Mystery Eco-challenge


Mystery Eco-challenge

We arrived at the cabin
on the peninsula
at Lake of the woods
the water level had dropped
3 feet since last time

The dock had to be lowered
pulled out to reach the boats
the duck boats hauled
closer to the edge of shore

It’s an Eco challenge
every time I come up here
Steve said, breathing heavy

A mystery eco-challenge, I added
because you never know
what the challenge will be

I looked over the bay
at the glistening shimmer
of the sun on the slowly rolling waves of clear and healing water
breathed in the solitude
and untethered the fraying rope
tied to the rest of the world

And I said to myself

I’ll take it.


I am participating in Poetry Friday this week being hosted by Tabatha Yeates at The opposite of indifference. Stop over to enjoy some poems or add one of your own!

An Apology to The steady arm

Do you want them both
in the same arm? or not?
the nurse politely asked
in the dispensing of two shots
one for the flu and the other
covid

I did not know the answer
and became perplexed
Did I want a shot in each arm
to even out the pain?
or just one to carry
the burden?

One arm, I replied
make it the left
save my writing arm
at least I'd have 
one good arm
so I thought

Afterwards,
I felt bad and apologized
to my left arm
for giving the right arm
more privilege
when later upon 
my writing time
I realized

It was the left that 
held the notebook steady
so the right 
could do her dance
across the pages.

draft sd 2022

Writing and sharing a poem a day ~ 
"The writing is inhaling and the sharing is exhaling.
They don't have to be good, they just have to be true."
~Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

To the woman who remained on my tail through the round about and down hwy 59

I can see you, you know
Your big SUV pressed
against the bumper
of my petite Malibu
the rage on your face
perched up high behind
that steering wheel
the size of a hula hoop

I may have taken
that round about 
at the pace
of a sloth on a late Friday afternoon

But you see ~
I was taking a sip of 
my hot cup of coffee
in my heavy new mug
I was admiring
from my mother for my birthday
and being struck by the dawn
peeking just over the horizon 
at precisely the same time
and the sky was
a piercing blue
while Padraig O Tuama
read me a poem on 
my podcast with
the Irish in his voice. . .

and the speed 
was not on my mind.

So forgive me.

But, I'll tell ya
If you do it again

I'll step on my brakes
in hopes you can see.


Writing a poem a day - they don't have to be good, they just have to be true.
~Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

when i die, let them write about my mistakes~

When I die, let them write about
all the mistakes I've made.
Let them mention how I failed 
at keeping the house clean, 
or finishing things
that I could not make a garden
grow nice vegetables like my sister.
Or spell.
Tell them I loved to write 
but those words and their spelling. . .

Tell them I sometimes paid a bill late
and had late fees,
and overdue library books
and that I did not always answer
the phone when it rang
so I put it on silent to not hear it ring

Let them mention that I've damaged
cars by filling them up with oil
and let black smoke trail behind me
and couldn't run a TV remote
or the VCR, or pretty much anything with buttons.

They can note how my teenage children
snuck out of the house at night
and I never knew - some mother I am
to not have a clue

Let them say I was tired, or lazy, or daydreamed a lot,
or whatever it looked like to you. 
I don't care.

Tell them whatever you want
But do let them know that I cared
and I loved the best and
that messing up was part of the plan.


This poem was inspired by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer's poem:
AFTER MY FRIEND PHYLLIS SHOWS ME THE NEW YORK TIMES
OBITUARY HEADLINE: 'LOU MICHAELS, ALL-PURPOSEM PLAYER, 
DIES AT 80, MISSED KICKS IN '69 SUPER BOWL'.

Writing and sharing a poem a day ~ 
"The writing is inhaling and the sharing is exhaling.
They don't have to be good, they just have to be true."
~Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

A nudge from My Poet Guide, Rosemerry

Rosemerry ~ my September Poetry Spirit Guide of my writing notebook

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer has done quite a number on me this month, my 57th Birthday Month. I chose Rosemerry as my Poet Guide for the month of September. As the last week of my Birthday Month draws nearer, she has been nudging me to come out from behind my notebook and share the poems that lay hidden between my pages.

Rosemerry does not just write poems, she writes them every day, and shares them every day. Every day, a new poem goes out into the world, an offering to some soul who is waiting for the balm Rosemerry’s words are.

