#2021 NPM~A Progressive Poem: Day 25

Some time ago, I added my name to the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem contributor list. The Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem was born in 2012 by Irene Latham, of Live Your Poem, as a way to celebrate poetry during the month of April as a community of writers. The poem travels from day to day through the month of April, blog to blog, with each host adding a line to the poem as it unfolds in a magical way.

Margaret Simon coordinates this journey, and this year, Kathryn Apel, children’s author and poet has gifted us a beginning line in which to follow.

Here is the compellation of poetry lines that make up the poem thus far:

*******************

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.
I'll spread my joy both far and wide
As a force of nature, I’ll be undenied.

Words like, "how can I help?" will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!
We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.
Side by side, let’s walk through, there’s a world to explore.
We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees.
Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water
When you’re with friends, there’s no have to or oughter.
What could we make with leaves and litter?
Let's find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

We'll lie on our backs and find shapes in the sky.
We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly?
Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.
Follow that humpback! Here, take an oar.

Ahh! Here comes a wave -- let's hold on tight,
splashing and laughing, let's play until night!
When the Milky Way sparkles, and the moon’s overhead,

*************

Tabatha Yeatts, at her blog home, The Opposite of Indifference, has offered me two lines to choose from and add to this poem, and then my task is to generate two more lines for Tim Gels to choose from as the next poet in line. Tabatha’s poetry line choices are:

we watch firefly friends signal with wings outspread

or

we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we've read

Myself, loving a good story, I’m choosing:

we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we've read

So, now, in repeating that finished last stanza:

Ahh! Here comes a wave -- let's hold on tight,
splashing and laughing, let's play until night!
When the Milky Way sparkles, and the moon’s overhead,
we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we've read.


This poem is nearing the end, with a possible one stanza left and perhaps a closing line that leaves the reader lingering in wonderment. So, this last stanza feels like it must take a bend or pivot in some way.

Here are my two line choices for Tim to choose from and then to follow up with his own line:

You tell me yours, and I'll tell you mine.

or

Some stories are true and some myths of our time.

**********************

Tim, at Yet There is a Method, I pass the baton off to you to see if you can make something of this.

Good Luck, Poetry Friend!

**********************

Please join in reading other poetry friends who contributed to this Progressive Poem this year:

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

A Text Message Poem: A Poetry Invitation #1/30 PAD

The March #Slice of Life Challenge ended yesterday, and while I’ve yet to reflect on that month long journey of putting writing out into the world, I felt a nudge to keep sharing some writing each day. How lovely it is that March flows right into April – the blessed month of poetry, along with opportunities to share poetry all over the place. I am delighted when April rolls along so I can take a deep dive into the world of poems.

Big wonderings lead me into this quest:

How can poetry sustain me this month?

What might my themes for poems be?

What new poetry strategies, forms and craft techniques might I try out?

Who will the poets be that guide me on this journey?

Years ago, I was introduced to Georgia Heard and devoured her book, Awakening the Heart. She taught me that poetry hides within the Doors of Poetry: The Observation Door, The Heart Door, The Wonder Door, The Memory Door, and The Concerns of the World Door.

Early on in my poetry journey, before I truly LOVED poetry (because if I’m honest, I was not schooled to love poetry), I categorized the poems I found and wrote using these doors. While this was a very limited view of poetry, it gave me some stepping stones to begin observing where poetry hides with a variety of lenses. And, while I don’t think of these Doors of Poetry now, when reading or writing poetry, I believe they might unconsciously be an underground knowing that I draw from. Many poems can be categorized as several doors at once, or. . . it just depends. Some poems are their own category.

Yet, I believe we sometimes need a place to start. Thinking of The Doors of Poetry gives one a framework for opening up to a new and unrestricted view of poetry. One that is starkly different from their own middle and high school years, of analysis of poems and writing poems within prescribed forms.

This month, I’d like to attempt to put some perimeters on my poetry deep dive and strive to read, write, share and offer invitations to write poetry within the framework of Georgia’s Doors of Poetry. Yet still, be able to do this without tripping up the flow of what a poem wants to be. This can be both restrictive and creative at the same time.

If anything, these invitations are here for myself, to use again and again.

Here’s the first Poetry Invitation: A Text Message Poem

Search your phone for a text message conversation that can be shaped into a poem.

