Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry Friday: Morning

Last week I wrote that I was adding a poetry book to my wish list. Yesterday the book arrived in the mail, purchased by a friend and reader. Wow! What a nice surprise! So far I am enjoying the book very much and I will post a review soon, perhaps for next week's Poetry Friday.

For today, in my new-found boldness, I am once again sharing an original poem.



Morning

I woke from a dream of him
to find myself alone in bed.

How banal is that?
How many women have done the same,
from how many dreams
of how many hims?

Maybe he was fighting a war (Iraq, Civil, Trojan)
Maybe he was with someone else
Maybe he didn't exist at all except in that dream
Maybe he was crushed under rubble when the house collapsed in an earthquake

And how many beds?

Beds big and small, comfortable and lumpy
Penelope's (the one Odysseus made out of a tree)
Beds in dorm rooms and apartments and lonely houses
Or on the hard ground, a mat shared with four children in a tent city in Port-au-Prince

I woke from a dream of him
to find myself alone in bed

What a platitude,
and how foolish to write a poem
about that moment
when I looked for him among the sheets,
that brief panic before I remembered.
And then the sadness.

Except that this time
it was my dream
and my bed.

by Ruth from www.thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Waving Goodbye

This melancholy poem from the Writer's Almanac is perfect for today, as my husband flies back to Haiti.

Waving Goodbye
by Wesley McNair

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We'll
be seeing you, or I'll call, or Stop in,
somebody's always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words – a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days. Think of the hundreds of unknown
voyagers in the old, fluttering newsreel
patting and stroking the growing distance
between their nameless ship and the port
they are leaving, as if to promise I'll always
remember, and just as urgently, Always
remember me.

Here's the rest of it.

Poem in Your Pocket

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. At that link you can even find some pocket-size poems to print out, should you need one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the iPod

This morning while I walked I listened to this program. (Here's a post about some of my other favorite episodes of Speaking of Faith.) It's an interesting discussion of the dichotomy in American culture between practical experience and "book learning" and the way vocational and non-college-bound students can be marginalized in school. Mike Rose, the interviewee, has reflected deeply on the intelligence required for manual labor, and he talks about his mother, who was a waitress and considered that extremely meaningful work. I found this fascinating as a teacher and as a former waitress. I wasn't good at it, like Mike Rose's mother was, but the experience made me a proponent of generous tipping.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Visit

I feel as though I owe you, my readers, a report about my husband's visit. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but somehow I do.

It was wonderful.

It was a time like nothing that we've ever had before and I doubt we'll have anything like it again: a whole week with nothing to do except hang out and enjoy each other's company. The children were in school during the day (except one day when we took them out and went hiking - I posted some photos here), but we had time with them in the afternoons and evenings and on the weekend. When we were with the kids, I felt as though I could breathe and relax: someone was sharing the job of parenting with me. What a privilege. I thought often of those from whom the earthquake took a spouse, for whom those moments of sharing parenting with the person who made the babies with them will never come again. From now on, I won't take that for granted. It was wonderful, too, to see how happy the children were to have their dad here.

The week felt holy - holy in the sense of set apart, outside of common everyday life, and also holy in the sense of sacred, numinous. It felt like the most amazing, generous gift of God.

It was like our honeymoon - except that we know each other so much better now. It was like the early weeks of our babies' lives - except that, unlike then, we weren't sleep-deprived and we didn't have tiny people to take care of. But it was like those times in the sense of closeness we felt to each other, and in the intensity of our focus on what matters in life.

There were sad moments, too. That's how it is in our lives now. Every joy is tinged with pain, with remembering those who died, and the difficult times that everyone has gone through. When my husband first arrived, I couldn't stop crying for several hours. My son asked me why I was crying when I was supposed to be happy. I told him that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But somehow that sadness dissolved into hilarity and laughter, times with family and friends, moments of relishing everyone and everything that God has given us. The boundaries between happy and sad are more fluid now.

A friend told me today that I am very fortunate in my relationship with my husband. I responded that I know I am. I know it now more than ever. What I don't know is why I am so blessed: why I married someone who turned out to be exactly as wonderful as he seemed before the wedding, why we have fulfilling work and healthy children, why we survived an earthquake in which so many died. Why me? Why us?

So as we said goodbye, and as I cried (crying: it's what I do), I was filled with gratitude. We grieve, yes, but we are blessed beyond description. And the greatest blessing is that we know now (rather than years from now, in retrospect) how blessed we are. And even in the face of all the uncertainties ahead, for our family and for Haiti, we will have the memory of our week together.

Messages from God

Jon at Stuff Christians Like has a funny post today about making Christian references to the Icelandic volcano. (That's what I call it - "the Icelandic volcano." I certainly can't pronounce its name.)

Fifteen weeks ago I was in a large, apocalyptic natural disaster. It has been fascinating to me to hear the messages from God that various people have discerned in this event. Some of them have been painful to hear or read about. God's punishment? God's way of getting the world to pay attention to Haiti? God's way of speeding up adoptions?

I don't know what was in God's mind on January 12th. I don't know if He was sending us messages. I know I have learned a huge amount since that day, about myself, about the world, about my marriage and my family and my friendships. I believe that my life is a gift from God. But are all those things messages from God, messages He sent through the earthquake?

I don't know what the meaning was. I don't think I ever will.

Do the recent earthquakes, and now the volcano, mean that the world is about to end, that justice and mercy are about to take over, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that God will make all things new? I sure would love that. But that's what everyone thought after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 and Lisbon earthquake in 1755, and the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD. We're still here, staggering along, trying to figure things out day by day.

Here's what the book of Hebrews says about messages from God:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

There's a message I can understand. It's a message of love and of redemption. It's a message of hope. Holding on to the Son, I can go on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is Shakespeare's birthday, and my Poetry Friday post honors him. But it is also the birthday of my blog. As of today, I have been blogging for four years. Thank you to my readers, whether you read faithfully or just drop by from time to time.

Who I Am

A friend sent me this NPR story about a new book of poetry for adolescents. Looks intriguing - I think it is going on my wish list.

