Friday, May 13, 2022

Poetry Friday: Ada Limón

Ada Limón has a new book of poetry coming out! I haven't read it, but I sure wanted to when I heard this podcast this week. That link will take you to the transcript of Tuesday's BirdNote, and you can also listen there. It includes a poem from the new book, The Hurting Kind. (Go ahead and listen - it's only 2 minutes long!)

 

 Ada hosts a podcast too; she took over The Slowdown recently.


I miss you, Poetry Friday friends! I haven't been as faithful posting and reading in this season. I hope this week I'll at least get a chance to come read your posts! 


Here's today's roundup.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Abundance


This month's host, Susan, has asked us to reflect on the topic of Abundance. What a complicated word this is for me. I ask in advance for grace if you choose to read my thoughts -- it will soon become obvious that I have by no means figured this issue out! 

 

Jesus said that He had come to give us abundant life, and there's a wonderful spiritual abundance that provides for our days no matter what our circumstances. But as I look around the world and think of abundance, I feel so conflicted when I observe the deep poverty in which such a large proportion of human beings live, including many beloved to me. "Blessed are the poor," Jesus said. I think it's tempting for us to romanticize that blessedness by saying things like, "They're much happier than the rich." It's true that money doesn't buy happiness, but living a life without clean water, without health care, without security, without basic amenities of life, doesn't buy happiness either. Although I moved away from Haiti at the end of last year, I read the news from there daily, and I feel great pain to watch what is happening there, and how society is falling apart more each day.


On a far different scale (and I hesitate to even add this point because I am so well provided for), I am living in a season of paring down, having just moved and sold or given away so many of my possessions. I've been thinking a lot about what I truly need, how many dishes, how many books....  (See how the examples I give are of non-necessities, compared with people who carry their water on their heads from a common tap down the street, or people who have to leave their homes due to gang violence, and own only what they can hang somehow on their bodies? Even my scarcity would be enormous abundance to so many in this world.)


When I was thinking about abundance, I remembered a podcast from 2017, an interview that musician Sandra McCracken did with A Rocha founder Peter Harris. (A Rocha is a Christian environmentalist organization - check out their website for amazing resources!) I went back and listened to it again. I couldn't find a transcript, and I didn't have time to do a complete one myself, but here's a link to the thirty-one minute podcast, which is well worth the time, and below I'll include some quotes from it.


Harris talks a bit about liturgies, and how so much about living in and caring for the world is about repetition and faithfulness. He refers to a liturgy of turning on the faucet, if you are fortunate enough to live in a home with running water, getting into the habit of a moment of thankfulness when you experience that abundance. After he makes this comment, Sandra asks him if he has any thoughts on the words abundance and scarcity. In response, he talks about reading Ellen Davis. Referring to the children of Israel leaving Egypt, he says, "Egypt was the place of abundance. You knew exactly when the Nile would flood....The Promised Land was this place of scarcity...a semi-arid land between two deserts [ancient Hebrews saw the sea as a place of scarcity and chaos], dependent for rainfall on your relationship with God." In his organization, he says, "we've asked ourselves, does God want us in a place of [material] scarcity or abundance, and I don't think there's an easy answer...but I do think there's a creative scarcity, and a very destructive scarcity." He discusses the "thinning of nature," due to climate change and habitat loss, and how this leads to scarcity, "the scarcity of misery...soil impoverishment, water scarcity." In the middle of this litany of the opposite of abundance, he adds, "God occasionally takes us into outrageous moments of abundance." 


"You can't make sense of all of these things, can you, very easily? Gratitude is how we live, wherever we find ourselves, is what Paul says....I don't think our expectation should be for abundance. That's not the world we live in." He goes on to talk a bit about how physical abundance -- having riches, basically -- can put us in a position of temptation to rely on our own resources. 


Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there's a difference between physical abundance and spiritual abundance. We're physical creatures, though, and the older I get, the more aware I become of how much our physical and spiritual selves are connected. It's not as simple as having less materially making us more spiritual. But there's definitely a sense in which physical abundance can lead to spiritual poverty. 


I am so curious to see Susan's roundup of what others have to say on this topic. I always gain much food for thought each month.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Reading Update

Book #11 of the year was Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, by Diana Gabaldon. This is the ninth book in the Outlander series. I have spent so much time with these characters, as each book is 800 plus pages. I didn't know until the last page whether there's going to be another one!

 

Book #12 was The Dakota Winters, by Tom Barbash. The Winters of the title are a family, and Dakota is an apartment building where they live in New York City. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I finished it.


Book #13 was a book of poetry, The Mail from Anywhere, by Brad Leithauser. (I wrote more about that here.)


