Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Poetry Friday!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

It's been two months since my last post. I've missed all my Poetry Friday friends, but I've accomplished  a whirlwind of stuff. I moved my yoga studio to a new location with more room and more exposure.

I started a 200-hr yoga teacher training program. The training runs for ten weekends between September to May. We just finished weekend three and I am remembering just how much I love teaching.

I took a six-week online pain neuroscience class through my son's physical therapy clinic and absolutely loved absorbing as much information as I could squeeze into my brain. I'm looking forward to translating some of that info into yoga workshops, especially for people struggling with chronic pain.

Unfortunately, writing has been on the back burner. It will come back, I know it will, but for now, it's still okay to do what's in front of me. Although I have managed a poem or two a month. Here's my poem from this month's Today's Little Ditty Challenge. I think I need to reassure myself that I really did write something this month!

A Gnarled Oak 

extends tumorous limbs across the road,
the mass of leaves a marvel of deep shade 
despite disease—like our Walmart greeter
ticking off receipt items with a grin.
He’s forgotten the lumps under his skin, 
ignores the way eyes skitter from him 
to the latest sale or the cashier making change
or the house shoe-clad girl in the next aisle. 
The discomfort not his. He smiles and greets,
his roots sunk deep in some whispered truth
only his ears are tuned to hear
and bestows his grace-filled shadow
without reproof.

© 2017 Doraine Bennett

I want to recommend a beautifully written and illustrated book for those of you who love celebrating advent with your family.
Image result for all creation waits by Gayle Boss
Paraclete Press, 2016
In her introduction, Gayle Boss says, "The practice of Advent has always been about helping us to grasp the mystery of a new beginning out of what looks like death. Other-than-human creatures--sprung like us from the Source of Life--manifest this mystery without question or doubt...They can be to us 'a book about God...a word of God,' the God who comes, even in the darkest season, to bring us a new beginning."

So begins twenty-four short, lyrical descriptions of animals and their adaptations in winter,  enhanced by original woodcuts created by David G. Klein
Here is a sampling of the animals and a few excerpts to whet your appetite for this lovely book. 
Painted Turtle One day in the fall, as water and air cooled, at some precise temperature an ancient bell sounded in the turtle brain. A signal: Take a deep breath. Each creature slipped off her log and swam for the warmer much bottom. Stroking her way through the woven walls of plant stems, she found her bottom place. She closed her eyes and dug into the mud. She buried herself. 
Black Bear Crouched in the snow-muffled quiet I imagine hearing her slow breathing. I imagine smelling slow-burning bear--the fat she made from all those nuts, berries, bugs, and plants melting and fueling her sleep. She is shrinking--except in the den deep inside her body. There she is multiplying, balls of cells swelling into new forms of her.
Wood Frog There will come a warm day in spring when the ice goes out--of the ponds, of his blood--and doesn't return. The with dozens of other wood frogs he'll hop to the pond and send up a thrilling chorus: Death, we've robbed you of your ruin, we've takin you in. 
Eastern Fox Squirrel He would dig a decoy hole--or two, or more--before depositing a nut. Or after. He came back later and reburied nuts in new places...What he depends on to survive the barren season is the power of memory. I imagine him curled in his nest, a wind-tight ark of leaves and twigs high in the three, each night consulting the map of his memory. 
You may read more here.
Watch the book trailer here. You may have to scroll down a bit to find it.

LightUponLight cover_72dpi
And if you're looking for something on the more adult level, this is one of my favorites from Sarah Arthur. You can read an excerpt at this post from a few years ago.

Carol hosts the Poetry Friday roundup this week at  Carol's Corner.

Maybe I won't wait two months before I post again! 


  1. Welcome back, Doraine. It seems that your life has been/is filled with wonderful things.Those working with you in yoga are blessed by your knowledge. I hope all is going well in that new location. I read your poem on Michelle's padlet,and now here it is again. I love the connection you made between the tree and the human. We are in this circle together, as also shown in the excerpts shared from that book. Thanks for that. Hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too. It's a darling picture of whom I assume is your grandson.

  2. All Creation Waits sounds wonderful! If I order it now, it will be here in time for Advent! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. What a busy, but productive, time you are having. the writing will come in its season, though I must say the poem you've written shows it's still there, really.

  4. Dorraine, I do love seeing you post. Your creative work is beautiful. That last line, without reproof. I love it....and your yoga work with added knowledge of neuroscience is adding beauty to our world. Thank you. I loved advent growing up...and somehow, it didn't follow me into my family. The "too busy" won out somehow. I am taking your recommendation for this book! Thank you.

  5. Wow! Your yoga practice is really growing! Yay, you! And still, you have to pay tribute to the "old oaks" in our world. I love the line, "The discomfort not his." Good reminder to check our assumptions and judgements at the door.

  6. Doraine, WOW, your new studio!! Congratulations! You are giving the world an important gift... I can feel you from here. What a happy place to be with all that learning and teaching... how rich your days. So happy for you, my friend. And yes, I, too, need poems to remind me. This one is lovely. To everything there is a season... off to find this book. Love to you! xo

  7. Oh Doraine, I know we've talked a little about your new studio, but to see it myself and hear about your teacher training program makes me so happy! Good for you for leading the way to inspiration, be it through yoga or your writing. I'm honored that TLD reaped the benefits of your back-burner simmering. Such a wonderful poem.

  8. Congrats on your yoga studio move and opening! I'm a big yoga fan. I like the connection and play you created between the gnarled tree and the common man, thanks!

  9. You have been busy, Dori! I love your "Gnarled Oak" poem. It struck me when I read it first on the padlet, and it's nice to find it again. It reminds me of a saying that got carved into me as a result of reading Well, a memoir by Sarah Thebarge, about the three months she spent working in a mission hospital in Togo. The saying: "Love looks around."

    The Advent book is so beautifully written! I've made a note to look for it.

  10. So much loveliness in this post--from your expanding yoga practice (yea! Yoga has helped me and my daughter deal with chronic pain--and I would love to hear more about what you've learned) to seeing loveliness through eyes of compassion in someone most would prefer to ignore to those Advent reflections.

  11. I've missed you! I love seeing that you have some wonderful things going on. I want to come to your inviting studio. And that poem...wowza. Makes me think of our Walmart greeter who is so gracious and happy to be there. Shouldn't we all be so blessed.

  12. Congratulations on this exciting time in your life!

  13. You rock, my friend. Congratulations on new adventures - your words and your work are such lights in the world! And these books look/sound wonderful.