Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day Six of Lent, and a poem by Li Po

Today I was actually early with my daily poem.  I taught both Silver Sneakers Yoga Stretch, and Pilates.  I'm finding these two classes kindly receptive to my reading to them.  I find that the cool down period and the beginning breathing a good time to read.

My poem for today:

Written While Wandering the White River in Nan-Yang, After Climbing Onto the Rocks

Morning up near White River origins,
and suddenly that human world’s gone:

islands all end-of-the-earth beauty,
river and sky a vast vacant clarity.

Ocean clouds leave the eye’s farewell,
and the mind idle, river fish wander.

Chanting, I linger out a setting sun,
then return moonlit to a farmland hut.

--Li Po, from The Selected Poems of Li Po

For a link to more of his poems, visit Famous Poets and Poems . com

Oops, Missed a Day!

But not really.  I remember that I hadn't yet shared a poem for yesterday, and was already in bed.  I weighed getting out of bed (I'd already gotten up once to have my son check his blood sugar and was going to do that again in a couple of hours, and I'd already turned off the computer) with staying in it.  Then I realised I had my iPod nearby, so I pulled it under the covers and looked for a poem to share before it was too late.

The one I selected was again from Poetry Daily, and I shared it on Facebook.  A wonderful poem written by Tina Chang, entitled "Patriotism," the language is confident and truthful, and isn't worried about getting down into the dirt, looking for new life. 

Here, in keeping with my Lenten promise to myself (to share a poem a day with one person or more) and with links to Poetry Daily and Four Way Books, is the poem:


The village was in tatters, smoking before it spoke,
shrapnel in a lung, a toothache in a guilty mouth.

There's something in the back of my mind I'd like
to remember, rubble there and a shovel for digging.

We stood in the deep muck for years. I wrote
love notes to nurse him back to health. If he dreamed

origami cranes I kept folding this paper inward
and inward until it bloomed and found velocity.

To get inside the earth's black center, I must have tools.
I must be alert and willful. I sat on the ground

to get down deeper, below kneeling, below bowing
and scramble, and boulder. And when you get that low,

you can mount the cry, the zero. What happened
in the marriage between the heart and its territory?

The tools were man-made, the tools worked slowly with labor.
The work was not without toil. When I found him there

face up, I put my mouth to his mouth, exhaled
for many years, my tongue waving like a flag.

Tina Chang

Of Gods & Strangers
Four Way Books

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ash Wednesday at Grace, Bainbridge

Me, on Ash Wednesday, in the rear-view mirror, with ash.

Lent, the 4th day and another poem shared

The poem I found today is by Rachel Elizabeth Griffiths, and is on Poetry Daily.  I was a little last minute with this one, and shared it on Facebook as it felt weird to send it to someone. It's about death, a son lost.  It's a beautiful poem.

Here is the first part:

Leave me here
amidst the underworld
of pickaxes. Anvils. Work
horses and sawdust.

The afternoon light
was the texture of language—

dust before a death.


  Oh, and I did get the Fellowship application done, and sent off today. Phew!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another day, another poem

It's nice to be back into a poetry phase.  I feel more connected with my writing again, and am revisiting work I started as exercises awhile back.  Haven't really written anything new though, but I'm really looking forward to getting together with two good friends, Annette and Kelli, for a writing day on Weds. 

Today I made a curtain for the side door, as a way to block out the chaos of the mudroom.  It's already up, and makes the kitchen and dining rooms look so different.  I like it, and am looking forward to getting the dining area curtains up finally. Also made yogurt, and went through some old clothes to give away.  Just watched Carey Grant in "People Will Talk," which was good.  I still have to get my Artist Trust Fellowship materials in order, to send off tomorrow.  Almost done with that.  And, I found a poem to share today, and sent that to a friend. 

Here's the first part of the poem, and link to Verse Daily, where it appeared:


[The Rooster is Perfect]

The rooster is perfect
with his little fat feathered breeches
mohawk, muttonchops
hollering the sunlight down the whole hillside
his beak, his stone-chip eyes are perfect

 For the rest, just click on the link above to go to Verse Daily.

