"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Friday’s Five —April 24, 2020

Five very good things from these past few days—

because if I have learned anything in my years here in this realm, it is this: there are beautiful gifts in front of us every day, but we must take a breath and slow down and pay attention.

1–my dear friend Kim enlisted her hubby to help, and they came to my house and created a raised bed garden for me. It has already been a daily delight for the grands and for me…such kindness and generosity. 🌱The bigger gift was paying attention when I mentioned I’d love to make one someday. How rare and sweet to be given an answer to a wish. 🌟 ( Listen to your people. Make a wish come true when you can. ❤️)

2-good music on the radio. As I write this post, NPR is playing a classical music segment. It’s calming. But this week I heard my fave song (Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd) in its entirety as I was driving—windows down, volume up. You know exactly what I mean, I hope. 🙌🏼 🎶 (Know the power of music to elevate your mood. Listen.)

3-cocktail hour with my sis. I kidded with her this week that we did long distance “virtual” cocktail hours before pandemic time made them cool. We are going on six plus years now—once a week and sometimes more—we settle in to create/chat/vent/sip, and I am always happy to hear her sweet voice. 🍷📱🍷 (Make extra “special”time for your loved ones.)

4-children’s laughter. Emma and Sofia are imaginative and happy and their voices reflect that, no matter what we are in the midst of…and this week, when I saw baby Clara, she smiled her slow sweet smile of recognition and then pushed her arms and legs out in what I translate as recognition of the love we already share. She “answers” with her own language and I answer with mine, knowing she already understands far more than people might think. 👶🏼 🥰 (Always talk with children at a higher level than you think they understand.)

5-poetry. It is National Poetry Month, and I’ve made a point to post a poem a day on social media. Usually, I create a project of some sort…this year, it’s a postcard project, which serves multiple purposes: it puts poetry into the world, lifts someone’s spirits, and supports our USPS. Will you join me in a grassroots effort to help our postal service? Will you send an extra piece of mail out once a week? (You have power to change things…use it well.) 🌟✅🧚🏻

Stay strong and well, dear readers. The world is in the midst of upheaval, but we carry on with our heads up and eyes open to the gifts around us. They are our strength. Remember. ❤️🌟🌟🌟

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Lent: Second Week Stanzas// Thursday, March 21, 2019–WS Merwin Chimes in

And now

“Listen with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

We are running out of the glass rooms

With our mouths full of food to look at the sky

And say thank you

We are standing by the water thanking it

Standing by the window looking out

In our directions…”

I think WS Merwin would like having his poetry here on this first full day of spring. This stanza from his poem “Thanks”…and I echo his title.

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Lent: Stanzas for Second Week —Wednesday, March 20, 2019

In keeping with the week’s theme of one stanza (or a few lines) from a poet you may or may not know…today, I try to continue a thought train with this one–enjoy…and happy spring, dear readers.

Excerpt from ~ A Blessing for the Present Moment ~

“…May you open into a moment so present,

that your thoughts resonate light.

May you be awakened into the love breathed

through a moment as this one.

When you are reading the words before you,

may your breath rest easy.

May the entire timeline of your life

be to you a symphony of grace…”

Poet: Jenneth Graser

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Lent: Stanzas for Second Week (Monday 3/18/19)

This week, one stanza of poetry per day. Maybe I will add to the current poem, or perhaps choose another. I just thought of this, so who knows, right?

“In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.”

Poet : John O’Donohue

Poem excerpt from: For a New Beginning

From To Bless the Space Between Us


I hope you will give yourself a few minutes to read and reread the stanza. Settle into the words. Let them settle into you.

This, too, is a Lenten practice. Actually, that may not be true. Ha. But it’s my practice. A practice I find slows me, centers me, and shows me insights into my life.

I hope it brings something good to you, too.

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Lent: Tuesday 3/12/2019

Tonight, a poem and a flower. If it weren’t dark, I would bring in a branch for our table. Another goal. Soon. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll think of gifts of words and blooms. Both vehicles of creation…🌟🌟


You said, take a few dry

sticks, cut the ends slantwise

to let in water, stick them

in the old silver cup on the

dresser in the spare room and

wait for the touch of Easter.

But a cold wave protected the 

snow, and the sap’s pulse beat 

so low underground I felt no

answer in myself except silence.

You said, winter breaks out in

flowers for the faithful and

today when I opened the door

the dry stick spoke in little

yellow stars and I thought 

of you.

~James Hearst

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Sestina for Easter Season

I wrote this sestina during Holy Week, about the same time I assigned this form of poetry writing to a class of Comp 2 students.  

Their results and responses inspired me, and their struggles did as well. Someone would come to class and say, This is hard or I really had to think on this. One student told another: Man, don’t wait til the last minute. This thing takes some time.

So, I decided to experience again what I often ask my students to do. The attention to the form was a discipline. The words came though. And, as often happens in life and writing and art, a simple action spurs us on to a new creation. 

Easter Sestina:


Friday’s Five

We measure time in the strangest ways. Secret anniversaries. Milestones. Before this/after that. Eleven years ago today, my father-in-law passed away. We planted a cypress in his memory. It is enormous now. I can’t look at it without thinking Papaw,
and smiling inside. He lived. Something came after him and now lives to remind us.
Twelve weeks tomorrow my Sam has been gone. Gone, but only in body. Everywhere is filled with his memory. Thank God.

What would he say about this? I bet he’d laugh at that. Hmmm…he wouldn’t care for that.
An inner monologue. Running all the time…because people don’t really leave us completely. Thank God.

My list below of five good things from the week may seem trite or frivolous, or even strange and mysterious, but once you are where I am, you know different. Each effort is a victory. Each “something” — something to celebrate. Believe me.

Double pointed knitting needles and the promise of a new technique coming ~~

A yellow chair and a surprise hug in the aisle of Pier 1~~

Kohl’s coupon and a hug there, too…(guess my friends also like to shop)~~

Euro pillows …ok…Target & Bed/Bath/Beyond~~

Lamps that sparkle.~~

I know…

Seems to be a little retail therapy theme here. Well. That’s how it is this week and that is how it is. Period.

And #6, because I can’t write this list of good things and leave out the gift of Maya Angelou’s words to us. May she rest in peace and may we keep her words alive. Here is one of her pieces which I only recently discovered. A blessing:

My Lord, my Lord,
Long have I cried out to Thee
In the heat of the sun,
The cool of the moon,
My screams searched the heavens for Thee.
My God,
When my blanket was nothing but dew,
Rags and bones
Were all I owned,
I chanted Your name
Just like Job.

Father, Father,
My life give I gladly to Thee
Deep rivers ahead
High mountains above
My soul wants only Your love
But fears gather round like wolves in the dark.
Have You forgotten my name?
O Lord, come to Your child.
O Lord, forget me not.

You said to lean on Your arm
And I’m leaning
You said to trust in Your love
And I’m trusting
You said to call on Your name
And I’m calling
I’m stepping out on Your word.

You said You’d be my protection,
My only and glorious saviour,
My beautiful Rose of Sharon,
And I’m stepping out on Your word.
Joy, joy
Your word.
Joy, joy
The wonderful word of the Son of God.

You said that You would take me to glory
To sit down at the welcome table
Rejoice with my mother in heaven
And I’m stepping out on Your word.

Into the alleys
Into the byways
Into the streets
And the roads
And the highways
Past rumor mongers
And midnight ramblers
Past the liars and the cheaters and the gamblers.
On Your word
On Your word.
On the wonderful word of the Son of God.
I’m stepping out on Your word.

Peace, friends. Find your blessings…