NPM Day Seven: Mondo

Poetry Prompt for Day Seven of National Poetry Month

Grab a friend and make a Mondo. According to Robert Lee Brewer of Poetry Digest, a mondo is a
question and answer poem. Write a question (can be three lines of 5-7-7 syllables, but doesn’t have to
be). Your friend writes the answer.

My students and I have decided that there’s a certain cosmic significance to a random answer,
written without reading the question. Sometimes it’s hilariously disconnected, but occasionally a
sweet synchronicity occurs and a random answer actually applies to the question.

Here. I’ll start with the question. Feel free to respond with an answer, and then poem a question
of your own:

How do you see me,
when I hide myself behind
this shadowy mask?


Gratitude List:
1. Resolutions
2. Revolutions
3. Revelations
4. Resolutions
5. New Beginnings

May we walk in Beauty!


“Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others.” —Pope Francis


“Remember, the ugly, old woman/witch
is the invention of dominant cultures.
The beauty of crones is legendary:
old women are satined-skinned,
softly wrinkled, silver-haired, and awe-inspiring
in their truth and dignity.” —Susun Weed


“God invites everyone to the House of Peace.” —The Holy Quran


“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell


“What a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ came the Christians.”
—Annie Dillard


“The arc of history is long, and what we’re here to do is make a mark. . . . You do the work because you’re slowly moving the needle. There are times in history when we feel like we’re going backward, but that’s part of the growth.” —Barack Obama


“Each moment from all sides rushes to us the call to love.” —Rumi


“You are a co-creator of love in this world.” —Richard Rohr


“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing out a space where new stories can root; in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves.”
—Jeanette Winterson


“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.” —Eden Ahbez


“Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others.” —Pope Francis


“Remember, the ugly, old woman/witch
is the invention of dominant cultures.
The beauty of crones is legendary:
old women are satined-skinned,
softly wrinkled, silver-haired, and awe-inspiring
in their truth and dignity.” —Susun Weed


“God invites everyone to the House of Peace.” —The Holy Quran


“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell


“What a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ came the Christians.”
—Annie Dillard


“The arc of history is long, and what we’re here to do is make a mark. . . . You do the work because you’re slowly moving the needle. There are times in history when we feel like we’re going backward, but that’s part of the growth.” —Barack Obama


“Each moment from all sides rushes to us the call to love.” —Rumi


“You are a co-creator of love in this world.” —Richard Rohr


“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing out a space where new stories can root; in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves.”
—Jeanette Winterson


“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.” —Eden Ahbez

Finding the Deeper Meanings

Three parts to last night’s sleepless-disturbed dreams:
I think the cats were doing Goblin Parties in the night, because in the dream I am watching a family of lynxes in the field across the road. It’s sunny and snowy and they’re walking through the corn stubble. Two are either fighting or mating or playing, because they’re yowling and tussling (cue the cats). The interesting thing about the lynxes is that they’re tiger-lynxes. They’re shaped and sized like lynxes, but striped like tigers, with black and white fur, and a ridge of rusty orange along their backs. Later, they’re in the house, and I can get them to come out of hiding by banging on pots and pans.

Then Jon and I are finding our way into a park somewhere, up on the top of a hill, through the woods, sort of like the drive in to Rocky Ridge Park if we were coming from the other direction. There’s a camp at the top, beautiful old buildings, sunset over a lake where a meditating woman is doing yoga in the water, even though it’s winter. We park by the lodge and go in to see if our reserved room is ready. The man who is in charge of the rooms, cleaning and renting, seems to have forgotten that we were coming, or was hoping we wouldn’t. He starts slamming around the halls and rooms, swearing under his breath. Another guest sits with us in the hall as we wait, chuckling at the angry cleaning guy. I am pretty sure that I have been in different versions of this camp in dreams before.

