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Mindful Poetry Virtual Gathering #3

Posted April 15, 2020 in News Articles

This weeks Mindful Poetry Virtual Gathering was facilitated by Amy Tuttle of WordPlay Cincy and Manuel Iris. They led us through reading, contemplation and responding to Aimee Nezhukamatathil's "On Listening to your Teacher Take Attendance". We are so grateful for our partners and for those who were able to participate from all over the world. You can view the full gathering in the video above.

Please join us for our next virtual gathering April 22, we will listen, contemplate and respond to “Alive” by Naomi Shihab Nye. (To access our daily Mindful Poetry content, simple fill out this brief form and look for a Welcome email from The Well.)


Response Poems

(Share your response poems here.)



untitled
By Holly Brians Ragusa

Breathe deep
Even when your lungs betray you with bitter winds blowing toward
your mouth threatening a storm
Escape to a place with more skill needed to navigate
The troubled waters you ride now
Take in the tide of anger and reshape it into forms yet known to you unknown truths
Molded into makeshift rafts we’ve all sailed
Travel dangerously into another's footprints on a far shore
Distantly viewed through the needle eye of our own inhumanity
Torrents of your own making won’t quench the heat rising in your face
Walk over the fire and keep still your pain carry it close
For it can reveal the pain you too have inflicted
Showing scars mapped on other skins that beat in other hearts
We are the topography we allow ourselves to journey over

"Breathe deep..."
By: Isti Toq'ah

Breathe deep even it's hard for you to breathe.
Breathe, because that's the most feasible thing to do now.
Breathe, because it's both a bless and a sign of life.
Then, hold it for a while before you let it go, before you breathe it out.
Observe it when you hold it.
There's a space in between for you to feel and fill the solitude, the aloneness instead of loneliness.

Then, let go, breathe out.
Whatever it is, to breathe out, to let go means you reach the highest, the mightiest, and the kindest care of yourself.
To breathe out, to let go means you stop the things--you can't control--to control you.
To breathe out, to let go is not akin to ignorance.

Please worry nothing.
You'll see when you're worried, your breath gets distracted, your breath has no space in between, your breath becomes wild like a beast.
And I don't want you to be controlled or even eaten by that beast because this is not Beauty and the Beast.

On Listening to an Acquaintance Tell a Joke
by Sarah Pinho
after Aimee Nezhukumatahil

Breathe deep, even if you’re sure everyone will notice, even if you’re sure how obvious it is that you’re calming yourself.

Your accent is local, and so they cannot know that you
have none of the vocabulary of the humor everyone
else seems to share, that you have none of the quotes or
trivia from the pop culture in which everyone else
seems to partake, that you cannot read the body
language everyone else seems to speak with so fluently.

When reference is made to a cultural phenomenon
of which you have no knowledge, glance subtly at
other bodies, and mirror their poses and their
reactions, and remember that you are smart, that
you are in the 96th percentile in national testing, that
just because you are still emerging from the religious
cocoon that isolated you your entire childhood, you
can catch up.

Tell yourself, you are a late bloomer. Tell yourself,
late blooms are large, juicy blossoms that burst
open in a riot of color.

Tell yourself that, if these interlocutors notice you
are breathing, either they will love you for it, or else
you will find more interlocutors, because
part of this great emerging is the joy of discovery.

untitled
By: Avery Lorenz, age 8 with Stacy Small-Lorenz

High in the tree canopy
I yell:
Dare me to jump?
Hanging on by hands and feet, I wait
for the answer. Can you believe
they say yes?
I breathe in, then out
and spring into the air.
I strike the ground
like a lightning bolt.


A notice to appear
By: Nicole P. Castillo

Breathe deep and remember how the hallway was dark—
Alone, there is some relief.
No one was there to hold your hand or witness your shame.
Across from you— a young woman,
She's here alone too.
You never imagined that you'd have to do this alone.
Everyone had a stake in it, an opinion. There are no witnesses here today.
Inside, the court staff move swiftly.
They're sharing a desk, and your emotions are above their pay-grade.
"So you have investments?" they inquire.
A voice emerges from the speaker phone—
"Not too many," he responds.
"You'll have to declare them"
—as small and insignicant as they are.
There will need to be record of what is left.


On everything we don't know about how to survive
By: Stacy Sims

Breathe deep, past the catch in your dense, heavy lungs
past the fear that the pumonary roadblock is not from ragweed and tree dust
and instead the infection that jumped aboard
when you took off your gloves in the meat aisle last week.

Breathe deep before you pass the unmasked woman
with the permed hair and orange lipstick and weary eyes
who picked up and put down six packages of sausage
with her palsied, bare hands.

Breathe deep when she makes eye contact and confides
in you as though you have the sacred authority
to forgive her for the germs of claustrophobia, a missing daughter,
and hands not steady enough to sew a cure.


On Remembering my Grandmother's Voice
By: Geralyn Hoxsey Sparough

Breathe Deep - remember to exhale
unclench your jaw and trust yourself

Deny the not so tiny voice "Don't
get too big for your britches, missy" and

"Watch your tone, young lady"
in order to speak heart and mind

Free the anger and pain in the
knowledge that pain begets pain

and love can mend brokeness across
space and time

Maybe the warnings perceived as punishment were meant to
protect not imprison

untitled
By: Troy Bronsink

Breathe deep
the ordinary
smell of the dark dirt tracked in
watter-tack-tick, by the dog,
tracked onto a floor, shadow-sticks up
under the window's sun
for its lack of vacuuming.

Breath in
the shaded memory of
unimportance.
Supersaturated sweet tea and after-school reruns
pressing back sadness
sending childhood songs
underground for the rest of my youth.

Years later,
a parent now, closing the red door on
the house our bank took
in exchange for our
failed payment—
and the young couple who bought
our family's 8 years of hard work
for a song.

Let that song
sing for they
too were simple looking for a home.


Breathe Deep (response)
by Anna Martinez-Amos
Breathe deep even if all you smell is your own fear.
Breathe deep to take in the air around you.
You will find molecules belonging to the universe.
Breathe deep to inhale the wisdom of the cosmos.
You will find its courage and make it your own.