FACE STORM —very rough draft

Oh how I hated to close the window!

FACE STORM

The Smell of rain

Through an opened window

The sound of thunder

Awakened her

at the beginning

week five

Of recovery.

The excitement of a

late summer storm

The sky turning gray green

the raindrops falling

down, straight down

Towels around the window

soaking something splendid

summer storm, found a small way

blessing way

fresh onto her face

On a Sunday morning

On the first Sunday

dreamed for week 5

Of recovery

Rain, the smell of rain

Awakened.

Poetry as Gift

   This has been a touching day. A former colleague reached out and asked me to join/ read her blog dedicated to her brother’s memory. I waited a while, then read…about a missing brother, found dead after 62 days, and what that meant to her family.

A nightmare… missing, dead… found dead by my friend. Her mom doesn’t know anyone saw the body… in that condition… so much more I don’t wish to say.

I don’t know why she reached out to me, but social media let her find me.

I remember my friend L as a kind, witty, hardworking science teacher. I was the literacy coach in the building, often a hated person. But L was kind and worked with me, let me into her classroom. And then I got transferred to another school and we lost touch until recently.

After  read her blog, I was stunned and also very aware of what a privilege it was to be trusted with this knowledge.  How should I respectfully reply?

I asked L if I could write a poem about sisters and brothers for her, and that while I don’t know her situation exactly, I am old enough to have known much grief. L had a broken heart, and I know about broken hearts.

I thought of the many years I looked for my brother in different ways, estranged due to our father’s many violences. All the longing to find him over the many years. The late nights, the silent mornings. The bird songs that found me still awake.

I gave L the poem, knowing there is nothing good I could say that would make any of this okay. Brothers don’t go missing then get found… like that… but of course they do. In real life, horrible things happen.

L liked the poem and posted it on her blog so her family members could read it as well.

I am very happy that literacy could help me reach her, that reading led her to find me, that poetry helped me reach her. It’s a small thing, but I hope positive.

And this is a small tale of how literacy can help lives and how literacy can help us reach each other, heart to heart, mind to mind. And the special place of poetry to be personal and universal at the same time.

Moth Mate/ Rough Draft

Just a few snippets, since I hope to submit a revised/ edited full version for publication and don’t want to have this considered published.

Moth Mate

Moth to a
Fake flame

Candle, lit
To accompany

Mid summer’s night
Solitude

White flint
Small gold flutter

Before any

Dawn songs.

 

img_5737

 

(I wanted to see what I could do with this learning and healing time. Can I observe more? Can I see what I don’t really see on a busy workday? What do you do, what do I do with those middle of the night silences? The crickets have stops singing. The cicadas have not yet started their trilling. And I am waiting to learn when the robins start their dawn songs.

I shall find out soon.

I hear frogs now. They’ve joined us.

And I’m trying to find out what can I do with my limited mobility and access right now to Technology.

This was created in the hopes of making meaning out of silence and pain.

Dare I send from my iPhone? So unliterary.

But this to me also speaks of the power of literacy to sustain.

I turn to words.)

sent from my iphone

Brake for Beauty

Around 17 years ago,I started “braking for beauty” during a time of great grief and sorrow. Suddenly, I was losing friends and family members. Nine in just a matter of a few years. I was devastated.

I carried sunglasses with me everywhere, in all pockets of all jackets and all my purses; I also tried to look for the beauty in life. If I could safely pull over when driving, I would look for beauty, brake/ break for beauty, take a picture or two, keep those pictures on my phone so that I could look at them when times got very hard.

Nature rather saved me during this time, which lasted six years.

I wrote a poem back then, titled “Parking Lot Maple,” one of the few poems I love. I like this poem so much I don’t want to publish. I will submit it every now and then for publication then withdraw it because I just don’t want it gone for me, if that makes sense.

I still brake for beauty since it enriches life.

UK Wildflower Meadows v. Illinois Prairies/ Learning to Appreciate the Subtle

In an article in The Conversation about Roadside Wildflowers, the author states that…

Since the end of World War II, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been dug up or destroyed. Many won’t remember a time when the countryside was filled with grassland that rippled with rainbows of flowers, but they are likely to recognise the intense yellow glare of pesticide-soaked oilseed rape fields that dominate rural landscapes today.

(See here for the article: http://theconversation.com/roadside-wildflower-meadows-are-springing-up-across-the-uk-and-theyre-helping-wildlife-in-a-big-way-120014)

Here I am in the Midwest USA and I cannot imagine the joy of finding a roadside wildflower meadow! I do try to find parking lot beauty, sky beauty, nature’s beauty wherever I can, but I have yet to find a wildflower meadow.  I do notice lovely small colors in early and late spring, weed like plants in the Midwest that must do for us, but no riot of colors as seen in UK wildflower meadows.

Meadows of flowers? I cannot imagine such joy.

However, I grew up near a native Illinois prairie, but rarely appreciated it. The colors are much more mute, scruffy somehow compared to a wildflower meadow.

Nearby, a group of conservationists at the Morton Arboretum have preserved this mostly now gone natural wonderland, the Illinois Prairie.  I must visit and report back, keeping in mind that no, the colors won’t be as dramatic, but I am practiced in finding beauty.

I have often used this more subtle beauty in my poetry and fiction, and I do appreciate nature’s beauty and healing properties–but admit to loving the dramatic colors of autumn more.

Thanks for reading.  May you find beauty everywhere as well.

 

milkweed in prairie  (Image of milkweed in a prairie from the Creative Commons.)

 

Conversation with the Woods

“You said good-bye already.”

–I know. I thought I’d risk it, because–because–

“You need me. Go ahead and say it.”

–I need you.  It’s because–

“I don’t need to know the reason.  Just don’t expect me to ask the insects to leave you alone like you did last year.”

–I won’t.

“Better get your sunglasses.”

–I won’t need them.  I am feeling better.

“No, you are not.  I don’t care if you weep in the woods because I hear death all the time.”

–How did you know?

“I hear death all the time.”

Caught

“You didn’t get out of the car at all?” he asked, returning from his walk.

“No,” she answered. “There’s too–just too much out there. And I don’t have my sunglasses.”

“You’re not talking about the woods,” he said.

“No,” she said.

 

Submitted Nonfiction Today

img_3954I submitted a piece of nonfiction today; it felt very scary. No hiding behind poetic license. It was an essay about grief, something we all know about as we get older.

But even though submitting nonfiction was very scary to me, I was able to enter this essay title and information on the excel sheet I created after learning from another writer; I followed his suggestions for creating a submissions excel tracking sheet. I added color coding for Rejected, Accepted (that’s in green), Pending, Withdrawn, and Unknown. Too many unknowns, it seems!   I am learning to sort by these categories as well.

I am having fun working with this!

I don’t think I will become a nonfiction writer now, for I really need that poetic license and I do tend to look at the world through a poet’s eyes.

But I am still trying to grow as a writer.

Thanks for reading.