Saturday, October 01, 2005

Violet - a new poem

This is a "mimic" poem on Denise Levertov's "Stepping Westward". Apologies in advance to Denise Levertov fans. ;-) - Amy

Violet

What is violet in me
Deepens, amethyst.
All is royalty
passion, sensuality.
To be a wild woman,
Of freedom, of fantasies,
And love.
Stroking skin,
Crushed velvet
Soft and supple.

Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds has long been one of my favorite poets. You can find links to her poems and biographical info. on my old website, but since she's one of my favorite poets I thought I should devote one blog entry just to her. My favorite poems of Olds (right now anyway), are The Clasp, and "Bathing the newborn".

I read about her again recently, when she declined an invitation to the White House from Laura Bush. Here's an article with the letter from Olds. You can read more on my opinion on this at my blog. Needless to say this act of protest made me respect Sharon Olds even more!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

So what IS it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?

This page is from the Social Venture Network, and it is what they call their Portrait Project. It is a page of their members, each responding to the question posed by Mary Oliver, part of which it the title of this blog. "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?".

I love the idea of posing this to people and presenting their answers publically.
I invite anyone who stumbles upon this blog to do the same. Leave a reply in which you answer the question. I'll do the same.

Blessings,
Amy

Monday, September 05, 2005

VG: Voices from the Gaps

I have loved the website "Voices from the Gap" for many years. Now, VG: Voices from the Gaps has been totally revamped and improved. It has become an even more vibrant learning community.

I encourage all poetry students and teachers, and anyone interested in learning about a wider group of women writers, to visit this site. As their site will tell you, this is a website dedicated to women artists and writers of color. Now, "VG/Voices from the Gaps is a web-based trans-national academic community including students, teachers, artists, and scholars. VG provides resources about artists and writers. VG forges a collective effort of scholars who digitally interract with each other. VG contains biographical and critical analysis, pedagogical information, and histories of translation. VG archives recorded sound, film, and image collections; interviews, and online conversations with web logs (blogs)."


To learn why they use this photo by JEANNE GOLDMAN, go to this page of their website, and scroll all the way down.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wage Peace by Judyth Hill

My friend Jessie put a copy of Wage Peace by Judyth Hill in her Christmas cards in 2001. I felt blessed by it. So when I ran across it today, and thought about what a sadly timely poem it stil is, I thought I ought to blog a link to it. Read the poem there, and then explore the rest of the site, and other peace sites on my blog and my website. Warm Prayers of Peace, Amy

Summer Musings...as yet to become poems

Welcome Fall!

It has been a very busy summer, after a somewhat tumultuous Spring. There has been much material for poetry. I have felt blessed and inspired this summer, but haven't had the time to complete any poems between job interviews and travelling. I know my new teaching job will keep me busy, but here are some topics I've been working on poems for:

my Aunt Barbara
my loving MIL
my relationships with people I love who are very different from me

(Poems written about other people will be written anonymously or *not* posted here ;-) )

loved ones I've not been able to get what I want from ;-)
biting off more than you can chew
gaining self-acceptance
rainbows after short storms/the metaphorical "rainbow after the storm"
wisdom gained from hard times (based on a story a friend told me about a great sermon she'd been touched by)
more than a few childhood memories good/bad
gaining the Faith to hold on during hard times, knowing they will pass
my love for relationships with people who are "transparent"
my DISlike of the view of disability as pathology
the experience of lack of privacy when one is disabled
seeing a sea of redhats outside a UU church
learning to swim, learning to trust
reaching out for unconditional love
a poem about Balance in life
a poem about God's unconditional love throughout all our screwups
some poems from frig magnet lists ;-)

Whew! And these are only the inspirations that came to me THIS summer! I have old ones written on my computer that I've never gotten around to writing them. I find that I have either the good state of mind (MOTIVATION, CALM, ENERGY and the HEART) for writing poems...or the TIME...but rarely BOTH. :-)

Here's hoping any poets reading this have better luck getting to their craft than I have lately.

- Amy

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The June Jordan School for Equity

The June Jordan School for Equity is in San Francisco. What a great tribute to this poet who so often spoke of social justice in her poetry. This inspires me. And isn't that what poetry is all about?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mary Oliver

Here is a link to The Journey by Mary Oliver. I've not completed any new poetry in a while.....although the summer has presented much inspiration and I have several drafts going. Meanwhile, here is another poet who inspires me. I discovered her shortly after college, and her Spiritual messages and imagery always lift me up.

