Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

Ride the Wave


Today’s prompt is to write a poem titled __________ Wave.

Ride the Wave

If you watch closely
as it approaches
you can begin to feel
the energy enter your body
before the water
even takes shape.

Enter the sound and the color
before the matter engages you.

And suddenly you are part of it,
caught in the song of it,
bound in the curve and the crash
and the pull of the wave.


Gratitude List:
1. Speedwell and dandelion and grape hyacinth and violet and deadnettle. The little quiet beauties that catch your eye when you’re least expecting it. “Wake up now,” they say.
2. Spring in the air
3. People who put their souls and hearts into what they do. Art that is more than technical perfection, but is a reflection of humanity.
4. Getting some of the work done. Not nearly enough. But some. The load begins to lift.
5. Blooming. Flowers, children, teenagers, relationships, work, ideas.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Lift Up Your Faces

“Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.” —Maya Angelou
*
“With dreamwork, we are endlessly tenderising ourselves to subtletly. When we begin to know its dimensions, pain can no longer envelop us in an indistinct mass. It’s not that we are ridding ourselves of suffering, but rather learning its name, which is the prelude to befriending it.” –Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
Humility
by Mary Oliver
Poems arrive ready to begin.
Poets are only the transportation.
*
“On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree.” —W. S.Merwin
*
“Nature never repeats itself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.” —Elizabeth Cady Stanton
*
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” —Kabir
*
Mirabai Starr said, “Poetry is a gateway into unitive consciousness. It knocks on the doors of the heart and the heart opens. Poets speak truth in a very naked way that bypasses the rational mind. Poetry evokes, rather than describes.”
*
Kathleen Norris writes, “Poets understand that they do not know what they mean, and that is their strength. . . . Writing teaches us to recognize when we have reached the limits of language, and our knowing, and are dependent on our senses to ‘know’ for us.”
*
“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories . . . water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
*
“Every seed contains the potential to save the world. Each seed can keep millions of people from starvation. Each seed is a mirror and guardian of the world’s future. Each seed is the ecology that can sustain the economy. This is why seeds are sacred…”
—His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
*
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough
to make each hour holy.
I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough
to be simply in your presence, like a thing–
just as it is.

I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones–
or alone.

I want to mirror your immensity.
I want never to be too weak or too old
to bear the heavy, lurching image of you.
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.

I want to stay clear in your sight.
I would describe myself
like a landscape I’ve studied
at length, in detail;
like a word I’m coming to understand;
like a pitcher I pour from at mealtime;
like my mother’s face;
like a ship that carried me
when the waters raged.
—Rainer Maria Rilke


Gratitude List:
1. Teenagers: Asking open, thoughtful questions. Offering deep honesty. Sharing stories.
2. Cats. I know I am obsessed with the cats these days, but they really are caretakers of the soul of a home, and these two are settling into their role beautifully. (Though it can be a little hard to sleep with one on my chest and the other on my feet. I am a tosser and turner.)
3. Did I say teenagers? The energy of this UNICEF club at school, young people who are eager and intent to make a difference, to help a hurting world. They teach me so much about jumping in with an open heart.
4. October morning mists. Surreal and magickal. Moody.
5. Feathers. Guardian angels. Reminders to fly. Messages from Spirit. Invitations to stand in the presence of Beauty.

May we walk in Beauty.

Gratitudes, Poems

Space Between

A little ditty:

in the space between
we settle in
to watch for visitors
seen and unseen

we offer tea
and conversation,
ask our questions
and tell our dreams

Gratitude List:
1. The chortling whistle of a blue jay
2. The call of the white-throated sparrow is the definition of plaintive. If the womenfolk don’t respond to that cry of longing, they must be deaf. Even I want to be a sparrow and fly to his side when Sweet George Peabody sings his spring song.
3. A second day in Time Out of Time. Blessings on the snow
4. The wisdom and resilience of teenagers. I don’t know how I would have gotten all those Memoirs graded without the two extra days. I needed to give them their full time, such precious tellings of their lives. I am honored to be the teacher of this bunch of young folk.
5. Hot tea. One of the great pleasures of my life these days. Coffee is my drug, but tea is my comfort.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

The Rivers and the Bridges

coptic-bridge
Nag Hammadi and Susquehanna (via Dreamscope app)

Being able to weave together two different photos gives me the chance to blend my obsessions. Here, the Bridge over my River, and a piece of ancient Coptic text on a papyrus. I don’t have much time these days for personal researches, but when I have a free moment, I often turn to texts from the Nag Hammadi Library. Right now, I keep a page of The Thunder, Perfect Mind open on a tab on my Chromebook. Those texts are both a bridge and a river for me. I love how this mash-up placed text where the leaves of the sycamore would be in summer, and how there seems to be the suggestion of a greater arch in the sky above the arches of the bridge.

