A Pantoum For My Pops

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My Pops

Happy Father’s Day to all the Pops, Dads, Daddies, Papas, Papis, Babas, Role Models, Mentors, and Step Wonders!

Today is Father’s Day, and so naturally I wanted to honor my dad. My Pops was hands-down the best dad on this planet for me.

I chose a new-to-me form called a “pantoum” (a Malay form from Indonesia) because pantoums are about memory and usually compare the present to the past in some way.

Pantoums are made of quatrains of any meter (though syllables are typically regular between stanzas), have no set rhyme scheme, and are really dependent on their repetition of whole lines.

The repetition looks like this: 
The first stanza
A
B
C
D

Second stanza
B
E
D
F

Third stanza
E
G
F
H

Fourth stanza
A
I
C
J

The pantoum carries this continuous pattern until, typically, it ends with lines A and C repeated in the last stanza. (For my pantoum this was the fourth stanza)

Here are some good examples: “Pantoum of the Great Depression” (Justice), “She Put on Her Lipstick in the Dark” (Dischell)

For Pops

Pops loved the simple things in life;
he loved God, his family, his wife.
Music was part of his being—
healthy, whole, and utterly free.

He loved God, his family, his wife—
walking alongside with kindness,
healthy, whole, and utterly free—
a man of solid conviction.

Walking alongside with kindness,
he had a gentle demeanor—
a man of solid conviction
and eyes with a hint of mischief.

Pops loved the simple things in life—
a lake, a dock, his fishing pole.
Music was part of his being—
my life the refrain for his song.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Lady Godiva

Thanks to Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian @foodess for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

I haven’t felt much like cooking since Trace went into the hospital, Lizi had emergency surgery, and Uncle E left to stay with her for a bit and help out with Little E.

At first I didn’t want to cook because it was just too hot, and now, it seems I’ve lost my mood altogether. That seems an impossible and improbable situation given what I know about my own love for cooking, but it is absolutely true.

I think life just caught up with me, and I pooped out. What can I say? 🤷🏼‍♀️ It happens to the best of us.

However, my adoration for all things sweet has not abated one iota; so today, I found a prompt based on one of Lauren Russell’s collaborative poetry exercises. The exercise required that I write a poem based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure.

I think perhaps I had as much fun trying to think of a guilty pleasure as I did writing this sultry, smoking hot ode to my true love.

What is your secret guilty pleasure?

lady godiva 

can i taste
your sweet succulence,
your crisp-cookie,
your bark without a bite,
your gooey caramel pull,
your coconut cream,
and your milk chocolate chew
melting in my mouth?

can i taste
your dark chocolate,
your milky way wonder,
your sea salt sprinkles
that tease the tongue?

meet me
in my bed;
slip into
my mouth
and melt away
the sorrows.

meet me
in the dark
where we can
change the world,
or at least
the moment.

last night
your siren song bewitched
and i succumbed.

this morning
i looked both ways
before returning
your golden box
to the cupboard
and slipping silently
back into bed.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

The Best Is Yet to Come

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Photo Credit: my beautiful children and grandchildren

And so it was and so it is that the best is yet to come.

The best is always yet to come.

Motherhood is always mingled with darkness and light. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

My children have seen me at my mountain top best and my rock bottom worst. I have muddled my way through motherhood, making mistakes, overreacting, under-reacting, discovering the many sides of myself. But no matter the mistakes I made, my children beckoned me into their lives and loved me unconditionally.

For me, loving my children unconditionally was as involuntary as breathing. I adore them all, but beyond that I like them. And I feel the same about their chosen partners.

The interplay between them is amicable and hilarious, a little bit jabbing, and a lot bit loving. They know one another’s weaknesses and strengths. They play on them and lean into them as well.

The particular intensity of motherhood has not been lost on me. And now I get to enjoy the fruits of all those years as I watch my beautiful children begin to raise their own families. Grandparenting is the best of all worlds.

So you see? The best is always yet to come! I can’t wait to see what comes next!

First Time

Walking in to Walmart
that hot summer day
I wondered if everyone knew
I wondered if everyone saw
the marks of motherhood
on my body.

I am a mom.
A mom.


Surreal and hyper real.

Like no sleep in days
dripping faucet breasts real.

Like can’t sit down without a pillow real.

Like worried sick I’ll do the wrong thing real.

Like a tiny human now totally dependent on me for survival real.

I wondered
in that moment
what our life
would be like—
I wondered who
that tiny human
would become.

Today I look down at my body
forever changed,
forever marked by motherhood

I look at my grown children
and their beautiful lives
and their beautiful loves

I look at my Little Wonder
growing up too quickly
wise beyond his years

and I know
the answer:

the best was yet to come.

—A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mothers. Even if you aren’t a mother, you made someone a mother so YAY YOU!

The Hummingbird

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Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@candiscamera2019

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” —Vincent Van Gogh

I am working hard to find the beauty in everyday life, but it isn’t always an easy task. Sometimes life is just hard. Or discouraging. Or dangerous, or disastrous.

So I am grateful to my friend the hummingbird who reminds me to drink in each moment.

the hummingbird

the hummingbird comes
to our little red feeder
feasting on nectar
from plastic flowers,

sipping sweet juice
through her straw-like beak.
never sitting still,
yet present —

cyclic and reliable
as the seasons —
she reminds me
to drink in beauty.

-a Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What reminds you to be still and enjoy each moment?

Day #30

National Poetry Writing Month: Day#30

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo for this year. The challenge today was to write a poem of farewell. Seems so appropriate. I will miss these little (frustrating, hairpulling) prompts. Here is my last poem for the month. Seems appropriate for Mother’s Day, too.

(almost)farewell

life seems full—
coming and going,
ebb and flow,
welcome and release.
i roll with the flow of tide waters
rushing in where angels fear to tread
but the tide on the ebb—
slowly retracting,
moving just out of reach,
 playing almost out of sight—
leaves me with a sense of emptiness.
the water recedes
i am left
bone-dry and bare-naked.
iwillmissyou(she whispers)
when you ebb away,
but ee knew a little something
about the mystery of
 lifeontheebb
you can move just out of reach,
you can play almost out of sight,
but i will never be without you:

i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart).

ee cummings

Day #27

Today’s prompt was to write a poem based on a photograph. I chose a photo from a lovely (unexpected) visit to the beach.

inhale: calm and cloudless air.
sun-kissed water
separating cobalt sky from
emerald green grass.
cool-crisp ground
makes the perfect bed
lying under golden willows.
eyes closed, listening–
the rustle of the leaves,
the call of a bird,
the pop of a skeet gun,
the crack of a driver,
the coolness of fingers,
the softness of breath.
exhale: quiet devotion.

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Day #17

National Poetry Month: Day #17

Today’s Napowrimo prompt was to write a poem in which I very specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses. Given the fact that we are in the thick of Holy Week, my focus stays close to Jesus as I reflect upon His passion.Jesus on the cross freize

black friday

vinegar:
my acidic reflex
responds                     without coaxing.
i see the offered sponge
and recoil
how thirsty would I need to be
to accept such a proffer?
mouth dry as dust
bones like molten wax
skin raw and sticky
with dried blood and sweat
i hear wailing:
the crowd jeers from far away
sour wine                       my last taste.
thirsty.
so.
thirsty.