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.


  1. I hadn't read that Carl Sandburg poem before -- wow. "Mingled in mute communions," "Strength and rest," "help and quiet," "the human bloodbank."
    I feel like I have all the feels every day. It's exhausting.

    1. I know you do--it makes you stand out. I'm often too busy thinking, apparently.

  2. Will definitely see STEP! "Making music with our bodies." (in the trailer) I love that. I also love the "Deep, oh deep" in this poem. Thanks, Heidi! xo

  3. I love the idea of spreading compassion through poetry--especially to our leaders. We are in much need of it these days.

  4. I did a bit of research and it seems that Sandburg wrote this and others in response to WWI. I wondered about that "poppy red" though the "poppy" didn't occur until a little later. It's deeply serious, Heidi, thorough in his horror to me. It is such a time to be aware and do all we can.

  5. Such a powerful poem. Pairs nicely with Linda Mitchell's post of Vermilion. We need to be steadfast in our pursuit of peace and compassion.

  6. Gosh, the power in these words. I'm on a long trip home to va where there is hate marching and I am exhausted from the feels. Thank you for introducing me to this poem.

  7. Wow! Such a perfect poem for this weekend. Peace over bad blood.

  8. Compassion is overdue. When Amy first posted the compassion poem on FB, I went looking through my file of poems clipped from the internet. The following, though short, and not about human-to-human contact, is all compassion. (And, if I'm not careful, it'll have me weeping in another minute.)

    by Ron Koertge

    No one would take her when Ruth passed.
    As the survivors assessed some antiques,
    I kept hearing, "She's old. Somebody
    should put her down."

    I picked her up instead. Every night I tell her
    about the fish who died for her, the ones
    in the cheerful aluminum cans.

    She lies on my chest to sleep, rising
    and falling, rising and falling like a rowboat
    fastened to a battered dock by a string.

  9. More than one read necessary to get all the shades of red.

  10. Well. I tried to comment early yesterday (Saturday), but couldn't for some reason. Rereading this today brings the resonance of this poem to a new, terrifying level.

  11. The human bloodbank--wow. Thanks for sharing this powerful poem.

  12. I haven't seen this Sandburg poem before. "Mingled in mute communions", wow. All the compassion reds, so different than other way of seeing red as the mean reds. Such a powerful poem about the connectedness of us all.

  13. More poignant as this weekend progresses -- "...blended into one likeness, mingled in mute communions." -- Christie @

  14. The human "BLOODBANK" calls for our compassion and action, thanks Heidi!

  15. Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now on


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!