I started writing a poem a day at the beginning of 2022, from the smallest of moments. They provided a documentation of who I was that day – what I paid attention to, and each poem gifted me a discovery in the making. It became an obsession. However, most of them are not very good. In fact, many of them make me shudder at the childlike sweeping words of my pen. But, maybe this is the point. To share these poetry beginnings with the world to overcome our fear of perfection. We are working those bravery muscles and quieting that critic every time we hit SUBMIT.

Rosemerry’s words echo with each poem scribed:

They do not have to be good. They just have to be true.”

William Stafford, my poet guide from April, and his son, Kim Stafford, my guide from May, each also wrote/write a poem a day and have adopted this same way of writing and sharing poems. Both poets also urge us to write bad poems, but make them be true.

So, at the Poet Guides’ urging, I begin. Along with many other poets who fling their words out into the world, in hopes they just might land on some thirsty soul. But that really does not matter to me. The words are there to remind myself – to live my life wide awake to each miniscule moment of my day. I do not know when the last day will arrive, but I whisper to myself each morning, “What if this were the last day?” and I choose to live it as such.

POETRY INVITATIONS

Some poems arrive on their own
spoken words from someone you love
 a passer-by, or a stranger
their words - a doorway to inside.

Or perhaps the conversation
between two crows soaring in the sky
beg for documentation,
the oaks, the acorns, and the rocks
we carry in our suitcases,
all yeast for the bread of a poem.

But, somedays, a nudge
from a poetry friend is is the remedy-
Rosemerry or Padraig,
Naomi or Natalie,
They whisper, Shari - see this poem?
Feel it? Here's what they did!

You try it! Trade out words of your own!

Well, Padraig adds, you don't have to
if you don't want to, you can do what
you want.

Rosemerry looks at Padraig and then me
and adds:

But, it's FUN!

Writing and sharing a poem a day ~ 
"The writing is inhaling and the sharing is exhaling.
They don't have to be good, they just have to be true."
~Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

How a message arrives

green buds and their urgency

An early morning transcribing
messages from beyond
the sky- – a stunning blue
spring buds beginning their escape

an infrequent flock of seagulls
high above – cry to steal my attention
racing the robins to the first
morning call

The pen harkens back to the voice
of a poet, who the day before
I’d savored his own scribed words
his father’s voice
laced with his own

Writing poems is a service to others
gift those poems to someone
with the nib of your pen, his lesson
Share without fear! A poem can’t wait
for perfect conditions!

Braiding his message with that
of the morning seagulls cries
and the urgency of these spring leaves
it all flows at once into the river –
my passport to the day

The sky is the limit! the chorus sings.

Shari Daniels ~draft

To listen to Kim Stafford’s words: podcast/rattlecastpoetry: https://youtu.be/ZT0cnRH1Jy8

Poetry as resilience~SOL 4/31~2022

Mark Nepo joined the hosts, James Crews and Danusha Laméris on this fifth week of the Poetry as Resilience Retreat I have been participating in. Each Friday, for two hours, a poet guest shares how poetry has been a life giving force for them and ways for us to use poetry as a practice for sustenance in our daily lives. The retreat has been such balm for me at the end of each week, coming together with others who savor the lighthouse that poetry can offer us.

I want to share the essence of today’s words from Mark Nepo.

He teaches us,

Falling down and getting back up has a rhythm. There is an art to falling. We have to learn to to keep getting back up.

Our daily, weekly and yearly rhythms of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual selves have a rhythm as well. Repeatedly, we fall, not fail, but more of a letting go – a shedding – an acceptance that something no longer serves us.

This can completely undo us.

And, we need practices for getting back up.

For me, in the last few years, poetry has been this practice. The deep study of a poet each month has been a guide with their words through my days. The memorization of one poem, every now and then, gives me an ownership of those lines – an embodiment in which I can call to those lines at a given moment of need. They are waiting, at the ready. Poetry Dives with Kim Rosen have awakened me to the power of reading poetry out loud, with music, as a lubrication for those words to do it’s work.

Poetry has been my way of getting back up. Whether reading, writing and listening to poetry, it’s been my buoy and my anchor.

Today, I share a poem gifted by Mark Nepo, one that has found it’s way to my pages today:

The Rhythm of Each
by Mark Nepo

I think each comfort - each holding
in the night, each opening of a wound,
each closing of a wound, each pulling
of a splinter or razored word, each
fever sponged, each dear thinking given
to someone in greater need - each
passes on the kindness we have known.

For the human sea is made of cares
that mount and merge till the way a
nurse rocks a child is the way that child
all grown rocks the wounded, and how
the wounded, allowed to go on, can
rock strangers free of their pain.