Warning: this link is to a page that has the text of the poem, a lovely photograph, and MUSIC that starts without you asking it to! LOL! ;-)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Laura Hershey


Laura Hershey

Okay, so usually when I'm posting about *another* poet, even if it is one I adore, I feel a tinge of "{{Sigh}}, I wish I had something new and excellent of my own to post here.". But not today. I'm finally getting around to noting Laura Hershey here. She's listed on my old site's poetry page, but she is one of THOSE folks, who get a repeat mention because they are THAT awesome! She'll be coming to the sidebar (see left) VERY soon!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Links to help you write poetry

I'll update this post whenever I find something new I like. Please also visit my website for all the old links I've collected over the years....there's some good stuff there under "Honing Your Craft".

http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/assign/e50x2.htm

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Guidelines for posting comments (if you care ;-)

I thought since I've asked people I know, and any other visitors to this site, to post thoughts on my poems, I should provide some guidelines.

1. I will try to make a note if I want FEEDBACK...like "how can I improve this poem?". Otherwise, assume I'd just like your general feelings about the poem, like "this moved me" or "this didn't really do it for me".

2. If I say "this is rough, I could use feedback" here's what I usually mean:
*what works, what doesn't?
*does any of it not make sense?
*are there spots where I "tell" instead of "show" or "talk" v.s. evoke emotions and images?
*would you leave any parts or lines or words out?

I hope this helps those of you who thought about replying but didn't know what I really wanted. Thanks to all who've offered up your thoughts on the poems here in emails to me!

Amy

Monday, July 25, 2005

New poem(s) coming HERE soon! :-)

Just a stupid little note to say I have NEW poems! They aren't written yet, but they exist - in my mind! LOL! I don't mean poems I've been ruminating on for years...these are ones that came to me during the time off since the last day of school. I think they're gonna be good. And with Writing.com folks helping me out, I know if they start crappy, eventually I can make them good! LOL! Check back here soon. - Amy

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Anne Lamott

My favorite author right now is Anne Lamott . The first book of hers I ever read was "Bird By Bird". It wasn't strictly about poetry, but it gave some great advice on writing in general that could definately apply to poetry...and all along the way she shared stories of her crazy, glorious, blessed and faith-filled life.

Click on the link to go to her page at the Barclay Agency. She really is a treasure!

STLtoday - Entertainment - Books

Right now I am reading "The Blue Shoe" by Anne Lamott. When I get pregnant (God willing), I plan to read "Operating Instructions".

And then I have to read the follow up to "Traveling Mercies" which I loved so much. It is her most recent book "Plan B: More thoughts on Faith". Read a review here: STLtoday - Entertainment - Books

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Writing.com

I have yet another venue for my poetry. It is at Writing.com . Since nobody really seems to visit here, or if the do, they don't post comments...I thought it would be a better forum for getting feedback. this will just be an attractive space for all of my poems. But I hope folks will still consider leaving feedback either on THIS site, and/or at this new one:

http://Writing.Com/authors/akelly99

In poetry, and in collaboration ;-),

Amy

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Great Poem (not mine) about teachers

BE DANGEROUS

My mother sat rocking in the shade of our apple tree
And reminisced about her youth,
Of her terrible days in the camps.
I sat motionless, in disbelief,
How could another people be so cruel?
they took her to the camps? She was but fourteen.

She rocked thoughtfully for awhile....
Well, my child, she bagan,
When they took over our land,
They came looking for the politicians and their families,
They came looking for the soldiers and their families,
They came looking for the policemen and their families,
They came looking for the teachers and their families.

My blood pumped hard echoing in disbelief,
The teachers......the teachers..........the teachers.
The hair on the back of my neck stood up, as stunned as I.
I asked my mother
Why the teachers? They are people of peace.

She rocked thoughtfully for awhile.....
Well my child, she began,
When they take over any land,
They come looking for the teachers because teachers are dangerous people.
Teachers cause children to think, to dream, to hope.
Teachers reveal history and new ideas.
Teachers bring a society to reading and writing.
Teachers cause children to question and teachers inspire action.
Teachers are dangerous people.

I asked my mother
What I should do? I am a teacher.
She rocked thoughtfully for awhile....
Well my child she began,
I know this is difficult to understand,
For in Canada, teachers do not understand their power,
For in Canada, teachers are always embattled,
Made to see themselves as less than important.
But, because this is Canada, you must continue to be a teacher.
You, the teacher, are freedom's greatest hope......be dangerous.

Sigmund A. Boloz 1998

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Lucious Stuff of Life

The Lucious Stuff of Life

Aspire for a passionate soul. Spur the moment on!
God will give you wings – fly home to the mountain.
His love soothes, - despair shatters. The Lord takes
Emptiness, and fills it with the glow of mercy.

