Sit in a favourite chair by a window.
Go for a walk, run, or ride a bike.
Observe. Feel. Move.
Keep a notebook and pencil near by.
Jot. Record. Note.
Think about words and images and life.
Pay attention. Make connections.
Write – even if the words never become a poem.
Write – even if the words are read by you alone
Write – because this is how the poem finds itself.
Live – because this is where the poem begins.
This is the final poem for this year’s National Poetry project. As always, this daily writing exercise has flexed muscles of observation that easily grow flabby in the distracted way that I am prone to live.
At the moment our lives are still restricted by a global pandemic, and this has certainly forced us to consider how much we actually needed all those distractions. Today, our government announced a plan to gradually reopen much of what has been closed, and while I look forward to this, I also want to remain still and quiet and observant. I have much more to see and know and learn – about the world, certainly, but mostly about myself and about the God who knows the power of words.
A great generosity stepped into the day
brushed away the dust of discouragement
tidied the chaos of weariness
mopped up the muddy residue of endless routines
sprinkled with abandon
carefully-chosen words of
(as generosity is wont to do)
and left everyone refreshed
and living in a place
On cloudless days I can see the slopes and spires of a cadre of white-robed sentinels stationed along the southwest horizon where they guard the heart of winter in their lofty fortresses of stone and ice until time to release that wild winter heart to beat full and strong, its pulse keeping time, measuring the moments that make a season which will inevitably change yet remain forever unchangeable.
The spring wind has a wintery after-taste
and I want to spit it out and gulp
fresh warm breezes,
let them linger on my tongue
and savour their sweetness.
A Sunday Doxology
Praise God of all days,
even days that feel off-kilter,
teeter on the edge of anxiety,
swirl with confusion or despair,
spin with the too-muchness of life;
all praise to this God, the Faithful One,
whose steadfast love reaches
far and wide and deep
and steadies —
steadies my soul,
sets my feet on solid ground,
says, “Peace. Be still.”
I walked in the drizzle grey
and listened to a
who seems to know nothing
of sadness or sorrow,
knows only a song
of joy and good cheer,
and I thought how easily I
can let the dreary weight
of drizzle drown the
melody of joy.
I hear the shuffle of wind folding itself around the eaves outside my window.
I hear the percussive honks of geese bidding on nesting sites.
I hear the rapid fire rat-a-tat of a squirrel defending his stash
I hear the hum-gurgle-slosh of the sump pump dutifully preventing a flood.
I hear the lazy drone of the fridge, the crackle-clatter of the ice machine making a delivery.
I hear the clicks, dings, and pops of my pandemic induced classroom.
I don’t hear the laughter, the banter, the chatter, the ruckus ‘n nonsense of a living breathing class
and I really, really miss this.
Last night I wandered, searching for sleep,
it being elusive,
a vaporous swirl refusing to settle into slumber.
I wandered to a window while seeking sleep
and found an expanse of stars,
strewn — no,
perfectly placed to
affect wonder in the wanderer.
Stars placed farther than far
beyond my reach than sleep,
yet more present,
I worked to the rush of wind today;
it was steady and unrelenting in ways
I was not.
Does the wind ever wish it could just
know the singularity of a particular
Or must it always be a wanderer on its
reminding us that change
is both unrelenting and inevitable,
That there is a way from west to east
from here to there,
from this to that,
from now to then.