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Entries in poetry (74)

Thursday
Aug302007

the last poetry thursday

I cried last night as I wrote my last post for Poetry Thursday. I surprised myself a bit by how deeply sad I felt as I saved and published it. This project has been more important to me than I think I even realized. Part of the reason is how connected it is to my own discovery of how much I love poetry and how I believe poetry can change a person…and the world. I know it is also connected to finding light in darkness as poets (the ones I discovered on bookstore shelves and the ones I connected with in blog world) were some of the first people to say to me, "You are not alone in the deep well of grief." So, this gift is also connected to Poetry Thursday.

I realize that I don't have to return these gifts because the project is ending. It isn't as though I will suddenly stop reading poetry or stop writing it. Of course not. I am not leaving blog world, and I will continue to connect with other bloggers who love poetry. I will continue to share my own poetry, links to other poets/poems/blogs, and thoughts about poetry here. And, I imagine I will probably find myself sharing them on Thursdays the way many of us still share Self-Portrait Challenge photos on Tuesdays. I suppose I must admit that I will have more time for my own love affair with poetry as cohosting a site does take up quite a bit of time. But, to me, it is sad all the same.

To all of you who have participated in Poetry Thursday: Thank you for all you have shared and taught and the community you created. Please keep changing the world one poem at a time.

*****

A short poem note (or maybe it is indeed simply a short poem) on this last Poetry Thursday…

We stood until the drum of your heart, the water rolling down my back, and your hands cradling my head were all we were.

Wednesday
Aug012007

i took {poetry thursday}

Tonight, as my "to do" list fights with my "people I seem to be letting down lately" list for the top spot on my inbox and the television speaks only sadness, I took a break. From all of it. I took a break holding a Spire cider in one hand and Billy Collins or rather the poetry of Billy Collins in the other. I took a break sitting on my front step as day turned into dusk pulling on the hem of evening's skirt. I took a break from all of it. I took a break with a cider and Billy Collins. I took a break from grief as I skipped over poems that called to me with titles like "The Dead" and "The Afterlife."

I allowed laughter in.

I took a break from it all and spent time with laughter as I read "The Hunt" four times to paint the described landscape in my mind. I let this landscape where Noah Webster and his assistants hunt a new word become, for a moment, my landscape. I took a break with laughter. I took a break. From all of it. I took a break from fixing when I turned to "Going Out for Cigarettes" and nestled inside these words:

Let us say this is the place where the man who goes out
for cigarettes finally comes to rest: on a riverbank
above the long, inquisitive wriggling of that line,

sitting content in the quiet picnic of consciousness

I took a break and let Billy Collins remind me.

I took a break sitting on the front step as dusk settled over the stretching northwest skyline. I took a break. From all of it. I took a break to breathe in nature and words. I began to breathe in every word and then found myself suddenly chewing. As I reread "Metamorphosis" I was suddenly chewing as though if eating "If Kafka could turn a man into an insect in one sentence perhaps he could turn me into something new" and "Not that I am miserable, but I could use a change" would cause the page to turn and I would find myself away. From all of it. From the fighting, stretching lists. I even contemplated consuming the ant that crawled across the words as though his ability to walk on the actual letters would make the words grow inside me and root.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break and watched the ant crawl across page 70 then 71 and toward the back cover. I took a drink then gave the ant freedom with the understanding of safety from me and Kafka and Collins.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break with cider and Collins and dusk turning into a warm breezy August nightfall. I took a break to remind myself. I took a break to let poetry remind me of myself.

I took a break. From all of it. I took a break until I could no longer read the words in the dimming light.

I took a break to remember.
I took a break to remember me.

*****

Poems mentioned are from Questions About Angels by Billy Collins. To read "Metamorphosis" in its entirety, click over to this Washington Post article. Note that the poem ends right before the last paragraph (the last word of the poem is face); this isn't clear in the online layout.

Go on over and visit Poetry Thursday to link to more participant posts...

