Monday, April 30, 2018

Meditation on Mothers: Happy National Poetry Month!

My poet friend, Nancy Keck, is always inspired by her home in Northern Minnesota. In this dreamlike work, she ponders the eternal cycle of life and encourages us to remember our mothers and other women we have loved.


I walked into a forest and looked over the sea
     the Goddess came to me in memories of my mother, Jane
     my grandmother, Margaret, my friend, Martina
all gone from me now, but their love still very much with me.
I asked the Goddess to heal my broken heart
to somehow smooth together the fractures of loss, of hopes mislaid, of dreams forgotten.
I gave to the Goddess a lilac, one stem of purple flowers,
     the scent of spring , the image of my spirit
     of my love for this earth, for this life
     its beauty in brief and eternal time.

The Goddess gave me the hope of my dreams, the continuation of our family’s lineage
     through my cherished daughter, Suzanne,
     a tiny, perfect baby.
I kissed the baby’s fingers and held it tightly, yet gently
     realization of Suzanne’s longing to become a mother
     incarnation of my hope to become a grandmother
     connection with my mother and grandmothers
     link back through the women of our family
          to the ancient rocks of England, to ancient Celtic spirits
          to ancient voices singing through the waves of Lake Superior
          through the branches of pines in the Northern forest
          to the Northern Lights that danced all over the sky following my mother’s death.

I sit beside Lake Superior
watching the waves wash into the shore, then back out again.
One day those waves will carry my ashes, my spirit,
to join those of the women who have gone on before me
to become one with the Divine.

     ~Nancy Ronstrom Keck
     (c) April 26, 2009

How do you remember and honor the women who have gone on before you?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Peachy Poetry: Happy National Poetry Month!

(all photos by Jane Heitman Healy (c) 2011)

If you follow this blog in late summer, you know I love peaches from Western Colorado. So when teacher-poet Janet Clare Fagal submitted these poems, my mouth watered! Enjoy the poem, leave a comment for Janet, and enjoy a fresh peach when you get a chance.                  

                                  After Spring Comes Summer: A Trio of Peachy Poems

                                                           The Peach

                                                           Rub, squeeze, chomp, sip
                                                           sweet fleshy globe.
                                                           Golden-pink like sunset.
                                                           Slips down your throat
                                                           cool as night.
                                                           Feels like summer.

                                                               Orchard Treasure

                                                               Silky summer
                                                               poised in the farmstand
                                                               Piled high, plump,

                                                                  Peach Cobbler

                                                                  Swirled like pearls,
                                                                  soft and plump,
                                                                  round like globes,
                                                                  gone in gulps.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Walking Watson: Happy National Poetry Month!

Watson, age 5

Happy Birthday (April 22), Watson! He loves his new ball and is grateful for spring because that means more frequent and longer w-a-l-k-s. (I'm in trouble if he learns how to spell!) Watson is a great walker now, but in his puppyhood, walking him was more challenging, prompting this poem from 2015:

Walking My Dog, Watson

When I walk Watson, he sets the pace.
He launches off  like he’s in a race
And runs a block or maybe two
While I hold on. Who’s leading who?
He trots and stops and circles back to sniff at every tree.
He jumps at squirrels, which seems to make him gallop vertically.
He lolls at every post and bush and runs full-out between,
And when we meet some people, he licks their faces clean.
Some ask why I do it, but the question ought to be
Am I walking Watson, or is Watson walking me?
                                                ~Jane Heitman Healy, (c) 2015
(This poem first appeared as a Word of the Month poem on David L. Harrison's site in April 2015. The word was "pace.")

Fall 2017

Monday, April 23, 2018

Earth Day Every Day: Happy National Poetry Month!

Paula, a scientist, is always thinking of ways to be kinder to the planet. Here's one offering: 


Goes 50 miles on just the electric

People ask, where is it charged? 
It can be done in your garage

Unplug the car, away you go
Forget the gas; it isn’t low

For the electric encourage more miles,
Build more plugs—the reward is smiles.
                                    ~Paula Struckman

I regularly play over at poet David L. Harrison’s Word of the Month poem. This month’s word is “earth.” My acrostic entry is below, and you can go to this page to see the others. Leave one of your own if you like!

