Friday, February 22, 2019

paul b. janeczko 1945-2019

      for PBJ

Hey, You!
you set our
Worlds Afire
Poetry from A to Z

you built us a
Brickyard Summer
of Firefly Julys
on That Sweet Diamond

you gave us
A Poke in the I
A Kick in the Head

you put a
A Foot in the Mouth
of our speaking

you showed us
Birds on a Wire
looking up, looking down 
Seeing the Blue Between
Dirty Laundry Piles

meeting you in various
Stardust otels
thronged by starstruck poetry
Wing Nuts,
I would Feel a Little Jumpy Around You
Blushing with admiration, wishing we were 
Very Best (almost) Friends

you were a
Home on the Range
you are still the
Place My Words Are Looking For

but now
The Death of the Hat
feels like sitting on a cold
Stone Bench in an Empty Park

a spine poem ©HM 2019


The round-up today is hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.  May it be a joyful wake of poets!

Friday, February 15, 2019


You know how sometimes someone misspeaks and it's like a whole new world has opened up?

how they came to be

that word never uttered your lips
it was a
gut feeling that uttered your lips
into soft pink being, sound free
your lips were they sputtered
into speech by a gullet full of
swallowed beach
certain now
surely your lips were spoken in
guttural groans and croaks
mayhap your
lips were buttered, basted, pursed
and popped from bubbles of spit
worried that your lips were
flurried up chapped and hushed by
winter slush
say it now
that word ever uttered your lips

 draft ©HM 2019

 Happy Valentine's Lips Day. The round-up is over at Check It Out with Jone today where there will be much Cybilant rejoicing from many lips!

Friday, February 8, 2019

an exciting announcement

I've known for about a month now about this new opportunity, but this week I received my first official communication as a member of the...  

NCTE Children's Poetry Awards Committee!

Our charge is
  • To recommend on a regular basis (every two years beginning in 2009) the name of a living American poet or anthologist to the NCTE Executive Committee to receive the NCTE Children's Poetry Award in recognition of his or her aggregate work.
  • To establish an annual list of Notable Poetry Books published in the current year by any poet, living or deceased, and of any nationality.
  • To establish an annual list of Notable Verse Novels published in the current year by any poet, living or deceased, and of any nationality.
  • To sustain a collection of poetry books of past and future award winners in the University of Minnesota, Kerlan Collection.
  • To recognize and foster excellence in children’s poetry by encouraging its publication.
  • To explore ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry through such means as publications, programs, and displays.
I'll be joining a group of seven good folks who share these responsibilities and as you can imagine, I'm thrilled to be of service in this way and looking forward to  reading 75-100 books of poetry and novels in verse each year!

And now, an InstadraftTM of a sharing moment that occurred unexpectedly on Tuesday at the end of the day.  

My Tradition

is my tradition because I'm the only one!
The only one in my family 
born in China.
My mom and dad (can I tell their real names?)
were born in Texas; my sister too.
My brother was also born in the United States
(is New Mexico part of the United States?
in New Mexico. But I was born in China,
and I should tell you 
I'm adopted.

That's when your parents can't 
take care of you, and I went to an orphanage.
It's not sad, because three years later--
THREE YEARS--that's where 
my family found me and brought me home. 

So, Chinese New Year Is MY tradition.
We'll eat Chinese food
and maybe have some decorations 
and watch the parade in China 
with the dragon dance.
My favorite part is eating with chopsticks. 
Happy Year of the Pig!

©HM 2019                              

The round-up today is brought to us by Laura at Writing the World for Kids, I think.....parade on over and see what's happening!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

ODT #5 a curtain of bliss

Another in my growing collection of poems about the truth.  The rising water threatens to wash everything away.  I miss my blindfold.

A Rhinoceros at the Prague Zoo | Phillis Levin

While ducks and swans paddled placidly on the Vltava’s rushing
waters, penguins, storks and gorillas were evacuated from the Prague
Zoo, and a crane was used to lift two rhinoceros to high ground. But
one turned violent and had to be killed, and keepers had to shoot a
35-year-old Indian elephant named Kadir as water rose to his ears
and he refused to move to high ground. 

–The New York Times, August 14, 2002

A blindfolded rhinoceros
is being lifted
out of the water.
It is important he doesn’t see
what is going on.

Please pass it on:

please pass along
his blindfold
so we can be lifted, too.

Take us slowly from the flood,
the rising water
that threatens to wash
everything away.

The world keeps unraveling,
the riverbank
the blood flowing,

and the rhinoceros
had better keep
that blindfold on

because he is dangerous
if he sees what is dangerous.

Unlike a unicorn,
he is heavy and
clumsy and dumb.

He will crush someone
with his fear,
he will tear us apart
if he panics.

Raise him
lower him
into a meadow
of cool waters.

Then pass along
the blindfold
so we can be lifted, too.

Raise us
out of the muck
onto a bed of grass,

pass the bright bandana
covering his eyes,
a blanket
of surrender,
a curtain of bliss:

a checkered napkin
taken from a tavern

or a chessboard
from above.

Thanks to Tabatha for finding that, and to Linda for finding this:

"What though our eyes with tears be wet?
The sunrise never failed us yet."

Friday, February 1, 2019

ODT #4 building services

People are helping me to collect poems that come at my One Difficult Truth for 2019 All Time in different ways.  Steve Peterson, aka @insidethedog, found this one for me...

The Illuminist | Jane Hirshfield

Even in his glass cabin you can see
the man driving the snowplow
is whistling, happy. He races
one road, then the next, moving new snow.
A monk patiently hammering gold-leaf,
before him the world grows pliably, steadily brighter.
And if more will fall again tonight,
no matter.
He will put on his hat, his gloves,
and make again order.
All day the plow’s sound rises,
a pre-Gregorian chanting singing its singer.
Gold of winter sun grows thinner and thinner.
he can lay it right with the little plow.
The scriptorium darkens over white vellum.
His puttering ink-stroke, lengthening,

And if it's my job to translate some of these expressions of paradox, of  bitter/gorgeous-messy/miraculous- tedious/tantalizing, into versions for my young poetry fans, here's how this one might go.

Building Services | after Jane Hirshfield

Even louder than his growling you can hear
the man mopping the floors
is driven, determined.  Mr. B polishes
one hallway, then the next, moving the day's dirt.
Ms. P patiently herds hands placing tiles;
before us the wall grows tesselated, steadily sparkled.
And if more mud will ride in again tomorrow
on our shoes, no matter.
He will fill up his bucket, add soap
and make again order.
All day the polisher's sound rises,
the circular pad throatily spinning its song.
 Flicker of mosaic tree grows broader and brighter.
Now, for a minute,
he can mark it off with yellow CAUTION signs.
The skylight darkens over white cement-board.
 Our glittering glass-field, spreading,
         ©Heidi Mordhorst 2019

 The round-up today is hosted by dear Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference, where--oy!--she is as full of surprises and serendipities as ever.  See you there.