You Are My Favorite

Today’s prompt is to write a favorite poem:

You are my favorite color:
that golden shine of sun on the trees in the morning,
that deep cotton grey of dusk,
that rich mocha brown of turned earth,
that silvery sheen on blue waters.

You are my favorite sound:
the sigh of a breeze through the sycamore,
the quiet hum of a child at play,
the full-throated song of a joyful choir,
the chorus of birdfolk at dawn.

You are my favorite feeling:
this tingle of warm sun in spring chill,
this shiver of the spine at a memory,
this sigh of soft satin on the inside of the wrist,
this ease of rest at the end of an aching day.


A Hole in the Fabric

And a blue true dream of sky

There’s been a change in my noticing, a small hole in the fabric of my attention. What used to be an alive and vibrant node in my awareness is now an empty expectancy.  I experienced a little zing every time I walked beneath the sycamore tree, even if I did not take the time to pause and look up, to find the tiny nest, to focus my aging eyes on the spot where two tiny birds were growing. Now the nest is only a shell, a remnant. It’s a wonderment all the same, that tiny house of cobweb, but it is empty.

Yes. Empty is a cutting word.

No, this is no grief akin to the great griefs. It’s just a little hole, a shift, an empty place where my attention and sense of wonderment flowed for weeks, but which is now an empty space like other empty spaces. There is other wonder to seek. There are other places for my deep attention to flow. The dog of my brain is sniffing the air for the next impossible beauty, the next whirring of wings, the next impossible thing that exists.

Gratitude List:
1. New ideas that keep the mind alive
2. The people who are welcoming the refugees
3. The people who stand up for justice
4. The voices of my friends the owls, calling from the bamboo forest
5. You. How we hold the world together, together. How our hands are joined across time and distance to form webs that carry and comfort, that heal and make whole.

Blessings on the Work!

We Can Do It!

March 8
International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world since 1911, to honor the work that women do.  This year’s theme is a pledge for parity, with the core belief that empowering women will lead to greater sustainability on the planet.

Gratitude List:
1. Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmentalist and human rights worker, 2015 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who rallied the indigenous Lenca people to oust the builders of the Agua Zarca Dam, a project which would have cut off water for the Lenca and made it impossible for them to continue living sustainably on the land.  She was assassinated last week in her home.
2. Harriet Tubman, whose story amazes and inspires me, challenges and informs me.  If all you know about her is that she rescued people out of slavery, you owe it to yourself to find out more about her, about her many roles during the war, and how she continued to work for human rights and dignity until she died.
3. Wangari Mathaai, the Kenyan college professor and founder of the Green Belt Movement, first woman in East Africa with a doctorate degree, and 2004 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who saved Karura Forest, who planted trees, who worked for the rights of women.  (Karura Forest is again threatened with development, and the Green Belt Movement is working to save it yet again.)
4. Jane Goodall, who, though she is in her early 80s, continues to travel around the world to speak on behalf of sustainability, earth care, and animal rights.
5. All you women in my life who have mentored me and modeled for me how to live sustainably, how to regulate and care for my own energy, how to stand up and speak out, how to do the work.  Friends and family, women older than me, my peers, and young women, too–my nieces and my students–who show me every day what it means to make a hopeful difference in the world.

May we walk with wisdom, with courage, and with strength.  May we make the world a better place.

Grace and Balance and Beauty

Christmas morning dewdrops on a birch tree.

My dreams have been disturbed the last two nights, sleeping in other rooms, other beds.  Last night, I was living by myself in an apartment, and I was moving out, turning over the lease to someone else.  I realized that I was going to have nowhere to live, nowhere to sleep.  I thought of all the many people in the town that I knew, and tried to think of who to call to ask for a place to stay, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Even when I was talking to people I knew, I couldn’t bring myself to say, “Hey!  Could I stay at your house for a couple days?”  I told myself it was because I am an introvert, but I knew that it is because I couldn’t find the humility.  One of my fatal flaws, I think, is the inability to ask for help when I really need it.

Gratitude List:
1. Grace and balance.  (I have been watching my 9-year-old learn to ride his new ripstick.)
2. Beauty all around.  (I have been taking walks with my 6-year-old, looking for interesting things to photograph.)
3. A misty Christmas Day.
4. Fun playing games with the family.  (3-person chess is exhilarating!  And Ticket to Ride is stressful.)
5. You.  Your stories.  The music you make.  The powerful thoughts you put into the world.  The beauty and grace that you notice and share.  The way you are real.

So much love!


2012 February 058

Today’s prompt is to write a haunted poem.

Everything leaves its imprint,
like the stain of a leaf long-gone to soil
which moldered on the concrete walk
leaving its shadow for another season’s grace.

Your very atoms press against the air,
push through the space around you.
Why should the sense of you be gone
when you are gone?  Why shouldn’t your image
remain behind to haunt the space you filled?

When you turn a corner you will see them,
in those rooms you inhabit inside your soul,
shifting lights and shadows,
mirages or reflections.

Listen for the whispering:
“I was here. I will always be here.”

Gratitude List:
1. Richard Rohr.  Remember, it’s about grace.
2. The Subversive Jesus.  Who is throwing stones?
3. Earthshine.  Have you seen how we light up the moon, even when she is only a sliver?
4. Meeting the day.
5. You.  How you receive the world with open arms.  How you do not judge the worthiness of others or separate people into categories or close doors to keep some out and to lock others in.  How you remind me that there are still people who walk in the way of grace.

