Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrate National Poetry Month

I love National Poetry Month.
So many of these annual “— months” (April is “the month” of at least 13 national issues, including Soft Pretzels and Soyfoods) seem gratuitous, insincere, obligatory. But during National Poetry Month, you can have deliver a poem to your e-mailbox each morning, start the day with a poem, and feel like a patriot for taking the time to do so. What could be better? (Of course we could do this, on our own, every day of the year. But I don’t.)
It is an excellent thing to be reminded that simply stopping to read a poem — especially as, say, Monday morning is just getting going at work, and the week looms long and laborious ahead—can transport a spirit to a completely different plane of existence, bring new insight to the same old, same old, resuscitate a transformative but rarely conjured memory….
Along with, I invite you all to: “Celebrate national Poem In Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 29, 2010! The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 29, 2010.” Read more at:
Let me also call your attention to a poem by a poet I would never have discovered but for Poem-A-Day from Daniel Johnson’s first collection, How to Catch a Falling Knife, comes out this month.

Prayer for the Collector of Small Animal Skulls

Always Watching Light
and Shadow Skinny
as a Willow Switch
are names I would choose
for the boy skipping stones
across the flooded quarry.
In high summer his hair
is milkweed silk;
thrown into a well,
his voice sinks, thins,
and rebounds,
reedy still.

Look after this child,
cowlicked and burred,
at least out of the corner
of your eye. Selah.
Let him sit late in the day
where he can’t be seen
from the house, Petty Thief
Stripping Petals from a Peony,
white as winter breath:

God is my judge. God
is not. God is my judge.
God is not.

Let petals snow on the lawn.
Let no harm, let no harm come
to the Collector of Small Animal Skulls.

Mary for the Poplar Grove Muse

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Sometimes I look upon the tea in my cup and
I see nothing.

Sometimes I see green for life and the heart chakra.
Brown for earth and rebirth.

Sometimes I see my own face and honor it.
Sometimes I do not.

Sometimes I see my dreams taking shape in bubbles and leaf.
Sometimes I see cracks and stains.

Sometimes I look upon the tea in my cup and
I see nothing.
Sometimes I see everything.

Tea and Poetry
Please join us on Sunday, May 16th, 3 - 5 pm at the Poplar Grove schoolhouse for a Poetry Tea! The program includes celebrating poetry, tea and our commnity. We'll hear poetry readings from Glenda Breeden and Deborah Hutchinson, and we'll savor tea and traditional tea party foods. Proceeds support the WWF(a)C scholarship fund. The cost is $25 per person. RSVP to Stephanie Wilson at

Stephanie W for the Poplar Grove Muse

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I had an experience recently on vacation where I rested in the vast ariel root system of an enormous Banyan tree in West-Central Florida. I was warm and tired after a long walk one afternoon. I was depressed and felt oddly displaced by the man-made perfection of the community we were visiting, but when I stopped to rest --I felt so held in the arms of that tree I became completely restored. A single Banyan can come to resemble a forest grove. They are magical trees. I know my spirit rose in response to my brief communion with "my" Banyan. I think Robinson Caruso found home in a Banyan once. I feel like maybe the Swiss Family Robinson did too. I know Kipling’s Jungles were full of them.

Banyans are a holy tree in India and Pakistan. Historically they’ve been associated with the Buddha, with merchant communities –gathering places for the exchange of goods and services and as places where people gather to pray. In fact, June 20th in India and Pakistan is a holy day of prayer just for women. They gather around great Banyan groves giving thanks and praying for what they might want to manifest in their next lives.

I want to invoke the spirit of the Banyan. Apt, I think, for the spirit of work we do at Women Writing for a Change, where each time we gather we use our words and the truths of our experience to create the possibility of finding home inside of us, of sharing soul home or the search for such a thing with others, and of putting down roots and spreading out to manifest our best intentions…for our writing and for our lives and the better world that will result.


Elephant skinned
Spider legged
Weeping woman
Hindu holy
Prop Rooted
Strangler Fig
Wish fulfilling
Divine Umbrella
Traveler’s Home
Far Flung
Fruited One
In the shelter of the Banyan
Soul, come sit at the feet of this tree of love!

BLR 4-15-10

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Badger Muse

I recently finished reading The Last Station by Jay Parini. It's an historical novel based on the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life. It's a wonderful look into the life of one of the world's most famous writers, his family life and his writing life. Tolstoy was a horsemen who rode up to the last weeks of his life. One passage alluding to this particularly touched me. I'd like to share it with you. His daughter Sasha is speaking:

In the thickest part of Zasyeka, Papa's favorite haunt, is a small trail that leads to a spring at the bottom of the woods. A pool of clear water has formed in one spot, and the horses drink there. We call it Wolves's Well. Nearby, a family of badgers live like kings in a dusty hillock. They burrow into deep dens that branch into a maze of connecting tunnels. Papa occasionally brings his favorite dogs-Tiuplan and Tsygan-here; they are crazy for badgers, scratching away at the hillock with a wild hope of unearthing them.
Papa says that writing is like that: you keep scratching away at the dirt hoping a badger might run out. But it rarely does.

And so it seems that even a muse as tenacious as a badger sometimes eluded they great Tolstoy. I'm not sure if I'm comforted by that or if that feeds my fear of being trapped in a vacuum where the words never come. Apparently, badgers can be quite elusive, appearing most often at dawn or dusk. Which might explain why some of my best writing comes at those times. During the winter they remain mostly inactive. Tucked away in their burrows for about a month.
For the past month I have been burrowed away from my writing. The couch has been my den of inaction. But I'm beginning to sense a presence. I'm hoping it's hungry for words. I want to get back to writing fiercely and I think the badger is just the muse for that. Badgers are mostly solitary animals, but they are fiercely protective of their families and dens. I think they can inspire to passion and fierceness. I like their "I'm not taking your crap" attitude. Badgers are like words, they can pack a wallop in spite of their smallness. That's how I want to write. I want my words to bite and nip at my reader, to leave a lasting impression.

I have experienced periods of inaction, lethargy in my life before. And I know they pass, but this one seems to be taking its sweet time in leaving. I'm ready for the Badger Muse to run out of his burrow and nip at my heels until I get up off the couch and write fiercer than I've ever written before.

Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse and our wonderful Amy who is in China preparing to bring Tessa McKim, Warrior Princess, back to us.