Saturday, August 06, 2022

Reading Update

Book #37 of the year was The Memory Thief, by Emily Colin. I kept reading this book, about a man who dies in an avalanche but then is somehow still present, because I wanted to figure out what exactly the premise was. I guess the premise sort of made sense in a paranormal way, but it wasn't really my kind of book.


Book #38 was Jonathan Martin's new book, The Road Away From God: How Love Finds Us Even As We Walk Away. I am a Martin fan; I've read his shipwreck book at least five times. (You can see what I wrote about it the first time in this post.) This book is geared more for people who are thinking about walking away from their faith, for whatever reason. He takes as his metaphor here the story from the gospel of Luke when two disciples are walking away from Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. They meet a stranger on the road, who turns out to be the risen Lord. Even though they were walking away, Jesus still meets them. This book includes much more politics than the previous one, giving specific examples of why people have chosen to walk away from Christianity, particularly the evangelical flavor. Martin certainly knows his way around a metaphor, and this book is worth reading. Here's a taste:

 

"Life isn't plotted so all the movements are linear, telegraphed, obviously related. It's much more chaotic, clumsy, and ambiguous than that. We rarely know what's happening at the time, or really what we are doing or why, much less what anything actually means. But for most people I know who have been on the road, there has been a particular moment when they realized, with some kind of deep knowing, that there was no going back to the world as it was, the world as they knew it before. This was the moment that sent them out walking." 


Book #39 was Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline. This is the sequel to Ready Player One, which I read for my Adolescent Lit class back in 2012 and wrote about in this post. This one is more of the same, people living their lives virtually instead of IRL, neglecting the planet. There's more of the scavenger hunt content, based on movies and popular culture from the eighties. Like with the first book, I found myself wondering who Cline's audience is. Although I was a teenager in the eighties, I don't have nearly the encyclopedic knowledge of eighties lore than his characters do. The characters are a little flat, and there's lots and lots of wish-fulfillment in the playing and winning of video games, the endless amounts of money, and the adrenaline-fueled plot. 


Book #40 was Shauna Niequist's I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working. This is my second time reading it since it came out in April. (The first time, I wrote about it in this post.) This is a really good book. Here's Shauna: "I'm sad that this is a plot point I have to incorporate into the story of my life. That's the heart of it. I don't want this part. I want to stick my fingers in my ears like a child. I want to lock the door against it. You can't be a part of my story."


Book #41 was a reread, Persuasion, by Jane Austen. I don't even know how many times I've read it before. The last time was in 2019 and I wrote about it here. This time my reading was instigated by watching the new adaptation of the novel on Netflix. It has been much discussed on the internet. It was silly and anachronistic and I still can't say I hated watching it. And it made me read the book again, which is always a good thing. Austen is always a comfort read for me. 


Book #42 was Kentucky poet Ada Limón's latest book of poetry, The Hurting Kind. Limón was just named the new Poet Laureate of the United States. I enjoy her work and have shared several of her poems before on this blog. This first reading of her book was rewarding, and I'll be reading it again.


Book #43, The Fight for My Life: Boxing Through Chemo, by Kelly Motley was written by a friend who is married to another friend I met in graduate school. I got to go to an event that Kelly did in Nashville promoting this story of how she fought breast cancer, using boxing and a macrobiotic diet. This is an intense book, and Kelly doesn't shy away from describing the agony she experienced. Sometimes I had to put it aside for a while because it is so intense! She emerges as a strong, indomitable woman facing a formidable foe. Probably the part that will stay with me the most is the epic saga of her hair. Her nutritionist said that her clients never lose their hair during chemo. I won't give away what happens, but just know that my words "epic saga" are appropriate! I liked the writing, the honesty, and the unflinching description.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Summer Nurtures our Souls

Carol Varsalona is our host today and has asked us to reflect on the way summer nurtures our souls. I decided to go (mostly) wordless and show you some photos I've taken during cycling and birding expeditions in Kentucky and Tennessee this summer.








In that last one, you can see a foreshadowing of the next season!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Poetry Friday: Every Mile

 

This week, my total number of cycling miles since I joined Strava in April clicked over to 1000. (Strava is an app to keep track of athletic activity.) A thousand miles, mostly on a tandem (the one in the picture, from summer days in Kentucky, or the one in Paraguay), but some on a single bike. 

 

The poem I'm sharing today is really a song, written by one of my favorites, Nichole Nordeman. It's about miles. (Scroll past the video to read the words.) As I listen to this song, I think about the miles from this year so far. Some were fun and exhilarating, coasting or even pedaling all out downhill, going out-of-control fast. Some were painful, endless climbs, in the lowest gear. I even fell off my single bike a couple of times, once landing hard enough that I had to replace my helmet. (Always wear a helmet, kids.) There were a bunch of literal miles, and it's also, of course, a metaphor for all that I can't go into. You have your own miles; you know what I mean.




