Thursday, September 7, 2017

My Last Wonderful Swap

      Poetry Friday is hosted today by Matt Forrest Esendwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme who happens to be in the midst of book events at bookstores so he can share his new book, Flashlight Night, illustrated by Fred Koehler. It's not out for a little while, but I've already found it at my library! Thanks, Matt! Celebrate, celebrate!
     And, once again,  we must give support for those fleeing or who must endure the coming new Hurricane Erma. Also, I am saddened by the news of so many fires in the northwest. We in Denver are well aware of those disasters because the smoke has been hovering over the city for days. It's time to step up and help however we can. 


       When one takes time to talk with people, the discoveries can be enlightening and simply wonderful. I just spoke with a cashier with whom I visit often when grocery shopping and discovered today that her grandmother has written an autobiography about her work in Tibet. I know this cashier grew up in Hawaii and migrated to the mainland, but did not know of her rich heritage until this week. I tell you this because the summer swap created by Tabatha Yeatts pushes us to look more closely at those we are sending swaps to, and while reading their posts, examining the words and pictures shared, we learn a little more about them. 


       Except for packages I order and expect, I receive few others. The Summer Poetry Swap gives surprises all summer long. It is a pleasure to create and send to others, but also one to open that mailbox and discover - a package surprise! This final one of the season is from dear Irene Latham, and full of poetic scenes, quotes and poems! She knows that I love to read, and one "guess" yielded a favorite book, Anaya's Bless Me Ultima. I have not read it for a long time, but loved introducing it to my students because at that time there were not many books available that showed the students the richness of other cultures. This gift from Irene is full of my smiles, too! Thank you, Irene!

A sweet postcard note and a view of Mark Twain's house in
Connecticut and a happy quote!
A springtime frame and beautiful prose words about
mothers and Mother Nature.
The book and the poem!
                            Bless Me, Spring

Show me the calligraphy
of your dirt roads across the Llano,
juniper trees spilling ink,
mesquite bushes etching
green poems about Summer's
fire-y kisses soon to come

Give me your yuccas
sheathed in wedding flowers,
your fastest jackrabbit carrying
morning in one ear,
the moon in the other

Teach me the ways of wings,
a feather for every dream,
a nesting place where the body
is broken by dry wind
and the soul feasts on dust

Hold me in your tall grasses,
your slow-shifting beaches

Guide me by the light
of a golden carp so fat with freedom
its syllables ring across decades

Show me a piper with sand in its mouth
and somewhere, past worlds of water,
a mountain lifting itself
from a yellowed parchment valley --
lifting itself
              into a flock of darkbellied clouds
              heavy with hope.
                                     ~ Irene Latham


And to thank Irene with my words:


I Imagine

Your gift of poetry means
words brush-stroking a canvas
in my heart.

I’ll use the ink to write for you,
use the yucca flowers for a coming celebration,
run through the day alongside that jackrabbit
until moonrise
when the dust comes from stars

When I close my eyes --
I’ll dream of flying, swooping
down to touch the bosque
full of nature’s gifts.
                           Linda

25 comments:

  1. Two lovely poems! I've seen Bless Me Ultima on the library's shelf for years, but I've never read it. One day soon... I wasn't familiar with "bosque," so thanks for introducing me to a new word.

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    1. Anaya's book is worth reading, Diane. I hope you give it a look sometime. There are numerous "bosques" in New Mexico, and that is where I learned about them on trips there with family and students. Thanks!

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  2. What an uplifting post! Love both of these...just what we need in times like these.

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    1. Thanks, Matt, Irene's gifts are like a hug through the PO!

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  3. Linda, your poem is so so lovely! I am enamored of "bosque" finding a home there. And also your thoughts about "When one takes time to talk with people..." I find these days I am less concerned about issues and more about people... the more I speak with them, spend time with those from all walks, the less firm my position or opinion, and the less my position or opinion matters. What matters is people. Like you! xo

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    1. Well, you know I agree, Irene. No matter who we meet, finding their stories is often enlightening, and helps us embrace the world. Thanks again for your wonderful gifts.

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  4. Linda, in this world of devastation, hatred, and disasters, poetic words flow beautifully to soothe troubled hearts. You and Irene wrote quite a pair of poems that speaks volumes to me at this time.

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    1. Thanks, Carol, it was a joy to respond to Irene's thought-filled words!

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  5. Oh, so much delight here! Nature and friendship and surprises in the mail. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us...your gifts from Irene and your gifts from you. xx

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    1. You're welcome Amy. It is a pleasure to share these gifts from Irene.

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  6. I'm wowwed by all those sensory details!! What a nourishing swap :-)

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    1. And the swap begins with you, Tabatha. I'm glad you enjoyed these final gifts. Thank you!

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  7. Lovely poems. I have enjoyed reading and seeing all the goodies swapped this summer. Sharing them makes them even sweeter.

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    1. Thank you, Kay. I'm glad you've enjoyed all of the sharing!

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  8. What a beautiful conversation. Tabatha, you are infinitely blessed by kicking off the poem swap and seeing the fruits of trading back and forth. Linda, these words just make me slow and say them again...
    "words brush-stroking a canvas
    in my heart.
    What an award to bestow on a poet friend.
    Such summer joys I've seen in the swap. I must join in next year!

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    1. I hope you do join in, Linda. It is much fun to write for someone and full of lovely surprises.

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  9. What a terrible summer we've been having! We've had so much smoke hanging over the city here, with smoke coming at us from the fires to the south and the east, I can't imagine how awful it must be to be closer to the fires. We had rain today, and while we normally complain about rain, we were all so thrilled and thankful, and can only pray for more sweet, sweet rain.

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    1. I imagine you've had more smoke than we have, Jane, and I can't imagine how awful it must be to live very close to the fires. How great that you had rain!

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  10. I love these closing lines from Irene's poem,
    "into a flock of darkbellied clouds
    heavy with hope.

    Such a full bodied image–and boy we need hope!

    And your response lines sparkle:
    "run through the day alongside that jackrabbit
    until moonrise
    when the dust comes from stars"

    Thanks for sharing all of these gems with us Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, and yes, "hope" is needed in this terrible time we're having. Thanks!

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  11. What a wonderful summer swap you've had!

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    1. I agree and am grateful! Thanks, Mary Lee!

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  12. What a treasure trove from Irene, for which you richly deserve, Linda! I love witnessing the generosity and kindness in our poetry community. Thanks for sharing her gifts, and your gift (gratitude poem) as well. =)

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    1. Thanks, Bridget. It's been a wonderful summer of 'swapping'!

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  13. What inspiring poems. Such a festival of words and images.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!