Poetry Friday: Shakespeare's Birthday



Today is Shakespeare's birthday, so in his honor I am posting one of his sonnets. There are so many wonderful ones to choose from, but I chose this one because it talks about what really matters: others may have greater reasons to boast than I do, but I rejoice that I "love and am beloved."


XXV

Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars
Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun's eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled:
Then happy I, that love and am beloved,
Where I may not remove nor be removed.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Long Way from Haiti

Yesterday, fourteen weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, we took our kids out of school and had a family day to celebrate their dad's visit. We felt a long way from home as we hiked through the beautiful wildflowers of a nature preserve.







Sunday, April 18, 2010

Excuse Me for a Moment

My husband is visiting, so apart from a couple of posts I've already written and scheduled, I don't think I'll be around much in the next few days. See you later!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thoughts from Limbo

The thoughts of another displaced family from Haiti.

Art Tatum


My son has been reading and enjoying the book Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum, by Robert Andrew Parker. Tatum was born with bad eyesight and taught himself to play the piano. The book includes some beautiful descriptions of music. And by the magic of YouTube, we were able to find a video of Art Tatum playing Dvorak's Humoresque, just like in the book.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Husband

I got a haircut this morning, and the ladies in the beauty shop were talking about their husbands. I didn't say anything, just listened and smiled. I thought about Garrison Keillor's riffs about the hairdressers being the high priestesses of a town, full of knowledge about life and men and romance, and yet, knowing all they know, still getting brides ready for their weddings.

I lucked out in the husband department. And when I say luck, I don't mean that I believe in randomness. I just mean that I got an excellent husband, and I can't take much credit.

I was eighteen when I met my husband, and while many eighteen-year-olds may be full of wisdom, I wasn't. I was naive and immature, and I was a very long way from home.

What did I know about choosing a life partner? All I knew was that I couldn't get enough of being with him. I liked that he was smart and could talk about books with me, that he took long bicycle trips, that he was an MK, like I was. I found him mysterious, in a way that made him a challenge. I thought he had beautiful blue eyes. He could talk about anything to anyone. He had done all kinds of fascinating jobs and seemed full of experiences in a way the other boys weren't. He took me on gourmet picnics (there was one memorable one where he set some grass on fire with his camping stove), and introduced me to sushi, and he kept a pet snake. He took me on a two hundred mile motorcycle trip, much to my parents' horror. I knew he was open to traveling and living overseas.

I thought my life with him would be an adventure (and I was right). I thought we would always have things to talk about (and we do). He made my heart pound (and he still can). I remember hearing someone say that you should look at the man you wanted to marry and imagine looking at him across the dinner table for the rest of your life. From that perspective, I thought he would do.

But what did I know? I didn't know he would forgive me immediately when I lost his precious leather jacket he had bought in Tokyo. I didn't know how he would buoy me up through the stress of graduate school. I didn't know he would be able to deal with his first case of malaria by saying, proudly, "Just like Graham Greene." I didn't know he would be the most amazing labor coach, supporting me so beautifully as I worked to bring our babies into the world. I didn't know how he would carry those babies in his arms and show them around, or anything at all about what a great dad he would be. I didn't know that I needed someone who could bargain for fruit at roadside stands in Haiti and make all the merchants laugh, or drive in Port-au-Prince and pronounce it "fun," or remain calm through all manner of crises. I didn't know I needed someone who could cope with a catastrophic earthquake.

Like any couple, we have had our share of difficulties. We argue, and hurt each other's feelings, and he leaves his socks on the floor (and I may do a few things he doesn't like, as well). I'm also well aware that now that we have been apart for three months (minus a few days in early February), my missing him is making me focus on the positive.

But all in all, I have to thank God for bringing my husband into my life. God was very kind to me; He knew what I needed even though I didn't.

Now I am staying in the college town where we met, and almost every day I walk past the church where we married. I look back at that very young woman that walked down the aisle and I think about Sara Groves' song, "Different Kinds of Happy."

Better than our promises
is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy

The kind of happy we are in now is something I wouldn't have wished for as I posed for pictures in my wedding dress, clutching flowers. It's a kind of happy that looks like grief, some days. And yet we still have each other. And I call myself very, very lucky.

Poetry Friday: Earthquake Vocabulary

The temptation to post T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" is almost irresistible at this time of year, and this year particularly.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Here's the rest of it.

However, I decided to post something far less worth reading, a poem I wrote myself. Since the earthquake in Haiti, I have been surprised by how often references to earthquakes come up in people's ordinary speech and in things I'm reading, including the Bible and The Trumpet of the Swan. A couple of weeks after my children and I were evacuated from Haiti I wrote this:


Earthquake Vocabulary

Here are some words I’d rather you not use metaphorically:
seismic,
Richter scale,
epicenter.

Here are some words I used before but shouldn’t have:
devastating,
catastrophe,
disaster.

Here are some words I used to know:
permanent,
stable,
solid.

Here’s a word I thought I knew but really didn’t:
earthquake.

by Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup. There's a lot of beautiful stuff today - take a look!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Morning

When I went out to walk this morning, I wore my red Mu Kappa t-shirt. That made me think of Dave Pollock, who died on Easter Sunday six years ago. I have thought of him many times since the earthquake and wished I could talk to him. He was visiting our school on September 11th, 2001, and prayed and counseled with us and our kids. He prayed for me after my miscarriage. He helped me and so many others understand who we are as TCKs and embrace the challenges and opportunities that our lives bring us. I probably only spent a hundred hours with Dave but I loved him and miss him.

As I was walking I thought about Tara's first run after the earthquake. (I think that is the third or fourth time I've linked to that post, but if you haven't read it yet, go read it.) I don't, honestly, think about it every single day now, but often enough.

I listened to Greg Boyd's Easter sermon, "Sehnsucht." (Another one for the "Favorite Sermons" folder.) Sehnsucht is an intense longing that can't be satisfied by this world. If we live a life where every desire is immediately gratified, maybe we can suppress some of the yearnings we have. Boyd encouraged his listeners to let themselves feel those deep longings, and to find the Resurrection.

