Day 20: High Expectations

Happy to report, a voice inside my head has been quieted.  It wanted me to achieve an unreasonable amount of success during the lockdown.  It told me how easy it was to work from home, finish my short stories, loose weight, eat better, get more exercise, clean every inch of my apartment and grow spiritually during this intense time in world history.  It sounded like, after the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate was over, I’d be as Christ leaving the tomb victorious over death and writer’s block! Well, voice in my head, I hate to break it to you, but I am not Christ,  I am human, although I’m a pretty good human, I DO HAVE LIMITS, for cryin’ in the night!  To achieve Christ-likeness during these 2-4 months of a pandemic would be a small miracle for sure.  So,  I say “Good day, sir.  Leave me to my textured life of layered excuses.  harumph!”

On a different note, here is the first draft of a poem I wrote about my house plant:

Common House Plant

Terra cotta prisoners
I have questions for you.
Gloved hands bind you
to bagged soil, force-feed
you vitamins and faucet water.
When roots touch potted boundaries
tell me, do you scream?

 

1) an observed joy- this morning I enjoyed St. James Presbyterian’s Easter service live-streamed on Zoom, (the music was especially uplifting) and my “regular Sunday morning check-in” call with a good friend.  It was really nice.

2) a real concern- The high cost of food in my area is still a concern. I decided to shop for fresh veg and fruit this Wednesday.

3) a personal challenge- reread “Why Poetry” by Matthew Zapruder

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- As of today, all my regular bills are paid.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- I haven’t had a haircut since December 2019. Washington State, the next time you shut us down, could we get maybe a months warning?

Here is my current mood illustrated by a meme.
I wish you, wherever you are, good health, peace in your hearts and courage for the challenges you face.
-Shannon

 

Poetry Club

Poetry Club

Poetry Club Bellingham

Hosted by Ron Leatherbarrow, retired poetry professor, 4th Sat, 10-12, at a Bellingham café. Classic poetry discussed, original poetry read.

Facebook Group Site: https://www.facebook.com/Poetryclubbellingham/

After taking Ron’s Intro to Poetry class Spring quarter I fell in love with this kind, intelligent, antidote-filled instructor.  I’m not the only one.  I organized a Saturday morning coffee follow-up with the other students and Ron; just a one day get-together.  Ron suggested, “How about people bring their own poetry to read, we can discuss a classic poem and maybe meet once a month.  Do you think people would like to do that?”  YES.

Poetry Club is now in it’s third month.  This is how easy it is to start a group.  If you are a writer who is looking for people who also suffer the affliction to write, start a group!  Make it open and public, hold it in a cafe, coffee house, book store, some place with nibbles & drinks. Set rules about giving constructive feedback and let participants know straight up that a “bully” will not be tolerated.  Create a “safe space.”  Writing and sharing is intimate.  Don’t underestimate the power of community!  Plant the seed, water it, and let it grow!

Here are the classic poems we will discuss for December:

 

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.
–Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

The shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
–Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)