Then I am in one of the high-rise hotels that I often visit in dreams. This time I am there as a teacher, or for a teachers’ conference or something. I go to visit one of the older and very experienced teachers. He tells me the logo on one of his school flags, which he finds very humorous: “Please Pick Up the Machinations.” (I think I have that correct. It may have been Don’t rather than Please.) He thought it very witty. I head back to my office room in the hotel, which is open to the hall (more of a cubby than a room, actually), and one of my friends is there (not someone I recognize as a being I know in waking life, but someone I am very attached to in the dream). He says he is there to eat with me, and I am really touched that he realized I was feeling lonely and confused. I offer him the lemonade packets that were left in my office space by the hotel folks–he doesn’t want any coffee.

All of this wandering through spaces semi-familiar, places that exist on the margins of reality, where I return, again and again, in dreamings. I know I am feeling confused about finding my way through some really important places in my waking life, and it makes sense that I would see it here in dreamland. In the last two sequences, one person was angry that I had appeared, and a second was helpfully offering me advice, and a third was quietly willing to be present to me in my confusion. If this is indeed about my confusion regarding how/whether to publish, and what to work on first, and how to go about it, perhaps I need to seek out a friend who is willing to listen and be present, and a publishing mentor or life coach (I’ll take lemonade and witty jokes). I feel like the mentor has given me a message to pay attention to. Unfortunately, unless I can remember whether he said Don’t or Please, and until I can decipher what the heck it means, I don’t know if I can make much use of it.

Oddly, I have dreamed of lynxes before, and it was also during Twelvenight. Lynxes are secretive and elusive, watchers. Lynxes see things others miss. Tigers are about courage and will and sensuality.


Gratitudes:
1. Walking around the property yesterday, I caught a strong whiff of Fox. I learned years ago to distinguish the scent, and I often catch it for a brief moment in wild places. I always second guess myself, but yesterday I walked back up hill for thirty paces or so, and walked back down, and caught it again. Fox is one of the guiding archetypes in the wisdom cards I received for Christmas, and just that morning I had been meditating on a card of a little fox family.
2. The gleaming surfaces of freshly-scrubbed copper-bottomed pots. I like the way they seem to take on an extra shine in the twenty seconds after you finish scrubbing.
3. Lattes. These mornings, I have been making coconut or almond milk lattes with coconut oil and vanilla and honey. A lovely way to start the morning.
4. Synchronicity. I have been contemplating the word gnosis (deep, more intuitive spiritual understanding of the world), and this morning on a FB thread, where my friend Hussein (a first-language Arabic speaker) and I were discussing the role of breathing in poetry and speech and communication, he mentioned his love of fiqh, the study of deep meanings.
5. Continuing in Time Out of Time. Oh, I’ll do work this week, too, but it’s a gift to be in this space of restfulness and contemplation.

May we walk in search of deep understanding.


Honoring Kwanzaa with those who celebrate it: Today’s Word is one of my favorite Swahili words: Ujamaa. Cooperative economics. How can we create local systems that develop economic justice for all? How can we share our finances in ways that build up the community?


“Don’t let the tamed ones tell you how to live.” —Jonny Ox


“The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they’ll know it is possible.” —Gloria Steinem


Mark Twain: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”


Frederick Buechner:
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”


“A night finally came when I woke up sweaty and angry and afraid I’d never go back to sleep again. All those stories were rising up in my throat. Voices were echoing in my neck, laughter behind my ears, and I was terribly, terribly afraid that I was finally as crazy as my kind was supposed to be. But the desire to live was desperate in my belly, and the stories I had hidden all those years were the blood and bone of it. To get it down, to tell it again, to make something—by God, just once to be real in the world, without lies or evasions or sweet-talking nonsense. It was a rough beginning—my own shout of life against death, of shape and substance against silence and confusion. It was most of all my deepest, abiding desire to live fleshed and strengthened on the page, a way to tell the truth as a kind of magic not cheapened or distorted by a need to please any damn body at all. Without it, I cannot imagine my own life. Without it, I have no way to tell you who I am.” —Dorothy Allison, from “Deciding to Live”


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov:
“Love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”


“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

A New Year, Dreamtime 10

Here we are at Janus’ Doorway again. Janus, remember, is the two-faced Roman god who stands in doorways and gateways and openings, his face looking back to where he came from and forward to where he is headed. And on this day we, too, have made a practice of looking forward as we look back: What do I hold in my heart from the past year? What do I want to keep and improve upon? What do I regret? What do I leave behind with relief? And: What am I looking forward to? What do I want to maintain as the thread that continues from year to year to year? What do I want to pick up What can I strive to become as I step through this gate into the next phase?

