Memory is…is not

with thanks to Susan Ahlbrand for the invitation to write a “this but not that” poem based on an abstract noun over at Ethical ELA’s Open Write today

Memory is a blanket
of new-falling snow
over barren ground
where nothing would grow

Memory is not static
it is ever-changing
reinventing itself day by day
ever so slightly
around the edges

Memory is sparks
crackling and popping
from the inner fire
in the grate

Memory is not reliable—
it goes its own way,
its own consummation
and consumption,
ashes stirred to life
rolling in the breeze

Memory is a river
life-giving, sustaining, sacred
flowing free until obstructed
necessary and nourishing
yet potential danger for drowning
—you cannot live there, submerged

Memory is not tomorrow
or yesterday

Memory is now

Memory is not a book,
a record carefully preserved

Memory is written in disappearing ink

happy snow. tamaki. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Starting a semi-sestina poem

with thanks to Wendy Everard for the Open Write invitation today on Ethical ELA. A traditional sestina has six stanzas and a three-line envoi; the initial six ending words rotate through remaining stanzas in a prescribed order. Today’s process begins with brainstorming six words. For a semi-sestina, one can alter stanzas and lines, exercising creative freedom…

Here are my six words and opening stanza at present. It will take some time to see where they lead…

fabric
scissors
fall
damage
pieces

pattern

Childhood Memory

She spreads the pattern across the fabric
placing the pins. Wielding her sharpest scissors,
she cuts along the grain. The scraps fall
to the floor, haphazard collateral damage.
She will not save the pieces
or remember their wholeness, before her pattern.

Cobbler cutting fabric with scissors. Ivan Radic. CC BY 2.0.

In the place of the sweet trees

with thanks to Denise Krebs for encouraging “multiple languaged” poems for today’s Ethical ELA Open Write and NCpedia for shedding a little more light on name origins…

In the Place of the Sweet Trees

Long ago, the first People knew the river.

They named it for the trees growing there
where spice-bark and great white flowers
perfume the air. 

In this place of the sweet trees
along the riverbank
a vine began to grow. 

It bore fruit in the shape
of spheres
of the Earth itself
as yet unknown.

Thick-hulled green-gold
pearls of the vine
that the People named
for the blackwater river
in the place of the askupo,
those heavy, fragrant trees
rooted in swampy soil.

The People, standing in the cool shadows
of the sweet trees by the river,
tasted the askuponong,
the scuppernong,
and understood
the Divine.

Scuppernongs getting ripe. -Mandie-CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Blue-eyed bunny

Each day offers gifts
pure as a child’s smile, rare as
a blue-eyed bunny

Families often bring pets to school at dismissal, usually dogs happily greeting their beloved children. This is the first rabbit, a Lionhead named Benny. His pure white fur is silky-soft; I was awed by his beautiful blue, almost-human eyes. Thanks to the family for letting me take his photo.

Spiritual journey: Community

When I think of community
two words come to mind:
commune
and
unity.

To commune
implies awareness
listening
appreciating
expressing
from a wellspring
in one’s soul.
Sometimes with words
sometimes with actions
sometimes in just being
and being
deeply connected.

Unity implies a connection
so profound
that many become one
a whole made strong
because of its parts
because of the desire
to be together
seeking the good
of all.
Unity wears the cloak
of altruism
and walks with
amazing grace.

That brings
another word
to mind…
communion.

In the end
community is
infinitely more
than proximity.
It’s a true work
of heart.

*******

1 Corinthians 1:10, various translations:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. —ESV

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. —The Message

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.—NIV

with thanks to Maureen Ingram for offering the prompt of “community” for our Spiritual Journey Thursday community of writers



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