Speaking of yearning and longing, I thought a lot about my husband while I walked, too. He is hoping to come soon for a visit. Last night we talked on the phone - the first time in a few days I had heard his voice - and tried to make some plans. It's hard, still, for me to think about the future. I always think something will come along to ruin any plans we make. Maybe something will, but it still felt good to talk about him being here for a few days. I miss him so much. This time apart has been a reminder for me of what a source of strength a happy marriage is, and how grateful I am for my husband, for our history together and our love.

I asked him about bringing a few things. One is the bag with our bathing suits in it. I hate to buy a bathing suit, in common with most women my age, I am sure. I already have one that is all right, but in spite of all my suggestions, he couldn't find it while we were talking. The other thing I wish I had brought is some jewelry. I wear very little of it, but I do have some Kenyan bracelets I like a lot and I also asked for my silver Hershey's kiss pendant. Those things are trivial and unnecessary but I have learned that having little touches like that makes me feel like myself. If I ever have to pack an evacuation bag again, I will do a better job. Tomorrow it will be three months since I have set foot in my house in Haiti, and I shudder to think about what it must look like now. My husband told me a month or so ago that he had said to the doctors who were staying with him that week, "My wife must never know how this house looks." I was thinking about my house and my possessions as I walked this morning. They are just things, and yet they are special to me.

So many emotions in the heart of one ordinary middle-aged person walking down the street! I have thought a lot lately of the words from Paul Simon's song "Graceland": "Losing love is like a window in your heart; everybody sees you're blown apart, everybody sees the wind blow." I feel that my losses - and Haiti's losses, which make my own pale - are so visible to everyone, that everyone knows that we are blown apart.




At least "I've reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Being Here, Being There

I read an article about the Arctic explorer Pen Hadow. He goes on solo expeditions, stretching himself to the limit of what he - or anyone - can endure. Here's part of the interview:

A: Do you miss regular human contact?

PH: My wife and I have found over the years that regular phone calls don’t work for us. One bad conversation is enough to bring us down. It’s better if we keep to our own worlds until the job is done. I’m in such a different mindset, utterly absorbed in putting one foot in front of the other, that most basic desires melt away.


Maybe that's the best way to deal with the separation, just to allow both people to immerse themselves in their separate worlds. Maybe we both just need to be where we are and try to let that be enough.

I started volunteering in my friend's classroom; she teaches Kindergarten. I went through Confidentiality Training where I was told not to snoop on the teacher's desk. The first day one of the little girls yelled out, upon meeting me, "You're pretty!" (This is something my middle schoolers do not say to me.) When I went back for the second time a child rushed up to me and gave me a big hug, yelling, "You came back!"

Today I'm going to go shopping with my sisters-in-law for some spring clothes. When I first got here I never imagined staying until the weather turned warm. It's so silly to buy clothes when I have a closet full at home, but at least anything I buy for this time of year I can take home and wear there. (The same could not be said for the sweaters that people loaned and gave me when I first arrived.)

I'm trying to be here while I'm here. Did I mention it's not easy? (I think I might have.)

And being there? What's that like? I feel as though I have a very limited perspective on that. I scan the photos people post on Facebook and read everyone's blog. I read articles written by journalists who don't love Haiti the way I do, and I wonder about their interpretations. I ask my husband questions in our brief conversations, but then the internet connection in our house goes out or he has to talk to our son about a picture he drew. And it's always time to hang up, so much sooner than I'm ready to.

But I'm not there. I'm here. And here is where I have to be right now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Neil Gaiman

Last night I had the opportunity to hear Neil Gaiman speak in a videoconference at the local public library. He won the Newbery Medal last year for The Graveyard Book, but that's the only book of his I have read (though a friend has sent me another of his books and I'm planning to read it soon). Most of the people at the talk were clearly fans, and asked great questions about his books and his writing.

Gaiman talked about many things: intellectual freedom, censorship, his love of libraries and reading, his work as a journalist, his ideas about writing. But my very favorite thing he said was about reading to his children.

I love reading to my kids, and I love reading to my students. Consistently my students talk about my reading aloud as one of their favorite things about my classes. I have posted on this blog about many of the books I have read aloud to my students and my own children. So I completely agreed with Gaiman when he said that reading to his children has provided him with "long-term wonderfulness" and some of the greatest moments of pleasure in his life. He also said that many authors would love to be able to do their own audio books but aren't allowed to by their publishers. He gets to do his own - and even won an award last year for his audiobook of The Graveyard Book. He said the reason he is a good enough reader to do that is that he read to his children for years.

Here's a post I wrote a long time ago about reading aloud to my students.

Edited to add the link to the video of Gaiman's presentation.

Blogging

Before the earthquake, this was a quiet little blog, mostly about what I was reading. Sometimes I wrote about my teaching or posted articles I had seen. I wrote about what it was like to live in my generic third world country, which I didn't identify. I played it safe.

Things have changed. I still try to maintain at least a vestige of anonymity for myself and don't post the names of others unless they have given their permission, but Haiti is no longer unidentified. It's a relief in some ways to write about it, though I am careful to remember that I am a foreigner, not a Haitian. I try not to criticize too much and I avoid politics. While I've lived in Haiti longer than my middle schoolers (having moved there before they were born), I recognize that my experience is not the same as that of a Haitian citizen.

Writing here (and elsewhere) has been hugely therapeutic for me. It feels as though you have some control, when you can shape your thoughts into words and sentences and paragraphs. It's a powerful feeling to be able to put it down where others can read it instead of holding it inside.

For the first time, I have had to apologize to someone whom I offended with my writing. That never used to happen, partly because hardly anyone read it, and partly because I was playing it safe.

How can you play it safe when you live in Haiti? Living in Haiti is about loud music and jokes yelled in Kreyol and color and light and pikliz and garlic. It's about noise and sun and hibiscus in obnoxiously bright pink and red. It's about suffering and endurance and life. It's not a safe place; and when I say that I don't mean it's dangerous, but that it's real. When you live in Haiti you aren't constantly shielded from the truth of how things are. People have criticized me in the past for even living in Haiti at all, and taking my kids there. (One woman said to me, in horror, "You bore your children there? How could you do that to yourself - and to them?") I don't think I have played it safe in my life the way I did in my blog.

