Friday, December 30, 2022

resurfacing; boxes

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends.  I'm on Day 5 of a COVID infection that I had hoped magically to escape forever, and although I have felt pretty crappy, honestly what feels worst is no longer being able to say, "Unbelievably I've never had it!"  Guess what, guys: I'm not special.😝 But today my head feels more normal, anyway.

I'm also on Day 10 in the new house and thus surrounded by boxes we didn't get to unpacking before illness struck.  As Mary Lee demonstrates so richly in her post, "Box is such a rich topic."  Indeed the Inklings addressed it back in 2019, and that post harks back to previous boxy posts--yet that does not stop me from going around again, because RICH.

So let's see if I can wake up my poetry heart again, which has been on hiatus, and take on the Carroll square form too.


How Much Is Too Much?

We fit it all into boxes,
fit more boxes than we need.
It boxes us in ever, more
all than in wisdom we'd allow,
into--we ever-- we'd never not!
Boxes, need more! Allow, not refuse!

old house: the moment at which my best intentions gave way
Oh my heavens, what a mess that poem is--a mess that perfectly captures the efforts I made to be organized and circumspect about reducing our STUFF down to neatly packed and labeled boxes of Not Too Much!  It started out great, but as the days passed and our Decision and Discernment muscles fatigued, it became harder to leave things behind...and now I'm surrounded by stuff that never should have come, and which I'll be unpacking directly from moving boxes into giveaway boxes. *sighhhhh*  

I do like how the poem's lines grow longer as resolve weakens, as it becomes harder to determine what's essential, what's sensible. And huzzah for the power of punctuation, right?

Thanks to the #PoetryPals/Poetry Sisters for sharing their December challenge, and thanks to Patricia for hosting us this last Poetry Friday of the year at her blog.  I agree about the blessings, and wish you all the brightest of New Year beginnings!

Friday, December 16, 2022

the three Rs


It's Climate Friday here at my juicy little universe, and at my house we are deep in the throes of packing to move into a very different set of spaces. The moving van comes on December 20! 

The process is challenging: this is not a matter of picking up what we have and setting it down again 🎵 as it was ; instead, each room, each function, each priority of our new (mostly) empty-nested and self-employed lives must be rethought and reimagined.  And each of these tangles must be solved with a recommitment to The Whole Point: to land more lightly on the planet.

Some of that is accomplished by the simple location of the new place: with deep pleasure the other evening, I left our leafy neighborhood street on foot, crossed into the blinking, gritty urban downtown, arrived at the Sherwin Williams paint store to pick up sample quarts, and was back at home within 30 minutes. On foot! Along the way I could have had many haircuts or manicures, eaten many Ethiopian or Caribbean meals, visited art galleries or makerspaces, and caught a fleet of buses to anywhere, including a Greyhound.

The three Rs used to be Readin', wRitin' and aRithmetic--always a kind of misconception of learning, a kind of fib. Currently you'll hear in schools and all over the place that  we should Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, which remains true but perhaps doesn't go far enough. I know that not everyone has the luxury of upping and wholesale moving to reach their climate rescue goals, but what if we made a habit of thinking bigger?  What if the Three Rs were Rethink, Reimagine, Recommit?

Every small way of life is an opportunity to recommit to the goal, to rethink and reimagine what we use and how.  I suffered a paroxysm of guilt the other day when I began to excavate my fabric stash, which has continued to accumulate since 2007 (because I LOVED those pajamas that skirt those pants even if I couldn't wear them anymore), which is the last time I did any actual quilting. Then this past week, preparing an eco-holiday lesson for Sunday school, I (re)discovered the concept of  furoshiki.

Reimagining the uses of my beloved fabrics has allowed me to let go of just about all the accumulated paper gift wrapping materials stored in another part of the house (no more tape, no more ribbon!), and to know that with a pair of pinking shears I can repurpose my fabrics and use them again and again--and they are STILL available for quilting if I get around to that again.
Again: small things reimagined as we pack and plan for our smaller space--with breaks for World Cup soccer matches, of course!  Here's an article to help us practice Rethinking, Reimagining and Recommitting about a much BIGGER THING: the entire World Cup.
And now, because this is a poetry blog, a poem from Ada Limón, about hoping, allowing, helping the world to come back... but "you know it's not the same as it was."


Easy light storms in through the window, soft
            edges of the world, smudged by mist, a squirrel’s 

            nest rigged high in the maple. I’ve got a bone 
to pick with whomever is in charge. All year, 

I’ve said, You know what’s funny? and then,
            Nothing, nothing is funny. Which makes me laugh

            in an oblivion-is-coming sort of way. A friend
writes the word lover in a note and I am strangely

excited for the word lover to come back. Come back
            lover, come back to the five and dime. I could 

            squeal with the idea of blissful release, oh lover,
what a word, what a world, this gray waiting. In me,

a need to nestle deep into the safe-keeping of sky.
            I am too used to nostalgia now, a sweet escape

            of age. Centuries of pleasure before us and after
us, still right now, a softness like the worn fabric of a nightshirt

and what I do not say is, I trust the world to come back.
            Return like a word, long forgotten and maligned 

            for all its gross tenderness, a joke told in a sun beam,
the world walking in, ready to be ravaged, open for business.

Karen at her Shocking Clever Blog is our host today.  May you all enjoy a December of merry and bright, bringing all your Rs to bear with pleasure!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

whatever you want to know

Greetings on this first day of December!  The Inklings are kicking the month off with a challenge from Molly, who was "enchanted with Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s recent Poetry Friday post: “Answer an Unasked Question.” She invited readers to Think of something someone might wonder, real or pretend…and then write a poem answering this question. I’m passing along her invitation, one which I think has broad possibilities. Here’s the link so you can read her mentor poem, “Answer”."

 As always, Amy's poem was for a child audience, and I'll get there too...but on the first pass I've ended up with something half-as*ed and half-answered, for adults:


 But Amy's poem really is--it is her gift--charming and immediate and real, everything opposite the slippery speechification of us adults, and so I will go on and use it as a mentor poem.  Thanks, Amy, and thanks, Molly!





I know you didn't ask directly, but here's where you can see the other Inklings' answers...

Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

Our host today is none other than Inkling Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.  Do check in with her  for her unasked question poem, and with all our poetry pals, each one guaranteed to brighten your darkening, shortening days if not to answer all your questions!