Today’s Prompt is a Two for Tuesday prompt: Write a love poem/write an anti-love poem.

When I said to you in that dream
that the sky was wandering over the hill,
what I meant was that I knew your heart
would always find its own true pathway.

When you replied that you would stay within earshot,
even if the wind tore your voice from you,
I knew that you meant that your heart
could be shattered and still your roots would thrive.

When I told you that I would be waiting
here, on this side of the great wooden door,
I know you understood that my heart
would be listening for your rising.

When you sang of the waters of Lethe,
how you longed to drink, but turned homeward,
I knew that you had given your heart,
like a Phoenix, to the story.


Gratitude List:
1.  I am not alone here
2. Breeze
3. Addressing fear
4. Palo santo
5. Stories of the moon

May we walk in Beauty!

Today’s Prompt is an If I Were. . . poem.

Mockingbird growls.  In between riffs
of cardinal and killdeer, of phoebe and wren
and some feathered neighbor from the south
whose name I don’t know, in between all that,
mockingbird growls at me.

He growled tonight when I started to read to him:
Mary Oliver’s Mockingbirds.
I was certain he’d be flattered,
but he growled at me
and fluffed his feathers,
twitched his tail,
and when I got to the part
about the old people dying
and the gods clapping their great wings,
he opened his own and took flight,
off up the orchard into the twilight.

He’s not such a good listener, that one.
But we often forgive our loquacious friends
their lack of listening skills
because they entertain us with such gusto.

But the hens.  The hens listened, rapt,
clucking like fans at a jazz fest.
And when I bowed, and walked up
to close the coop for the night,
they all asked for my autograph.


Gratitude List:
1. My sweet hens
2. Comfort food
3. Gathas
4. Sun-kiss
5. Learning from uncertainty.

May we walk in Beauty!

Today’s prompt was to write about animal/s and/or to write a sestina.  I love to play with forms, but this idea for a ritual to mark the grief for the loss of animals to extinction grabbed hold of me, and it felt too forced to put it into a sestina form.

Before you cross the threshhold,
remember to greet the guardians of the place.
Step to the center of the circle.

Stand still and silent,
watchful and waiting.
Close your eyes, and you will feel them all about you:
soft breath, whiskers, and feathers,
cool sinuous scales and rough bristles,
hints of movement like the whispers in a dream.

Turn to the east, to the birds, to the wing-folk,
turn to the flying ones, feathered and beaked ones.
Feel the sky darken as the Passenger Pigeons fly over.
Hear the maniacal bark of the Laughing Owl,
the whistles and chuckles of the Carolina Parakeet,
the caw and the clamor of the Hawaiian Crow,
the deep distant drumming of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.
All these, the People of the Wind, gone now.  Gone.

Turn to the south, to the mammals, the fur-folk,
the ones who run with the fire of the sun in their blood.
Here is Celia, last of the sure-footed Pyrenean Ibex.
There, standing silently like a shadow,
the West African Black Rhino.
And there, sliding down the riverbank,
the Japanese River Otter.
This one, the Eastern Cougar, stealthy as a dream
That one, the Formosan Clouded Leopard.
All these, the People of the Fire, gone now.  Gone.

Turn to the west, to the fish, to the fin-folk,
turn to the gill people, the swimmers, the divers,
the people of the moist places, the wetlands.
That sleek gentle head over there in the water
is Baiji, the dolphin of the Yangtze River.
There is the fluke of the Atlantic Gray Whale.
Shimmering in the cool depths,
the Blackfin Cisco, the Galapagos Damsel,
the Blue Walleye, the Gravenche.
In the swamps and the wetlands,
the Golden Toad, Holdridge’s Toad,
and the Cape Verde Giant Skink.
All these, the People of Water, gone now.  Gone.

Turn to the north, to the reptiles and insects,
turn to the cool ones, the scaly, the earth people.
Larger than a rock, there is Lonesome George,
the last of the Pinta Island Tortoises.
There, in coils, like a great rope,
the Round Island Burrowing Boa.
This lizard–the Jamaican Giant Galliwasp.
The Lake Pedder Earthworm,
the Polynesian Tree Snail,
the Rocky Mountain Locust.
All these, the People of the Earth, gone now.  Gone.