I don't know what kind of blogger I'll be when I return home to Haiti. I know I'll blog less than I do here, mostly because I'll have a job to do there. I'll write about teaching again, I'm sure, and that means preserving my students' anonymity as I have always done in the past. But I don't think I can go back to the quiet, safe blogger I used to be any more than I can be the person I was before January 12th. I'm more open now, less filtered. I cry more and love more. I don't know which of the changes will be permanent, but I'm guessing I will never be the same as I was.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Other Voices

Here are some things I'm reading today:

The New York Times has three Op-Eds about the situation now. One of the authors, Evelyne Trouillot, has visited our school and spoken in an assembly to our students.

This article includes a slide show.

Many in Haiti were hoping that President Obama would come to visit them.
“We have received tremendous attention from the international community and President Obama has demonstrated great attention from day one of the disaster,” said Stephanie Jean-Jacques. “I believe Haitians are very grateful to him and his administration, but we are dying to see him come here to see us,” said Jean-Jacques. “We are requesting that of him because we love him,” she said.

Amy Wilentz has been writing about Haiti for a long time and I love the way she turns a phrase. In this article she writes about how Haiti should be rebuilt. I do take exception to this remark:
What is gone, a heart-tugging city of surprising beauty and terrible, ruthless privation, cannot and should not be reinvented. Only sentimental foreigners and perhaps its elderly residents can long mourn the city's demise.
Maybe that just means I'm in the "sentimental foreigner" camp, but while I agree with her that something different needs to be built, I am still in mourning for the "heart-tugging city" that was.

Here's a report by the British Red Cross on the current situation, and here's today's World Vision press release.

And here's a lovely piece by Talie, one of our former students.

Three Months

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon to post tomorrow morning, April 12th, which will mark three months since the earthquake which destroyed Port-au-Prince and killed one tenth of its people, leaving hundreds of thousands of others maimed, displaced, homeless, bereft. Three months since the day which changed the life of every Haitian and everyone who loves Haiti, those who were in Haiti that afternoon and those who weren't. Three months of grief, pain, questioning, and, for me at least, some steps towards healing.

Tomorrow morning I imagine there will be many articles in the press about Haiti's progress since the earthquake. I am sure that many of them will say that there hasn't been much progress or that it has been too slow, and I won't argue with that, particularly since I am not even in Haiti now and am relying entirely on the observations of others. I am glad for the mention of Haiti at all, since for the most part the world appears to have moved on, as we all knew would happen.

Most articles these days about Haiti include the words "earthquake-ravaged" or "earthquake-devastated." These words seem to have replaced The Phrase - "the poorest nation in the western hemisphere" - which used to appear in every article (although some now include both The Phrase and the new favorite words). I always read an essay by Joel Dreyfuss with my eighth graders about The Phrase. It is available in the collection edited by Edwidge Danticat, The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States. There is also a version of it here. This essay always gets a lot of discussion from my kids, who as Haitians (most of them), are frustrated by the international perceptions of their country. As Dreyfuss remarks, there is so much more to Haiti than this shorthand reveals. And now, the words ravaged and devastated: nothing but simple truth, in some ways, and yet so much less than the whole story.

Haiti is a place of courage, a place of endurance. Haiti is a place where people keep going, no matter what. Haitians are strong, beautiful, resilient. Haitians are inspiring. To be fair, this truth has been in articles about the post-earthquake situation. Many writers have commented on the remarkable strength of the Haitian people. To me, this is one of the good things coming out of this time in Haiti's history, that so many are seeing what those of us who love Haiti have known for a long time: Haitians just flat out survive. They put up with whatever comes along, and then they get up and keep going, usually with a smile, and always looking well-pressed and with their hair in perfect order. Haitians refuse to renounce dignity.

Things are still bad in Haiti, and they will be for a long time. I talked to my dear friend O. on Skype yesterday and she told me that her sister and her family are still sleeping outside. They have built a little shelter where they can be during the day but there's not room for everyone to sleep under it, so when it rains - as it is almost every night now - they stand up until it stops. Her sister had a fever last week, but now she's doing much better. Their house fell down, and they pulled their daughter (who walks with a limp as a result of some terrible seizures she had a few years ago) out from under the concrete blocks. They are all glad to be alive. This is one family, one among millions, and better off than most.

Someone said to me after church this morning that she admired me because I always keep going. I appreciated her saying it. It's what I'm trying to do - to go on, like Haitians do, to Haitian up. I'll never do it as well as Haitians do, but I'm trying. After three months I'm getting better at it. But I am also sleeping indoors, and not under bedsheets held up by sticks. I am getting plenty to eat and drink. I am displaced, yes, but my displacement is luxurious compared to the vast majority of those who have left their homes due to the earthquake. I am also uninjured physically; I have all my limbs. I've received professional counseling, something most people in Port-au-Prince won't get. And while I suffered losses, my whole family is still alive and uninjured. There's really no comparison between my circumstances and those of most people in Haiti right now and it would be frivolous to claim that there is.

And yet, though their suffering is worse, I suffer too. We all do. I read an email sent out by a friend who was seriously injured when her apartment building collapsed. She was thanking everyone who had helped her, and she sounded wonderful, and overwhelmed with gratitude, but also terrible, and with many miles to go before she recovers. Another friend who was injured told me that the physical injuries were the easy ones, and that the emotional and spiritual damage was much worse. There is a huge mixture of emotions in every survivor I talk to: we are happy to be alive, unspeakably grateful for all that has been done for us, and also totally heartbroken.

We keep going, day by day, and we do what we can to keep Haiti in the minds of those around us. We mourn and honor those who died, even though many of them did not get a funeral or a decent burial, and even though we still don't know what happened to everyone. We thank God for those who are still alive. And we pray, work, and hope for the future, for the new Haiti, for a day when every mention of Haiti in the news will be followed by, perhaps, "the modern miracle" or "the success story of the region." But right now, even in the midst of all Haiti is going through, ravaged doesn't tell the whole story.