Gratitude List:
1. The willows are putting on their shiny green dancing clothes for spring.
2. The way flocks of little birds connect the dots across the sky.
3. Three crows in a field in the dawn, bobbing their heads up and down, doing obeisance to the sunrise.
4. Tea. It has been such a non-frigid winter that I haven’t often felt the need for tea to break the chill. Lately my students have been making tea in my room, and I enjoy a couple cups a day with them, and then some in the evening. It takes away the craving for the second cup of coffee and leaves me feeling warmed from the inside out.
5. Teenagers. I don’t know why I used to be anxious about the idea of teaching in a high school. The brilliant minds, the bursting creativity, the great hearts, the developing critical thinking skills. I love them. I am learning so  much. They are also my rivers and my bridges.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Cat and a Hat

catandhat cats
Cat and a Hat. My hat is ready for Saturday. Between my abysmal selfie skills and my poor smartphone camera, the original is a little blurry and grainy and wonky, but the filtered version, as much as I like the pattern that it makes on Fred, doesn’t quite make it clear that I am wearing a hat, perhaps. (Now I have a little vanity issue: My good warm parka is red. Can I wear a fluffy pink hat with a cool red parka?)

I know I have said this before, but it bears frequent repetition: The future is in good hands. I can walk really close to those cliffs of despair sometimes, but I have only to look into my students’ wise and curious and compassionate faces to see the way the future is headed. And it is not toward doom. We’re leaving them quite a mess to tidy up, but they have the inner resources and the drive to do the work.  They’ve got the perfect mix of humor and earnestness, the perfect combination of innocence and seasoning.

Let’s commit ourselves to mentor, support, challenge, and encourage the young folks in our lives. Let’s listen to their ideas and thoughts, offer them signposts, and believe in them. Let them know what we see in them, tap their shoulders, offer them as many opportunities to use their gifts as we can arrange.

Bring in the Age of Wisdom and Compassion. The vanguard is ready and stepping onto the stage.

Gratitude List:
1. New semester! I love starting new classes, learning to know new students, the mix of familiar and new faces in a classroom. I have two Creative Writing classes this semester, which makes me totally not miss having a Study Hall.
2. Quinoa salad for lunch. That was delicious.
3. FFA gave the Faculty coffee and doughnuts this morning. What an enheartening treat to start the semester.
4. Crows flying out of the mist.
5. Blue. Again, I keep repeating this, but again this evening, the bellies of the clouds were a grab-your-heart blue, glowing like ice, and rimed with indigo.  Do aging eyes see blue better than young, 20/20 eyes? I don’t remember seeing such blues before, blues that make me want to kneel. Or weep. Do you know the blue I am talking about?

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Grandmother’s Roots

IMG_20160530_110821693
the peonies have
finally awakened in
the doorway of June
transient blooms and roots that
come from grandmother’s garden

Examen and Gratitude:
1. (Who inspires you?) Harriet Tubman.  Today, I finish my mini-course with my students at the River.  We will talk of dreams and water, of the Underground Railroad that traveled up this River, the walk to freedom.  And I will tell them of the Dreamer, Harriet Tubman–legend says that sometimes she would suddenly fall asleep at really dangerous moments on the journey northward, but when she awoke, she would know the next way to go.
2. (What makes you glad?) Sun on the wing of the red-winged blackbird.
3. (What fills you with deep joy?) The inclusive laughter of teenagers, the way they perform for each other to make each other laugh, the way the laughter catches from one to another and on down the line like a wildfire.
4. (What is your hunger?) For solitude, for silence, for deep quiet.  Even in the midst of loving these last days with my young people, part of me is turning toward the quiet of summer and the deliberate pacing of the long days.
5. (What wakes you up and calls you forward?) Trying on new ways to use words, reading poets who break up language and use it like mosaic and collage artists use broken bits of glass and pieces of paper.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Trying Not to Mention Cold

Gratitude List:
1.  Unfrozen pipes.  This is half a week old. On Sunday night, the intake pipe in the spring froze.  It’s never done that before.  My fundi (Swahili for handyman) husband figured out how to unfreeze it and how to weight the pipe so it stays under the water in the spring so it doesn’t happen again.  (Knock on wood.)
2.  This new governor.  I don’t plan to be starry-eyed.  I haven’t been particularly excited about the work of the last couple  of governors.  This one has already put into place a moratorium on the death penalty in PA.  Maybe we’re moving into a more humane future.
3.  Snow geese.  Have I mentioned the snow geese?  Tonight, driving home in the snow, I watched them settle like snowflakes, like leaves, like feathers, into a field near the highway.
4. Being inside.  Having a warm house.  Saying prayers tonight for those without shelter.
5. Teenagers.  These people are so sparkly and earnest, so silly and irreverent, so sweet and so edgy.  I have probably said this one, too, but it bears repeating: The world is going to be in good hands if these people are going to be the ones running things.

May we walk in Beauty!