with thanks to Andy Schoenborn for the invitation to write on “what we have taken and what has been taken from us” in today’s #VerseLove on Ethical ELA – a reflective poem using the words take and taken.
A double etheree, on Day Thirteen of National Poetry Month
New morning brimming with yet unwritten possibility asking nothing of me only offering itself for the things I shall make of it once the ribbon of light releases this present day; what shall I take of it?
This present day, what I shall take of it? Maybe just isolated fragments to hold in pockets of silence little treasures worth saving moments of loving like the ones yesterday has not taken away from you and me.
with thanks to Scott McCloskey for the inspiration in today’s #VerseLove at Ethical ELA. Scott suggested looking through the calendar of national celebration days (you can select a country) and writing an ode to one or more of them, as to why they’re important, or finding different meanings, serious or fun, or simply create your own celebration for the day – as in, Scott says, “to that misshapen paperclip on your desk, that threadbare left sock, or that broken pair of sunglasses in your drawer.”
For Day Eleven of National Poetry Month, here’s my poem on two celebrations occurring today(I KNOW some of y’all out there are going to get the reference and connective tissue here):
Ode to the Day: Of Pets and Old Songs
Here’s to dogs, ambassadors of love constant comforters, day by day warming presences on the coldest night even if they’re not pets even if they’re wild as in the Australian Aboriginal legend of sleeping in a hole, snuggled to a dingo and should it be freezing it might be a three-dog night keeping warm
Here’s to singin’ joy to the world all the boys and girls and to all the pets that warm their hearts and brighten their days —of course now that song is stuck in my head on continuous play like an 8-track tape which I confess to remembering, alas— never mind, let’s just take today to celebrate how, in the end, all things are connected
April 11th is National Pet Day and National 8-Track Tape Day. I combine them with a nod to Three Dog Night & “Joy to the World.”
Some of my pets from way back when 8-track tapes were not yet obsolete. My black cat, Moriah, and my dog, Bagel.
blossoms hang like grapes wisteria decadence threaded through the trees
finches chirruping five pale blue eggs in the nest on the front door wreath
grass, fresh-cut fragrance green carpet for morning sun not yet grown brutal
Wisteria decadence. Took this photo four days ago. I love wisteria and its whispers of bygone days. I have even written a short story in the voice of a wisteria vine, set in rural NC in the early part of the 20th century. Plants, after all, are said to have memory and feelings…
with thanks to Barb Edler who posted the prompt for #VerseLove on Ethical ELA: “Consider the challenges you’ve overcome, the celebrations you can rejoice, the way you may miss something that you never realized you missed”…as inspiration for a “things I didn”t know I loved” poem.
When I returned to college later in life, after having had a family, I was asked to write an essay on “My Most Memorable Teacher.” I’d never thought about this before and was unprepared to write on the teacher who came immediately to mind…but I did write.
I had to.
On Day Nine of National Poetry Month, I give it to you in poem form.
For Mrs. Cooley
You terrified me, you know looming large an immovable mountain in pearls and heels casting your dark shadow over my fourth-grade days
The topography of your years etched deep on your face your eagle eyes piercing my very existence
The fear and trembling of math drills— Dear Lord save me from subtraction!— I look up and there it is in your expression: You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip
I did not know that many years later when I’d be asked to write of my most memorable teacher that you’d spring to mind clear as day overshadowing all others
and that what I’d recall is how you read Charlotte’s Web to the class
I did not know I could love a spider so
and then how you read us Old Yeller
My God my God I almost died with that dog
I did not know that you were the one who made me love reading for there is a difference in being able to and it being the air you breathe
I could not believe how worried you were when I fell on the playground that day how you cradled my distorted left arm all the way to the office and waited with me ‘til Daddy came
I never dreamed you’d come see me at home when I had to stay in bed propped with pillows ice bag on my cast
I saw you and the tears came— I am missing the last two weeks of school I won’t pass the fourth grade
I did not know you could CHUCKLE that your sharp blue eyes could go so soft and watery and I never heard that phrase before: flying colors you pass with flying colors
Would you believe I am a teacher now it isn’t what I planned but here I am
I never knew until Daddy told me years ago that you’d passed how much I’d long to see you again to ask you a thousand things maybe even to laugh
but more than anything to thank you with all my heart
so I do that now in hopes that you and Charlotte and Old Yeller know that my love lives on
Photo: Girl reading. Pedro Ribeiro Simðes. CC BY – reminds me of young me
Thanks also to Tabatha Yeatts for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup
Yesterday on Ethical ELA, host Kim Johnson invited poets to write mirror poems: “Find a poet whose work inspires you and write a mirror poem of your own by taking a root from a poet’s work and allowing it to breathe life into your own inspired creation. This may be in the form of a borrowed line, a repeating line, a section or stanza, or an entire poem…”
There are a couple of breathtaking lines I love at the end of Billy Collins’ poem, “Tuesday, June 4th, 1991” – he is writing about dawn coming and “offering a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light.”
For Day Eight of National Poetry Month, here’s my mirror of those last five words, in the form of a pantoum:
To My Granddaughter, Age 5 (with love from Franna)
a small cup of light scooped from ocean waves my sparkling little love dancing through my days
scooped from ocean waves my giggling water sprite dancing though my days now such a sleepy sight
my giggling water sprite goodnight, goodnight now such a sleepy sight to me you are, you are
goodnight, goodnight my sparkling little love to me you are, you are a small cup of light
with thanks to Margaret Simon who hosted Day Six of #verselove at Ethical ELA, inviting participants to write poems inspired by photos, around the them “A World Trying to Deal.” She included links to commemorative photographs taken during the pandemic shutdown.
I recently began experimenting with “backwards poetry,” in which you read the lines right to left as in the Hebrew and Arabic languages.
For Day Six of National Poetry Month, I am playing with these lines and where to break them most effectively. They’re fun to read left to right but remember, they’re intended to be read from right to left…which version do you like best?
The source of my inspiration follows.
at each of end the think day this has what brought day what and me I have it given
at day, each of end the this has what think what and me brought day it given, I have
The acrostic is an ancient poetic form, appearing in Scripture and as prayers in medieval literature. On Day Five of National Poetry Month, I use it to announce a family celebration…with a little wordplay…
Although I planned to resume writing of Easter’s Bounty in the nest on the front door wreath, Unprecedented number of little blue eggs—five!— Now, instead, I ask you to picture my family Doing a bun dance over the holiday, At least in our hearts, at this New-life announcement on Cookies and a special T-shirt: Expecting! —Exponential Easter joy!
First, the finch eggs in the nest on the front door. The fifth egg appeared this morning. We usually get three or four.Abundance!
Now for the cookies: My daughter-in-law and granddaughter made them to announce the special news to my husband and me over Easter weekend …aBUNdance!
My granddaughter’s face was radiant, delivering those cookies at our family dinner. In this photo she is crying on first hearing the news. She threw herself into my son’s arms. The desire of her little heart, granted; abundant joy.