Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 days and 30 poems

April 30, 2011 Happiest of poetry month!

A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.” W.H. Auden

Haiku Goodbye

Finale poem

Bittersweet to think it’s done

Guessing I won’t stop

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Gift Today

April 29, 2011
"I write poetry in order to live more fully." Judith Rodriguez

We drove over the dam by the nearby lake,

heading for an appointment, not hurrying, but

not dawdling either.

It was a ride with a great view.

The sun laid its diamonds on the lake;

one boat rocked along, a fisherman hoping

for dinner.

Of a sudden, into the distant view,

a line of birds came cartwheeling, gliding,


We saw flashes of black streaks on the white wings

as the birds moved like waves at football games.

We watched the creatures glide closer

to the water, then,

saw each separate and

streak into the water.

What are they, what glides in formations so sharp

that no one is out of rank?

What becomes only one so quickly,

drawn by the sharp eyeing of

a silvery flip?

The pelican, right here,

today, as a gift to us.

They’re down from the north, on the way south,

dipping and again weaving their feathery souls

into my heart,

calling back the beaches of my past,

when I first met these wonder birds.

My gift today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Up - for my students

April 28, 2011 “There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.” Gustave Flaubert


Here you stretch

again up high

reaching, climbing

for the sky.

Deep down in your toes

can you feel,

what’s been accomplished

what is real?

You took the words

that told what to do

and sailed beyond them.

It’s quite true!

But also what

you did so much

was give each other

a gentle touch.

So you should allow

yourselves a pat

when someone inquires

if you’ve done that.

You can answer

with pride, with style,

and sit back and bask

In this glow—a while.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


April 27, 2011 Breathe-in experience, 
breathe-out poetry. Muriel Rukeyser

Alone is delicious.

I can eat the silence,

pick it apart carefully

and place it into my mouth.

I chew it real slow,

savoring the quiet, and

letting the blue of a clear sky dribble down my chin.

Tasty are the crumbs of clouds on my t-shirt.

It’s like a messy dessert

And today I can have as much as I want, so I

grab at the delectable hours

and again begin to chew.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sestina With Child

April 26, 2011 “If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger. “ Muriel Rukeyser

Sestina With Child

I wrote and sang a lullaby

because there was a little girl

who needed quite a lot of comfort

to help her go to sleep.

I sang about the moon

and stars we see at night.

Then sometime in the night

I heard that lovely lullaby

that told of a silvery moon

and pushed the little girl

into the magic time of sleep.

It gives us all such comfort.

And when I receive comfort

awake or in the night

I have a dreamless sleep

with little need for a lullaby,

just a smile from a little girl

and maybe a peek at the moon.

I gaze up at the moon

drawing all the comfort

I might sing to the girl

when she needs it in the night.

I put electric stars in my lullaby

so she might drowse to sleep.

Imagine eyes closed in sleep

a face lit by the moon.

T’will be her only lullaby

And fill her with the comfort

That doesn’t come with night.

All this for the little girl.

A woman remembers, “When I was a girl

And was restless in my sleep,

I tossed and turned throughout the night

Unless there was a moon

To lighten the dark and give me comfort.

It was like my personal lullaby.”

In the long night—creating a lullaby—

for the sweetest sleep and continuing comfort,

give all girls a slice of the moon.

If you'd like to write a sestina:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Time Fishing

April 25, 2011 “Writing poetry is the hard manual labor of the imagination.”
Ismael Reed

Time Fishing

Albeit time is but an abstract thought,

Seldom is the minute that can be bought.

We count it, and kill it, and watch it pass,

Then try to save it, and cannot, alas!

We turn it backwards, and forward spring it,

Waste it and clock it, coordinate it.

Time heals, time marches, and we yearn for more.

Though time lies heavy, there is a time for

everything, except its passing on, so

“time is a-wasting”, get ready, set , go!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Easter-thinking of other worlds

April 24, 2011 “Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.”
Dennis Gabor

Over the long weekend, we finally got to re-watch the movie "Kandahar", out some years ago, but because of the continual un-rest in the middle east, I wanted to see it again. Especially on this special Easter holiday, I still try to understand other cultures, other ways of being. Hence, the poem.