The pretty package gone awry –
Lies, coming back – slam them into oblivion!
With love and self respect, the truth is tender.
Drink it in. Hope. Pride. Women reaching for
The stars. Hearts tingle. Blood boils.
Laugh with the lucious stuff of life.
Salvation.


**This is really really old. I created it from a bunch of "word splashes" I made at the suggestion of a friend. The idea was to use a random half of the words in the word splash and as few others as possible. These are really rough....but they are the beginnings of my poetry, so I'll post them all eventually.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Poem for Terri

Poem for Terri

I imagine her mother
standing at the stove, the heart
of her home. She’s dreaming
of her daughter.

Miles away, judges
hold this woman’s life in their hands.
Michael Schiavo has gotten
a court order to remove
the feeding tube. He says he knows
she wants to die.

But her mother visits daily,
watches her smile, and laugh.
She can’t imagine why her baby girl
should be anywhere but here,
with her family.

She holds her close,
hears her heart. She hears the drumbeat
of life. They listen to the radio,
still the backdrop to their lives.

He’s gotten an order
to remove her feeding tube,
her line to life. Suddenly,
the kettle screams.
Imagining the pain
of dehydration and starvation,
that she’s told would be
“a peaceful death”, she screams on the inside.


Update 6/27/05: Terri died on March 31, 2005 from forced dehydration. If you are concerned that you or a loved one could be denied medical treatment or put to death because of a severe disability, you can learn more at: http://terrisfight.org which in the light of Terri's death has now become a resource for individuals and families.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Love (another draft)

This is rough. Its much harder to put these rough, in progress pieces out there. But if you happen upon this...feel free to share your thoughts. - Amy

My Love

hasn’t made me who I am
or completed me in empty places.


My Love
embraces who I am
gives me freedom to become
that Divine being
that cried out
from deep in my soul to escape
her pain.

My love has healed
gaping wounds through which
cheap imitations of love
looked real.
Now I can fill up
with love and it won’t
seep out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

23 King Street (a draft)

This is the only poem I've posted so far that I don't consider anywhere NEAR done...so feel free to post feedback! :-) - Amy

At 23 King Street

My father’s spaghetti sauce
wafted through the house --
I run to him,
to get some on a saltine.
The jungle picture on the pantry door,
The birds and flowers I filled with a rainbow of colors.

I remember putting the piano cover down,
my father called out, “It hasn’t been an hour yet!”
Daddy coming through the door with pizza on Friday nights!
I savored sausage, with a grape soda.
I remember my dad talking about what a “God damned
shame it was, what we did to the Indians.”

My bedroom with rainbows on two walls,
the others had brightly colored plaid.
My art drawer stuffed with stories and pictures,
along with crayons and craypas.

Wheeling around with a broken leg
with a brand new kitty, that mom
brought home for me, perched on my lap.
Mom & Dad danced like nuts around the kitchen
how it made our schnauzer Christy prance around
click her toenails and bark like mad.

In July and August, I escaped
to my parents air-conditioned room
dark, cool, a respite
with a loud comforting hum.
I locked myself in my room every afternoon
and night after night. Instead of doing my homework
listened to Shaun Cassidy and The Monkees.
Dreamed of being other place and other people.
Mom thought I must be depressed
she and Daddy sent me to a shrink.
He decided he wanted to see them.

That painting of a tiger on the living room wall,
his eyes would follow me around.
I remember nighttime television with my Dad,
“M*A*S*H” and “Barney Miller”.
I remember watching the Red Sox from the porch
and losing all my marbles in the backyard.

Since He Left

Since He Left

Shock made me tremble
From somewhere a voice whispered,
“You’ll see him again”
Over fifty years
stretched out as if eternity.

Since then, I’ve cried.
I cried the kind of cry
that chokes.
I’ve cried that deep, hopeless
cry because I couldn’t feel
his arms holding me.

I still cry that cry
When I can’t imagine
eternity. And my tears
are the waterfall that carries
my grief away
downstream.

God’s time has given me
A different cry
Now a soft sigh escapes
as his memory collects
drops of melancholy
in my eyes until
they pour over and warm my cheeks.

I smile, remembering
Daddy’s gentle soul
and pause to feel
his love I carry with me now.

Daddy’s gone to Heaven
In my mind, I see him
Sharing an ironic laugh
with God
at all our foolishness.

He’s watching me,
happy to see I’ve found a true love,
Proud, to see me living his lessons
Gratified I wasn’t ignoring him
all those frustrating years
when I knew everything.
Shocked to see me
actually listening to NPR.

Daddy is with God.
The rest of my journey back to him,
and Him,
Is not forever.

