Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

Closing Time

The last poetry prompt of the month is to write a closing time poem.

The door stands ajar.
The curtain rises.
The window is open
and the screen is torn.

The moment has come
to escape the old ways
and enter into the new drama,
to dance down new pathways,
to fly toward a new horizon.

Escape!
Begin the Play!
Soar free!

That’s an exciting prompt for a Beltane Eve. May Day is about running through the door, barefoot and maybe naked, but completely unconcerned, willing to take the necessary risks to accomplish your dreams. What will you risk in the coming season? What “clothing” do you need to cast off in order to abandon yourself to your projects?

A Blessed Beltane season to you! May your dreams feed you.

Gratitude List:
1. Flicker on the ground at LMH this morning when we pulled in. We got to watch it for a full two minutes before it flew away into the morning sunlight.
2. On our walk this evening, swallows swooping low to get a look at us. I think there were both barn and tree swallows.
3. The smell of gill-over-the-grass after someone has walked on it. Smells like spring.
4. The smell of cow patties drying in a field. It transports me back in time, and suddenly I’m five-year-old Bethie walking home from Gwen’s house in the slanting sun of a late Shirati afternoon, the lake breeze playing in my hair.
5. Speaking of poop, I love the open-throated bark of a laugh that Joss gives when he hears a good scatological joke. Total delight, especially when his dad makes the joke.

May we walk in Beauty and Laughter.

Gratitudes

Changing the Rhythm

This is the last morning of my summer rhythm. Tomorrow, a new thing begins, a new school year. I am ready, eager for the day tomorrow with my colleagues, then welcoming the students on Tuesday. I am not entirely sure what will happen in this space. The leisurely search for quotations and ideas that summer offers will thin and dissipate like morning mist or dawn birdsong. Something will happen here, most likely daily, but I am not sure what that will look like until I am living it. Here’s to the new adventure!

“We never really grow up; we just learn how to act in public.” ~Bryan White
*
“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter ’til they bloom, ’til you yourself burst into bloom.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
*
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die… By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heavens knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” –Charlotte the spider
*
“Love your enemies, and pray for the ones who persecute you.” ~Jesus
*
*“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” ~Doris Lessing
*
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” ~Irish proverb
“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know from what we originate. The loss of purpose that so many of us feel is greater than the trajectory of our careers and personal lives, it is a cultural ailment which arises out of forgetting. Our lives are like the fruit of a heritage seed: Each of the generations that has preceded us has contributed to our life’s survival. There is an ancestral momentum to which we are beholden, and which carries us forward when we are in step with it. To hear this momentum, we must turn towards the soul. There, in our dreams, are the clues to what we love and what our lives long for.” – Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“To teach is to create a space in which obedience to truth is practiced.” –Parker Palmer, from Abba Felix tradition
*
“As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.”
-David Abram


Gratitude List:
1. I met a woman named Paloma yesterday. She was very gracious when I gushed at her about how I loved her name.
2. Yesterday when I pulled in to a parking lot, I stayed in the car a while to listen to an interview with an incredibly thoughtful and articulate student leader from UVA. While I was sitting there, I began to notice the swallows. They must be migrating. There were dozens of them, making little flights between the trees, scooping up insects as they flew, the morning sun golden on their wings.
3. Today will be time with one of my beloved communities, celebrating a group of young people.
4. Playtime with cats. We have a box where we keep their toys, and Thor likes to go look in and choose which toy he wants to play with. They both love laser pointers.
5. That incredible spider. It creeped us all out when we found it in the Lego bin, but it was amazing. It didn’t seem to be as robust as a wolf spider, but it had a few inches of legs, and it was furry.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Limber

imag1908
Becoming. . .

Several years ago in mid-September, I was sitting in the parking lot at Temple Beth Israel with boxes of vegetables for our CSA pick-up. During the hour and a half that I was there, at least thirty monarchs floated southward above my head. Like the birds and the dragonflies, monarchs are migrating now, too.

