf
of the month to come.

Gratitude List:
1. Poetry prompts
2. The two children who held my hands in the woods yesterday.
3. Social/emotional learning and teaching
4. Finding fresh purpose
5. Miracles
May we walk, oh so tenderly, in Beauty!

“I am passionate about everything in my life, first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society.” —bell hooks

“Bless the light and the darkness, the love and the fear.” —Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” —Roald Dahl, The Witches

“For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap its knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows, the joy, the poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff. You have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.” —Anais Nin

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In the morning I went out to pick dandelions and was drawn to the Echinacea patch where I found a honeybee clinging to one of the pink flowers. She seemed in distress, confused and weak. She kept falling off the flower and then catching herself in midair and flying dizzily back. She kept trying to get back to work, to collect her pollen and nectar to take home to the hive to make honey but she was getting weaker and weaker and then she fell into my hand. I knew she would never make it back to her hive. For the next half hour she rested in my palm, her life slowly ebbing away as a thunderstorm started to brew. I sat on the earth waiting for death with her. The lightning flashed over the mountains, a family of turkeys slowly walked the ridge, a wild dog keyed into what was happening circled past us. The trees appeared startlingly vivid and conscious as the wind blew up and the thunder cracked and then her death was finished. She was gone forever. But in her going she taught me to take every moment as my last flower, do what I could and make something sweet of it.” —Layne Redmond

“Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.” —Thomas Merton

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” —Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein

Audre Lorde:
“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.
Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of “it feels right to me.” We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.”

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” —Khalil Gibran

Poem a Day: 20

Today’s Prompts are Isolation, and Seven Sins.

Isolation and the Seven Sins
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

The first one is coughing, right?
Or. . .coughing without covering your mouth,
or coughing into your hand instead of your elbow.
Does sneezing belong here, too,
or is it just a matter of degree:
an uncovered cough goes ten feet
while a sneeze blasts twenty-seven.

The second is touching your face.
Don’t touch your face!
Don’t scratch your nose!
Don’t rub your eyes!

Then there’s forgetting
to wash your hands,
or not using soap,
or not singing Happy Birthday
twice through while you wash.
I’m having a whole lot of birthdays lately.

Getting too close to people
who don’t live in your house,
that’s the fourth one—
sidling up to strangers in stores,
saying, “Is this the line?”
while they edge away
from you as politely as they dare.

Three more? Okay. Here’s one:
Not wearing a mask in public.
Don’t go to the bank
unless you look you’re
going to rob the bank.
You’ve got to learn
how to smile with your eyes.

Number six is definitely hoarding.
Nobody needs that much toilet paper, hon.

And the seventh. Sloth? Is that one?
I’m pretty sure I heard that one,
but maybe that’s a deadly sin.
Aren’t these deadly sins, too?

Poem a Day: 3

Today’s two prompts were Blossoms and Follow ______.

I’m not really happy with this one. I got caught on the hook of the rhythm and I couldn’t tear myself loose, so I followed the trail. I followed the blossoms, I guess.

Follow the Blossoms
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Step, Golden Child, onto the pathway:
follow the blossoms strewn on the pebbles.
Pink-flowering trees and golden-bloomed bushes
line the trail that calls you to wander.

Follow the blossoms wherever they lead you.
Heed only the call of aroma and color
as your feet take the rocky trail into the wild-lands,
away from the village, away from the hearth-fires.

The stories will tell of your innocent spirit,
naive, how you trusted the universe,
never believing that anything
out in the wildwood could harm you.

But you, like the Fool, have kept your eyes open.
You know of the risks, you know of the shadows,
but something else calls you to step beyond boundaries
out to the wildwood, where dangers await you.

Ahead of you, waiting around every bend in the pathway,
are challengers, riddles and questions to answer,
witches to work for and riders to follow.
Now you will have come to the edge of your trial.

Step, Golden Child, into the clearing.
Now you are nearing the challenge you came for.
This is the moment you’ve trained your whole life for,
to follow the blossoms to where they may lead you.

Baiting the Hook

Today’s Poetic Asides Prompt is to write a poem titled “Complete (____).” I’m going to take a little bit of liberty.

The Compleat Poet

Bait your hook with a juicy image,
the wriggling worm of a story,
something you’ve pulled
from the muddy garden plot
of an ancient dream,
or from underneath the rock
of a hidden memory.

Your elements are tabula rasa and type.
Sounds and silences.
Language and lore.

Walk along the stream-bank
every morning at dawn,
so you can learn how the mist
rises above the waters
just before the fish start leaping.

Learn their habits,
their secret hiding places,
their favorite words and phrases.
Bring them the most succulent morsels.

Tease your line across the surface,
dipping down with quick
and tantalizing strokes.
Cultivate patience.

Carry your treasures home in a pail,
or scrawled in a notebook or napkin.
Learn to cook them fresh.

Not Why, But How

Today’s Prompt on the Poetic Asides blog is to write a Reason Poem:

There is no reason.
Simply this:
The Beloved is. And you are.
And that is all there is for reason.