Every Mile Mattered

by Nichole Nordeman

 

Spread the map on the table

With the coffee stain

Put your finger on the places

Show me where you've been

 

Is that California

Where your teardrops dried?

You drew a circle around Georgia.

Can you tell me why?

 

I see should have beens, could have beens

Written all over your face,

Wrong turns and bridges burned,

Things you want to change

 

It's history

You can't rewrite it

You're not meant to be

Trapped inside it

 

Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history

But every mile mattered

 

Get the box off the top shelf

With the black and white

Snapshots of your old self

In a better light

Ghosts and regrets back again

I can see it in your eyes

Send them home, let 'em go

Don't you think it's time?

 

It's history

You can't rewrite it

You're not meant to be

Trapped inside it

 

Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history

 

Every road and every bend

Every bruise and bitter end

All you squandered, all you spent

It mattered, it mattered


Mercy always finds a way

To wrap your blisters up in grace

Every highway you'd erase

It mattered, it mattered

But it's history

It don't define ya

You're free to leave

It all behind ya


Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history

Every mile mattered

Every mile mattered

 

 

I shared this song once before, in 2018, with some thoughts.

Mary Lee has the roundup this week.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Poetry Friday: July


I'm in the United States during this warm, dry summer. Some of the best moments in the last few weeks have involved friends, family, birds, and bicycles. I took the coneflower photo above on a morning birding expedition a couple of days ago.


Here's a poem about July:


July Day

by Babette Deutsch


The afternoon sways like an elephant, wears

His smooth grey hide, displays his somnolent grace, weighing

The majesty of his ponderous pace against

The slyness twinkling in an innocent eye.

 

Keep reading here, where the metaphor of the "elephant afternoon" goes on. 


Here's this week's roundup.

Reading Update

Book #33 of the year was a re-read, How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help is On the Way and Love is Already Here, by Jonathan Martin. Since I bought it in October 2016, I've gone through it several times. You can see the review I wrote on first reading here.


Book #34 was Summer Love, by Nancy Thayer. This was a fun, if forgettable, read.


Book #35 was Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo, by Jenny Feldon. This is a story of an expat, a "trailing spouse" who moves to India for her husband's job. She has trouble adjusting, but eventually manages it, as the title suggests. This was well-written and quite entertaining.


Book #36 was The Kidnapping of an American Missionary: One Woman’s Story of Courage and Conviction Under Fire, by Phyllis Sortor. I read a paper copy, but it looks as though the only format currently available from Amazon is on Kindle. Sortor, a long-term missionary in Nigeria, recounts the story of her traumatic kidnapping.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Poetry Friday: I Remember Galileo

I love Gerald Stern's description of the mind in this poem. Is the mind more like a piece of paper or a squirrel? You decide. 


I Remember Galileo

by Gerald Stern


I remember Galileo describing the mind

as a piece of paper blown around by the wind

and I loved the sight of it sticking to a tree

or jumping into the back seat of a car,

and for years I watched paper leap through my cities;

but yesterday I saw the mind was a squirrel caught crossing

route 80 between the wheels of a giant truck,

dancing back and forth like a thin leaf,

or a frightened string,

 

Here's the rest.

 

And here's today's roundup. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Reading Update

Book #27 was Father of the Rain, by Lily King. This is the story of Daley, first in her childhood as her parents are splitting up, and then as an adult as she struggles to help her alcoholic father dry out. This was my third Lily King novel, and I enjoyed it.


Book #28 was H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald. Helen's father has just died, and Helen is training a goshawk. She's also reflecting on T. H. White, the author of The Sword in the Stone, who did some falconry of his own. My daughter recommended this one, and I was glad I read it.


Book #29 was Love Makes Room: And Other Things I Learned When My Daughter Came Out, by Staci Frenes. Frenes is a Christian musician whose life was upended by her daughter's revelation, in high school, that she was gay. This book chronicles the family's journey to acceptance.


Book #30 was The Bird of Light, by John Hay. This was a paper copy, given to me for Christmas by my daughter, and it turned out to be the perfect choice for a day of air travel. It's a beautiful book about terns, both scientifically and poetically written. 


Book #31 was I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry, by Susie Kelly. This is a memoir about a young British girl growing up in Kenya in the 60s, and then her subsequent life. 


