portrait of a morning

credit – jim hester

Although today is sunny, bright and breezy – even coolish with essentially no humidity – I am sharing a poem written yesterday during the Poetry Marathon. As you’ll see from the certificate, I signed up for and duly completed the Half Marathon. Twelve poems in 12 hours. I think the 24-hour version must be utterly grueling, because I’ll admit, there were hours (a new prompt is posted every hour on the hour and you create/post your response within that hour) – well, two or three – when I didn’t feel tired so much as devoid of words. And yet, there are 12 entries on my page!

The prompt for this poem was to write a four-stanza poem, using a line from the first in each of the others. For starters, it was great fun to see how people interpreted this prompt differently. As for my own experience, I loved the challenge of the structure to bring the poem full circle – and have it make sense!

The slow drizzle of gray-turned-rain
laps gently on the canvas covered deck
tapping its own rhythm to the quiet continuo
of Corinthian chimes muting the wind

the slow drizzle of gray-turned-rain
sliding off branch and rail, soaking
the thirsty ground as yellow finches
and the occasional hummer in search of food

lap gently on the canvas covered deck,
the day’s rhythms of hunger and its filing
marking the passage of hours, staging
the shape of a day. Downhill the new house rises

tapping its own rhythm to the quiet continuo
of our life here, its shape and pace
undisturbed by change, though
change unfolds all around us.


the word for it

credit - galleryhip

credit – galleryhip

So THIS is the how you spell retirement – the word for what I do with my days. It is writing, yes. Writing to question, if not exactly with intent. Writing to explore, if not quite to declare. Writing to learn, and perhaps to share.

I continue to find that the writing I do in a group and with limited time forces out something that simply does not appear on its own. So with gratitude for my groups inside prison and for my groups outside in the world, I post this Sunday’s musing  – the only possible word for it.


In the grandiose silence of snow
woven around the waist of my universe
I disappear into its generous pocket

nesting where I may letter and draw
clouds of my own making, punctuate
the blankness of winter light.

This is what I do not do, but would, if . .
I could believe my words held merit
beyond the fiery walls that warm me; if

I could grab hold of something outside myself
to speak the words I know to be true
believing them to be of use to another; if 

I held conviction in my heart as strong
as my need to use words in service
to create, to challenge, to change.

The word for what I do, then, would be
courage – courage to reach deep
into my heart and pull up the truths

that hibernate yearlong in silence,
rousing them to revolt, reveal
and revel in the life given me.

The words would unravel
what is tightly wound around
waist and heart, bask in the light

that travels me through each day,
light that speaks the truth
of its own religion.


*inspired by lines from two Billy Collins’ poems,
‘Snowy Day’ and ‘Shoveling Snow with Buddha’


autumn twilight

leaves turning red

i took this one!

I remain obsessed with my understanding of something I recently read explaining the annual display of leaf-changing color so familiar to New Englanders. Essentially, it is this: that leaves do not change color so much as reveal the inherent color masked the rest of the season by the daily process of photosynthesis. The production of chlorophyll hides those colors all season until cold and weaker sunlight slow the process down. At which point what has lain beneath all along is gradually revealed!

True or not, it has inspired me numerous times this fall. In the spirit of this understanding, I offer the following Sunday mediation and accompanying photograph:

I am in
my twilight season
my green leaves
fading with autumn’s
cold baring inner
intrinsic color. Maturity
and girlishness entwined
at long last
settling without judgment.
I am whole
in this season
of fully inhabiting
my own being.


saved by daylight

Twice a year we go through this matter of daylight savings time change. Confusing enough to move through the seasons and keep the old biological clock ticking onward. Although it goes against the grain (I being indelibly and unshakably bound to nature’s seasons), perhaps the way for a staunch New Englander to be saved by daylight is to wake each morning to a dawn simulator. Seriously. I’m considering looking into it.

Because moving to California is not an option. Yes, I need the sunlight. I also need the seasons, the brisk snappy chill on winter cheeks that eventually drives me indoors to hot cocoa and a bone-warming fire. The first hint of spring emerging through sweet-scented dirt, the joy of visiting old friends and finding new volunteers in the garden. The lazy summer days that suggest sand, waves and a refreshing evening breeze. The raucous blaze of a lingering autumn in its multiple shades from coral to burnt umber.

Yes, I am saved by daylight, daily.

I need light
follow light, am
nurtured by light;
cat like, move
into each patch
as it shifts
through the day,
anticipate each spot
claimed a moment
to lift spirit,
set it free.