Wednesday
Jul182007

my heart carries {poetry thursday}

cannon beach sunset

sunset at cannon beach, taken by jonny

my heart carries:

the sound of the birds chirping me awake
the first time i held my baby brother in my arms
the time my baby brother held me in his arms after our grandmother's funeral
the smell of hot apple cider with cinnamon
my mother's voice saying, "i am on my way"
the way our dog millie snores asleep next to me on the couch
the first time my husband said, "can i hold your hand?"
the feel of my childhood pink blanket against my face before i would fall asleep
the way a friend laughs until tears stream down her face
a moment witnessing my father's vulnerability
the smells of game day
the crocus as it peeks into spring
the first time eating corn on the cob after my braces were removed
the rhythm of my grandmother's voice saying "hello" when she knew it was me
moments spent watching the sky become a watercolor streaked sunset

***

letting go of the need for a genre (and thanking dana for that invitation), i am going to just keep writing poem notes. little pieces that appear in my mind that i want to grab before they slip away. i will keep them here so that i can turn to them as needed.

Wednesday
Jul112007

peaches, poetry, and escaping to the air conditioning

We have escaped to the air-conditioned Mandolin Café to beat the heat. Our house, since the neighbors cut down the beloved tree that shaded our home, is warmer than warm. It's the kind of hot where all you want to do is just get naked and stretch out on your bed with the fan blowing right on you.

The bartender here is singing a song about how "if you don't have an air conditioner you're not the man for me." Oh yes. How I love that. It is pretty funny. I love our neighborhood café where you can be working away on your laptop and then suddenly the bartender starts singing a cappella (microphone and all, of course).

We are consuming ginger peach tea to cool off. I thought Washington peaches were in season, so we went to our favorite grocery store to get a few, but it turns out that the special Frog Hollow peaches are not yet in season. I was craving them a tiny bit. I had to settle for two huge not-yet-ripe California peaches and the anticipation.

I had a moment earlier today that reminded me about the peaches this time of year. I want to turn this moment into a poem, but right now, I just have some thoughts and words put together…poem notes I suppose.

***

I kept the phone messages for months. The call from your daughter, Don't panic, but she's in the hospital. Your husband, She's doing better. It's gonna be okay. I listened to them daily for weeks. She was alive. I didn't mean to lose them. But one week I just forgot to hit 2 to keep them for 14 more days. Today, I opened the freezer and paused soaking in the cold, wishing I could escape the surprising northwest humidity. I noticed the peaches July 2004, Frog Hollow propped in the door shelf. That first year we lived here; I wanted to be able eat them in December, so you explained, Quickly drop them in boiling water. Take them out and peel. Slice and put them in a mixture of sugar and that stuff you can buy to stop them from turning brown. Yes, yes. You will find it at your store. The aisle where you get the Sure-Gel. You will find it. Follow the directions on the box. Then, pour them right into Ziplocs.

I realized I had not really thought about you for a few days. The thoughts to call you and then the remembering, it doesn't happen as often. I am forgetting. Time is subtle and pushes me forward without you. This makes my heart ache tonight. It hasn't hurt for months, but I want to dial, hear your voice, and ask you how to freeze the raspberries. Yes, yes, I know how. But, I just want to call all the same.

I do what I have to do to keep breathing. Three years and two power outages is too long to live in the freezer. She was alive. I do what I need to do to wade through it.

***

visit poetry thursday to dive into more poetry

Wednesday
Jun132007

i come from {poetry thursday}

i want to share another poem i wrote at artfest in susan wooldridge's poemcrazy class...when i read this poem tonight, i was reminded of possibility once again.

*****

I come from
a land where Cinderella eats a
black apple and dances in
both her shoes.

I come from
a tree house city where I watch
forest elephants search for their souls
inside a purple sky.

I come from
a field of gold and pink dotted petals
nestled in the breast of the milky way.

I come from
a heron’s wing, a wooly fleshed
warbler, a chickadees spell.

I come from
a tiptoeing, still, winter home
where I wrap myself in
a blanket of stories.

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