We used to go to the beach at this time of year, when most people have gone home for the summer. No crowds to get in the way–only warm water, cool breezes, and all the wingfolk flying south: flocks of a thousand swallows, and dragonflies and monarchs. The Wetlands Institute at Stone Harbor, NJ has a Monarch Migration Festival every September.

It’s the hummingbirds and the monarchs that really get me, such tiny and vulnerable little bodies sailing out over the Gulf to Mexico, to South America.  Dragonflies look like little machines, like helicopters built for the distance, but even they are vulnerable to weather, far out over the Gulf.

Now is the season for refueling, preparing for the leap into the blue, water and air. What will I risk in this space of my life? What void will you leap into?  Like those orange butterflies, we can trust that the long journeys of the past and the knowledge of the ancestors that lives in our own wings will inform our own flight.

Orange wings dip in farewell–
monarch catches a breeze
and wings toward the Gulf.

(I don’t really have a seasonal word as such in this haiku, but the second part of it is about the migration, so that gives the clue.)

Gratitude List:
1. Limber. Jon used this word yesterday to express something to do with fluid thinking. I like that word, especially as I am more and more aware of how the aging process demands more focused work on keeping the body limber. I like to think that my mind can also be limber if I keep it exercised.
2. Clouds: In yesterday’s sunrise, the clouds were first tangerine and indigo. Magenta. Then ivory and indigo and gold against a Maryblue sky. Clouds of mist hung low over the fields, pooling around the ankles of the cows. Clouds hung low over the River. Layers of clouds filled the sky.
3. Monarchs. Yesterday I took a walk and found four large caterpillars munching on milkweed behind the greenhouse. Eat well, little ones.
4. Janelle’s bees. The Middle School Science room has a hive right in the room. The Queen was quietly holding court, the larvae were squirming to get out of their little chambers, and the workers were dancing directions to each other.
5. This year’s Silhouette staff. That’s the school literary magazine. We had our first meeting yesterday, and they are so eager and willing to get right down to work. I think it’s going to be a really great year.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

Saying Goodbye

Winky and Fred

Nikhita “Winky” Weaver-Kreider (2000ish-April 23, 2014), left in photo

Tonight we said goodbye to our dear friend and companion of ten years, Winky.

Gratitude List:
1. A compassionate vet and nurses and office staff
2. Hundreds of swallows dipping over the River, catching insects and chittering happily
3. Two white snowy egrets, flying slowly upriver, low to the water, and then suddenly upward and into the sun of the dying day
4. Last night’s rainbow, the bridge for a small cat to cross on her journey
5. My cheer-up brigade: “Mom, Winky’s dead, but now she’s in Aslan’s Country, so she can talk!”

May we walk in Beauty.

Today’s poetry prompt is to write about a location.  I have a visual love affair with the photography of Kilian Schonberger.  Every time he posts a new photo on Facebook, I let my fairy tale mind roam into the picture and let it tell me a story of some sort.  Today’s poem is based on his photo of trees in a bog.  Look up his work.  It’s incredibly magical.

I saw the photo and his reference to is as being about “becoming and passing away,” and wrote the poem before Winky died.  It feels much deeper with meaning now.

Remember the day
you stood in the mud
at the edge of the bog

and watched the slow shiver
of the birches
reflected in the water,

how you saw
the faerie creature caught
there in the middle of the pool,

between the worlds
of visible and invisible,
how you waded out
into the muck to release her,

and saw–for the briefest of moments–
as she whisked out of sight,
the bright sun shining
through the door from the fields of Faerie?

Gratitudes, Poems

Swallows Return

A Tanka

Heads bent to our work
Setting stakes, planting new seed
A sound above us
chittering, chirping like mice:
The tree swallows have returned!

 

Yes, that’s a chunk of chickweed on my head.2013 April 022

Gratitude List:
1.  The swallows are back!
2.  Blooming
3.  Talking Story
4.  Clear water with slices of lime
5.  Good, healthy sleep
Namaste