And wandering in brilliant circles and meanders
in the sky about us, but not yet within the circle,
bright orange butterflies, the Monarchs,
and droplets of sunlight zipping through the trees,
the Honeybees.  And others, too, not yet gone–
the Pangolin and the Mountain Gorilla,
the Hawaiian Monk Seal and the Island Fox,
the California Condor and the Amur Leopard.
All these, the next in line, the ones on the brink.

As you step out of the circle,
look to the air above you,
see the Bald Eagle wheeling on the wind,
the Peregrine Falcon diving toward earth.
See the Wolf, the Bison, the Bobcat.
These are the ones who stood on the brink,
who wandered back to the woods and the wildlands,
who walked away from that veil and returned.

Now we must shift.  Now we must change.
Now we must make a new way.


Gratitude List:
1.  The golden glow around the moon, there in the indigo sky.
2.  Chipping sparrow
3.  Forsythia and myrtle
4.  Local hangouts, where a really diverse local crowd can be happy together.
5.  Sleep.

May we walk in Beauty.

Today’s prompt is to write a city poem.  And all I can think, all day, when I turn my mind to this task is “We Built this City on Rock and Roll.”

Enter their city
without fear, with a pure heart.
You must become light,
become a drop of sunlight
and whisper in on the breeze.

Gratitude List:
1.  High Point
2.  The Emmentalische hills of eastern York County
3.  The bridges
4.  The trees are taking that last inbreath before they explode into bloom
5.  Sore muscles from hard work.

May we walk in Beauty.

Today’s Prompt is to use a standard phrase for the title of your poem, and then to respond to that.  I have to start working on these earlier in the day, before my brain starts to shut down.

Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here
with apologies and thanks to Pema Chodron and Margaret Wheatley

“Hope. . . is not the conviction that something will turn out well,
but the certainty that something makes sense regardless
of how it turns out.”  –Vaclav Havel

I have a fierce attachment to hope,
to that inward knowing
that this boat will stay afloat no matter what.

I have a deep-rooted, heavy-booted fear
that in this moment
we are in the very act of sinking.

Like they say, the hope keeps me living,
living in the middle of the fear,
and paralyzed to move,
lest my shift cause this bark to sink.

Perhaps the future demands not hope,
but willingness to sleep with uncertainty.
That we lay our heads on pillows of rock,
and though we know not whether the day will dawn,
sleep soundly through the storm.

Though we know the fight is likely useless,
onward we fight because it makes sense
to hold our ideals no matter what we face.

Oh, I’ll hold hope in my pocket–
uncoupled from its sticky twin–
like a shiny copper penny,
like a talisman.



Gratitude List:
1. Mockingbird is back on stage, in rare form, full of gossip and outlandish tales.  He got me this morning–I started to say, “Killdeer!” before he was off on a riff about cardinal, before I realized it was him.
2.  Chickweed pesto
3.  Windflower and speedwell
4.  Cloud constellations (a term coined by my younger child)
5.  Joss found my glasses in the field when I was sure that they were gone for good.  No scratches.  Whew.

May we walk in Beauty!


Today’s prompt is to write a poem about the Future.

To wait within the moment for the coming dawn,
To breathe the single breath of all that lives,
To walk the web on which we all belong,
To face the newborn day with love instead of fear.

To listen for the whisper of the Spirit’s wind,
To feel Creator’s heartbeat in the world around,
To hear the grace of the Beloved in my neighbor’s voice,
To embrace the sacred space between the past and change.


Gratitude List:
1.  Red-breasted mergansers and northern shovelers
2.  Playing by the River with my boys
3.  When you’ve been feeling bad, it feels SO GOOD to feel good.
4.  Amy got me tickets to see Jane Goodall.   What a gift!
5.  Getting organized.

May we walk in Beauty!

Poetry Prompt for today is Shelter, and I have been in the shelter of my bed, sick, today.  This will be a basic draft to work on later.

Things are looking rough out there.
The wind is kicking up her heels
and you look a little the worse for wear.

Step in to the shelter of this poem for a moment.
Catch your breath, escape the wild things
that have been nipping at your heels.

Sit by the fire and take off your wet shoes.
Have a cup of peppermint tea and a biscuit.
Listen to the rain pounding on the roof
and the wind howling down the chimney.

And listen to while I tell you a story.
There was a brave and golden child.
Oh, you know this one?

