Friday, August 26, 2016

One Last Summer Swap

I have enjoyed our summer swap poems so much. Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for coordinating the swaps even as she dodged flooding waves this summer. 

Our Poetry Friday host this week is Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Yes, I've piddled and procrastinated on every poetry swap, but still I managed to get three poems and gifts out to such excellent poetry friends. And every gift in return has brought me such pleasure. I've read this last one from the always gracious Linda Baie multiple times and I smile every time I read it.

Tucked inside this lovely marigold card I found Linda musing on this odd online relationship we all share.

A Q and A For an Online Friend

What do you write in a poem
of someone known only online?
Ive read all her posts and her Facebook,
and learned she has interests like mine.

How will I create a true picture 
of someone whose posts fill with style?
I'll dab words with brushstrokes of color 
and hope I have captured her smile.

Who is this person named Doraine
the one choosing new steps to learn?
She's now a bold teacher of yoga
shows moves of which many will yearn.

Why do I take on this challenge:
to show here is someone to meet?
Because I love writing of people 
I wish who lived close, down the street!

How does she manage to carry 
to family and friends her concern?
It looks like she loves every person,
and hugs them right back in return.

Where have I written for Dori,
found words for a pleasing vignette?
In a poem of questions and answers
to celebrate her for the net.

© 2016 Linda Baie, All Rights Reserved

Wouldn't you love to live down the street from Linda?! 

Next in my package was collage she created from photos on the web and a second poem to go with them and an enclosed book, entitled WHAT THE ROAD PASSES BY.

What The Road Passes By

an anniversary for two,
A reading rainbow calls to you,
a crocodile--afar to view,
a lake, a sunset, travels true.
Passing by--adventures new. 

© 2016 Linda Baie, All Rights Reserved

A few favorite quotes from the book:

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Spiritual Journey Thursday


by Elizabeth B. Rooney

Must we use words
For everything?
Can there not be
A silent, flaming
Leap of heart
Toward Thee?

For more poems by Elizabeth Rooney, click here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Catching Bubbles

Poetry Friday is here!

Photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud.

Join me in a deep collective sigh. Inhale through your nose, slowly, deeply. Open your mouth and exhale with an audible sigh. Ahhhhhh. 

Better now?

Maybe, one more!  Ahhhhhhh.

And on to Poetry Friday. I am delighted to host the round up today, though how I managed to sign myself up on the day after I've returned from a week of teaching at a yoga training, I have no idea. Ahhhhhh. 

My offering today is a few excerpts from books I've been reading. 

from "Passing Ordinary Time"
by Enuma Okoro

It is a hard art to learn,
catching quiet
by palms raised
cupped in 
air shifting location
here and there like
trying to guess the pattern of falling leaves,
and hoping to feel
the soft descent of moments
when silence slips
between sounds.

--collected in At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur, Paraclete Press

from The Beautiful Word by Tama Fortner

Sometimes our prayer is simply a breath. We exhale the worries and wonders and restless wanderings of our lives and place them in God's hands. Then we inhale the provision and the promises and the peace of the Almighty. We let go to just be ...

from Walking on Water by Madeline L'Engle

Creativity opens us to revelation, and when our high creativity is lowered... so is our capacity to see angels, to walk on water, to talk with unicorns. In the act of creativity, the artist lets go the self control which he normally clings to, and is open to riding the wind. Something almost always happens to startle us during the act of creating, but not unless we let go our adult intellectual control and become as open as little children This does not mean to set aside or discard the intellect, but to understand that it is not to become a dictator for when it does we are closed off from revelation. 

Take a breath. 

Cup your hands. Catch a bubble. 

Become as a little child and ride the wind.