Oh, there’s a tiny blue butterfly
on a golden flower in a field of green.
And the way that vulture
stood upon the wind
above the river last winter,
how you could see
the snow-furred animal shape of the ridge
through the stripes of naked trees.

Love slips out through the bars of reason.
Like the butterfly, like the vulture.
Like golden, like whisper, like tears.
It’s more vision than reason,
more realm, more white horse
galloping through dream.
More one single ray of light
shining through the forest canopy
to sparkle on a stone at your feet.

Why do you love me? has only one answer:
You are. But how? Now there is a question
with myriad answers, vast as the universe.
Look up and outward, and you will see.

How do you love me? you ask the Beloved.
She answers: Stone, sunshine, horse,
breeze, butterfly, waterfall, and blue, blue, blue.

Innocence and Intelligence

Today’s prompt was to write an Intelligence poem. I dithered about it all day, started and stopped and started again. Finally I just threw a bunch of words out there, and this happened. I am sort of happy with it. For now.

Gratitude List:
1. The Check Engine light went off by itself. The Prius manual said to just drive it a bit in case it was a light malfunction instead of engine trouble, so I did, and it went out, and we’re going to call it a light malfunction for now.
2. We had an intruder drill today at school. We do it gently, and we teachers are given notice about how it’s going to happen. While there was anxiety and disruption, the day provided some shining moments. I really like the gentle drill–I can’t think in a panic, so I need a slow and methodical chance to practice. Now I feel like I’ve got the information in my body.
3. The other shining thing about the day is that, while students needed to be constantly running hypothetical situations, and their imaginations about school shootings are somewhat jarring, there was a certain intimacy in the conversations. I valued the chance to look in their eyes and tell them that I want to protect them, that my goal is to keep them all safe, to assure them that we would take care of each other if we found ourselves in a crisis.
4. I finally got the boys into the Susan Cooper books. I don’t remember the plots too well, but I remember liking them.
5. The ampersand. I make mistakes & I do some things really well. I am exhausted by the work of the day & I am energized by the tenderness of the day.

May we walk in Beauty!

Case Clothed

The prompt for today was to write a “Case ______” poem. I immediately thought of Case Closed, but that felt really cliched, almost what the prompt was fishing for. Then Jon made some comment on my outfit for the day, something about my sartorial responsibility, and suddenly I was off and running. My closet isn’t quite as dire as this makes it sound, perhaps, but. . .well. . .perhaps it is.

Case Clothed

It’s a clear case of sartorial irresponsibility,
a cache of clothes exploded to infinity.
My closet’s filled with clothes that don’t suit me.
Textures and colors that please the eye,
but little that fits my current sensibility,
which is perhaps my own inability
to see the consequences of my own materiality,
to truly understand the concept of simplicity.
It’s time to chase my self-indulgence with austerity,
And close the case on this insanity.

Gratitude List:
1. Soft fur, soft feathers, soft blankets
2. Wildness
3. Wind
4. Poetry
5. Perspective

May we walk in Beauty!


Today’s prompt is to use at least three of these words in a poem: lagoon, plunder, artifact, wobble, relent, horrendous.  I love these.  They pull me out of my ruts.

After the relentless storm and plunder,
after the horrendous calm,
she searches the silent pools,
she scours the quiet caves of the lagoon,
she watches the gulls winging down the beach,

seeking for surviving artifacts
shining fragments that glint in the sunlight,
pearls scattered in the glistening sands.

The hunt for the missing pieces
occupies her haggard attention
and draws her thoughts away from the loss.

Salvage becomes her salvation.

Small Town

Today’s Auto Writing Prompt: Featuring at least one example from each of the five senses, describe a small town.  It is helpful for me to force myself to do a sudden descriptive writing piece since this is the type of work I demand from my students.

The town marches straight up the hillside. Walking up Main Street from the River, you feel the weight of gravity pulling you backwards and downwards.  Perhaps it’s the weight of the town’s own defiant history, furtively harboring the desperate people who followed the River northward to freedom and burning the bridge across the River to keep the southern armies from marching on their neighbors to the east.  Brick and stone and wood–your fingers can almost trace the layers of history, read the stories of rebellion and desperation in the walls of this town.

On a clear breezy day, you will just catch the briefest whiff of the metallic tang mingled with rot (almost more a taste than a smell) that comes from the dump high on the ridge, and the town is daily filled with the rumble of trucks from many parts of Pennsylvania and her neighbors on their way to unload their burdens at the landfill.

Gratitude List:
1. The heart-filling gratitude of students.
2. Little naps
3. Nailing it, but also trying again when I don’t nail it. So, second chances.
4. Being part of a team, a net, a compassionate web–knowing that others are also looking out for the ones I feel troubled about
5. Snowy mornings.  My favorite thing, besides a little extra time in the mornings with my family, is seeing the tracks in the snow.  Cat feet. Squirrel feet. Bird feet.  Wingtips.

May we walk in Beauty!