We have been doing some found poems and redacted poems in Creative Writing, magazines strewn about the floor and students sitting on the floor, quietly cutting out words or lying on the floor coloring the parts of the page where the important words aren’t. Yesterday a student from another class walked by and said, “Ms. Weaver-Kreider, it looks like a day care in here.” Everyone grinned. They knew the secret of our creative moment. Here is one of my redacted poems from a National Geographic. I haven’t completed the art part of it, so I’ll type it in instead:
I’ve used my years
of good rain
and there has never been
a bright green field
I quickly turned my head
I was too close to feel it all
to know that feeling of gravity
I consider myself
a power line
an unusual oasis
a land where the Hoodoo Mountains stood.
This is a reprise of a blog entry that I wrote in 2013. Because yesterday was our school’s Day of Gratitude and the idea has been floating near the surface for me these days, I wanted to listen to an earlier version of myself. On that day, I had written 6 gratitudes, but one was very specific to the day, so I omitted it for this redux.
“I have written this poem before. The one about the Open Bowl. How I will hold the circle of my heart to encompass it all.
Not just the little birds singing the dawn into being or the silent toad under her litter of leaves, not just the achingly beautiful green of the fields in spring or the blue eye of the speedwell, not just the snugglesome child or the soft feathers of a hen.
Not just that. Not only that.
But also the brooding ache of estrangement, and the dull thud of the impossible choice, the anxiety over an ill child, the grieving of a friend. Also the deaths of the bees, the scarcity of monarchs, the oil-covered ducks. The deep sadness of all that we are losing so wantonly. The rage, the helpless and blinding white fury at the destroyers, the greed-mongers, the war-profiteers, the glibly malicious purveyors of illness and oppression.
This is why I write gratitude lists. I will hold all of these stones in the Open Bowl of my heart. Some moments, the bowl is so brimming with the rages and the despairs that I don’t know if I can bear it. And then comes a moment of pure numinous wonder and delight, not to erase the other things, but to ease them. To make the bearing of them bearable.
These difficult ones, they are there for a reason. I hold them, too, because they demand my soul’s attention. They call me to my work here in the world. I refuse to walk the world with blinders on. But there is also so much joy to be found in the midst of it all. So much joy. So much love.
I have written this poem before, and I will write it again. Perhaps every day I will write it, until I understand what I am writing.
Here are five shiny stones for your consideration:
1. Green, green, oh the green! Green says, “Have you been watching? Have you been paying attention? Surprise!” Oh, yes, yes, and. . .
2. Hello, Little Daffodil, whose name is full of goofy whimsy and whose cup overfloweth with sunshine.
3. The spaces between. I will gaze into them, breathe into them.
4. Doubt. And the places where faith and trust and safety rest even within doubt.
5. The Navajo People, whose sacred phrase I have borrowed for my little daily prayer:
May we walk in Beauty. So much Beauty.