Book #32 was The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change, by Pauline Boss. This recent book, by the author who popularized the term "ambiguous loss," is a quick and helpful read.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Celebration

 

"The joy that Jesus offers his disciples is his own joy, which flows from his intimate communion with the One who sent him. It is a joy that does not separate happy days from sad days, successful moments from moments of failure, experiences of honor from experiences of dishonor, passion from resurrection. This joy is a divine gift that does not leave us during times of illness, poverty, oppression, or persecution. It is present even when this world laughs or tortures, robs or maims, fights or kills. It is truly ecstatic, always moving us away from the house of fear into the house of love, and always proclaiming that death no longer has the final say, though its noise remains loud and its devastation visible. The joy of Jesus lifts up life to be celebrated." Henri Nouwen


You can see what everybody else posted here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Reading Update

Book #19 of the year was a non-fiction title, The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, by Kirk W. Johnson. This story introduced me to a world I had no idea even existed, of people who make fishing flies, and seek feathers from rare birds to do so. It's a story of true crime. You just couldn't make it up. I couldn't put the book down.


Book #20 was one I read because it was in the anthology I was using with my eighth graders. It was In Search of Honor, by Donnalynn Hess. The book is set in the French Revolution, and I learned a few things I didn't know about that time period. I liked it way more than the kids did. To be fair, that is sometimes the case when I read books with middle schoolers!


Book #21 was The Love of My Life, by Rosie Walsh. I really enjoyed this book, which should have the tagline, "Keep reading. It's not what you think!" The ending was just wonderful. 


Book #22 was Princess Academy: Palace of Stone and book #24 was Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters. Both of these were sequels to Princess Academy, which I read aloud to my seventh graders once back in 2007. I hadn't fully realized there were even sequels, but some kids in the library were asking about them, so I downloaded them from my US library to preview. I enjoyed these. They are firmly in the middle grade range, in spite of the subject matter which involves a bride being chosen for a prince. It could have gone in a very "The Bachelor" direction but never does. There's romance but it's extremely tame. What I did really appreciate about these was the social consciousness, something you don't find often in fairy tale type stories. There's a whole plot about the "shoeless" of the kingdom, the people who are neglected and living in poverty. I would definitely purchase these for a library.


Book #23 was Pride: A Pride and Prejudice Remix, by Ibi Zoboi. (I reviewed another book by Zoboi here.) Somehow, in spite of my radar being keenly attuned to YA books with Haitian themes, I had missed this when it came out in 2020. It's one of those few truly successful Jane Austen retellings. Zuri Benitez is a Haitian-Dominican girl living in Brooklyn with her parents and four sisters. When the Darcy family moves into the neighborhood, sparks ensue. It's a story of gentrification, life in New York, and cultural mixtures. Some of my readers might be surprised by the vodou/santería subplot. It's not a huge part of the story but definitely there. Check out the link earlier in this paragraph for evidence that that's something Zoboi has explored before. These things are part of the subculture she's writing about, but some won't like them. 


Book #25 was Passing, by Nella Larsen. This book, set in the 1920s, was first published in 1929. The "passing" of the title refers to the practice of light-skinned African-Americans living as white people. In some cases, even those closest to them didn't know the secret. This book is short but packs a huge punch.


Book #26 was Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, by Michelle Zauner. Zauner is the daughter of a Korean American mother and a white American father. This book is about her fraught relationship with her mother, and especially her mother's last illness and death. It's also about being mixed-race and, most of all, about Korean food. H Mart in the title is a Korean grocery chain in the United States. This is good, but heart-rending. Maybe not the best read in times of stress.

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

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

NPM Day 19

Did you have a good day? I really didn't, but  this poem, open for a while on my desktop, made me feel better.


Trust

It’s like so many other things in life   
to which you must say no or yes.                                    
So you take your car to the new mechanic.   
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.   

The package left with the disreputable-looking   
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,   
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—   
all show up at their intended destinations.   

The theft that could have happened doesn’t.   
Wind finally gets where it was going   
through the snowy trees, and the river, even               
when frozen, arrives at the right place.                        

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life   

is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.

 

 

Here's trusting tomorrow will be better. And here's the latest on 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

 

 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

NPM Day 17: The Progressive Poem Lands Here!

I look forward to the Progressive Poem every year, and I've participated in it since the beginning. It always feels like a huge responsibility to add a line. I appreciated Heidi's deft summary/interpretation of what's happened so far, and I love her choice of source material, too. I had thought about something Narnian, as the second line reminded me of Puddleglum, but after reading and being inspired by Heidi's words ("with poetry to gird us"), I decided instead to go with a book I read far more recently, this year's Newbery-winning novel The Last Cuentista, by Donna Barba Higuera. My line is adapted from some words in the 29th chapter.

 

And now I pass the poem on to Patricia!

 


2022 Progressive Poem

Where they were going, there were no maps.

Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful, 
so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –
 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all 
the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.
 
The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.
 
Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,
Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 
 
and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds' libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

Our lines came from the following sources:

  1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
  2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
  6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
  8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
  10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
  11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
  12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
  13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
  14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis 
  17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

The schedule of 2022 Progressive Poem participants is:

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