Thursday, August 31, 2017


NOT my house

Usually in news reports when folks are "devastated" it's hyperbole, as in "When Man U beat us in the 90th minute we were devastated," but this is different.  Friends, the devastation in Houston and surroundings is unspeakable. I can't even imagine it, although my anguish at losing a box of keepsakes to a tiny basement leak is still with me.  And because I can't imagine the vastness, I'm applying that feeling in another arena. 

What follows is metaphor, and not intended at all to make light of the real tragedy of #Harvey.


“We have a Houston problem,”
said my young daughter long ago,
but this poem is about a hurricane
with a boy's name.

It’s been brewing off the coast,
and now we have days
when it just keeps raining and raining--
no more tearing winds--
just the storm stalled and the water
pouring down and welling up
full of copperheads and alligators
and it’s so muddy
you can’t tell what’s about to bite,

welling and laking and bayouing
into the basement
where we keep our scrapbooks—
sodden, lost—
into the first floor
where we boil our pots
and feed our beasts—
washed away—
up to the second floor
where we make beds full of
drowned dreams.

Someone’s always evacuating.
One of us takes next to nothing,
knows it doesn’t matter.
One of us can barely swim
under the burdens of everything
she’s trying to rescue.
One sets sail on a seesaw.

The library seems a likely shelter,
but the books with titles like
“How to Rise Above It”
have sunk unreadable into
the beloved sediment
of hurricane, tropical storm,
topical depression.

Houston, we have a problem,
and duct tape will not be enough.

draft (c) HM 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

more swappiness

A welcome to Poetry Friday here
I'm pressed for time today:  guests and a birthday celebration this weekend, plus the last of my summer break and the last of packing for college, and Daisy is enforcing a VERY gentle pace on that.

So all I'll do this morning is share the glorious gifts of my most recent two Summer Poetry Swappers so all can appreciate them along with me.  I won't have time to get around and comment, I think, so feel free to glance and go.  : )

Brenda Davis Harsham sent a small but special treasure, this handpainted haiku:

 I adore the "clamshell clouds" so much that would have been poem enough, but then the golden seagull footprints and the taunting waves give us the down and out perspectives to go with the up!  Fancy making time to paint--thanks, Brenda!

From Buffy Silverman I received a poem custom-written for me.  Little does she know (or maybe she that I worked with an ESOL teacher this past year to establish the Early Bird Garden Club at my school, a free weekly morning club that involved about 40 1st and 2nd graders in building and planting a wee vegetable garden in a disused courtyard.  I've been visiting it regularly this summer to keep it watered and tended, so Buffy's poem is almost excruciatingly fitting.  And look at that photo!

I'm a lucky person to receive this goodness, and it ain't over yet!  That's right, there's one more swap and five days of summer break left for me.

Enjoy the other offerings over at A Journey Through the Pages with Kay McGriff, a first-time host.  Thanks, Kay!

Friday, August 11, 2017


Thanks to Steve Peterson (@insidethedog) and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, some of us got started hunting poems of compassion to share with our elected leaders--in an effort to resist authoritarianism through empathy.  Check out #compassionpoem on Twitter and search on Facebook.  Don't miss the one Jeannine Atkins shared, by Ellen Bass!  Another good empathy exercise would be to go see the movie Step, about black high school girls in Baltimore on their way to college.  As my companion at the theater said last night as it ended:  "I've got all the feels now."  We need to practice having all the feels, especially if we're getting fatigued.

I was browsing a Carl Sandburg collection that appeared in my Little Free Library last night and found this, from 1955. It's really called "Psalm of the Bloodbank" and  I send it out towards Charlottesville this weekend...

The round-up this week is with Margaret at Reflections on the Teche, who is celebrating her birthday along with Julieanne and Linda!  Step on over and make some music with your words.

Friday, August 4, 2017

grab your summer poem swap!

A welcome to Poetry Friday here
Wow.  It goes without saying that this Poetry Friday community is a community of creatives, but my fellow Summer Poem Swappers keep exceeding my expectations!  Go here and scroll down to see Tabatha's genius idea explained.

From Linda Baie I received a very full package:  the poem you see below, a repurposed Altoids tin full of the best gifts in the world--WORDS--and a bag of genuine Captiva Island sand complete with  beach treasures. 

Just look at Linda's lovely poetry invitation, customized with little references to details Linda has noticed about little ol' me!  

It was all fabulous, but the collection of words clipped from magazines--"A box of words hums your name"--was instantly put to use.  I've been having some trouble accounting for my time this summer (which is part of the point of a summer break, right?), but I know that a lot of it that week was spent playing happily with my box of words. The "monster box" poem is just one of the many permutations I've explored.

Fun, right?  Thank you, Linda--I look forward to more playtime...

In other news, I have a question for the PF Hivemind.  I'm sure many of us are aware of the classic Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill, but how familiar is anyone with another similar collection of hers called Take a Number?  Long out of print, it is rather fantastic, and seems to do rather exactly what I've been trying to do with my math poetry collection.  This could be very good or very bad....  Let me know in the comments.

Today's round-up is hosted by Donna at Mainely Write--go grab some more summer poetry memories!