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!

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.

Poetry Friday: Banishing Expectations

swimming with a buoy

My husband is trying to teach me to swim this year. I’ve never liked swimming. I think I was traumatized in middle school during swimming lessons with water up my nose and a stolen swim suit. Regardless, I’m determined to test my edges this year, and say yes to the things I’ve most often avoided. Swimming is one of those things.

Yesterday was my 10th visit to the pool with my husband. I was able to swim an entire lap (50 yards) of the American crawl. . . with a buoy between my legs to keep me afloat and allow me to focus on my breathing. My husband, who swam in high school and college, hailed this as progress.

The moment begged to be a poem to document the event.

Scaffolding ~

She began her quest of 1000 yards
of the American crawl
or front crawl as originated 
by Ojibwa swimmers
named Flying Gull and Tobacco
some time in the early 1800's.

Tending to her breath
arms and legs neglected
her body sank
like a ship with too much cargo
a buoy placed between her thighs 
supported her to the end

You're doing it hon, he cheered.
You're actually swimming!
Applauding her progress, 
a beaming smile admired her
yet. . . 

she resisted - shaking her head.

It's like cheating, she degraded herself
Needing a device to keep me afloat?
I should not need this extra help.
The yards do not count. 
They are cheapened.

Yes, they do count, he assured her pride
I count my yards swimming with buoys and boards.

You do? she questioned her All American Swimmer.
I didn't know. . . 

Who do I think I am? her expectations chased away
by the sword of the teacher.
8 tons of cargo
lifted from her drowning ship.

Shari Daniels; draft 2022

I’m taking part in Poetry Friday this year and if you’d like to join us and add your poem, head over to Carol’s site at Literacy Link and join us! Or, you might just like to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the poems that others have shared there.

Whatever you decide, I hope you are safe and warm today. Take tender care of yourself and those you love.

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!

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. 

Forgetting Fears ~ A Poem

Already I’ve forgotten
what your smile looks like
crinkled cheeks and gentle warmth

Wear a mask

My arms no longer
reach out
to embrace

Keep your distance 

Avoiding eye contact
puts more space
between us

Keep safe

It’s only for a few months
they said in March
The calendar says
nearly a year has passed by

What will happen
if we forget
what we’ve been
forbidden
to do?

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 Jone Rush MacCulluch, who is hosting Poetry Friday this week.