Thursday, October 23, 2014

Live the Questions

from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Live the questions.
Live into the answers.

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone
by  Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 - 1926
I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.

Read the rest here.

And stop by Merely Day By Day for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Georgia Project Wet

Michelle hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup today at My Little Ditty.

Flat Rock Park, Columbus, Georgia.  (Photo by Dr. Dorothy Jelagat Cheruiyot)

I walked into the library this week to pick up some easy readers for a project. At the back of the room, a display wall had been set up. I wandered over and discovered some wonderful artwork and poetry by Georgia students.

Each year the Georgia EPA sponsors a program for teachers and students in the state, Georgia River of Words: Connecting Kids to their Watershed. The website says, "The River of Words Project is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live. After studying a watershed in their own environment, students express, through poetry and art what they discover." See the exhibit here.

One very creative student started her poem called "Fish" with these words: I dreamed/ I was a fern/

The national grand prize winner was a third grade student from Atlanta who wrote a beautiful haiku called "Dawn."

One of my favorites was "Tumble Down," in which the writer managed to describe her love/hate relationship to poetry with the image of falling water. She begins, " I'm the one who is writing this poem..."  In the stanza on stanzas, she says, "...they rush down like a waterfall,/ Like water droplets,/ My words fall like rain,/ Couplets gathering in a puddle below"

Such a great project. I hope you'll take a moment at the website. Especially if you're a teacher and haven't seen the project before.

Friday, October 10, 2014

It Tastes Like Dirt

Yes, that's what I said. Since I'm teaching five yoga classes each week, I'm expending lots of energy. My personal trainer daughter says I have to increase my calorie intake. I've been experimenting with different protein powder supplements. I like the healthier ones without additives, but most of them are sweetened with stevia. While it gives you sweetness without adding sugar, it leaves me with an aftertaste I don't care for. I'm not a big fan of sweet drinks anyway. I drink my coffee black and avoid soda altogether. This week my husband came home with a new one. Ugh! It tastes like dirt. Not sweet, which is nice, but it really does taste like dirt. So on with the search. I'm open to suggestions.

In the meantime, I came upon Alice Schertle's "Invitation from a Mole" as the perfect poem to go with my dirtful week.

Be sure to stop by the Poetry Friday Roundup at Miss Rumphius Effect where you can dig up lots more poetry today.

File:Close-up of mole.jpg

Invitation from a Mole

come on down

live among worms awhile
taste dirt
           on the tip of your tongue

           the sweet damp feet of mushrooms
listen to roots
press your cheek against
the cold face of a stone

wear the earth like a glove
close     your     eyes
wrap yourself in darkness


what you're missing

               ---from A Lucky Thing by Alice Schertle, c 1999, Harcourt Brace & Co.

Friday, October 3, 2014

End of the Month Accounting

This is just how I feel about arithmetic and balancing checkbooks and figuring out how many yoga students showed up in class this month and whether the rain drenching the front yard means I have to add more eggs to the grocery list.

File:Mmm...fried egg and ham (5075522458).jpg

by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head,
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
    many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven--or five six
    bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from you head to your hand to
    your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice
    and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky--or the answer
    is wrong and you have to start all over and try again and see how it comes
    out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger and goes
    higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you what the number is when
    you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply--and you carry the multiplication
    table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you eat one
    and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the other, how many
    animal crackers will you have if somebody offers you five six seven
    and you say No no no and you say Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask you mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you
    two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic,
    you or your mother?

from Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg

Stop by Jama's Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Ship Speaks

It felt good to come back to poetry this week, to pull a project off the back burner and fire it up with a little creative energy.

The Fram under sail, picture courtesy NOAA
The Fram under sail, picture courtesy NOAA  in: "The South Pole," by Roald Amundsen. 

From the Fram's Standpoint

I am not handsome.
My bow is blunt,
my stern the same.
I do not move
with speed or grace,
but I am crafty.
My round hull slips
the grip of frozen waves,
evades the ice
like a cherry seed
when squeezed
between thumb and finger
pops into the air.
I rise above the ice.

They think they have
reason to boast--
Fridtjof Nansen,
Roadl Amundsen--
Norwegian names
laying claim
to farthest, fastest,
but most credit
comes to me.

Without me
they would be
waiting for hull
to crack,
for polar water
to swallow them whole
like whaling ships
more comely than me,
but without
my cunning ways.

© 2014 Doraine Bennett

Laura Purdie Salas hosts Poetry Friday today at Writing the World for Kids.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kiss the Wind

Wherever you are today and whatever adventure stands just beyond your doorway, may you sail with the wind!

blessing the boats
(at St. Mary's)

by Lucille Clifton

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love you back   may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Click here for An interview with Lucille Clifton by Grace Cavalieri.

Sail over to Amy's Poem Farm for today's Poetry Roundup.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Where I've Been and Why

One day nearly fifteen years ago, I tied on my tennis shoes, threw my gym bag into the back of our white Toyota van, and drove myself into town for an exercise class. My favorite teacher was  a free-spirited, large-boned, loud, young woman who seemed to care not a whit that there were holes in her gym shorts. She commanded us through stretches, leg lifts, and arm strengtheners, led step routines with the joy of a drill sergeant about to go on holiday, and was delighted when we flopped on the floor in complete exhaustion. On this particular day she decided to experiment on us with her new, self-taught knowledge of yoga. I was totally hooked. I could tell these stretches with the strange names were accomplishing something in my body that nothing else had done.

That was the beginning of my yoga journey. Since then, I've moved around from studio to studio, enjoying the different styles, creating muscle memories that lasted longer than some of my mental ones, especially the last place I laid my keys or my phone.

Then something very startling happened. My yoga teacher began prompting me to think about opening my own studio as she was leaving town. It had not been in my plans, wasn't something I particularly yearned to do, but I sensed a change coming in this season. Hey, my one little word for this year was "anticipation."

Remarkably, a series of doors began to open like they sensed my approaching presence. I found a yoga training school that meshed with my belief system and my yoga mentality.  I found a room in a good location that worked for my practically nonexistent budget. I picked up my feet and put them down again, trusting that it was God opening these doors.

So for the last four months, I have been absorbed with this baby yoga business, nurturing it like the small, growing thing it is. An infant of any sort is all-consuming, at least for a while. I hope I'm beginning to reach the stage where there is room in my life again for the other things I love, like writing and poetry and long walks.

In the meantime, this quote from Mother Theresa has resonated with me in the last week, so I'm sharing with you today. It's not exactly a poem, but I have broken the sentences up into lines, the way I would like to read them to my friends.

“May today there be peace within.

May you trust that you are

exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget

the infinite possibilities

that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received,

and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself

just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones,

and allow your soul the freedom to sing,

dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

- Mother Teresa
Renee La Tulippe hosts Poetry Friday today at No Water River. Stop by and visit.