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!

In the Hall of the Disappearing Creatures

<Prompt 30:  Last One.  Write a Disappearing Poem> An interesting piece of synchronicity: someone declared today (Nov. 30) to be the International Day of Remembrance for Lost Species.

One black rhino falls on the Savannah.
Deep in shadowed jungles,
the Formosan clouded leopard
winks out of time.
Poor old Lonesome George,
the last Pinta Island Tortoise,
slowly ages to stone.  And gone.
Celia, the last Pyrenean Ibex, taking
one last breath beneath a quivering acacia
on a windswept, sunset plain.

The Japanese river otter.  The Liverpool Pigeon.
The Eastern cougar.  Javan Tiger.  Golden Toad.

The Ivory-Billed. . .don’t say it.
The Ivory. . .no, not yet.
Keep that door open yet a little longer.
Listen for the wheep and cluck
deep in the swamp.  Watch
for that flash of white through the mosses.

2013 November 210
From the State Museum of PA

Gratitude List:
1.  Hope
2.  Warmth
3.  Light
4.  Art
5.  This moment.

May we walk in Beauty.