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.
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.
As I pulled on the right leg of my black leggings this morning, around 6:00 am, leaning back in my chair, both feet lifting high into the air, as if gravity was going to lure these things on, the words of a childhood poem washed over me.
“Monday’s child is full of grace,” it whispered, as poems sometimes do.
Even though I know not the exact words of this nostalgic nursery rhyme, parts of it are lodged deep within me somewhere, and I thought,
“Wait, I don’t think Monday’s child is full of grace. It’s Tuesday’s child!”
But I’m telling you, Monday’s child needs it.
The words swirled and played in the dance of a new poem being born as I reached for my “Monday” dress, a free flowing knit, waist free, forgiving, stretchy, throw in the dryer, no-need-to-iron kind of dress. It wears on me whether I am a size 4 or a size 14. I hoover somewhere in between, depending on the day, the month, the season or the year.
Still – this dress embraces me and says, “It’s okay, I’m here for you, Shari.”
Topped off with my favorite black vest and knee high boots, Monday arrives in the comfort of my Friday jeans, even after a weekend of pizza, too many cookies and a little (okay, a lot) of laying around.
Gosh, I love a dress that can do that to a Monday.
Oh, the poem. It’s been marinating all morning. Here’s what I’ve got so far. . .
Monday’s dress is full of grace,
A thank you melts across her face,
None is there of shameful woes, or
Regrets of weekend diet foes.
With the stretch of lycra, loving and giving
Enabling her to go on with her living
A life that is so good and gay
A gift to savor on the morn of Monday.
Gosh – writing that just made me so happy! Poetry can do that, you know.
I don’t know what this post is about. It’s a ramble and I apologize upfront.
I’ve been having trouble lately putting words to the images, thoughts and feelings I experience. It’s not that I can’t recall them, it’s just that I’m struggling for the right fit – the perfect description. Maybe I’m just exhausted. Well, it halts me in my tracks. I get frustrated and end up writing clichés or simple phrases just to hold on to the moment.
Last Friday was the most beautiful September day. As I walked from my car to the school door, carrying my bags and coffee in hand, I caught sight of the horizon. Fog blanketed the playground and a layer of dark clouds rested along this horizon. Just at the crust of these clouds, light beamed. The sun, not showing itself yet, was announcing it’s arrival. The entire sky was glowing with rays of light. I stopped for a moment to take in its beauty. It filled me. I had no words.
At lunch, as I walked to the mailbox, I heard honking above. As I craned my neck to the sky, hundreds of geese flapped their wings in the most magnificent V of geese I have ever seen – all heading south.
Again. I stopped to take in the awe.
A boring description – again, I apologize.
As I reached for a poetry book off my shelf this morning, John O’ Donohue, one of my favorite poets and also an Irish teacher, jumped into my hands.
Here was his first poem:
Somewhere, out at the edges, the night Is turning and the waves of darkness Begin to brighten the shore of dawn The heavy dark falls back to earth And the freed air goes wild with light, The heart fills with fresh, bright breath And thoughts stir to give birth to color.
Oh my heavens.
The words I had been clamoring for.
I printed it off and pasted it to my September Birthday Poems collection.
John O’ Donohue understands poetry. He put words on the page to paint the description of my experience.
For this, I am grateful.
Each day, we have moments of awe. It’s difficult to describe their significance and maybe we don’t have to. We can just feel them. But, sometimes, I want to put it in writing.
John O’Donohue describes it as such:
There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself, thought it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility, and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening, our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is wedded to the energy and excitement of life. We enter the world as strangers who all at once become heirs to a harvest of memory, spirit, and dream that has long preceded us and will no enfold, nourish, and sustain us. The gift of the world is our first blessing.
There are days when it seems these quiet gifts of the world come pouring in. There are other days where it feels like God forgot that I’m still here. Perhaps other people need more, on those days, and He thinks I’ll be fine. But really, it’s the days that I am so consumed with the pace of life that I am blind to what is in front of me.
Slow down, I hear.
The moments are there.
And the words will appear.
There is something about a poem that reaches into your soul and grabs you there. A poem can speak loudly in so few words causing you to pause for a moment to say the words over in a hope that they might land in your memory for you to retrieve at a later time.
Maybe that’s why I love them so much.
When life moves into auto pilot, I neglect poetry. But, somehow, it always seems to find it’s way back to me. We are like old friends – so grateful to have crossed paths again and we reminisce for a spell.
September is my birthday month. I enjoy giving myself small birthday gifts during the entire month of September. These gifts do not usually cost anything; a walk along the river, a drive to the library or finding a small space amongst the trees in my backyard to write. The best gifts are free.
This month, I’m giving myself the gift of poems. A poem a day.
Some poems are from my poetry books, some I write.
Today’s poem found me.
Garrison Keillor, at his website, The Writer’s Almanac, posts a poem a day, along with other literary and historical notes about the current day in history. It’s a lovely site.
Today’s featured poem was written by Kate Barnes. Kate’s words could be my own words as I reflect on my birthday, time and getting older. I’m only 51 years old, but I appreciate poetry that celebrates getting older. We need to look forward to what many are not able to.
Here is her poem.
And my gift to myself today.
When I am an old, old woman I may very well be
living all alone like many another before me
and I rather look forward to the day when I shall have
a tumbledown house on a hill top and behave
just as I wish to. No more need to be proud—
at the tag end of life one is at last allowed
to be answerable to no one. Then I shall wear
a shapeless felt hat clapped on over my white hair,
sneakers with holes for the toes, and a ragged dress.
My house shall be always in a deep-drifted mess,
my overgrown garden a jungle. I shall keep a crew
of cats and dogs, with perhaps a goat or two
for my agate-eyed familiars. And what delight
I shall take in the vagaries of day and night,
in the wind in the branches, in the rain on the roof!
I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof.
I’ll wake when I please, and when I please I shall doze;
whatever I think, I shall say; and I suppose
that with such a habit of speech I’ll be let well alone
to mumble plain truth like an old dog with a bare bone.
“Future Plans” by Kate Barnes from Where the Deer Were. © David R. Godine, 1994. Reprinted with permission.