agnestirrito

"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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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:


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/12/17 (Wednesday)

Holy Week.

Today I marvel at the people I encountered.

Book lovers like me at a local college event. Take all the books you want. Help us out here. My kind of place! I loaded up on books that I’ll have fun repurposing into art journals. I found some good reads in the stacks as well. And it was so beautiful this morning…a perfect temperature and light breeze among the trees as readers like myself took our time browsing.

A knitting friend I’ve known for about three years. We meet weekly at s local  yarn shop to laugh and create and enjoy our retired moments of freedom to do things we like. The shop owners have adjusted their summer hours, but they kept our time open. I’m pretty sure  they did that for us. 🙂 

A teacher friend I’ve known for several years. We are both teaching night classes at the same college, and we generally get to visit for a few minutes before class. She watched my latest grand baby video. I got to see some family pictures of her dad and a special gift he made for her recently. We both recognize the preciousness of shared moments like this: moments we celebrate the happinesses of life with others.

My W night college Comp  class. They were full of energy and conversation tonight. It is fulfilling to see 22 adults from all walks of life interact and laugh and learn together. I always leave smiling.

The pizza maker. Thanks for that pick up window ready-to-go dinner. 

Ordinary encounters with everyday people. Strangers and familiar folks come in and out of our lives every day. 

Beautiful beings. We get to be part of that network of humanity. We get to choose to be beautiful. What a gift. 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/7/17 (Friday’s Five)

Today, five good things from the past week. Gifts my eyes witnessed:

1) red clover blooming along the  highway; there is something about it that always makes me smile. Sure sign of springtime.

2) a moss-green wool cardigan I bought on a trip to Amsterdam several seasons back. It was almost cool enough to wear it today, so I put it on…and I could almost feel cobblestones under my feet and see the canals…hear the bells of bicycles…objects hold memory.

3) a concrete pig outside a “new to me” yarn shop; when the clerk greeted me, she said the sheep’s name was Agnes, too. Agnes Pearl or Agnes Purl. Well, hello.


4) fibers and stitches; I’ve been spending more time creating lately, and it is satisfying to pull thread stitches through paper, sew fabric books, sketch plans for new projects. There have been days (months) when I just could not create. So when I can, I see it as a tremendous gift. 

5) faces of friends; I saw several this week and each time I’m reminded of how blessed I am to know so many good, truly good people. 

I hope you will look back over the past few days and find countless reasons to give thanks, too. God greets us in so many ways. But that sheep…that’s a new way. 😜😜


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/21/17 (Tuesday)

I hope you’re keeping some kind of record.”–Leonard Cohen

I am a collector of quotations. Unfortunately, I have not collected them in one place. Instead they are torn from magazines, underlined in books I’ve kept, jotted down on random slips of paper I run across from time to time. 

This Lent, though, I feel a calling to gather. Gather words and sentiments of my own as well as those of others who speak to my heart. 

I’m opening my eyes once again to the reality that life is fleeting. If we are called to keep a record, let’s do it. 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/20/2017 (Monday)

Here we are, already celebrating the first day of spring–as well as the International Day of Happiness. Those are two good things to think about during the next few hours. 

The birds are cooperating with a sweet serenade this morning. I have a few windows open and a light breeze is wafting through my little house.

We have no electricity  at the moment because linemen are setting some new poles nearby, but they were considerate enough to come tell me this would be happening. So–electronics are charged, a pot of coffee is made and staying hot in a carafe. Little happinesses.

Today I’m planning to open my eyes to the beauty of springtime, this season of renewal God sends. I may watch birds a little longer, look at flowers a little more consciously. I’ll likely think about little ways to mark another season’s entrance. And, in the spirit of the International Day of Happiness, I think I’ll start a list:

Maybe you’ll join me. 

Think about all of the reasons you have cause to be happy. Think about what you can do to help others find joy in their lives. 

Read and repeat. 😊


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Open Your Eyes: A Journey /3/17/17/ Friday’s Five

Flea market finds–today, a lovely marking of St. Patrick’s Day–running across this beautiful piece.


I wonder about the maker. Time spent. Where it was displayed. I’m glad it’s home with me. 🍀 

Fresh haircuts  and a hairdresser who knows what to do when you sit down. There is a lot of trust in that. And one less thing to think about. 
A hot cup of good coffee. Any hour of the day. 

The man who works in the fabric dept of Hobby Lobby. He listens and understands the value of the making. He has the sweetest spirit that stays with me long after I’ve  left. 

Red geraniums. I know. They show up on my list a lot. I bought a couple more today. I think this is the year they get to have a place outside  AND in here. I’m thinking an art studio windowsill is calling their name. 

Open your eyes to the little ordinary things that make life grand. May your lists be endless! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/16/17 (Thursday)

Where was He today with you?

For me, He was in the morning quiet when I sat in bed, coffee in hand, journaling my thoughts.

He was in the low coo of the doves that have taken up residence in the backyard brush.

He was in the belly giggles of my second grandchild and the block building masterpieces  of my first. Pay attention He whispers. Remember to laugh and listen and make and be.

Open Your Eyes to the simple beauty of the day.