The Mother-Daughter Dance

There is a space
where my tooth belonged
The tongue wriggles
around in its confused
state of bewilderment

It's the first sign
of old age 
I message my 
28-year old daughter

Or young age 
she replies
Kids lose their teeth, too, Mom
she reminds me

Maybe I should shift
my thinking 
as this transition
into wise age
I text back

Yes. Very Wise. She Replies.
You are so wise
that your teeth
are falling out . . .

(long pause)

I feel like I
need to lose some teeth
she adds

Shari Daniels, draft

What started out as an observation poem, in the newfound awareness of this empty space way back in my mouth, and the text messages to my daughter, had turned into a heart poem, showing the compassion and care my daughter has for me in her attempt to trip up the default wiring my own mind has when I go down the “I’m getting old” road. She recognizes this and saves me.

Her last text message response is bait for me to notice that she, too, right now, in her 20 something life, is seeking an extra dose of wisdom. She in a state of what-to-do-ness.

It’s a dance we dance frequently – the Mother and the Daughter.

You can find it in the messages we hold in our hands.

This month I’m participating in the 2021 April PAD (Poem A Day) Challenge in which I’ll be poeming my way through the month and also the NaPoWriMo poetry challenge for April. If you’d like to join along and write poems, you can find other poems to read at these sites here and here. Each site also gives invitations for poems each day. Or, head over to Poets.org to find other ways to celebrate poetry this month.

Reasons to Bake #SOL 21/31 ~ 2021

There are many reasons to bake something.

You might have a hankering for a little sweetness. Or, perhaps the kids are coming for dinner. Maybe baking is something that you can actually admit to being skilled at – and if you’ve got something you know how to do, you don’t want to lose it, so to stay sharp, you keep up the practice. The challenge of baking that perfect dessert or sweets and perfecting a dish is an act I never grow tired of.

But, if I’m honest, I bake mainly for one person.

My husband.

Looking back in my notebooks over the years, there are common threads that always surface in the month of March. Snow melts and yard debris emerges, reminders of tasks undone from the fall. The snowmobile must be stored away, along with snowshoes and ice fishing gear. The lakes remain with layers of ice, but unsafe to trek onto for fishing or journeying across to the cabin. Hunting seasons pause. Fishing opener still two months out. Months of laps in the pool take a toll on my husbands shoulders and he drags into the house worn down from the extra hours in the long weeks of work.

He becomes little edgy. Quiet. Less giddy-up-ed-ness in his skipp-i-dee-do-da. Even Ella steers clear some days.

“If you could have anything, any kind of baked good, dessert or treat, what would it be?” I ask him.

“Geez,” appearing surprised at this question, “I don’t know, what are my choices? I need some perimeters.” He lights up just a bit, yet seems overwhelmed by the possibilities.

“There are none. Anything!” I respond.

He ponders for a bit and and after rambling some options, he decides.

“I would have to say apple-cherry pie. But, that’s kind of a lot of work,” he says Eeyore-like.

I was afraid he’d say pie. He’s right. Pie crust is temperamental and I’ve still forgotten to purchase a new rolling pin cover, so I’d have to use a cut up sock. There will be sticking problems rolling out the dough. I can do it. It’s just my own willingness to wrestle with this today is at a two on a scale of one to ten.

How can I make this pie without the uncertainty of the crust turning out or frustrations of a sticky rolling pin?

I decided to just press the crust into the pie pan with my hands. Perhaps I should have greased the pan, I don’t know. And, once the cherries and apple filling were added, just a topping for Dutch apple pie crumbles was added rather than rolling out a top crust. We’ll see what happens. It’s practice for my uncertainty muscles.

Appearances can be deceiving, so the true test of pulling this off will come at the actual tasting.

Oh my, it’s World Poetry Day today, so now I must shape this into a poem.

The days of Mid-March wear on us
like a ship voyaging the ocean
through weather of fraught
rations dwindling 
cold, damp and weak. . .

But, sun peeks through
the thick heavy clouds
land appears 
in the distance

We'll make it through
by holding one beautiful
memory in our minds' eye
an image, a scent, a pleasure
a loved one, a dream
or a place of warmth 

What is it for you, hon?

Could you make me
an apple cherry pie?

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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.