Haiti is strong.

Haiti is brave.

Haiti is beautiful.

Ayiti p'ap peri! Haiti will not die.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Things that Probably Don't Happen to Teachers in the US: Dealing with Mice

I keep a file on my computer called "Blog Ideas" and for a long time I have had this item on the list: "Things that Probably Don't Happen to Teachers in the US." There are quite a few examples listed under the category, and one of them came to mind yesterday when a friend who is in Haiti posted on Facebook that a mouse had come out of her cupboard and that she was wondering how best to deal with this unwelcome intruder. A teacher from our school recommended glue traps and then a discussion ensued about what one was supposed to do with the mice once they were caught, pinioned on the glue trap looking up at you with those little mousy eyes. The person who had suggested the glue traps mentioned a Haitian staff member by name as the go-to person for dealing with this situation, adding, "But don't look at what he does!"

One day I was supervising my seventh graders as they read with preschoolers, their Book Buddies. (I wrote about the program here.) Several of the pairs (seventh grader and preschooler) were sitting outside on the lawn in front of the Pre-K classroom. There was some giggling and pointing and when I went over to investigate it turned out that a mouse, attached to a glue trap, was in the grass. I asked the Pre-K teacher about it and she said that it had been in her room when she came in with the kids, and that she had put the trap outside to deal with later. "Call B.," she said.

B. has worked at our school for a long time and is an extremely valuable and industrious employee. He and I go back a long way because he used to clean my classroom the year I taught second grade and we got to know each other well when he would come in to clean up whatever atrocity my kids had committed. I know about his difficult life and some of the many things he has suffered: losing his wife, an unstable house due to rain and erosion, a house fire. (And, oh yeah, most recently, a house collapse after an earthquake, but that one was still in the future.) B. could handle this mouse, I was confident.

Sure enough, when I found him he greeted me cheerfully and came over immediately to take care of the problem. I asked him if he could take the mouse away, since it was distracting the kids. He walked right over to it and, in full view of many small children, stepped on its head. That took care of the problem, all right. Then he picked up the dead mouse, still attached to the trap, and carried it away.

Here, in another mouse post, I observed that there are few chapters of PETA in the third world. Human beings have too many problems to spare tears for the problems of animals, particularly ones perceived as pests. It didn't occur to B. that his action might upset some delicate sensibilities, and beyond a few choruses of "Ew!", it really didn't. I was speechless, and thus unable to comment.

And yes, B. was the staff member recommended to the person wondering about how to deal with mice.

Here's another mouse post.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Poetry Friday: Mythology

I was looking for poetry at the library and found this book: Orpheus and Company: Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. There are many good poems in this collection. Here's one of them:

Parable of the Hostages

BY LOUISE GL√úCK

The Greeks are sitting on the beach
wondering what to do when the war ends. No one
wants to go home, back
to that bony island; everyone wants a little more
of what there is in Troy, more
life on the edge, that sense of every day as being
packed with surprises. But how to explain this
to the ones at home to whom
fighting a war is a plausible
excuse for absence, whereas
exploring one’s capacity for diversion
is not. Well, this can be faced
later; these
are men of action, ready to leave
insight to the women and children.

. . .

There on the beach, discussing the various
timetables for getting home, no one believed
it could take ten years to get back to Ithaca;
no one foresaw that decade of insoluble dilemmas—oh unanswerable
affliction of the human heart: how to divide
the world’s beauty into acceptable
and unacceptable loves! On the shores of Troy,
how could the Greeks know
they were hostages already: who once
delays the journey is
already enthralled; how could they know
that of their small number
some would be held forever by the dreams of pleasure,
some by sleep, some by music?

You can read the whole poem, including the middle that I left out, here.


I always enjoy poetry based on mythology, and I had been thinking of writing something about Odysseus and Penelope, since my husband and I are a long way apart right now. (After a breakup in college I wrote a terrible poem about Dido and Aeneas. What can I say? Sometimes I am a bit dramatic.) There were several poems in the book about Odysseus and Penelope, all much more cerebral than mine. I started out feeling tragic and ended up just enjoying Penelope. It was so much fun to write something light and ironic after all the impassioned pieces about me-me-me I've been doing lately. As I told my husband when I sent it to him, don't worry; it's not autobiographical. I don't have any suitors and this isn't what I think of my husband. You can look at several of my recent Poetry Friday posts for sappiness about him. (In case you aren't up on the story of Odysseus and Penelope, here's some information about it.)


Penelope Thinks it Over

Penelope thinks twenty years is pushing it,
With never a word from Odysseus
Except for vague rumors of what a hero he is.

Penelope wonders how she will ever get Telemachus to behave.
She tells him about how much his father loves him
And how when Palamades put baby Telemachus in front of the plough
Odysseus quit playing crazy and grabbed his son.
But that story gets old fast
Especially since there are no others to tell except the long story of absence.

Penelope hates crafts.
She makes such a mess every day
That she has to rip all her work out at night.
If only she could get that sewing project finished!

Penelope walks on the beach,
The white, white sands of Ithaka.
She wishes she had someone to talk to.
She remembers Odysseus used to talk a lot,
Mostly about himself.

Penelope couldn't follow the news of the war.
This guy died heroically,
That one went berserk and killed a bunch of Trojans,
That one got his feelings hurt
And sulked in his tent.
And all because of that insipid Helen?
She thinks she must have missed something.

Penelope may not know about Circe and Calypso
But she suspects that it doesn't have to take ten years
To get back from Troy,
Even if you take a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
She's no dummy.

Penelope remembers Odysseus fondly:
His blue eyes, exactly the shade of the Aegean,
His fantastical stories, all of which she has heard repeatedly,
His warm body in her bed at night.
She liked being married to a legend
But he has been gone a long time.

The suitors clamor,
Eat her out of house and home in an endearing, manly way,
Bring her narcissi and baklava and seashells,
Vie for her attentions flatteringly.

