Posted April 02, 2020 in News Articles
Author: Abby Schnure
We were thrilled to host our first Mindful Poetry Virtual Gathering on April 1st. Our special guest, Pádraig Ó Tuama, from On Being's Poetry Unbound podcast led is contemplating Carrie Newcomer's poem "Three Gratitudes". After listening and contemplating, everyone was given time to write a poem in response, which we have shared some below. Please join us for our next virtual gathering April 8, we will listen, contemplate and respond to "Let's Remake the World With Words" by Gregory Orr. (To access our daily Mindful Poetry content, simple fill out this brief form and look for a Welcome email from The Well.)
(Share your response poems here.)
The Weight of Anger
(in the time of Covid19)
By: Christine Wilson
The stones in my belly
press deep below the anchor
of my agency.
I will lift them out
into this shared space.
maybe with the help of tears,
maybe with your support,
maybe with the burst
that rumbles like anger,
and some name bitch.
But I trust a bitch,
and I trust this anger,
to hoist these belly stones
made up of interruptions
from my dancing son,
and music blares
from my other son,
and all the sorrow for
a restaurant community
of tipless servers.
And do you know
the terrible weight
of transplaced anger
on your spouse,
his shoulders already
heavy with a business
that serves whiskey to no one,
every barstool missing its stories.
I will try gratefulness, tonight,
later. I will place these stones
on the altar where the fire
of my peace has not gone out.
By Rana Dotson
My racing heart
My sweaty palms
My itchy throat
My tightened chest
The mind that wanders
at bed time
am I well?
Then falls into the heavy drapery of silence
by apocalyptic dreams and
the padding little footsteps
to wake me for the 15 thousandth time
in his 8 long years
Grateful for hot water cornbread
with greens & beans
Just the way the ancestors
carried across the water
in ship holds
Carrying and giving
from generation to generation
the oral wisdom
from what seems small,
like holding on
even in the stench-filled
bottom of a slave ship
This is the food I
that steady the hand
that massage the throat
ease the heart
that cool this aching
This is the food I
carry and share
like holding on
By Elissa Altman
We should think of our humanity as a privilege,
the teacher said.
And so I am grateful, in the morning
that my ancient mother, who is here no,
escaping the city,
hovers outside my bedroom door in the country,
calling my name is gratitude
and I call back through the paint and the wood
Thank you, I tell her,
for wanting her coffee, which I am happy to pour
and for wanting her men, who I cannot provide.
By: Kaley Casenhiser
I begin my walk each day the same way
Each step silent and spacious
Not yet populated by ideas
Popping up like the lilac blossoms
In my neighbor’s garden.
A few walks ago, when I wasn’t expecting it,
He told me his wife and son died the same day
3 years ago to the day, one of cancer
The other of ‘complications’ to the grieving.
As I leave him and continue
Past the mandarines and the mushrooms
That I cannot yet identify, I am glad
To have inhabited that moment with him,
This neighbor of mine.
To have stopped when he asked if I
Would like to see the tree he planted
In his wife’s memory.
"As you walk, you can watch it grow,”
Each walk begins the same way.
Every once in a while, I choose the opposite direction
To begin just to ensure I am paying attention.
But, no matter the place of origin,
I find myself back in the presence of wind-chimes,
Clarion calls to notice storied possibilities
And back again, and again, at the foot of the lilac tree—
Grateful for encounters with strangers,
Grateful for beings, becoming friends.
Going out for a Sit
By: Mary Curran Hackett
I like to sit outside.
I like to sit alone,
on my lawn chair,
with a cuppa tea.
I tell my family I am
going out to meditate, to pray
so they do not want to join
mothers alone, they know
But I don’t pray.
Mostly I sit.
Mostly, I watch.
In the summer, the
Hummingbirds pay me
In the winter, cardinals.
Today, two fattened mourning doves
Coo who-who underneath
the two Leland Cypresses that
Michael planted for me,
knowing, all those years ago,
that they would shield the hot
aftenoon sun from me now.
I like to sit and watch the clouds.
I like how they contract and expand
the Southwestern sky.
I like to close my eyes and hear
the whisper of maples and the clap of
catalpas as wind blows through them.
When I open my eyes, I like to see
my neighbor George putter around
his hives in his honeybee suit.
When he lifts his fluffy white-suited arm to wave,
it says “Hello Neighbor.” So I raise mine
and it says hello back.
Sometimes I will see a weed peeking out
between the stones in the walk and I will
stand up, feel the ache in my bones
from sitting too long, and say ahh as I bend
and rip out the offending weed
and toss it in the fire pit.
Then I’ll turn and reclaim my spot,
and take a sip and drift off...
And later when the sun dips behind the
tall reeds in George’s yard, I know
that’s my cue to leave.
I’ll take my cuppa, head back down the gravel path,
and open the side door.
I’ll put the mug with the pink elephant
in the sink and turn to preheat the oven.
I’ll reenter the world I left behind—
my healthy children, my husband
who are hungry for food, for me.
By Emily Little
Reading her words where she's lifted me up, she is five but she carries part of me,
hearing her laughter in another room where I don't know the source,
Seeing the nurse pinch the bridge of her nose, mask in place,
I know she is breathing a sigh of relief but I her breath doesn’t make it to me.
A dump truck for a first dump in the potty, and now a whole row of new trucks,
He lists them, farm truck, front end loader, cement mixer, tractor,
I guess we could have tried harder before, but this is one thing easier in when socially distanced.
The stinging feeling of hand sanitzer
And the hands that finally feel clean when they are nestled in jet black soil.
the chime of a friend checking in
to say, how are you at this moment?
And She means to illicit the long answer
Frozen dance parties where we yell and cry and fully commit to character
I can make myself cry when I think about people I love dying says the elder
Well I think of God dying says the younger with a smile, thinking she has won.
Hard cheese on crusty bread
Coffee that didn’t spill, not like yesterday’s cup, its splatters will last past these days together, stuck in place.
The silence where no one has a dry cough, no one wakes up too warm,
And you thinking there are more birds then before but really I think it is that we are listening.
Jane Fonda tucking her bandana around her face--this isn't protection--
how do we carry each other now/how will we learn to carry each other tomorrow
did we carry each other yesterday?
By Stacy Sims
Ah the sweetness of it all.
When time loosens its grip
and light illuminates the lush, deep goodness of the dark.
And can we explore the loamy incandescence of worry, old fears, new tears.
Don't worry. Your eyes will adjust.
And those dark spaces will soon feel as clear
as that sunny day we thought we deserved.
By Troy Bronsink
how has this arrived,
this swelling of tears?
week by week by week
sunday after sunday
as is my practice
I sit with embering cigar
with two fingers of bourbon at the bottom of the ball jarI
tune my browser to the live radio show
their songcraft, their improv,
the poetry, the standup
and the let down of applause
through my tiny Bluetooth speaker.
I let my heart’s ear feel into the place of the time
like a hardy aching laugh
i let my body go into
bearing witness to my own tears coming ashore
almost by appointment
when I least expected it,
when i noted lyle lovett playing in the background
and asked my wife, in passing, if she had heard
"john prine has contracted the virus"
to lose him
and unannounced more tears sprang forth
to lose you,
or my mother
or that stranger who had only just moved in next door a week before
this practice of losing, of letting loose
the well of tears
the gut busting laughter
the showering songs of countless spring birds
and the tick-a-rack of my dog throwing sticks in the back
letting this moment swell
allowing even this to arrive
as one of my gratitudes
as if I’d been practicing my whole life for just this,
and it still feeling like my first tear