Showing posts from 2014

Bird Seed--Twitter Poems

Tweetspeak Poetry, the fullsome webspace curated by the gifted LL Barkat, was borne out of Twitter poems, concise lines of poetry confined to 140 spaces.  I only attempted this beginning last Spring and finished my last poem in the Fall.  Many of these lines are responses to photo prompts ('Starry Night' and so on), others just me trying to wrap words around my life. It's way too much fun--you should try it. ~~~~~~ Apr 29 Jump rope skipping wide door open fragrance wafting blue sky calling children laughing Spring kinda day.
Apr 21 (After Easter) The day is empty tomb new wide open and blazing white with possibilities.
Apr 14 Here's to all the women walking busward bags in hand, kids in care, hard work and hope on the horizon.
Apr 1 Grey girders gash against the crowded sky, filling my birds eye blue view with dollar signs on a horizon of diminishing returns.
Mar 26 Spring...death come to life, beauty buried in bark against a blue sky, dreaming of green
March 23rd Trapped in educatione…

What the Birds Say-A Winter Poem

You could say
(and you would be correct)
the mottled, colorless sky
leaves one bereft of brightness
this time of year.
You could say (see above)
the empty, lifeless branches
are dull, dormant gray/brown
slender swords against
said mottled sky.
You could say
(well, you know) 
there's little beauty 
in such poor adornment,
small pleasure in the drab and drear view.

On the other hand, consider~
this backdrop reveals the birds best,
awakens ones eyes to their
blazing joy
as they dive into their days
zooming messages across the sky
and voicing these words
with their flying song,
"Faithful, faithful, faithful."
I'm beginning to think Winter is my favorite season as I watch the birds.  Merry Christmas!

Show and Tell

Write the world a story
--one of your very own--
with a beginning like no other.
Paint a picture only
you can paint
with brushes dipped in days
and nights of  liquid life
when it pools and puddles.
Illustrate the middle and 
tell us how it is,
with all the color, the light,
the dark and all the in between.
Catch the drips and let them dry,
make the most of the mistakes.
The last of the story is yet to come,
awaiting a frame
and at last the view 
as we step back and behold 
the work of art
that is your life and The Artist's
signature which says,
'The End'.

This poem was inspired by a note on my daughter's refrigerator which I snapped during our recent 11 hour painting marathon at her house.

Thanks Giving

Friends and family leave words on screens
            and phone lines,
dropping voices and laughter like
            golden pendants rippling
across the surface of my morning.
Bookends of baking--pies first and the turkey last--
           include potatoes, The Green Bean Casserole
           and sweet potatoes in between.
Chimes outside echo on the warm wind
           of a rare November day,
           breezes rustling the nearly empty branches
           like the rushing of waves on a far away summer shore.
Thanksgiving isn't a 30 second infomercial to fulfill
           the Adult Daily Requirements of finding joy
but rather a dayfull of listening and looking then
           raising heartsong Heavenwards
           towards the lifelong-loving Creator God
who gives us daily more reasons to be thankful.
Linking for the first time in a long time with the community of thankful people at Dverse Poets.
Join us?

Poetry 101--Mischief Cafe

The second week of November I had the pleasure of hosting a complete stranger in my home, the diminuitive L.L. Barkat, a woman with a contagious laugh, a love of poetry and instigator of the Mischief Cafe--sort of a traveling road show with tea, toast and poetry. Laura is the curator of Tweetspeak Poetry, a website dedicated to bringing the beauty and wonder of poetry out of the ivory towers and down to the rest of us. The idea for a traveling cafe came from a Facebook conversation which morphed (156 comments later) into a book, complete with found poems, blank pages--for the writer--and poetry prompts as well. The blank pages are my favorite. You can read more about Mischief Cafe's origins here.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ With an event like a Mischief Café happening right in your own home (well, my kitchen,too) one would expect laughter.  Even if the guests included (almost) complete strangers whom you’d actually never met in real life.
So, with a feather boa and my Mischief Café volume handy, …

Timber over Time

Building a marriage is
timber over time,
the on purpose-ness
of candles on the table
on a run-of-the-mill
Saturday night
illuminating the daily
gift that says,
"I made something for you."

It's a pile of firewood
carried through the cold,
banked against the night's chill.
Opera music, loud on the stereo
while dinner cools
and the shower runs.
It's thoughtful intentions
stringing together all the todays,
prepared for all the tomorrows
when we can no longer
light the candles
carry the wood
or hear the music
but the love is still there
strong and tall as those
trees blowing outside
in the night.

Waiting Room

I wanted to write like Annie Dillard
not here
in the middle of this 
city/suburbs life.
Leave the concrete and
multiplying cars
with their inhuman noises,
seek a vista, a vale
of color and light,
to inspire and bring forth
words like a flowing brook
across quiet pebbles.
But I'm here in the hum,
surprised to be A Writer
in spite of my days of
down-to-earth distractions.

Every time I want to run away
to Another Perfect Place
the words follow me
like a homing pigeon
dropping his message 
like crumbs at my feet
where my life has
been all along.
"He who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life....will find it."   Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke

An Ode to my Cold

My cough appears each hour
with the annoying regularity 
of a political ad.
Its persistence is wearing me down.
The election is over, 
the advertisements are gone.
No more enduring the monotony
of a grating sound
I do not want to hear.
(did I tell you I have a cough?)

I did my part--voted the best I could--
made my wishes known.
But I'm wondering,
is there a ballot for
Ailments, Cold-Related?
A choice to Maintain or Repeal.
I vote for Repeal.