Penelope eyes the suitors,
Who, sure, are not Odysseus,
But who at least are there.

by Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is here.

Not Forsaken

A couple of days ago I made a new friend on Facebook. When I clicked on her profile page after she accepted my request, I realized that she wasn't the person I had thought. Although she has the same first name, M., as the woman I knew, she is actually married to my friend's brother.

That was OK; I was still happy to be connected to this person whom I had never met. I have known her husband since he was a kid in our school. Now this family has moved to Haiti because of her husband's skills, which are useful in this post-earthquake time. They have small children. I have been praying for them and their adjustment, and admiring M.'s courage. She's never lived in Haiti, even though her husband grew up there. This isn't the perfect time to move there.

One of the first things I saw that M. had posted on Facebook was that she had had some stuff stolen. That's always an unsettling experience. One of the items was her daughter's bed, a Pack and Play (portable, fold-up playpen) that had been in the bed of a truck. She was clearly upset.

It just so happened that I had a Pack and Play in my closet at home. Several babies have used it, including both of mine, and I held on to it because it's just a handy thing to have; it folds up, so doesn't take up too much room, and when you have guests with a baby it's easy to pull it out.

I wrote to my husband and asked him to find the Pack and Play and pass it on to my new Facebook friend, M. Meanwhile I didn't say anything to her because I didn't know if he would be able to find it or if perhaps he had already given it to someone else. Several of her friends wrote about how sorry they were about the theft and someone even said she would pray that a new baby bed would show up. M. posted that she was aware of how blessed she was. Even though her daughter's bed was gone, she had so much more than most of the mothers in Port-au-Prince that night.

The next morning, my husband gave M. the Pack and Play. She posted that somehow he had heard about theirs being stolen. She said that the "new" Pack and Play was nicer than the one she had lost.

I'm not posting this story to make myself look good for passing on something that I don't even need any more. I'm posting it because to me it is a reminder that God hasn't forgotten where any of us are right now. For M., living in a new place with young children, sacrificing her comfort and everything that is familiar so that her husband can serve the Haitian people, He provided what she needed. For me, so far from home and so desperate to do something, anything, He provided a very specific need I could easily meet. Even for whatever baby is sleeping in M.'s Pack and Play, or for the family that is storing things in it, or for the person who's going to sell it and make some desperately needed cash, God knows where those people are, too.

I didn't even realize how much all of this had affected me until I was telling my sisters-in-law about it over tea yesterday. I started to cry, overwhelmed with God's provision in this small, small matter. Will this help me trust Him to provide for the enormous needs of so many in Haiti? I hope so. I'm trying hard to trust. So many are working and planning and donating.

I pray for a place for every baby to sleep. Oh Lord, provide for them the way you provided for M.'s daughter, a place of peace and comfort and security in the middle of a crazy world, a place to take a nap when she's cranky. I pray for the babies who have lost their mothers. I pray for the ones who were born in a field. Your eye is on the sparrow. Nobody is forsaken.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rain, Rain

It's raining here this morning. This could mean I won't get my walk. Walking is an important part of my strategy for remaining sane. I may go in the rain.

It rained in Haiti last night.

A brief rain storm flooded Haiti's earthquake camps Wednesday, worrying residents hours after they were told to brace for a more-active-than-usual hurricane season.

A windy 20-minute downpour left a half foot of water inside makeshift tents on the sloping golf course of the Petionville Club, now a tarp-and-tent neighborhood of about 45,000 people.

People ran for cover in viscous mud wearing plastic shower caps and towels over their heads. Leaks sprung in emergency tarps given by aid groups after the Jan. 12 earthquake destroyed their homes.

"Of course I am worried about the rain. I have my mother here with high blood pressure and my family lives here," said a 37-year-old woman who gave her name as Ammeni.

Earlier Wednesday, Haitian radio broadcast a forecast from Colorado State University researchers that the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than usual because of warm sea temperatures.

That team said in a Wednesday statement that moderating El Nino conditions in the Pacific were likely to dissipate by summer, creating a likelihood of 15 named storms between June 1 and Nov. 30 — four of those major hurricanes.


Here's the rest of the article.

Yeah, I think I'll go for my walk anyway, rain or no rain. Remaining sane is an important goal, and especially these days.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

No More Landmarks

Sarah, whom I don't know, posted about the demolition being done at Holy Trinity in Port-au-Prince. (I posted some about the cathedral here.)

I can so relate to what Sarah is going through, piecing together bits of information from photos she sees, blogs she reads, conversations. There's no substitute for being in Haiti right now, going through what everyone is going through. My husband keeps mentioning things offhandedly and then, when I have no idea what he means, saying, "Oh, I thought I told you." I fear when I go back it will be to a completely different life.

Many people have written about how strange it is to drive around the city now, because so many of the landmarks are gone. What a metaphor for life post-earthquake. The landmarks are gone and we have to figure out this new landscape. What will it be like? What will our role be?

Thank you

Thanks to all my readers who posted a comment after I rather pathetically asked, here, if anybody was out there. (You can still comment there if you didn't yet, by the way. Keep saying nice things to me. I can handle it.)

Categories

I put another item in my "Favorite Sermons" folder this morning. (Yes, I have a "Favorite Sermons" folder. Doesn't everybody?) It was called "Storms and Fish" (part of a series about Jonah) and was another good one by Rob Bell. (Here it is.)

Some favorite lines (though not exact because I listened to it while exercising and didn't write them down at the time): "We think we need to be rescued from the storms and fish. But sometimes it's the storms and fish that rescue us." ("C'mon!" as Bell would say.) "The place where God isn't turns out to be one more place where God is." "Sometimes the storm carries you into completely new territory."

By the way, this is a tangent, but Jon Acuff does a really funny impersonation of Rob Bell in this video. I love Jon's blog, Stuff Christians Like, and the book sounds funny, too. (If you can't make it play from here, as somehow I can't seem to, you can watch it at YouTube here.)



