Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Home

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
          Hath had elsewhere its setting
               And cometh from afar;
          Not in entire forgetfulness,
          And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
               From God, who is our home:
                           --William Wordsworth

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stop Staring!

Be sure to visit Catherine at Reading to the Core for today's Poetry Friday Roundup.

Recently I sat at a sidewalk table having coffee with my daughter. I do enjoy people watching, but when one woman stopped outside the coffee shop to hug a friend goodbye, I suppose I really was staring. My daughter said, "Mom, you have a really bad habit of staring at people." 

People watching is supposed to be conducted in a non-intrusive manner, but sometimes I can't help myself. My writer brain kicks in and wants to know why, want to know how, wants to understand what is behind that gesture. Then my yoga brain kicks in and want to figure out which muscles are not firing and how to address the resulting postural issues. So yeah, sorry folks, but I'm a hopeless starer. 

This month Jane Yolen and Michelle at Today's Little Ditty gave us the challenge to writer a septercet, a poem of Jane's conjuring with three line stanzas, each line containing seven syllables. The staring episode became my starting point. 


It's rude to stare at people,
my daughter's words remind me.
I'm sure that's what I taught her.

I turn away, pretending
disinterest in the woman's
rounding spine, her frowning mouth,

but I need words to describe
her gait, the way she drags one
foot then firmly plants it down.

An accident? Polio?
No way to know. Or did she
strive like Jacob with her God?

My prying eyes refocus
on her face. My daughter pulls
my arm, forces me away.

The woman's figure chiseled
on my prying mind creates
a tale--Once upon a time.

© 2016 Doraine Bennett

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It Took a Long Time

Return of the Prodigal by Rembrandt

The Prodigal
by Elizabeth Bishop

The brown enormous odor he lived by
was too close, with its breathing and thick hair,
for him to judge. The floor was rotten; the sty
was plastered halfway up with glass-smooth dung.
Light-lashed, self-righteous, above moving snouts,
the pigs' eyes followed him, a cheerful stare--
even to the sow that always ate her young--
till, sickening, he leaned to scratch her head.
But sometimes mornings after drinking bouts
(he hid the pints behind the two-by-fours),
the sunrise glazed the barnyard mud with red
the burning puddles seemed to reassure.
And then he thought he almost might endure
his exile yet another year or more.

But evenings the first star came to warn.
The farmer whom he worked for came at dark
to shut the cows and horses in the barn
beneath their overhanging clouds of hay,
with pitchforks, faint forked lightnings, catching light,
safe and companionable as in the Ark.
The pigs stuck out their little feet and snored.
The lantern--like the sun, going away--
laid on the mud a pacing aureole.
Carrying a bucket along a slimy board,
he felt the bats' uncertain staggering flight,
his shuddering insights, beyond his control,
touching him. But it took him a long time
finally to make up his mind to go home. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

National Blended Family Day

Today's host for the Poetry Friday Roundup is Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

In a few weeks I'll be heading to Western Washington University for Poetry Camp. What an amazing poetry packed weekend it's going to be. I'm looking forward to connecting with some special poetry friends and making some new ones. 

Anyone a Girl Scout? Remember this song?

Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, developers of the Poetry Friday Anthologies, have put so much time and effort into the weekend. I'm looking forward to saying thank you in person. 

I will be presenting a session on Poetry and Social Studies with award-winning author, Carmen Bernier-Grand. Yes, I am excited! 

Click here for Cynthia Leitich-Smith's interview with Carmen.

Today happens to be National Blended Family Day. I still open my copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and feel quite delighted to be included with such a talented group of poets. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Broken Image

Spiritual Journey Thursday

Photo by Christopher

A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple.
   --A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Before the Christian church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, "What is God like," and goes on from there.
    --A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

God is not a symbol of goodness. Goodness is a symbol of God.
   --G.K. Chesterton

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poetry Friday Browsing

It's a hot, slow day in Georgia, and I'm moving like sorghum syrup. 

Photo by Melinda Stewart.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting Poetry Friday at The Poem Farm where you can read all about Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's newest poetry book, You Just Wait. These two are always up to something new!

I was excited to find a copy of Jeannine Atkins' newest book, Finding Wonders, in my mailbox this week. Stop by Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem, for an excellent review.

I just finished reading House Arrest, a novel in verse by K.A. Holt, which I highly recommend. Check it out here.

I leave you with this poem of syrup and fond memories.

from "Maple Syrup"
by Donald Hall

Related Poem Content Details

we take my grandfather’s last  
quart of syrup 
upstairs, holding it gingerly, 
and we wash off twenty-five years  
of dirt, and we pull 
and pry the lid up, cutting the stiff,  
dried rubber gasket, and dip our fingers 
in, you and I both, and taste 
the sweetness, you for the first time, 
the sweetness preserved, of a dead man  
in the kitchen he left 
when his body slid 
like anyone’s into the ground.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thankful Heart

Spiritual Journey Thursday

Oxford's Magdalen College - The Gates Leading to Addison's Walk. Photo by JR P.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
—Psalm 100:4

Thankfulness opens the door to My Presence. Though I am always with you, I have gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice. I have placed a door between you and Me, and I have empowered you to open or close that door. There are many ways to open it, but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective.

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Old Favorite

I'm returning to an old favorite today. You can see it's been loved a lot over the years. 

Stop by Penny Klosterman's blog for the round up today.

 David McCord and Marc Simont are an unbeatable team. Read Lee Bennett Hopkins remembrances of the poet at Renee LaTuillipe's blog, No Water River.  Read this tribute to Simont at School Library Journal.

"Spread," said Toast to Butter,
And Butter spread.
"That's better, Butter,"
Toast said.
"Jam," said Butter to Toast.
"Where are you, Jam,
When we need you most?"
Jam: "Here I am,
Strawberry, trickly and sweet.
How are you, Spoon?"
"I'm helping somebody eat,
I think, pretty soon." 

You just have to love the sound and the rhythm and the humor!

...Meet Ladybug,
her little sister Sadiebug,
her mother, Mrs. Gradybug,
her aunt, that nice oldmaidybug,
and Baby--she's a fraidybug.

This is my rock,
And here I run
To steal the secret of the sun;
This is my rock,
And here come I
Before the night has swept the sky;
This is my rock,
This is the place
I meet the evening face to face.

May you find your rock and meet the evening face to face.

Fill this Pause

Spiritual Journey Thursday

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

WHEN some beloved voice that was to you
Both sound and sweetness, faileth suddenly,
And silence, against which you dare not cry,
Aches round you like a strong disease and new--
What hope? what help? what music will undo
That silence to your sense? Not friendship's sigh,
Not reason's subtle count; not melody
Of viols, nor of pipes that Faunus blew;
Not songs of poets, nor of nightingales
Whose hearts leap upward through the cypress-trees
To the clear moon; nor yet the spheric laws
Self-chanted, nor the angels' sweet ' All hails,'
Met in the smile of God: nay, none of these.
Speak THOU, availing Christ !--and fill this pause.

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