How she was lost in the darkest part of the wood?
How she fought her way through briars and brambles?
How she suddenly had the wind kicked out of her,
how the wild things tore her hope to pieces,
how it all blew away in the gale?

But did you hear about the part
where she took shelter with the crone,
where she looked in a mirror
and saw the reflection of her grandmothers,
how all those faces recognized her strength,
her inner fire, her unbroken spirit?

Oh yes, I know you must go back out there,
back to the storm and the wild things.
You have a harrowing run ahead of you,
a perilous journey.  Here are provisions:
cakes and tea, a small white stone,
the doll that your grandmothers made for you.

When you have gone, I will whisper your name to the wind,
I will write it on my mirrors.  I will sing it in the dark.
Whenever you feel you cannot go on,
return to the room of this poem,
with its cheery hearth and dry blankets.


Gratitude List:
1.  Chickadee’s spring song: Sweeeee–eeet!  Sweee-eeeeeeet!
2.  Rest
3.  Jane Goodall is coming to Lancaster!
4.  Saltines and ginger ale
5.  Green

May we walk in Beauty!

Since it is Tuesday, the poetry prompt is a two-part poem:  Write a poem about violence and/or peace.
Here is my #readapoem aloud poem for today.


In the spring, there are skunk cabbages,
purple pods rising from the marshes,
spathe and spadix (look them up)
scenting the air, first in the race
to lure the waking pollinators.

Snowdrops and aconite bring the wood alive,
their blossoms whispering amid breezes,
the buzz of the first honeybees,
the Louisiana waterthrush singing
about the creek that mutters over stones.

And at night, while the owls utter longing
to the moon, and a drizzle coats the moonlit branches,
the mud salamanders wriggle from their winter burrows
and slither down to the vernal pools to lay their precious eggs.

What will they do when the bulldozers come?
When the trucks arrive with their gravel and pipes?
Where will the birds find quiet branches for nesting,
the spotted salamanders find soft muddy springs for their young?

Someone has studied it, surely,
made a proposal based on plan
which is based on a study
which dismisses in fine language
the impact of pipelines on wildlife
in tender wild places.

The chances of leaks in the pipe
are slim to nothing, so they say.
Tell that to the ducks of Mayflower,
to the marshes of Ripley, Missouri.
Tell it to the wheat farmers of Tioga,
to the wildflowers of the Oak Glen Nature Preserve.

Tell it to the tender dogtooth violets
before you tear them from the soil,
to the otters who dance on the creek banks.
Tell it to the shy hermit thrush
before you slash through the wood
with your heavy machinery.

We cannot unring this bell.
We cannot unkill the wild.
We cannot unbreak our hearts.


Gratitude List:
1.   Louisiana Waterthrush
2.  Toads sing!  I did not know this when I named my book.  Turn on your sound and click here.
3.  A sense of purpose in uncertain times
4.  Fresh energy
5.  Chaperoning a field trip

May we walk in Beauty!

The Prompt for today’s poem is to write a Self-Portrait Poem.  It is late and I am so very sleepy.  This will have to do.

I want my heart to be a singing bowl,
drawing forth your resonance,
and sending it back, shining and quivery,
shimmering threads of sound dancing in the air.

I want my ears to be baskets of soft meadow grass,
holding the stories like fragile eggs,
letting the rain trickle through.

My face is the wide sky, round, a doorway.
My face is the guardian, standing in shadow.
My face is a table.  My face is a window.

I will remember your face forever,
but when I turn from this mirror,
my picture will fade, and I will be only
a dream of myself, a lost story.

I want my eyes to be sponges.
I want my colors to pulsate and flash.
I want my hands rain droplets
from the healing river.


Gratitude List:
1.  A little help from my friends
2.  Sleep
3.  Resonance and reflection
4.  Challengers and Initiators
5.  The inevitability of spring

May we walk in Beauty!


Today’s Poem-A-Day Prompt was to write a poem about night.

I know this is true
because the moon laid her head
in that indigo,
on that blue velvet cushion
of sky. How she sighed for joy.


Gratitude List
1.  Michael the archangel is a bluebird.  I know this, but it might be a secret.
2. People who understand group process.
3. Semi-permeable boundaries
4. Re-constituting the resume–what a challenging process of self-definition, that one
5. Saints.  And sinners.

May we walk in Beauty!


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