Off to bed~ 

Oh - and if you're doing something during Lent, feel free to share it with me.  I'd love to hear.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent Day 3, and it's another poem

I taught at 6 am today, and chickened out reading a poem to the class.  So, before midnight hits I'd better find a poem to share in some way.

I read to my weight training class last night the same poem I read to my Pilates class.  And I think I avoided it today mostly because this wasn't my normal class, and also because it I'm thinking about how I set myself the task of reading or posting a poem a day to at least one person.

Perhaps this journey is a little more challenging than I thought when I first dreamed it up in the shower yesterday morning. But it is weird to say to people, "For Lent I decided that I'm going to read or post a poem a day, hopefully to someone who doesn't normally "do" poetry. Here's a little little poem I'd like to read to you."  Then again, taking something I like very much, like poetry, out of my comfort zone with me, is the whole idea behind the scheme.

It's late, and I'm babbling, so ...

Here's a poem from Poets.org:

A Thought of the Nile  
by Leigh Hunt

It flows through old hushed Egypt and its sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands,—
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roamed through the young world, the glory extreme
Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam,
The laughing queen that caught the world's great hands.

Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
As of a world left empty of its throng,
And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
'Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
Our own calm journey on for human sake.

Woohoo! Found a recipient for the gift of a poem.  I emailed a poem to a friend, and now I can sleep better, knowing I kept my promise to myself two days in a row.  ; )

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring, a poem by Mary Oliver

Here's a link to the Mary Oliver poem, Spring, that I shared in the last post~

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring
down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring
I think of her ...
For the poem in it's entirety, here's a link: 
(House of Light)

Day Two of Lent, and a poem a day

Well, I won't even say how long it's been since I posted here.  My blogs and a few other things got away from me since, well, ...

So, time to put that aside.  Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and time for me to make some decisions.  What to give up?  Or rather, what to take on?  Of course, I would write daily in my journal for the days of Lent.  I try to do that every year, some years more successful than others, but a good practice to put into action.  But, what else could I do that might have farther reaching effects?

Certainly I get a few poems from journal entries, and those go on to enter the rounds of the submission game, and eventually a few are published.  But - what could I do, during Lent, that would reach someone every day?

It came to me in the shower this morning.  Day Two of Lent.  Why not read a poem to my Silver Sneakers Yoga Stretch class? That sounded good to me.  But I teach the class only on Tuesdays, so I needed to do something else.  Perhaps my Pilates class would like to hear a short poem each time we meet.  I was becoming more energized as I continued to plan my project. Why stop there?  Maybe my weight-training (Ultimate Strength) class would like to hear a haiku ...

So, today I read Mary Oliver's "Spring" to my Pilates group today.  And, they liked it.  I teach again tonight, this time Ultimate Strength (which is like BodyPump or Group Power).  And I'll read one to them, too.  Tomorrow morning I am subbing the 6 am Ultimate Strength.  Wonder what they would think?

Which brings me to another point I've been thinking about.  Drawing attention to myself as a poet.  Or, just drawing attention to myself, period.  I mull that over from time to time, and have done over the years.  But then I got to thinking, after my shower, as I made the bed that, in order to bring something good to others, you first have to do something good for yourself.  Pretty standard stuff.  But, shouldn't it be the other way around?

The way I see it:  I like poetry.  Maybe others do, or they don't.  Often people just don't understand it.  I like to write poetry, and yes, I like it when it gets published.  I won't lie.  So, why not take a poem, one that has a good chance of "reaching" others, and share it with them?  Maybe we will both (or all) benefit.  I'll get something out of reading the poem, tasting the words, and I'll be giving it away to someone else.  I'll find the poems that speak to many, written by others mostly, and set them down different paths, one each day.  Might be in a fitness class.  Might be on Face Book.  Or via email.  Or tacked onto the bulletin board at a grocery store.  Or ...

What will you do?

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