Ten months

My beautiful Micah, this is what you are like at ten months old:
noticing everything, babbling (na na na is, in fact, part of Franna)
mimicking, clapping, squealing, discovering your tongue
and crawling down the hall to see where I’ve gone
—I am right here, little beloved, rejoicing.

My beautiful Micah

On this day

Nine months
since you entered the world
making mine
exponentially beautiful
every single day

Three years
since your Grandpa
had a massive heart attack
while driving
and the deputy sheriff
came to tell
your future dad, uncle,
and me (Franna)
that he’d run off the road
and was being taken
to the hospital
where we were told
he’d been resuscitated

they weren’t sure
he’d make it

he did

Grandpa lived
to see you
love you
and call you
“little angel”

I say
there must be
some mighty ones
all around

Micah, 9 months, looking up at her Grandpa

Raison d’etre

a reverso etheree

Hey
it’s me
I’m trying
can’t you see that
you’re my everything
you center my small world
even if I don’t have words
I adore you beyond measure
I know you’re busy but I am here
believing in you and your love for me

believing in you and your love for me
I know you’re busy but I am here
I adore you beyond measure
even if I don’t have words
you center my small world
you’re my everything
can’t you see that
I’m trying
it’s me
Hey

Micah, 8 1/2 months. How you adore your parents.
How your family loves you so. Franna

Eight months

Numbering the days
God recreated my world
with your arriving

My beloved Micah

One day I will tell you many stories, such as how you don’t like to take naps during the day and how I can manage to rock you to sleep. I like to think of it as Franna-magic. I will tell you that at eight months you suffer separation anxiety when you come to my house and your parents are out of your sight. I will tell you how you cry about that and how I take you outside and then you stop crying because it’s June, everything is so green, and the birds are always singing; you grow still, listening to their lively songs. Best of all, you heard your first cicada in my arms, one loner rattling high in the pines; you lifted your tear-streaked baby face to the sky in wonder. One day I will tell you that when I was a little girl staying with my grandparents in the summertime, the constant rising and falling of hundreds of cicada-rattles became my favorite sound. For me it is an Earth-song of belonging, comfort, hope, resurrection. It sings in my veins. In that sound, my grandmother is near. Perhaps you will love it too, my precious Micah. Maybe it will be one of many bonds we share in all the days and seasons and years to come, a tympani accompaniment to our generations, going on…just know that today and every day, your presence in this world is my new and hallowed heartsong.

XOXOXO forever & ever – Franna

Making it count (syllabic verse)

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the final day of the June Open Write at Ethical ELA. 

I shared syllabic verse:

My youngest son is a musician. When he was four or five he’d stand at a whiteboard easel making tally marks as he listened to cassettes of his favorite songs. When I asked what he was doing, he replied: “Counting the syllables.”

He meant beats. 

Like heartbeats, rhythms of life surround us. Let us listen and take note. Moments and words count…down to the last syllable. Last year I attended a workshop led by a poet who said: “Experiment with the rhythms of your voice. Find a syllable count that’s natural for you.” 

Process

Perhaps there’s a line of unwritten poetry playing in your mind, waiting for its moment. Now’s the time. Count the syllables. Maybe it’s five, eight, or iambic pentameter. Or simply begin by crafting a line that relates to something important to you (listen for it in the beatings of your heart) and count the syllables. 

Once you know the count, try writing the remainder of your lines with the same number of syllables. See where the beats take you.

Maybe play with more sound by incorporating internal rhyme, alliteration, and so on.

My poem, sparked by the words of a teacher during a memorable job interview, came out in lines of five syllables.

All in for the Kids

In the interview
the candidate said
we don’t get credit
for all we’ve endured
on behalf of kids
in these past two years

and apologized
for the sudden tears

surfacing from depths
immeasurable
a soul subjected
to intense pressure
somehow withstanding
high temperatures
beyond description

the weight of the world
in every teardrop
salt-worth far beyond
the rarest diamond

culminating crown
of love resounding
courage rebounding
in five wondrous words:
“I still want to teach”

*******

As the day progresses, I am savoring the poetry being posted over on Ethical ELA.

Every bit of it counts. In the end, I think that’s the poet’s job…showing just how much.

Every moment
every heartbeat
every today
all tomorrows
count forever

In the treetops

Today I kept you
and you cried because it’s new
so we went outside

to see all the trees
you touched the green leaves sweetly
with your baby hand

and you looked up high
at the pines rattling with song
cicadas, at last

first time this season
oh how I love their comfort
oh how I love you


A turn of turtles

My son texts to say
today
the girls and I
watched a turtle
laying eggs
in the yard

which I am sure
my six-year-old
backseat prophet
slash nurture scientist
loved witnessing

here’s hoping
she’ll keep the memory
for her little sister
living her first June

and that
they get to see
a turn of baby turtles
just before summer’s end

Snapping Turtle Laying Eggs Eno River Durham NC 095938-001. bobistraveling. CC BY 2.0.

“Turn” is one of the collective nouns for turtles.