Shel Silverstein tells it like it is…

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.
Can I go on vacation now?

Poem : Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday
My heart is most thankful at the end of a day
when my appetite for life is deeply satisfied.
When working hands are stilled
stomachs filled
and eyes have cried the tears that say,
“this is my life – 
take it all from me”
because I know
that You are so much more adept
at making it beautiful.
How was your Easter weekend, friends? Mine was less about momentum with my blog and work and more about catching up on life at home since I’ve been so busy. I had time to rest, clean, make Easter dinner for my husband and a friend (steaks, roasted carrots and parsnips with a honey glaze, basil mashed potatoes), and – most important of all – reflect on my faith.
Sometimes stepping away from my work can go a long way toward recharging my creative energy – when I went to bed last night my mind couldn’t rest without jotting a few thoughts into a poem after a whole weekend of no writing. I think sometimes putting our hands to work helps our minds rejuvenate. Today I’m ready to put my nose to the grindstone and get back to making plans, dreaming big, and writing.

What are the things that help you rest and refocus?

Mine: cooking and cleaning.

Much love to you on your Monday, friends.

Ritual: Poetry

I have this book, Good Poems, a collection from Garrison Keillor. He compiled a collection of more than 300 poems of every type and subject, written by the greats – Shakespeare, Donne, Yeats, Dickinson, Whitman, Frost, Hughes – and other lesser known poets.
I first discovered the book when I was a page at my local library. When I was bored during my shift, I’d sneak into the poetry section, grab this book and read it where the librarians couldn’t see me from the front desk.
I loved it so much that I bought it, and now, every once in awhile I pull it from my shelf, entwine myself in a blanket, and read and read and read. I never start at the beginning of the book and worked my way to the end, a phenomenon I only just realized the other day. I always find myself opening to a random page and reading it. Backwards. If I open to page 342, I work my way back through the book: 341, 340, 339… I have no idea why.
And I don’t read it silently, and I don’t read a poem only once. I often find myself reading it aloud, many times over. The second, third, or even fourth time takes me deeper and deeper into the poem until its rhythm becomes ingrained in me, like a tidal wave or the melody of a song, or the steady tick of a clock.
And when I reflect on each word – its meaning, its placement, the subsequent punctuation – I find a clue, a piece of the puzzle that reveals a little more about the writer’s thoughts and feelings, their stream of consciousness.
Somehow this ritual, the book between my hands, the blanket cloaked around me, the sound of my own voice stumbling over the rhythm like waves over rocks until I am finally immersed in it like a river tide, feels more right and real to me than prose does right now.
One of my favorites:
A Light Left On
by May Sarton
In the evening we came back
Into our yellow room,
For a moment taken aback
To find the light left on,
Falling on silent flowers,
Table, book, empty chair
While we had gone elsewhere,
Had been away for hours.
When we came home together,
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
The quiet light demanded,
And we gave, in a look
At yellow walls and open book.
The deepest worlds we share
And do not talk about
But have to have, was there,
And by that light found out.
What are your favorite poems or poetry sources? Do you have a hard time reading poetry? Do you have a method for reading it that helps you understand it better? Do you enjoy another artistic medium better – music, visual arts, prose? What inspires you?

The sorts of things that never happen to me, ever.

I never wake up late four days in a row.
I never wake up late, get ready for work with the vision of the most perfect outfit ever and then proceed to rip a gigantic hole in my brand new, never worn tights and then yell expletives for the next 3 minutes as I figure out what to wear instead, making myself even later for work.
I never cook myself roasted eggplant and crostinis for dinner and add way too much garlic to the recipe and regret it for the following 24 hours.
I never drink an extra glass of wine with my dinner because I’m home alone and no one is watching.
I never tweet when I’m annoyed with something or someone.
I never miss project deadlines at work.
I never find myself supremely annoyed when people respond to my email requesting the attachment they forgot with, “yes, I will send that attachment along!” without the attachment…
I never procrastinate on calling people because I hate talking on the phone with a passion.
I never get self-conscious when old professors ask me if I’ve applied to grad school or looked for other jobs yet and answer, “No, but…“
I never respond to someone’s comment on a political topic with, “Yeah, I totally agree” and then run to my computer and look it up on Wikipedia.
I never procrastinate on writing on a blog post because I’m just not sure what to say.
I never procrastinate on writing a a blog post because no one commented on my last post.
I never watch a mini-series on the Spanish channel instead of writing or reading a book.
I never get discouraged when friends and acquaintances tell me, “Loved your last blog post!” because they read it but didn’t comment on it or share it with a friend.
I never find myself wondering if I’ve written a blog post that makes people question my sanity, or at the very least, my ability to write.
I never get offended or annoyed with friends when they ask why blogging or social media matter.
I never get self-conscious when I hear people say that they never ever intended to be a writer/artist/photographer/designer but somehow got published anyway.
Those things never happen in my world, ever. Just in case you were wondering.
The sort of thing that does happen to me:
I drive to work grumbling about all of the things that never happen to me and suddenly find myself riveted to the radio interview of a gifted poet who just came out with a book I absolutely must read.
So in case you also find yourself analyzing all the things that do or don’t happen to you on a given day, please read this poem and find yourself inspired. That is, if you ever do find yourself inspired by poetry, which I know might never happen to you. In which case, don’t.

Poem: Oranges Aren’t Just for Eating

I peeled back its thick skin to feel the sticky, sweet juice and dusty white pith glaze my fingers. 

Its sweet and tangy scent filled the room as I bit into its smooth flesh. 
Oranges aren’t just for eating. 

They nourish and sustain us. 

They delight us with a delicious scent and taste and color.

We are meant to enjoy life in every sense.

That’s why we can taste, touch, smell, see and hear.

We are meant to serve more than one purpose and more than just ourselves.

That’s why we can taste, touch, smell, see and hear each other.

If we just open up.