In the quiet moments
When the muddy water clears
I know.
I am healing,
slowly, I am healing.

Poetry Maven

Poetry Maven

I’m a Poetry Maven,
maker of Myth, weaver
of realities and fantasies.
In night journeys and day trips,
I float with my dreams.

Winter's Good-bye

Winter’s Good Bye
March, 2001


Winter sang her swan
song, white
and bright
Her voice showered down
diamonds twinkling
shimmering like crystal chimes.
Softly, gently she whispered,

“Goodbye”.

The Stitcher

A large part of this is exactly the same as the other stitching poem...but it is different.

Stitcher
(with thanks to Raelinda Woad)

“You are the stitcher”, my husband
says to me. I like that title, stitcher.
I stitch. I create,
from someone else’s inspiration.

Brightly colored strands delight
a simple up-down,
up-down makes
a neat and tidy x

spashing a dollop of life on canvas;
forrest green, blood red, sun yellow
lilac purple, orange, deep sea blue

Hours spent stitching
to craft a vivid scene
Bears flying in air-balloons,
a brown-haired girl
breathing pink cosmos.

A canvas capturing
bridal white and baby blue.
All day long
I paint other peoples’
Pictures while my own canvas
remains
blank.

Slowly, with care
I x, and x, to create
a memory full
of love while longing
to stitch
my own dreams.

Stitching Dreams

Here's a poem about another of my favorite hobbies.

STITCHING DREAMS
Inspired by Raelinda Woad

Hours spent stitching
to craft a vivid scene
Bears flying in air-balloons,
a brown-haired girl
breathing pink cosmos.

A canvas capturing
bridal white and baby blue.
All day long
I paint other peoples’
pictures, while my own canvas
remains
blank.

Slowly, with care I
x, and x, to create
a memory full
of love, while longing
to stitch
my own dreams.

Flower Storm

**Another Spring inspired poem. :-)

Flower Storm
May 2001

Pink confetti flew
like snow on the air.
Bells chimed in time,
Excelerando as petals danced
a crazy joyous dance,
in circles on the wind,
playfully swirling on the ground.

Petals darted
back and forth outside
my window. One quickly splatted
against the screen
as a snowflake would stick
to glass.

One tree let go its flowers,
a gift to summer.
Spring started her good-bye,
pink making way
for rain and green, as winter
had given way
to my flowering parasol in April.

Monday, March 07, 2005

An Ode to Coffee! ;-)

So after that last one, I had to tag on something fun. My friend Jessie Brown gave a workshop at Pollard Middle School in which we wrote as if we were an object. Naturally, I chose a coffee cup. But "mug" just sounded better.

Mug of Comfort

Sitting restfully upon
the café table as
the peaceful hum
of voices resonates
above my head.

Warm smooth hazelnut
Fills me up. She sees me as
that inviting vessel of
comfort that accompanies
Soul-filling conversation…

Funny, I am
simple stoneware like all
the others. I hear clattering
in the kitchen, soon I
will be empty, to go back
there.

How I long to stay full,
warm, inviting.


Moments Before Death

My father died from smoking on July 19th, 1995. This was the most difficult poem I've ever written. I cried through most of it. But it was an incredibly cathartic experience. It felt good, not just to get my feelings OUT, but to do it in what I think became a pretty good poem. That was important....it was my first major poem about losing my wonderful Daddy, who INHALED books....so it had to be good. I'm more grateful than I could ever say to Lawrence Johnson for helping me revise this poem to make it turn out the way it did.

I love you Daddy. - Amy

Moments Before Death

Waiting outside his hospital room, I listen
as the nurses coach him
to cough and clear his lungs of fluid.
“Good job, sweetie” they chime like a tune,
as he complains
that it hurts like hell.

A team of green gowns wheeled him down
to an unknown room, informed us the tube
would help him breathe better.
I kissed his head and reassured him
he would be just fine,
not realizing I was saying goodbye…
the only goodbye I would be given to say
face to face.

Praying and pleading
with God, I held on
to Aunty and Mom in the waiting room.
I didn’t care
what His will was anymore,
I wanted to will Him
to let me hold onto my Daddy.

In those moments, in the days
and weeks before he died,
I begged him, “Please!
Stop smoking!” as if I could
undo all the damage the tobacco
had done since he was a child.

We talked about Heaven,
he said he guessed he believed.
I informed him confidently, that I KNEW
we would be reunited,
not sure which one of us
I wanted to convince more.

I sat beside his bed, reading The Tao of Pooh.
That small book about a little bear
instructed me that I could simply be,
and accept things as they are.
A strange sensation of cold dread,
and warm peace came over me.