Some years I make Resolutions. Some years I eschew them. Some years I make them with qualifications or new names like Intentions or Principles. This year, they’re Resolutions again. I can sit with that. Some of these are loftier than others.

Resolutions
In 2019, I resolve to:

  1. Continue banning face and name of the attention-monger on my FB page. No posts of him.
  2. Nourish my body with care, and make sure to strengthen and stretch.
  3. Tend to my inner life with even greater care. Expand spiritual practices and lifelines.
  4. Let the madwoman out of the attic. Give her flowers and colors, nice music and rich scents.
  5. Be actively kinder to my children.
  6. Finish the book. Can I finish the book this year? I think maybe I can finish the book.g

Gratitude List:
1. Closing the book on the challenges of 2018.
2. Opening a new chapter.
3. Blank pages.
4. Supportive, overlapping circles of community.
5. The blue of those clouds on this first morning of the new year.

May we walk in Beauty!


Today’s Quotations list is long. I decided to include two of my own New Year’s poems.

Words for the Seventh Day of Kwanzaa:
The word for this last day of Kwanzaa is Imani, or Faith. Believe that your dreams have the power to create change in the world. May it be so for you and for me and for all who long for and work for justice in the coming year.


“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier.’” —Alfred Tennyson


“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.” ―Joan Chittister


Walking Through the Gateway of Another Year
By Beth Weaver-Kreider, 2017

Let’s call them New Year’s Revolutions
or Re-Solutions
or Revelations
or Re-evaluations.

Change. Progress.
Uncovering. Assessing.

In the coming year, I resolve to re-solve
my problems and issues every day,
not just on this morning.

For every morning is the morning
of a whole new year,
a bright blank page
in which any thing
can be a new thing.

Let every moment be a moment like now,
when the newborn sun shines
over the ridge
onto the scarlet breast
of a cardinal,
and the eye
for a moment sees nothing
but sparkling red.


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.” —T. S. Eliot


“And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.”
—William Blake


“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
―Mary Oliver


“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


This is How It Begins (a New Year’s poem)
by Beth Weaver-Kreider, January 1, 2016

This is how it begins:
each year, each week, each day,
each golden shining drop of moment
approaches,
full of expectancy,
dawning,
ready for our use.

How will I inhabit the house
of the now that approaches?
How will I wear the cloth
of the day that is given?
How will I wander the story
of the year that has just now
leapt into shining view
through the gray clouds of winter?

I will face this year with resolution
(this week, this day, this moment)
not to wait until this whirling planet
has danced around the sun
to make the new thing new,
but to step into each freshly-birthed now
with eyes that see the golden shine of possibility
and ears that hear the note of each plucked strand of moment.

Walking Through the Gateway of Another Year


Let’s call them New Year’s Revolutions
or Re-Solutions
or Revelations
or Re-evaluations.

Change. Progress.
Uncovering. Assessing.

In the coming year, I resolve to re-solve
my problems and issues every day
not just on this morning.

For every morning is the morning
of a whole new year,
a bright blank page
in which any thing
can be a new thing.

Let every moment be a moment like now,
when the newborn sun shines
over the ridge
onto the scarlet breast
of a cardinal,
and the eye
for a moment sees nothing,
nothing but sparkling red.


Gratitude List:
1. The red breast of the cardinal on the hill
2. The scent of orange and cloves
3. The sound of a woodpecker drumming high in a tree on the bluff
4. A warm house and warm clothes in bitter weather
5. All my Beloveds.

May we walk together in Beauty into a radiant new season.