I posted here about how ordinary is beautiful, and how much I miss it. But isn't it true that all the great novels happen outside of ordinary? There's a trip, or an encounter, or an adventure - a place outside of ordinary when something entirely new can happen. Your categories are suddenly different, and you can think about things in a new way.

I have to say this, though: God sent the storm. God sent the fish. Did God send the earthquake? Some would say yes but I say no. And I wouldn't be so unbelievably arrogant as to say that the earthquake killed almost 300,000 people so that I could think about things differently. It wasn't the purpose (if indeed there was a purpose), and yet God can redeem these things - that I do believe.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stories vs. Atoms

Janet wrote a beautiful post about how different life is from art, and the way, so often, we live in uncertainty, not knowing how things will turn out, or even if they will at all.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Readers

I often wonder who is reading what I am writing. I hit "Publish Post" and send my writing out into the abyss, and sometimes I get a few comments but often there are none. I don't have a problem with lurking and I don't quite understand why people think it is creepy. Why should it be creepy to read what people post on the open internet? It's no stranger than reading a novel or a magazine article without interacting with the author - and that we do all the time.

Still, I do get curious. For whom am I writing? I guess for some Ideal Reader, someone sympathetic and understanding who will follow my mental leaps. (A.S. Byatt has a great short story with that theme, and I would tell you more about it, like the title, but that book is in Haiti.) Obviously I anticipate criticism too, as you can see from my relentless qualifying of everything: "At least, that's how it seems to me;" "But I could be wrong;" "But maybe that's just me."

Writing is a bit lonely whether it's on the internet or not; when I've had things published on actual paper in the past, it has always been a strange sensation to get so little feedback. I wonder if people didn't read it, or if they did and thought it was dumb, or if they think I am dumb...well, you get the idea.

If you feel so inclined, I'd love it if you'd write a comment and introduce yourself. I have Comment Moderation enabled which means that everything goes to my inbox first, so if you'd rather I not publish your comment, let me know and I won't. Or if you have my email address, you could just send me an email.

Or not - you could just keep lurking if you want. I'm OK with that.

Thanks to those who write comments regularly - I appreciate them very much. And speaking of people who leave comments regularly, one of my Ideal Readers, Janet, gave me an award. It's a Prolific Blogger Award and she says it's not just for wordiness, but that “a Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive...keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.” Thanks, Janet! I am supposed to nominate seven others, but I hope I will be forgiven if I just bask in the glow myself and don't nominate anyone. If you want to know what blogs I read and think are great, check out my Blog List to the right.

Easter Thoughts

My friend Corrigan Clay posted this photo and these words on Facebook yesterday and I am sharing them with you with his permission.



I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of Man, can these bones live?"

Easter is more overwhelmingly awesome in a graveyard than in a shopping mall.

I urge you: Be where the bones are and breathe out all the life you have been given and watch them start to clatter and rattle...

"Behold, I make all things new."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter

Easter is not about tears, and mostly, I was able to stay dry-eyed in church this morning. There's nothing wrong with tears, I know, and sometimes they are cathartic, but I have come to dread that loss of control in public, where I get started crying and can't stop.

There was a moment in the Bible reading when the words "a violent earthquake" were uttered and my son threw himself at me with a gasp, and said, "Don't remind me!" The other thing that made me emotional was watching the people go back to their seats after Communion, and the realization that God's love, and the power of Christ's resurrection, is there for all of us. All of us, no matter what is going on in our lives or what our past is or what unusual quirks we have.

The weather was mostly gorgeous this weekend. Saturday morning was breathtaking - I told my daughter it must be the most beautiful morning in the history of the world. The two of us went out for a walk and enjoyed it. People were cutting their grass and the flowering trees were at their best and the sun was shining. I never miss the seasons when I am in Haiti but they certainly are lovely.

I also got to spend quite a bit of time with family this weekend: my parents, and my brothers and their families. Definitely one of the advantages of being here now. Yesterday some of us colored eggs and we took the kids to an Easter Egg Hunt. There was a huge rabbit, which had a fierce expression and was generally quite alarming. It began the hunt by waving its --- arms? legs? paws? There was a free-for-all which I felt sure would end in tears, but somehow didn't, at least not from any of our kids. Then we discovered that my son had won a prize so he took his ticket up to claim it. Apparently nothing says Easter like action figures with heavy weapons.



Someone told me after the service this morning that I looked "well and happy." I'll take it.

Sunrise Service

As I walked this morning to the hill where the community sunrise service was to be held, I kept thinking about light. There was light everywhere on my route: streetlights every twenty feet, the gas station all lit up, every building bright. The moon was visible but seemed beside the point. Even the sunrise, it seemed, wouldn't change much; its light was hardly needed.

In Haiti, before the sun rises, it is dark.

My metaphor-making brain wants to jump immediately to spiritual light and darkness, but no. Many people say that about Haiti, that it is a country of spiritual darkness, and that has always struck me as terribly unfair - and more so now. How can you call a country spiritually dark when its people respond to an earthquake that levels its capital city by singing and praising God? I'm not talking about spiritual darkness, but physical darkness.

When the sun comes up in a tent city in Port-au-Prince this morning, as the people meet to celebrate the resurrection, the light will not go unnoticed. It will be brilliant; it will end the terror of the night.

Of course there is spiritual darkness in Haiti. There is spiritual darkness everywhere that humans are. Haiti has no monopoly on it. And where there is spiritual darkness, I pray for Christ's spiritual light. But mostly this morning I am praying for physical needs, for shelter and food and safety - and light. I am praying that these needs will be met for people who are not in spiritual darkness, people who are faithful beyond imagining.

But God is faithful too. This morning the speaker said: "God is faithful not only to the end, but beyond the end."

And there is sadness, such sadness, in Haiti today and among all of us who love that beautiful country and its beautiful people. That, too, is a kind of darkness. We need the light and hope of Easter, and as it comes into the darkness of our grief, we will notice it.

Oh Lord, be faithful beyond the end to the people of Haiti. Provide for them. In their physical and emotional darkness, bring them light. Thank you that for so many, spiritual darkness is not the problem. Thank you that your resurrection was not an ethereal, symbolic one, but a literal, physical raising of your body to new life. Oh Lord, I pray for new life for the city of Port-au-Prince, for the country of Haiti.