Book #14 was Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far, by Amy Grant. I really like the person Amy Grant has turned out to be, and I loved reading this book, which I found in our library. It came out a long time ago, but I hadn't heard of it.


Book #15 was Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection, by Kate Bowler. I enjoy Bowler's writing. "God is our safe place, not after the worst is over or before the other shoe drops. But right in the midst of our pain and grief and loss."


Book #16 was a re-read, The News from Paraguay, by Lily Tuck. This time, now that I've spent a few weeks on streets named after the main characters in the historical drama, it meant more.


Book #17 was Shauna Niequist's new book, I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working. In this 2013 review of Shauna's book Bread and Wine, I mused about similarities between our lives. In this book, she's moved to a new place (same) and is trying to figure out how to navigate all the newness (same). She says, "It's okay to let yourself change, to let an environment change you, a city change you, a season change you. You are who you are, and also it's okay to love one thing and then another." 


Book #18 was Can I Touch Your Hair: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship, by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. I loved this collaboration between two grown-up poets remembering and imagining being fifth graders talking about race. It is so good, and so worth sharing with kids.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Poetry Friday: NPM Day 29

Here's what I've posted for National Poetry Month! I managed less than usual, but I was still able to share some poems.

 

Day 1: explaining my "Project," plus an original poem 

Day 10: a Brad Leithauser poem 

Day 11: an Adrienne Rich poem and an original poem

Day 12: a Tania Runyan poem 

Day 13: a Miller Williams poem

Day 14: a Naomi Shihab Nye poem 

Day 15: an Andrew Peterson song

Day 16: a Li-Young Lee poem 

Day 17: my line in the Progressive Poem

Day 19: a Thomas R. Smith poem 

Day 20: a Dante Di Stefano poem

Day 22: a Galway Kinnell poem 

Day 23: my blog's 16th birthday and a Carl Dennis poem

 


1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing 

 

Here's today's roundup. 


Happy National Poetry Month! Here's hoping next year I'll be able to celebrate it more whole-heartedly!

 



Saturday, April 23, 2022

NPM Day 23: Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

Today my blog is 16 years old! The gift for the sixteenth anniversary is candles, so here's a candle poem to celebrate.


Candles

by Carl Dennis

 

If on your grandmother's birthday you burn a candle

To honor her memory, you might think of burning an extra

To honor the memory of someone who never met her,

A man who may have come to the town she lived in

Looking for work and never found it.

Picture him taking a stroll one morning,

After a month of grief with the want ads,

To refresh himself in the park before moving on.

Suppose he notices on the gravel path the shards

Of a green glass bottle that your grandmother,

Then still a girl, will be destined to step on

When she wanders barefoot away from her school picnic 

If he doesn't stoop down and scoop the mess up

With the want-ad section and carry it to a trash can.


For you to burn a candle for him

You needn't suppose the cut would be a deep one,

Just deep enough to keep her at home

The night of the hay ride when she meets Helen,

Who is soon to become her dearest friend,

Whose brother George, thirty years later,

Helps your grandfather with a loan so his shoe store

Doesn't go under in the Great Depression

And his son, your father, is able to stay in school

Where his love of learning is fanned into flames,

A love he labors, later, to kindle in you.

 

How grateful you are for your father's efforts 

Is shown by the candles you've burned for him.

But today, for a change, why not a candle 

For the man whose name is unknown to you?

Take a moment to wonder whether he died at home

With friends and family or alone on the road,

On the look-out for no one to sit at his bedside

And hold his hand, the very hand

It's time for you to imagine holding.


Source 

 


1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

Friday, April 22, 2022

Poetry Friday: NPM Day 22

I've been stumbling through NPM this year, posting sporadically, but I tell myself that an occasional poem is better than none at all. 


This poem is an autumn one, but it is autumn where I live, so that works. It works for Earth Day too, in its appreciation for what's in season, not from a package but from the bush, prickles and all.


Blackberry Eating

by Galway Kinnell

 

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,

 

Here's the rest. 

 

Margaret is hosting the roundup today, and she also has today's line for the Progressive Poem.




1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

 



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

NPM Day 20

This summer, the Amazon burned again, as did forests all over South America. This poem was published in 2020, when the same thing happened. The title juxtaposes the destruction with life going on.

 

My Eighteen-Month-Old Daughter Talks to the Rain as the Amazon Burns

by Dante Di Stefano

 

Lark of my house,

keep laughing

- Miguel Hernández

 

this little lark says hi

to the rain -- she calls

river as she slaps 

the air with both wings --

 

Read the rest of it here. 





1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagal at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing