NaPoWriMo Day 28: A Story in Reverse

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Ah…just a few days of NaPoWriMo left, and then I’ll most likely go back to my free verse, whatever is on my mind daily poetry practice.  But for today, I’m going for the challenge of attempting to tell a story backwards, as suggested by today’s prompt.

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She thanked everyone, put her hands together at her heart,
bowing, signed off, and closed her laptop.
They listened and laughed and shared some more:
their surprises, their inspirations, their challenges,
what moved them.
She shared her surprise at feeling tenderness
toward a challenging individual
as she visualized holding him in the warmth in her own heart.
They laughed and shared within the circle
of spiritual friendship, supported
by faith and the sincere desire for communion.
Closing her eyes, she listened to his voice
guiding her back to her heart,
diving in, being caught by a web of gratitude.
She was greeted with warmth and kindness
by those who were thousands of miles away.
She called in a few minutes before the meditation began.

NaPoWriMo Day 28: Long Lines

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For today’s NaPoWriMo prompt we were encouraged to write a poem with long lines. We were given Whitman as an example; I took a look at his “Song of Myself” and discovered his lines were twenty syllables long.  The Irish poet Ciaran Carson was also mentioned. He takes his inspiration in part from the seventeen syllable haiku and strives to make each line clear, simple and concise like a haiku… Wow, okay…hmmm.  Long lines, huh?  I think I can do this.

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It is Spring, almost May, and chilly
for a spring day–
and so I wore a sweater.

The morning dark, early the skies were gray
and continued this way
up until noon.

I sighed in dismay, and shivered
watching the trees sway
against the somber spring sky.

But then I watched my sun
run the ball, laughing at play
delightful noise and chaos.

In spite  of the cold mind-mood
spring weather I can stay
and call this moment precious.

NaPoWriMo Day 26: The Perfect Response

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It’s time to wake up.
Om mani padme hum.

What will I eat for breakfast?
Om mani padme hum.

What shall I wear to work?
Om mani padme hum.

I am afraid about my evaluation.
Om mani padme hum.

I don’t know what to do.
Om mani padme hum.

That person just cut me off in traffic.
Om mani padme hum.

I’m bored.
Om mani padme hum.

I just got promoted.
Om mani padme hum.

I found out my mother is sick.
Om mani padme hum.

I can’t believe he said that.
Om mani padme hum.

I wish I had a bigger salary.
Om mani padme hum.

I feel nervous about my presentation.
Om mani padme hum.

I feel depressed. What have I done with my life?
Om mani padme hum.

I just won five million dollars!
Om mani padme hum.

I’m late to work.
Om mani padme hum.

My kids are driving me crazy.
Om mani padme hum.

I have to cook dinner.
Om mani padme hum.

I’m tired.
Om mani padme hum.

I’m so happy!
Om mani padme hum.

I’m a human being.
Om mani padme hum.

It’s time for bed.
Om mani padme hum.

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Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt encouraged us to write a call and response poem. My mantram immediately jumped into my head. Here is one page devoted to explaining the background and meaning of the mantram. Here is a wikipedia article on the mantram. I also have deep love and respect for the teacher Eknath Easwaran; it was his writing that inspired me to take up the mantram when I was in high school and interested in learning about meditation.  Something about the look and the sound of the mantram very much appealed to me. It is said that repeating a mantram over and over again drives its energy and its meaning deep into your subconscious and little by little transforms the habitual, recycled, discursive thoughts into expansive, enlightened ones. I just know that the practice of mantram repetition has saved me from a lot of needless worrying and ruminating.  And therefore it is, to me, the perfect response to any thought and any situation. Om mani padme hum.

NaPoWriMo Day 25: A Borrowed Start

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Hello! I could get behind today’s prompt: pick the first line of a poem and build your poem from there. I thought of Robert Frost’s “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and Mary Oliver’s “You don’t have to be good,” and then visited a page of Oliver’s poetry and found “The Journey.” It resonated with me. So a poem borrowing the first line from the wonderful Mary Oliver.

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Gone Too Far

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
and you took up the tools
you had worked hard to forge
and held them in trembling hands.
Your patience opened your eyes
as you waited for the right moment to act;
your strength kept you firmly anchored
as the voices of others blustered around you.
Your hope buoyed you up,
gave you a higher perspective,
and your tenacity kept you motivated
even when you thought all might be lost.
Patience, strength, hope, tenacity–
virtues won by will and wit.
You have gone too far to back down now.