Finding A Way Out of Darkness #SOL 19/31 ~ 2021

Directions for Light

Find an old notebook
any will do
composition notebooks
more forgiving
than fancy sketchbooks

listen to music
Helen Jane Long
and piano is lovely
or David Nevue

dip a brush in some color
sweep it across 
the width of the page
extra water
brings some light
to the darkness

let it dry
blow on it if you must

draw some letters
start with the alphabet
do it again
and again 
if you like
you don't have to
if you don't want to

write one sentence
with letters you like
any sentence will do
whatever comes to mind

doodle some flowers
colored daisies are nice
use a marker 
instead of a brush
any color is fine

there
now you've made 
a pretty picture
all ready
for the first day
of spring

and there will be
light

i promise

Shari Daniels draft


I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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.

I’m also participating in Poetry Friday this week. If you’d like to immerse yourself in poetry in this weekend, Linda at Teacherdance is hosting the party. Stop by and read some poetry or add your own!

For One Who Is Exhausted ~ #SOL 18/31~ 2021

The well is dry. For not lack of topics, wonders, stories or thoughts, but for the sole purpose of the fingers who resist the keyboard tonight. They are tired.

There are no breaks this semester. Spring break cancelled to prevent students from traveling. A few study days sprinkled here and there. But, that’s what they end up being. Days of study. 

I’ve lightened our loads. Checked in on my students. How are you holding up? I ask. 

Barely, they reply.

Teacher and student both yearn for new sights, for long nap-pish days, sun soaking into our skin.

But, carry onward we will. And, I’ll gift them a poem from John O’ Donahue.

But, it’s me who needs it more.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laboursome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have travelled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of colour
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

~John O’ Donahue from his book To Bless The Space Between Us ~ A Book of Blessings

If you need the healing of O’ Donahue’s Irish voice, have a listen to his conversation here.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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.

I Am From ~ #SOL 17/31 ~ 2021

The Killian Homeplace in Lanesborough, County Longford, in the heart of Ireland – shared with permission from Joan Gallagher, of whom we share Great, Great Grandparents Luke and Anne Furey Killian. My Great Grandfather, Thomas Killian was born in this house..

It’s a special day to celebrate my Irish roots, my heritage, my ancestors and where I come from. . . my maiden name of Killian.

I am from the land of green hills, sharp rocks and waters crashing amongst the coasts, damp breezes and mist that bring about the wild cherry.

I am from houses made of stone, laid by hand, brick by brick, stone by stone. This shelter, a home where families are born, raised and let go, but always welcomed upon return.

I am from music. Guitars, pianos, accordions and harmonicas. And voices that harmonize and know each others’ tunes. Melodies sung in joy and celebration as well as in sorrow that takes us to the heavens. Wherever the Irish are – music you will hear.

I am from storytelling. Through voice or the pen, called to preserve and share stories of the day and yesteryear. Tales of wisdom and ancient lore, keepers of the flame. 

I am from the lure of the drink. Guinness and rum, whisky and Bailey’s.  Precursor for embellishments of the Irish lore, or a salve for the pain. Best friend or worst enemy. I’ll leave the liquid stars alone.

I am from Hail Marys and Our Fathers, commandments and confessions, Ash Wednesday and fish on Fridays, prayers that kept the children from perishing and mothers from distressing. 

I am from big hearts filled with love, embracing and laughing and gathering and families and aunts and uncles and cousins. 

I am from a blessing of what we know as Irish.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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.

Poetry Friday: Poetry Invitation ~ The Book Scavenger Hunt #SOL 12/31 2021

Poetry Friday: Poetry Invitation – The Book Scavenger Hunt  #SOL  12/31  2021

I came across Margaret Simon’s SOL post on Day 9, and she had shared a poetry invitation by the National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Garmen. You must have a visit to her invitation.

If you’ve not the time, here’s what she invites poets to do in a nutshell:

Choose a book off your shelf. Pick 3 random pages. From each page, choose one word that stands out to you. Write a poem that includes those three words. Anything is game.

I’m not one to turn down a poetry invitation, so I was all in.

Because I don’t like to follow directions exactly, I chose three books that I’m currently reading. Reading books at the same time creates this mysterious serendipity when the authors start talking to one another. It’s magical. So, I try to set myself up for those experiences.

