Poetry helps me find “the place beyond words.” We poets use words to point ourself and others toward those ineffable places. When this water of 'being' is running through me, I write for the joy of participating and the hope of learning something new. If my words then touch others I am rewarded a second time.
A poem from my chapbook The Moth Eaten World. Written in 2008, this poem seemed appropriate today after writing about Luck and Fortune. I realize how far I’ve come from this painful place, but I also recognize that writing this allowed me to keep moving spiritually to a more true place for myself. Please excuse the formatting, there shouldn’t be spaces between the couplet lines.
after Robert Hass
I left God in her Temple when you got sick.
Foolish to utter that name, like lassoing clouds
wandering an indigo arc.
I praise instead sunflowers’ beneficent heads
their Fibonacci faces divining light, sing hymns
of beans, corn and all dirt shrouded
tubers begging us bend
as we sow, witness the parlay of earth-
worms, their castings, our gold.
I rant prayers to righteous communities of bees,
their fierce loyalty spinning alchemies day and night.
On the wild shore, where the sea breaks its back,
between foam and spray I walk splintered
like an armless starfish, waiting: for the turn
of tide, a waxing breath, my place among
the minyan of slack-jawed facing slack water.
I was trolling the internet a month or so ago when I discovered that I’d had a poem published and I didn’t know it. It is in a journal called Ars Medica that used to be in print format but is now online only. I kept waiting to receive the print one and didn’t realize it would never come until I saw this and contacted the editor.
This poem is in response to interviewing a couple of moms who have sons with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. But for anyone whose child suffers a rare illness for which there is a gene mutation, I think you can relate. And for those with healthy children, I hope it provides a different perspective..
This could be the anthem for the entire session of Teens Writing from the Heart of Illness & Healing.
This is the cover of the anthology of the teen’s writings. After 8 weeks of reading and writing prompts in which a diverse group of students gradually opened up about the health issues they deal with, through their writing, we gathered them into this final version. They were a reticent group to begin with, or perhaps, just more reserved overall than the previous two groups, and they came from the eastside of Lake Washington, Beacon Hill and the central area in Seattle.
The poem from which the title was taken was written by a senior in high school. It was actually the last thing she wrote, written surprisingly quickly from a prompt on the second to last session that my co-teacher, Aaron Counts provided. The prompt started as a way to get them to write a brief biography of themselves in 24 words. In each successive version they had to reduce the “biography” by half, eventually whittling it down to one word. Then, they were to take that one word and write a poem from it. Falling is the name of the poem and I am including it (but not the author’s name) here.
Falling into a dark hole.
Someone catch me,
don’t let me fall.
Catching myself fast
to try and land on my feet.
Maybe falling feels better,
not knowing where I’m going
Fear, discomfort, curiosity, darkness.
I’m done falling, I landed on my feet.
I made it, but I’m not done,
I never am.
For a copy of this anthology or any of the other two, please let me know. I am especially happy to get them into the hands of anyone working with chronically ill kids in any setting..