At Kandahar

I gazed long into the screen

Wanting to see into those hearts,

Into the secret places

That I know all women hold—

I wondered if there could ever be a bridge

To find between us—

And who would have to travel

The longest way

To reach the other?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crow Visitors

April 23, 2011 "You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." Joseph Joubert

A pair of crows-
visitors each morning-
startle when we open the door,
fly away in tandem,
a steadfast couple.
They soon return to gather
the breakfast peanuts
and settle at the birdbath.
Each holds a peanut,
dipping, cracking.
During the munching, their
husky calls reach our own breakfast table.
Here are my husband and myself,
reading news bits to each other,
chomping on the granola and blueberries.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trying on the Tyburn

April 22, 2011 "Writing a poem is discovering." Robert Frost

Once again I refer to who shared the idea of a Tyburn. Here is what she shared:

A six line poem consisting of 2, 2, 2, 2, 9, 9 syllables.

The first four lines rhyme and are all descriptive words. The last two lines rhyme and incorporate the first, second, third, and fourth lines as the 5th through 8th syllables.

As I worked on this, I created several rhyme collections, but also as I worked, I began to think I was writing a slogan-like poem, or rap-like, although brief. I found that I kept returning to wanting to share a lesson, and this is what happened with the messing about.



One bruise,

you lose!

Many will help you refuse abuse.

Hold true to self for one bruise, you lose.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mountains Yell At Me

April 21, 2011 “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” James Michener

The Mountains Yell At Me On My Way To Work!

Each day, the mountains yell, but

I’m on my way to work.

Their evocative stance is heady perfume demanding attention be paid.

This morning, they sat in contrast to the April springtime here on the flat.

Snow on the peaks were not just dollops of whipped cream

(the usual look in the slide toward summer),

but puffed comforters.

Heavy clouds hovered over the foothills

as I drove and looked, drove and looked.

They were starting to move up, obscuring more of my view,

preparing to lay down the other foot or so of snow

the weatherman has predicted.

In snowshoes I hiked a trail up a ways, entered a lonely meadow

and spring buds and flowers await.

Encircled by the evergreens,

it seemed a space that held its breath for summer life.

Deer, elk and moose teetered at the edges of dangerous hunger,

waited for green morsels to appear;

new growth meant

finally a good meal.

Streams broke into fast running, snow chunks tumbled off

and joined the flow, while tiny whitecaps echoed the ocean’s power.

A gray jay called with a ‘chuck, chuck’, waiting for the response,

then flew into the pines.

I wandered along to the trail again, and spotted an Abert’s squirrel,

working its way around the tree.

As I near work. . .

Wait, the mountain is screaming, come now!

But I cannot.

I can only look forward to the times my imagined pictures become real.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Am I A Poet?

April 20, 2011

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry." Mark Strand

The White Page

Am I a poet?
Life's film rolls before my eyes
awaiting only words
to darken the page,
to create images
for others to view.
My pencil stops,
How will I show these trunks
dark against the spring snow,
standing in such opposition
to green grass below?
What melodic metaphor can I use
to sketch
the courageous squirrel
highstepping on power lines
across six lanes of rush?
When will letters flow like rivers
to parade my feelings of happiness
in one sweet moment?
Am I a poet?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What teachers notice does make a difference

April 19, 2011 “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” Rita Dove

The Teacher Should Know Better

In the afternoon, a contest. The class begins.

She doesn’t know not everybody wins!

A single boy leans back in his chair,

All his classmates swirling everywhere.

He tastes nothing; his mouth is dry.

It isn’t the time to let out a cry.

It would be easier to exit the room,

to amble down the hall, humming a tune.

But instead he stays, pretends to read,

wishing just one someone would notice his need.

The teacher calls again, for all to hurry;

both boys and girls respond and scurry.

The boy sits idly, watching above his book;

his eyes squint at other boys—darting looks.