The sun rises on another Easter. The light comes into the darkness. I know that, and yet it still seems dark in my heart. He is risen. I know that, and yet there is still a deadness in me. Death has lost its sting. I know that, and yet it still stings quite a bit.

How I need Easter this year! How Haiti needs it! We need the hope and encouragement that it brings. We need resurrection, new life rising from death, beauty from ashes. We need light.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Reading Update

I used to use this blog mostly to write about what I was reading, and I have been reading again, though at first, right after the earthquake, I couldn't focus enough to read much at all. Here's what I've finished lately.

Book #5 of the year was The Private Patient, by P.D. James. I always enjoy James' books, but either this one wasn't as good as the others or that old focus wasn't back. I couldn't tell you much about this book.

Book #6 was The Secret of Lost Things, by Sheridan Hay, the story of Rosemary Savage, from Tasmania, who moves to New York and works in a bookstore. There were some things I liked about this book but ultimately it was disappointing. I thought it would be a literary mystery about a lost novel by Herman Melville, but it was mostly about the bizarre personalities who worked at the bookstore with Rosemary, and while they were interesting at first, they palled before I finished the book.

Book #7 was An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon. This is the seventh - yes, seventh - book in the Outlander series. I feel a sense of obligation to these characters since I have read so many thousands of pages of their story (this installment was over 800 pages long). It's a time travel series, the first of its kind I have ever read, and after getting through a horrible scene in the first or second book that almost made me quit reading, I have persevered. Gabaldon does a lot of research and there are many interesting details about the 18th century, particularly medical information, since Claire, one of the protagonists, was a doctor in her original life (before traveling back in time). But I have to admit that I was kind of forcing it to finish this. The books are also bodice-rippers, with steamy scenes every few dozen pages that get a bit old. And guess what? This isn't the last book! She's working on the eighth! And I'll probably read that one too!

Book #8 was Friday Nights, by Joanna Trollope. When I read another of her books I wrote, "Trollope is very good on vagaries of emotion in all kinds of characters." I'd say the same about this one. (Here's that review.) It was a quick, light read.

Either I haven't been choosing books well or I'm not really back to my full reading self. By May 17th last year I had read 25 books. I'm aware that plenty of people don't read eight books in a year even if they weren't in an earthquake, but for me it's not normal to read so few books and enjoy them so little. But reading at all is progress, I suppose.

I also abandoned two other books after reading about halfway through. Take it from an earthquake survivor: life is too short to read books you aren't enjoying at all.

Here's today's Saturday Review of Books.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Heard in the Street

The other day a man from my parents' church (which we're attending while we're here) mentioned that he had seen me out walking and had honked at me, and then felt embarrassed because he thought I'd think he was flirting with me. I laughed and said that at my age I don't assume that. What I must have assumed was that the honk was unrelated to me, since I don't remember the incident at all.

In Haiti, though, men do flirt with me on the street. A couple of times a week someone will say to me, soulfully, in one language or another, "I love you!" Yeah, sure you do. My favorite incident of this was when I was nine months pregnant. As I lumbered down the street like an elephant, a man approached me and told me that he would very much like to marry me. He would, he assured me, raise my baby as his own. I declined the offer, which perhaps had more to do with the fact that I was about to enter the US consulate at the time (and thus clearly had access to such things as visas) than with my personal attractiveness, but I have to admit that it was not entirely unpleasant to be appreciated in my enormous state.

I find that people in Haiti are inclined to express what they are thinking out loud to strangers (though maybe that is just in my neighborhood). For example, there was the time that someone commented that my adorable, beautiful baby (whom I was carrying) looked like a little monkey. That one was worth it for the look on the guy's face when I told him off (in a very loving Christian way, of course). The people around hurt themselves laughing, and ribbed the man mercilessly for not knowing that I understood Kreyol.

One day as I walked home from school, someone yelled at me in English, "I hate you! You're stealing my (expletive deleted) country!" That one hurt. I thought about it for a long time. Stealing it? Was that really what people thought?

But the one I really like to think about is the day I passed a huge bus. It was a holiday - I can't remember which one - and a beach trip had been planned. People were starting to gather at the bus. One of them called to me that I should come too. I smiled and said, "Thank you," but added that I wouldn't be able to join them. As I continued, I heard someone shout in Kreyol, "Gen plas pou ou!" There's room for you.

When I walk down the street in Haiti, do I represent the streets of gold in the country of my citizenship? Of course. Am I a source of amusement because of the odd things I say and do? Frequently. Do some resent my very presence in Haiti, as a foreigner? No doubt. But for the most part, Haitians make me feel that there is room for me.

I miss that now. Everyone here has been welcoming and friendly, but this doesn't feel like my life. I'm not a foreigner here, but I'm just visiting. There's a place for me in Haiti, a place that is empty right now. Gen plas pou mwen.

Poetry Friday: Spring and Absence

Spring makes me happy. I haven't experienced it in ten years, and I had forgotten how wonderful it is.

Being away from my husband makes me sad. (In case you haven't been following along, he's in Haiti doing earthquake relief; the kids and I were evacuated from there right after the quake.) I miss him so much; his absence is a constant ache. It helps to find that others have had the same experience. I don't know that I'd say, as Shakespeare does of his love in the sonnet I've chosen for today, that he's the pattern for all the flowers (sorry, honey). I do know, though, that I can't enjoy that "spirit of youth in everything" the way I would if he were here.

Sonnet XCVIII
From you have I been absent in the spring

by William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight
Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Here's what I posted two years ago on Good Friday, and here's last year's Good Friday offering. Both are much more appropriate for the day than today's!

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

National Poetry Month



It's National Poetry Month and I have no classroom and no students. How did that happen, again?

That's my NPM question. If you have any others, maybe you'll find them answered here, in the FAQ.

(It's also Theme Day for the Daily Photo blogs. Today's theme is Red. Thumbnails here.)