Friday, May 3, 2024

a miracle exchange

May starts off with an exchange-and-respond challenge from Linda Mitchell: each of us sent off a poem to another Inkling and received a poem from another Inkling. Then, we were tasked to “Fiddle with, play with, tinker, tear-apart, be inspired or stumped by the poem.” By chance, Mary Lee and I sent poems to each other.

She sent hers first--a golden shovel with a striking line from Jane Hirschfield's “‘It is night. It is very dark.’ " I sent her a golden shovel in return, with a Mary Oliver striking line. Mary Lee's poem left me speechless and kind of reeling with the feeling that I'd witnessed a miracle.

To begin every day with questions

is like leaving the house without an umbrella and

choosing to ignore the dark clouds. Answers

might speckle our glasses and plaster our hair, but are

not usually delivered by lightning, not

any more dangerous than the

bone-chilling business

of walking around the park, our hands free of

holding, free of grasping, simply open to the rain.

I got to thinking about how similarly the two of us do poetry, how helpful we are to each other with critique, how our tastes overlap and enrich each other's work (and that's before considering how alike we are as teachers, despite preferring opposite ends of the elementary age range). I thought about how suprising it is that two people who, without the internet and Poetry Friday would never have met, could end up so connected. I decided to combine our two striking lines and see what would happen. Here's the outcome.

Yep, a very fun challenge! Thanks, Linda, and thank you to my friend Mary Lee.

Here’s how the other Inklings met the exchange challenge:
Linda @A Word Edgewise
Catherine @Reading to the Core
Mary Lee @A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly @Nix the Comfort Zone
Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

Thanks to Buffy Silverman for rounding us up this week!


  1. oooooh! I am jumping up and down (in my head--the rest of my house is asleep) at the beauty of your poem. I just came from Mary Lee's blog and her response to YOUR poem is equal in it's tenderness and beauty and message. You two are a good poeming match for sure. "You catch my handful of rain, stitch it into an umbrella, and return it to me as a canopy of light." it's just gorgeous and more gorgeous when I read it again. I love what this challenge has brought out of us.

  2. I'm going to save both of these beauties. Linda really picked a fruitful prompt!

  3. I am literally crying.
    Thank you, Friend.
    Thank you Universe for the unlikely miracle of friendships forged through wires and words.

  4. Wow! Watching you two work together is like watching two people knit from the same yarn and come up with two similar yet uniquely beautiful sweaters!

  5. Love how you connected your two strike lines as the two of you have become connected. And the needle/fabric/stitching are lovely tributes to Mary Lee.

  6. Knowing both of you and having spent such a special time in your company this past fall, I felt this friendship and connected to it with my own needle in a haystack all the way from Louisiana, the "Boonies". You have made a miracle of these lines. So special!

  7. Considering how open each of you is to sharing your words and your ups and downs, I'm not surprised to read such beauty shared, Heidi. The gift of creating for one another feels very joyful! It is amazing to have "met" so many through the air!

  8. Oh, what a beauty to witness this interaction between you and Mary Lee through this special Inkling poetry "assignment" from Linda. The double golden shovel seems a perfect format for this poem. Those last lines, no wonder Mary Lee was crying. "You catch my handful of / rain, stitch it into an umbrella, and return it to me as a canopy of light" Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Wow! Just wow! Both of these poems are just stunning, and the relationship between the two of them, and the two of you, is amazing! Like alchemy or something! I love how you threaded your lines together and your history as well. That final line is gorgeous and brilliant!

  10. I am filled with awe at the beauty of these lines, the miracle of your connection and gratitude to be a part of the digital threads that weave our little community together. Here's to continuing to create a "canopy of light" for one another.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!