Gazes do not stop at him, but instead fade

across the room to be sure another pair is made.

Why doesn’t the teacher understand her task

well enough to complete the proper math?

Is twenty-one, one too many, or one too few?

In this boy’s eyes, neither will ever do.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ending in A Muddle?

April 18, 2011 "You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you."
Joseph Joubert

I found the word, taradiddle, recently, and haven't been able to get it out of my head. I like the sound of it, & wondered if I could make a silly poem with it? Here's my attempt!

I wonder if a taradiddle

Might sometimes be a little riddle?

For if I tell you that I yodel,

How would you know that it’s fiddle-faddle?

It’s not quite the same as a real swindle;

It could be I’m only discussing a whangdoodle

Crazily playing a paradiddle.

In any case, I should really scuddle

For fear I’m becoming quite befuddled.

Please forget the taradiddle

This is only putting me in a muddle.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Plant Connection

April 17, 2011 “Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; 
they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” 
Luther Burbank

If you walk around my house, you will see plants in several rooms, mostly getting eastern sun, from which they flourish. My plants comprise a part of my life, my history, because many of them are from people whom I love. Some plants are many years old, and every time I care for them with water, fertilizer. and trimming, I send a little thought to the person that has a connection to the plant.

The Plant Connection

Sundays, early in the day,

I water the plants, and say hello

to various relatives and friends. These plants

have lived with me for a long time, keeping the air clean and humid,

providing shades of green that are poems in themselves:

jade, teal, asparagus, celadon and chartreuse.

Their bright spark of blooms

are daily gifts to my eyes.

Here, the beefsteak begonia (Begonia erythrophylla),

from my grandmother Sarah, offers

tiny pink blooms on long, thin branches.

My grandmother, whose name also blesses

my daughter, threw seeds out that grew into her wild garden.

She wished for no calm flower beds in her yard.

As a young child, I hid among the plants,

making stories with the hens and chickens, the bluebells, and the bread and butter flowers.

And she taught me how wonderful are the houseplants,

keeping growing in mind during the drab months of winter.

There, the Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata),

lopped off at one time

because of its leaning tendency,

springing now into the largest plant, healthy, vibrant, strong.

It came to me as a remembrance of my

father-in-law. He, years gone, but too soon, comes into

my memory as I water and trim the leaves.

I remember his loving teasing, his gardening expertise

that fed us well in our early marriage—

the rich red of the tomatoes, bright yellow corn on the cob, the cool green of lettuces.

I water less the phalaenopsis, purple orchid, but attend to it

nonetheless. It is a gift from a friend to honor my mother’s passing.

I think of friendship and my mother

as I pass by.

There are others: the peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

from another dear one’s funeral,

the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

begun as a tiny sprout from a neighbor,

the Old Man cactus (Cephalocereus senilis),

a birthday gift from my husband,

and the shamrock (Oxalis regnellii) given to me

from a friend so long ago.

The plant and the friendship, still thriving.

I finish the watering by giving thanks for my blessings, of houseplants and friends, of blossoms and family. Like the plants, my life fills with the careful tending of my friends and family too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Song for Peace

April 16, 2011 “A poem conveys not a message so much as the provenance of a message, an advent of sense.” Thomas Harrison
We are planning activities for Earth Day at school, and I thought about it, wondering if Earth Day could impact the turbulence in the world also. If one is living in a land of war, and trying to care for family and self, it is difficult to think about taking care of the earth, which also needs our care. It would be my wish that those in peril could soon be safe, living in a peaceful land.

If Only We Could

If we all just did a little part

That would simply fill my heart

And make the Earth good

If only we could

I’d make my peace with all the beasts

Make war and turbulence the least

Of all of our woes

So that’s how it goes

We’d run the governments for all

Tell leaders to send a wake-up call

That freedom’s our cry

To war we’ll say goodbye

Friendship will overcome the land

Everyone lends a helping hand

Happiness will reign

And make the Earth good

If only we could

And make the Earth good

If only we could