My father’s physical therapist came
the day after he died. His office
forgot to tell him
Daddy was dead.

Comfort My Soul (Parts 1 & 2)

This is a poem I wrote for a dear friend years ago. She was my first true spiritual mentor, and is still a wonderful friend. (Below it in purple, you will find part 2, or the revision of this poem).

Comfort My Soul

You tickle my ego,
You comfort my soul.
I am filled with warmth from
My cheeks
Straight to my heart
You pull me towards light
I feel whole – and so completely myself-
With you.

That night you liberated me-
Lead me to the place,
Where I could tear up all my guilt and shame.
We burned it all up – like my heart
Burns when we share a moment of raw,
Naked, and glorious truth.

You awaken my spirit
Again and again.
You comfort my soul, give me safety
You hold me when I am in need of strength.
I feel your hold around my shoulders,
My head,
My heart.

No one ever looks me straight in the eye,
Quite the way you always do. I long for you,
When you are absent, and even when you are
Right here. Renewing the connection-
A reminder of its completeness, makes me
Need the honesty, the realness,
Even more than before.

Curled up on your floor,
So many nights. You fed me.
Ministered. Shared. And gave so much.
You sang to me. “Circle Game”. I gazed
At you, a child in wonderment.
Did I almost worship you?

Goin’ ‘round and ‘round and ‘round
In the seasons, I learned your humanness,
Although I fought to deny it. But we didn’t go back.
I still look behind. My angel on Earth.
Could I give to you what you have given me?

You held me through so many winters
When I was scared. Your kind smile,
Your thoughtful ear,
Gave a comforting touch,
And helped me grow strength,
New to my heart.

I pray. I pray this time.
For the opportunity to feed and comfort
Your soul,
As you have mine.

Our lives, our souls, and our friendship have grown and evolved. And so must the poem. :-)


Comfort My Soul revised 2/29/04

You tickle my ego,
you comfort my soul.
Your love warms me from
my cheeks
straight to my heart.

You pull me towards light
I am whole – and so completely myself-
with You.

That night you liberated me-
Lead me to the place,
where I could tear
up my guilt and shame.
We burned it all – like my heart
burns when we share a moment of raw,
naked, and glorious truth.

You awaken my spirit
again and again.
You comfort my soul, I feel
safe as your heart holds me
when I am in need of strength.

I feel your hold
around my shoulders,
my head,
my heart.

No one ever looks at me straight in the eye,
the way you do. I long for you,
when you are absent, or even
right here.

We renew the connection over
and over again and I am reminded
of its sacredness.
I revel in the honesty, the realness,
each time more than before.

Time and space has brought
us closer, the bond stronger.
God’s time and wisdom has given me
gifts to give to you.



Curled up on your floor, so many
nights. You fed me, you ministered,
and sang to me, “Circle Game”.

I gazed at you like a child in wonder
of God, and you. We prayed.
You worshipped God,
and I,
I worshipped God
and you.

Goin’ ‘round and ‘round and ‘round
in the seasons, I learned your humanness.
We didn’t go back. I still looked behind
even as I took a new path.

You held me through
cold winters of season and heart.
Your understanding smile, your thoughtful ear,
touched my Spirit and I grew
strength, new to my heart.

I pray for opportunities
to feed your soul as you have mine.
You struggle, your eyes always on God.
Your solid faith and deliberate steps
inspire me still. I remember I will Rise
from all the ashes life’s fires leave.

Now, we turn towards the Light,
sharing as before, with deeper understanding
our paths and their parallels,
God and His Love. Our paths unique
forever intertwined.

Along our journeys may He deepen
our friendship
our faith
and our understanding.
Amen.


For April

I guess I'll start by posting a few of my best poems from the past, until I have some new ones. Given that it is March, and I'm deathly tired of winter, here's my lament for Spring. :-)

For April

In April,
The cherry blossom tree
was a delicate parisol
of petals outside my window.

In April,
The Spring breeze
Was the soft and gentle touch
of fingers of the wind
Reaching through my window

Now,
A bare and lonely tree
Stands stark
Against the Winter sky

Now,
The Winter cold
Lies white and hard on the ground
Lifeless
Outside my window.

I gaze
Out my window
Waiting…….

Sunday, March 06, 2005

My Poetry Spot!

I used to put some of my poems on my website. But the links didn't always work and I got frustrated. So this "blog extension" will be for my poems, and I'll put a link to it on my original blog. Please feel free to post comments, critique, suggestions. I think the 'net is a great forum for creating sharing, even (or maybe especially) amongst strangers.

More to come......

Amy