NaPoWriMo Day 24: Thank You Life

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Sigh. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt seemed once again that it would be too involved for my tired brain.  I like the idea of a mix and match poem, finding some high fallutin’ words and putting them alongside common ones, but honestly I didn’t have the drive to seek out the big beautiful words and attempt to weave them into a poem. So I’m going rogue for a second day in a row and doing something that has nothing to do with the prompt.
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Thank you life.
Thank you for the sun that shone today,
the spring breeze,
and the young leaves appearing
at the slender tips of the branches.
Thank you for the contrast of spring green
against the azure blue of the sky,
and the warmth of the air
calling the flowers into bloom.
Thank you for the picnic we shared
in the shade of a few pines
while many children and dogs and parents
played and shouted all around us.
Thank you for my children, my husband and my home.
Thank you for this comfy bed when day is done.
And thank you for the breath in my body
and for the chance to awaken
into a fresh new day of possibilities.
Amen.

NaPoWriMo Day 23: Avoiding a Sonnet Haiku

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The cool night breeze stirs
White dogwood blooms whispering
Springtime is here now.

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Hello friends.  Today I was awakened a little before 3 am by my four year old son who trundled into our room and promptly took up most of my half of the bed. After being uncomfortably wedged between him and my husband for a time, I took the lad back to bed, then made the mistake of looking at what time it was.  The iPhone read 3:18 am. I mused at the time and attempted to fall asleep, unsuccessfully, and finally got up a little after 4. I had a productive morning starting with my regular morning meditation, then some breakfast, then some writing in my journal, then sewing a little–ALL BEFORE 6.  This early morning industriousness started to feel a little crazy to me, but by the time I needed to leave to teach two yoga classes, I was feeling fine and ready to greet the day.  I taught two classes full of earnest, hardworking people, many of whom had the courtesy to laugh at my jokes. I returned home, ate lunch, wrote a little more in my journal, and then the husband and children came home.  At this point, after we got the kids settled in their rooms for “quiet time,” I attempted to take a nap.  All that happened was a little dozing but no real sleep. Then we were all up for snacks and after a lot of dithering around, I finally got the kids out to the park so that they could ride their scooters while I’ll rollerbladed…yep…rollerbladed. Then back home, it was already past 8 and we had a lovely dinner of homemade quiche and salad. Finally got the kids in bed way past their usual bedtime, and now here I am.

The above recounting of my day was in all likelihood an unnecessarily long preamble to my confession that I’m tired and therefore won’t be laboring through the sonnet that the NaPoWriMo prompt for today encouraged us to write.  Yep, too tired to think in iambic pentameter, and too tired to worry about rhyme schemes–therefore, a haiku. When in doubt, a haiku always does just fine.  They’re short, sweet, and it feels meditative writing them, and that’s about all I have energy for tonight…so here goes…

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The cool night breeze stirs
White dogwood blooms whispering
Springtime is here now.

NaPoWriMo Day 22: Earth Day

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Happy Earth Day everyone. I always end up feeling a bit sad on Earth Day because of all that we humans have managed to do to disrupt the many fragile and beautiful ecosystems that make up life on our planet. I end up feeling afraid that we have done irreversible damage and that nothing short of our own demise will save our home…today’s NaPoWriMo prompt encourages us to write an Earth Day poem. Will mine end up being cheerful and positive, or will I end up speaking about my fears and my sadness.  Let us see…

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With all of our gadgets and gizmos,
with all of our new fangled tech,
with our scientific instruments
that measure and define with
such impressive precision and accuracy,
you’d think we could get this right…
You’d think we could be responsible stewards
of this precious globe of ours,
this ball of green and blue
that gives us everything we need to live.
You’d think we’d wake up a little faster,
that we’d change our ways,
stop polluting our oceans, our air,
our own bodies…
but we don’t.
We keep manufacturing cheap plastic crap,
we buy more clothes and shoes in a few months
than many people will ever see in a life time,
we prioritize our cool cars and our flat screens
and all the while Nature screams “STOP!”
But we don’t hear her.
Someone give me hope.
Tell me that more people are waking up
and taking care.
Show me that the rivers are getting cleaner
and that my children will have clean air
to breathe and flowers to sniff
and towering redwoods to inspire awe
in their hearts
and a soft clean breeze to comfort their minds
and the sound of mother ocean
to cradle their hopes, their inspiration
for life to come.