Can I borrow your pen?

Poets at Play--an interview with Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker is a quiet soul and a richly talented woman. I first heard Barbara's "voice" via a broadcast of ‘Prairie Home Companion’ when Garrison Keillor read one of her poems. I continued to discover her voice and work as it appeared in various publications, Rock and Sling, Christianity and Literature, The Christian Century, Spiritus,  and most recently in Tweetspeak Publishing’s "How to Read a Poem" by Tania Runyan (TSPoetry Press).       In February of 2014 we both attended the AWP Conference in Seattle and 'happened' to be at the same poetry workshop. I noticed her in line behind me while we waited to speak with the workshop leaders. Sounding just like a groupie I gushed about her work and unashamedly asked for her email address. We kept in touch and she agreed to participate in an 'interview' via this blog.

Here are some of her thoughts on writing poetry.
First, from  her most recent poetry collection Gold(Wipf & Stock, 201…

Sabbath in the In-Between

Many corners of the blogosphere are echoing the urge to find Sabbath rest. There is a book (Bonnie Gray's), a blog space--Still Saturday with Ms. Sandra King, and a Societywith Ms Shelly Miller. The encouragement is to set aside a day, a space, a time to listen and look for our Creator, to find much needed REST.  In this season of my life it is more and more difficult to engage in such a practice. However, I woke up the other morning and heard, "find Me in the In-Between", so I've been Sabbathing there, in the In Between.
Here are two poems from that time:
Sabbath on the Page #1**
Lunch without a phone, or a mouse
no screen, no clicks,
no taps, just drips,
the soft sound of rain
on autumn tables and 
thirsty grass
welcoming moisture
to the dry, gray ground.
Birds balance on backyard mirrors,
bouncing to the ever-bubbling bath
and back again.

Sabbath on the Page #2
The rain sprinkles, then splats 
on windows, pouring
silken silver down the…

Dew Change

The thermometer affirms
our arrival at Autumn,
the droplets on the deck
declare in dew
that the air
is too cold for the water,
changing it to
liquid on the glassy, 
warm surface.

I wonder, does
the Living Water
perform the same miracle
when it touches
my heart?

do change....


F          a                      l  l                               in                                     g in love isn't so much (falling) as paying  attention to what pulls you  t  o  w  a  r  d  s   someone else.
F     a        l l            in                 g water can echo or storm, babble and breathe quiet but either way, moving is best-- (sitting still makes for stagnant, and one can't have that.)
f          a                   l       i                     l                     n                                                   g

l                         v
          e      a                   e               

are turning slowly,
moving--yes--towards change,
a season of quiet
like gentle green blankets
laid out on the lawn.

I welcome the shhhhhh.....
of the leaves
and look to the day
six weeks hence--when those
same trees, barren and bare,
will leave a winter view,
unimpeded by All That Green
so I can pay
attention to what pulls
me towards falling

What I Saw and Heard

Writing comes from listening,
so I've taken quiet steps outside
away from the loud 
to hear better.
Eyes open this time 
to see AND hear--this--
the delicate drops of fuchsia, 
ballerinas fluttering like so many
upside-down firecrackers,
fragile, full of beauty
dropping feathery tendrils
to the silent air.

Poets at Play--an Interview with Tania Runyan

With Tania at AWP Conference--Seattle WA      Some poets' work take your breath away or stop you in your tracks with an 'aha'! Some will challenge you to see the world a different way than before. Tania Runyan's work does all that. Of her many works, her two volumes of poetry based on Scripture prompts intrigued me the most. "Second Sky" is full of Pauline-Epistle-inspired musings,  "Thousand Vessels'" pays a powerful and provocative tribute to 12 women of the Bible.      When I found out Tania would be in Seattle last Spring for the AWP Conference (Assn. of Writers and Writing Programs), I took the day off and got a free pass to attend the poetry panel she was participating in. (say that 3 times fast).      She let me hang out and drink coffee with she and her panel mates who were delightful as well. Then we schlepped about the books, visited her publisher's table and I headed home. I contacted her a few days later about an 'interview' f…

The Day the Experts Came to School

Some days I love being an Elementary Guest Teacher.  Some days not so much.  Today was one of those days.  
They are dissecting the stories, deciding the children should 'level'  their love of literature, as if they could explode the mystery of words and flatten it, equalize the field of flowers that are pictures, implode the language, flatline the cadence and  diagnose the wonder. They have instead rendered the reading lifeless, without oxygen, no heartbeat sucked the air out of the room and killed all the joy. The patients are barely breathing.
"Leveled" indeed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In all fairness, there ARE days where the magic happens. Here's a link to something I wrote about this summer using Tania Runyan's book "How to Read a Poem".

Revelation While Writing at the Bakery

Scarcity says,
"I can't commit to using all this paper.
I can't write these words, they'll fill up the space.
And then what?
There will be no more words."
I just know it.

Scarcity says,
"I'm afraid,
I don't trust you
there is not enough."
Like a greedy 5 year old
at a best friend's birthday party--
There's no way there's enough
birthday cake to go around.
They're gonna run out.
"I just know it."

Want stands empty-handed
staring at the hole instead
of the donut,
missing the super-sized
abundance of it all,
the over-the-top
carb and sugar count--
why look at all that frosting!--
that is clearly more than enough
for you
for two
for all of you.

I don't want pastries
I don't need cake
I just want Jesus--and there He is,
arms outstretched, hands full of life
with everything I need to take my holes
and make them whole.

There's enough--I just know it.