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.

The smallness of things~Sol 1/31~2022

graupel~snow pebbles in the morning

Upon first morning steps outside the front door, my eyes rest on the smallish snow-like pebbles blanketing the ground. My work lately is to attend to these small wonders of the days that stretch out before me . . . distractions from the injustices and the anxieties of worldly events that dominate the screens.

I often ponder at how small one can go.

The sunshine seems too grand. The tropical breeze of 25 above zero (after weeks of 25 below) and the arrival of deer in the backyard all give me pause for gratitude, yet there are even more miniscule moments that go unnoticed, the less obvious. What Ross Gay calls “delights”.

How many can I capture on a given day? To carry me onward with more hope?

Reminders of this practice follow me around as Naomi Shihab Nye and Danusha Laméris have conversation about how these small moments in our everyday life offer us poetry for living. We neglected them pre-pandemic. Now, we admit, they are all we have to carry us onward.

On this particular day, these tiniest mysteries are spread out before me as far as my eyes can see.

Graupel, the internet tells me, is what it has been named. It screams to be a poem:

Graupel

Bouncing snowflakes blanket the ground
miniature Styrofoam balls
formed 
in highly unstable atmospheres and
convective currents

warm air hugs close to the ground
cold peers downward
snowflakes tumble from the sky
rain swaths it's melted tears

cocooning the chill of winters end

Shari Daniels draft~2022


I borrowed a few phrases from the internet to draft this poem, because sometimes I need help to get myself going.

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.

#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