Small Things

Spiritual Journey Thursday

from "Small Things"
by Anna Kamienska (Polish, 1920-1986)

It's not from the grand
but from every tiny thing
that it grows enormous
as if Someone was building Eternity
as a swallow its nest
out of clumps of moments

Read more of Anna's book Astonishments here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Fragrance of Cinnamon

Today is Poetry Friday, so stop by To Read To Write To Be where Julianne is hosting the roundup. I'm heading off to the wonderful Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center in northern Alabama for a week of breathing, meditating, yoga, and some precious friends. Isn't it amazing how setting becomes a character in so many stories and poems. I love this place. It holds that "fragrance of cinnamon" for me.  Enjoy this poem from Mary Oliver and let your olfactory organs carry you to somewhere special.

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Broken Cisterns

Spiritual Journey Thursday

from "Passing Ordinary Time"

This ordinary time is
gifted in its quiet, marked passing
Christ slips about
calling and baptizing,
sending and affirming,
pouring his Spirit like water
into broken cisterns,
sealing cracks and filtering our senses,
that we may savor the foolish
simplicity of his grace.

Discovered in Sarah Arthur's At the Still Point published by Paraclete Press.

For writers, an excerpt from Enuma's article at Duke University's Faith and Leadership Blog, "For the love of God, Write."

I have also learned the importance of prayer. Wordsmithing is in itself a form of centering of breath, mind and prayer. Yet I speak particularly of the asking, seeking, knocking kind of prayer that beseeches God to reveal God’s self and God’s purposes for you as God’s child and for you as a writer and as one more fellow pilgrim in a broken community that groans for redemption.

Friday, August 5, 2016

My Poetry Door

This is the poetry door in my office. That's my oldest grandson on the calendar. Sweet boy! While the door doesn't go anywhere special (a closet filled with odd jackets and dresses and random office supplies), I love to stand in front of it and let a word or a phrase or an image draw me beyond what I see to that deeper place where my spirit responds to Beauty.

The yellow strip on the left came from a poetry friend earlier this spring. It's called "Introductions" by Susan Glassmaker. You can read the poem here.

The Hagar the Horrible cartoon came from my husband. (Frame 1 - Hagar's wife: Men may work from sun to sun, but women's work is never done!  Frame 2 - Hagar takes a swig from his mug.  Frame 3 - Hagar: And yet you have time for poetry!)

At the top right is my winter swap poem from Tabatha Yeatts.

Bottom left is my summer swap poem from Margaret Simon.

The most recent addition, my second summer swap poem at the top comes from one of my dearest poetry friends, Irene Latham. I love the daring, adventurous spirit that resides under that quiet, unassuming exterior! And of course I love her poetry. We had a discussion this spring about nonets. I gravitate toward counted syllable poetry, (perhaps its the puzzle aspect of it) and had been writing nonets from the top down (line 1 - one syllable, line nine - nine syllables). I must have known most websites referred to them beginning with nine syllables and working down, because I posted one like that here.  I have no idea why I tried the reverse, but I found that I liked it, as you can see here.

It was fun to read Irene's poetry swap poem for me, a nonet beginning with one syllable and counting down. Her note said she's still not sold on the one syllable beginning, but her poem was perfect.

Nonet for the Journey
for Doraine

Though storms may shake
dreams from the rafters,
fly with the precision
of cottonwood fluff in spring.
touch down for a moment, a year,
two hundred years. Love the imperfect world.

© 2016 Irene Latham

And you were right, Irene, it IS pronounced

  1. a group of nine people or things, especially musicians.
    • a musical composition for nine voices or instruments.


      A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc... until line nine finishes with one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional.

      line 1 - 9 syllables
      line 2 - 8 syllables
      line 3 - 7 syllables
      line 4 - 6 syllables
      line 5 - 5 syllables
      line 6 - 4 syllables
      line 7 - 3 syllables
      line 8 - 2 syllables
      line 9 - 1 syllables
      Tara hosts the round up today at A Teaching Life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Listen Sweet Dove

Spiritual Journey Thursday

Listen sweet Dove unto my song,
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long,
Till it get wing, and fly away with thee.
         --George Herbert (1593-1633)

Discovered in Sarah Arthur's At the Still Point published by Paraclete Press.