Eventually, the rhythm of kindness
is how we suffer and pray by turns,
and if someone were to watch us
from inside the lake of time, they
wouldn't be able to tell if we are
dying or being born.

From The Way Under the Way.
Sounds True. 2016

If you’d like to create your own poetry retreat, you can listen to a poetry talk by Mark Nepo here or listen to James Crew’s in Poetry Writing as Self Care or maybe you’d also like to listen to Naomi Shihab Nye. I am so grateful that these artists share their work with us.

I am participating in the 15th Annual SOL 2022 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

Words change us~ SOL 3/31~2022

As the events occurring on the other side of the planet flash across my screens reminding me of the continued injustices in the world, my pen struggles for words to scribe.

My own daily tribulations are seemingly insignificant, meaningless and vain.

Yet, at the same time, I am numb with anxieties, overwhelm and exhaustion. My laundry and dishes piled high and another week trickles by in which I’ve still not finished my journal article due to the publishers in a few days time. Such dread. Stories of woe have been trailing through my notebook for weeks.

It’s at these times that I reach for the words of others to guide my writing. I become a collector of words (and images) in contrast to a generator of words. 

This can go many directions.

Today, I simply took to social media, Instagram to be precise, and doom scrolled for a bit. And, then, I lifted some words from an Instagram image and listened for where they might take me.

Photo credit from Instagram @enterhervoid
What does it take? she asks
to attain that magnitude
of unfailing heroism?
of bravery . . . courage . . . fearlessness?
David versus Goliath.

To raise a fist against
the largest of forces
#FightLikeZel
The world chants in awe

She reaches for a cookie
Lemon - from the Girl Scouts

I thought you weren’t eating sugar
her husband reminds her
I am today, she replies
they have words on them he tells her
I’m a Go-Getter he smiles

Her eyes search 
for the words she’s been gifted
I am Strong
her cookie whispers

Her teeth bite off the smallest of bites
savoring the sweetness
and taking in the Strength

Then she walks to her bedroom

And picks up the dirty laundry
and carries the basket 
to the washing machine.

draft Shari Daniels 2022

the entry from my notebook with a lemon Girl Scout cookie

It’s easy to go about our lives as if the happenings in the world do not affect us. But, they do, in ways that go unnoticed, under the currents of our everyday circumstances. And, I’m always surprised that when I capture a snippet of words that the screens or books or poets are sharing and write them into my notebook, my pen finds a way to uncover more, a more personal way the events of the world connect to me.

And, I am changed.

I am participating in the 15th Annual SOL 2022 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

The Energy of words~sol 2/31~2022

Indelible
by Jayne Cortez

Listen i have a complaint to make
my lips are covered
with thumb prints
insomnia sips me
the volume of isolation
is up to my thyroid
and i won't disappear
can you help me

I came across Jayne Cortez’ poem yesterday and it halted me. I paused after each phrase of words and swung them open – wide open. And read them again. And again – leaning in to them.

Feeling them each line.

The word “indelible” intrigued me and I needed a definition. I went to Webster.

  1. a. That which can not be removed, washed away or erased; b. making marks that can not be removed.
  2. a. Lasting; b. unforgettable; memorable.

Words can be indelible I thought.

I don’t recall the precise moment I realized how much I treasure words. . . how they sound, their rhythm, the deep underlying essence and complexities of a single word. I’m fascinated in how we name things and then shape our lives around that idea of what the name stands for. We attempt to gain a deeper understanding of each other and the human experience, but all we have is language to describe it.

Which is why we must be so careful in the words we choose to use – with others and with ourselves.

Not everyone feels this way about words. We’ve all experienced words being thrown around willy-nilly without any thought about where they might land or how they may shape a human’s being.

It’s not anyone’s fault. We only have the words we have been given.

For those of us that savor words and hang on their every facet, I think we might feel there’s something more going on.

Sharon Anne Klinger writes,

Every word carries an energy that 
can be sensed, regardless of whether
you're thinking about it, speaking it, 
hearing it or reading it on the page.
A lot of elements impact a word's energy.

Each individual word gives off a vibrational energy, high or low. Some people are more sensitive to the energies around them. It only makes sense then that words might effect some human beings more profoundly than perhaps those that than can go about their days flinging words around aimlessly.

I wonder if there’s a word for that?

I am participating in the 15th Annual SOL 2022 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.