May we walk with Great Grace.

the trees obscure the water towers

I am entering a poem in a contest.  Robert Lee Brewer, the host of the Poetic Asides blog, has initiated a contest using his book as the basis.  Take one of his poems, and re-craft or respond or re-work it in some way.  I love the conversational nature of this.  It’s part of what I want poetry to be–conversation.  I don’t know if it’s ethically kosher to type up his poem and put it here next to mine without having asked him first, especially since I don’t have the know-how to indent his lines the way he did.  His is titled “the horizon is marked by water towers overlooking trees,” and the first line was “i’m through with you.”  Mine is a response, and I have patterned it pretty exactly after his, though with a rather different tone.

the trees obscure the water towers
by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

you may think you’re through
you with your stoic eyes
building elaborate fences

to escape my rabbit heart
last october and recite elegies
to fierce women pregnant with desire

but you’re not through with me
and my fine road to hell
paved with change and intention

and change has escaped your professorial eye
your old man’s disillusion
there’s so much we could’ve

but you can’t be really through
because tonight when I am out dancing
alone in fields under the moon

releasing the story of what was
you will come to me like leaves swirling
like the wild geese over the meadow


Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. How ideas spark ideas, how creative thought fires creative thought
3. The peaceful faces of sleeping children
4. Awakening to birdsong (even if it gets me up way too early these days)
5. You.  You hold me and the rest of us so beautifully in your bowl of heart.  You teach me how to ask for help.  You show me light through the brambles.  You remind me to shoulder my ax, to notice the bright birds, to be careful on the path.  Mostly, you remind me not to despair because the world cannot be on the brink of disaster with helpers like you in it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Birds of Skunk Hollow

Somewhere in the wood,
mourning dove sings of desire:
“Who and who and who?”
Then, from deep in the bamboo,
the owl answers, “You, you, you.”

Gratitude List:
1.  Synchronicity.  People in very different places of my life this week have recommended that I read the very same two authors.
2.  Owl and dove
3.  Sun and thaw and thaw and thaw.
4.  Will forces
5.  Poppy jasper

May we walk in Beauty!

Faerie Snow

“Don’t count your sheep,” says Ellis, “until the wolf is gone.”

Gratitude List:
1.  Chocolate and a burger for grounding
2.  The Emergency Women’s Shelter at the YWCA
3.  10 hours of sleep–winter hibernation-style
4.  The way the snow glows blue from inside?  Have you noticed?  What makes it do that, I wonder?  I’m thinking it’s the faeries.
5.  All my Valentines, you and you and someone else: we draw these webs between us,
made of chocolate and sunlight and tentative smiles
and Facebook notes and photos of the places we love
and the toothy grins of our children
and the hope of helping out a little bit
and seeking our roots and our sources together
and following traditions
and breaking traditions
and going a little bit wilder
and dancing until the chickens come home to roost.

Much love.  May we walk in Beauty!

Dancing on the Cliff

mossSo here we are again, dancing on the edge of the cliffs, Fools that we are, watching the sun set on an old year and rise on a new one.  Like Janus the Roman god, two-faced, we look back at what has been and look forward to what will be, simultaneously embodying the present moment.

What amazing creatures we are, Bright Ones!  We carry within us this unbounded capacity for hope and healing, for starting again at tabula rasa, that old blank slate.  Oh, the old stuff lingers, like those lines of ancient vellum documents that re-appear after they’ve been scraped clean and re-written, ghosts of past that linger, but don’t overpower the new text.

One of my first remembered dreams of 2013 was a word rather than an image, the word Palimpsest, the term to describe those old re-used vellum texts that have given scholars the delight of being able to research two texts in one.  I won’t deny that this past year’s fresh text has had its bumpy bits, its painful plot twists at times, but there has been so much light and love, there have been so many epiphanies and mountain views, so many new friends and thoughts and ideas.

(In these twelve nights of Yuletide, I have again been listening more acutely to my dreams.  So far, the thing that stands out most clearly is something vague about The Wild Boys of Raccoon Hollow.  I’m not feeling the spiritual depth of that one just yet.  I’ll keep listening.)

Thank you, Bright Ones, for sharing the journey, for reading my lines here and there.  I wish you many bright spots of sunlight on your path, and challenges enough to make you know your true strength.  Oh, and dreams that give you vision for the next step.

Gratitude List:
1.  This phrase that someone used today: “The intimate magic of motherhood.”  Isn’t that satisfying?
2.  Joseph Brodsky, and Alex Estes’ review of his “1-Jan-65” poem.  It enlivens the literary critic within me.
3.  Knowing my work.  Refining the vision.
4.  All that we have been and all that we will be, but mostly, who we are right in this exact moment.
5.  I have said it before, but it bears repeating on the cusp of the New Year: You.  Oh, Bright Ones, You.

May we walk in Beauty!

All is Well

<Prompt 28: Write a Bird Poem>

Laughter hovers like a bird
in the listening air around us.
Chuckles like feathers
float around the room,
and all is well for this breath.
And for this one.

The air crackles and rustles
with the winged ones watching.
And all is well.
All is well for this moment.

Gratitude List:
1.  You.  Just You.
2.  Because how knowing you makes me be a better me.
3.  Because you make me see colors and hear sounds and taste flavors that I wouldn’t have understood without you.
4.  Because you make sense of things that I can’t make sense of.
5.  Because you ask the right questions, and don’t always have the answers, but sometimes you do.

May we walk together in Beauty.