Welcome Summer

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Last night I dreamed I was back in college, in that old apartment on Walnut Avenue. Clothes were strewn across my bedroom floor, draped across the bed, piled up in corners. One of my friends sat on my bed and I reclined next to him, asked about his wife, his new baby. I was the me I am now—this woman quickly approaching fifty—but my heart was young and carefree. As I looked in my friend’s eyes, I knew I was old, but I felt beautiful and hopeful, as if time had no power over me.

When I awakened, I puzzled over the contradiction the dream posed.

“Why would I dream such a thing?” I asked my husband as we carpooled to work this morning.

Then I remembered. Today is the first day of summer. The summer solstice happens when the tilt of the earth’s axis leans closest to the sun, and we enjoy the longest day of the year.

I suppose if I think about it, I would say my college years might represent the summer of my life. If summer represents freedom and possibility, a time of dreaming and discovery. But the beautiful thing about the dream was that even though I was in an earlier time, I was the same age I am now. And felt the full impact of my gathered years as beauty.

I’m sitting with that for a spell. Letting it trickle down inside of me and drench my young heart—that heart with eternity written into it. The dreaming is not done with me yet.

 

“lean in a little more, honey,” says
the sun, glowing. and the night
scatters as light is sown gently

in the morning, this dream awakens
words so strong they are heard
underwater; scent of crushed flowers

the wind as stiff as stone, ushers
a sudden rain and clouds drift soft
into velveteen

amidst the tumbling
songs of robins.

The Earth Opened Up (a poem) and A Winner!

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Have you ever noticed how reading poetry inspires writing poetry? That’s what Megan Willome‘s book The Joy of Poetry is doing for me. Did I mention I’m giving away an autographed copy of Megan’s book? (Winner announced after the poem). Here are some lines that came to me while out running this past weekend.

The Earth Opened Up Before Me

the earth opened up before me,
and I ran as in a dream, legs
alive apart from body,
breath morphed into a living
creature, skin baptized by
dew; the light of morning a
scrim of stars; my
thoughts a world within
a world, making space
inside for watching
the birth of light, an
initiation into the day

I am the reason
for all of this:
sky purpling on the horizon,
the way a single rain
drop divots on the sleeping lake
to announce the coming storm,
grass winking and yellowing
in the morning sun.
I am the reason.
and if I am,
so are you.

The winner of the autographed copy of The Joy of Poetry is … Lynn Morrissey!

The Joy of Poetry: Giveaway

MW-Joy-of-Poetry-Front-cover-350-highSince the start of the year the pace of life has eclipsed the slow savor of the moments. I’ve struggled to inhabit the swift-ticking revolution of the clock’s hands. This year will be remembered as a year of transition: the transition to working more hours at the hospital, to being a mother of a son off-to-school, to grieving the tapering of the writing life, to changes in this body-temple my spirit inhabits … . It’s enough to open my eyes each morning and show up for the next thing. I’m finding new ways to feed my heart in the midst of this rapid-cycling season.

One thing that slows me down? Poetry. Taking ten minutes to read a poem every day gives my soul a spirit-vitamin like nothing else.

“Poetry is a nookish sort of place,” Megan Willome says in her book The Joy of Poetry: How to Keep, Save & Make Your Life with Poems.

And it’s a nook I’ve found refuge in many times throughout these past months. Megan’s book is one I’ve been dipping into and savoring as I maneuver through this uncomfortable shift in my life. The Joy of Poetry is part memoir, part instruction manual—instructions for life and enjoying poetry.

“Poetry is my prescription for adversity,” Megan tells us, at one point in the book, as she shares bits of the story of walking with her mother through cancer and how poetry did, indeed, “save” her during that time. Megan has a gift for weaving in the perfect poem to illustrate her prose. She introduced me to many voices—some of the old tried and true poets, and some new—all aptly featured in the greater narrative.

“Good poetry reaches beyond biography to touch a reader or to talk about greater things,” she says, and then proceeds to give us poems that do just that. (You’ll even find one by yours truly in her treasury).

If you’ve ever felt the nudge to learn more about poetry, or are just looking for a good book to feed your soul, may I recommend The Joy of Poetry? I love it so much I’m giving away one copy. All you need do is leave a comment on this post to be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy sent directly to you from the author herself. If you post about this giveaway on social media, make sure to mention this in your comment and you’ll get one extra entry for each outlet on which you share.

Afternoon Run: a poem

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I saw the wind blow
a thousand petals
from a tree; beauty,
wrenched and scattered,
like velvety kisses
tossed from on high,
stolen to give away

each branchy finger
released its grip,
bending with the wind
and reaching with
uncurled hands for
what the thief had stolen
before returning to
standing tall

IMG_8262Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win some great books!

 

Black Crow (For Jeffrey on His Seventeenth Birthday)

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“You’ll never be sixteen
again,” I said, words misting
like white doves in the air.

I don’t remember
what the weather was like
on the day you were born.
this morning, it snows—
tiny, frail flakes, drifting

I drive away, you still
sleeping

it’s hard to know when
a boy becomes a man,
switching out smooth stones
in his pocket for car keys.
you used to leave the kitchen
table smelling of syrup and
milk; now you enter the day
clean-shaven, all soap
and mint

what do you remember
of the days gone? Do you
recall when a maple seed
held all the world in its
wingspan? when a pine
cone was the grandest prize?
a flat of frozen creek, hoisted
your victory dance? the
trophies you seek now
I can’t hold in my hand.

one black crow in the parking
lot when I arrive. he pushes down
on the air with wings longer
than his body, languid in his
escape.

“where will you go?”
I ask with my white-bird
words.

Image by Dennis. Sourced via Flickr.