My book choices were Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer, Forged by Reading by Kyleene Beers and Robert Probst and More Together than Alone by Mark Nepo. My WOTY is Connection and Community, so these books were chosen intentionally. By the way, if you teach, Beers and Probst book is a must read, along with their prior book, Disrupting Thinking. In my recent year, both books have deepened my beliefs on the power of books in the classroom.

The numbers I chose were 15, 45 and 55 – each holds significance in my age at that time of my life.

Words that stood out were: tension-holding (Heart of Democracy); Repair (More Together than Alone); and Suppression (Forged by Reading). Such good words were available for me! I was already excited to get this poem rolling out on my page!

Here is the poem that unfolded. . .

The suppression of voices
in generations of fear
Power abused
and identities disparaged

Sitting with discomfort
upon fraying beliefs
a hard shell cracked
voices become heard
tension-holding crucial 

Sometimes
polarities in beliefs
can both hold true
but . . . for true repair
one must acknowledge
their inability
to hear

Shari Daniels draft

Thank you, Margaret for sharing Amanda’s poetry invitation, along with your own lovely poem. I’ve tucked this poetry invitation away for future poems.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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.

I’m also participating in Poetry Friday this week. If you’d like to immerse yourself in poetry in this weekend, Heide Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe is hosting the party. Stop by and read some poetry or add your own!

Poetry Friday ~ The Neighbor’s Dog Will Not Stop Barking ~#SOL 5/31 2021

The Neighbor’s Dog Will Not Stop Barking 

The neighbor’s dog will not stop barking
My body - Thursday Tired and aching to sleep
A rhythmic infliction of pain to my ears
three quick barks
And a fourth staccato 
Repeat repeat repeat
There are no verses
Only chorus after chorus
Repeating Repeating Repeating . . .

How can the neighbors not hear?
Why do they allow their dog to pierce and torment
the peaceful night’s air?
What could possibly be causing it to bark?
When will this torture end? 
Will I go crazy?

I wrap my half dozen blankets around my head
begging begging and praying praying for this to end

Memories of my father’s distress at barking dogs
Incessant at night when he could not sleep
Seep into my cocoon of auditory protection
One time - he stomping out of his bedroom and
In his bathrobe and slippers
driving on the three-wheeler
To the neighbors with a bb-gun
Or maybe it was an old boot
To put an end to the neighbor's barking dog . . .

Poor cupcake my little sister said

The memory made me smile
knowing he is still here

And, then. .  . I must have fallen asleep.

©by Shari L. Daniels, fierce despiser of dogs who bark at night

Poem draft inspired by Billy Collin's poem: Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House and
the fact that I could not sleep last night due to the neighbor's barking dog.

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 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. It's also Poetry Friday! If you'd like to read other poems from teachers, authors and poets participating in Poetry Friday, you can visit Kathryn Apel's lovely blog as she hosts today's poets. Please join us in the sharing of a poem on Fridays!

When teachers write themselves, they are able to draw from their inner curriculum they have shaped for themselves in which to model and teach their students. But, more than this, as human beings, we also cultivate a writing practice that can be a buoy and and an anchor in the turbulent waters of our lives.

February Confusion ~ Poetry Friday

When February rolls around, teachers feel the pressures of the days. 
And, such a short month we're given to squeeze it all in. 
I often wonder what our students think. This poem came from those wonders.

February Confusion

It’s Black History month
my teachers say
Ground hog’s day
I love to read 
Love and hearts and 
Random acts of kindness
and a day to celebrate 
our presidents
Also, the biggest football 
game of the year

But, I’m so confused.
My teacher also said
that one day not so long ago
Blacks were not allowed to read
and presidents owned slaves
And, I found on the internet 
the groundhog is right 
less than half the time.

My teacher also taught us
about racism and stereotypes
and said how far we’ve come. . . but
I saw white Chief fans dressed up 
as Native Americans
painting their faces red
beating on drums
Chanting and singing
and the Tomahawk chop. . .

Be kind I keep hearing
Make it random
We write letters
and give cards with hearts
to our friends
This makes us all feel good
inside the walls of our classroom

I don’t know how to 
wrap up this poem
Something is missing
and I’m not sure what it is

But things are not all
what they say it is

©Shari Lynn Daniels 2021 (draft)

I'm participating in Poetry Friday where others who are sharing and writing poetry come to gather. You can find more poems to read this week here at the site of Molly Hogan, who is hosting Poetry Friday this week.