Our Only Planet

Acts of kindness
Tender care of our
        ~Jane Heitman Healy

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Importance of Bees: Happy National Poetry Month!

Elizabeth Neubauer knows a lot about insects and appreciates them more than the average person. We should all value bees for their ability to pollinate our plants, which in turn, creates our food.

                                                    April 7th
                                                    Bees rooting around in flowers for
                                                    Tongues slipping through petals
                                                    Touching pistils and stamens
                                                    Collecting pollen in bags
                                                    To take home to their babies
                                                    While fecund blooms
                                                    Ripen into fruit.

                                                             ~Elizabeth Neubauer (c) 2018

Elizabeth's poetry also appeared here earlier this month. Leave her a comment if you like.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What Really Counts?: Happy National Poetry Month!

See more from Carmen Graber here this year. She teaches 8th grade English Language Arts, a grade whose students take part in a district-wide poetry slam each year. She wrote this poem while working with her students on their poetry slam poems. Is it really what's inside that counts?

On the Outside

It’s what is on the inside that matters.
How many times have you heard that?
How many times have you said that?
To a child, to a teen, to a friend.
Words of comfort
From well-meaning persons
To make someone feel better.
But what about the tears
Sliding down the cheeks
Of a young boy
Trying to hide the bruises.
Those are on the outside-
Does that mean they don’t matter?
What about the thin red lines
Appearing on the arm
Of a young girl
Trying to end the pain.
Those are on the outside-
Does that mean they don’t matter?
What about the anger and rage
Of a teenage boy swallowing steroids
So he can make the team.
The explosions are on the outside -
Does that mean they don’t matter?
What about the protruding ribs and bones
Of the teenage girl
Starving herself to become model thin.
Those are on the outside -
Does that mean they don’t matter?
What about the emptiness and despair
Prominently displayed on the faces
Of a young man or young woman
Whose forever after has suddenly ended.
Those are on the outside -
Does that mean they don’t matter?
What are we missing
By only looking to the inside?
Not everything on the outside
Is superficial.
Sometimes -
The outside provides a window
Into the soul of the people around us
And together that is what matters.

                                     ~cjgraber (c) 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Celebrating International Haiku Day with Amy Losak: Happy National Poetry Month!

by Amy Losak

Today is International Haiku Day, according to the Haiku Foundation. Celebrate with haiku lovers around the world with these by Amy and her mother, Sydell Rosenberg!

You met Amy last week when her mother's book for children, H is for Haiku: a Treasury of Haiku from A-Z by Sydell Rosenberg, came into the world.

Amy, why do you practice haiku?

The economic but endlessly evocative qualities of haiku -- saying a lot with few words and in few lines; leaving things out so readers can "fill in" their own meanings -- is what makes this poetic form challenging, sometimes frustrating, and ultimately rewarding. 

by Amy Losak

Amy adds: For me, a haiku poem rarely occurs in a flash of inspiration -- a "Eureka" moment that needs no revision. Haiku, despite (or perhaps because of) their brevity, can take a long time to polish. The poem may never be "perfect." I am rarely satisfied. I sometimes have several versions of a poem, and I go back and forth with changes and my preferences, even after submission or publication.

And I’m learning that this is okay. Haiku is about more than craft and the end product put down on the page. Haiku impels me to slow down, take a breath, be in the moment and deeply observe my surroundings. It is an act of both focus and flow. Writing haiku takes practice and discipline, but it shouldn’t be intimidating (though I admit I sometimes am intimidated!). As we observe and write, it’s fine to allow ourselves to “play” too. Still, I’m striving to hone my haiku.

Thanks for these insights into this deceptively simple poetic form, and thanks for sharing your haiku. Here are three from Sydell Rosenberg, (1929-1996):

(all images from pixabay)

If you want to learn more about haiku, a wealth of online and social media resources are at your fingertips. So Amy and I hope you will haiku, too. Enjoy!