Be the Voice of Change

Image

Musings on the International Day of Peace and the first weeks of school:

Here I am teaching in-person for the first time in a year and a half. It seems funny to even use the words “in-person”; I mean, how else do you teach?

But now many of us understand words Ike virtual learning, zoom calls, and home office from firsthand experience. This past year and half we learned the value of hunkering down and staying home to “be safe” and the sheer joy of being able to gather together with friends and family. We found peace and made peace and offered peace where none was given.

We saw conflict, felt tension, and recoiled from verbal combat every time we opened a social media app.

But just like teaching, living in peace with one another is less about relaying information or our point of view and more about building relationships. It’s less about building fences and more about building bridges.

So with these thoughts in mind, I taught the students the song “With Just One Small Voice” this week, and we talked about what it means to use your voice together with others to speak out for or against something. I asked the students what things they would speak out about if given the chance.

A fifth grader said he would speak out against homelessness, another said they would raise awareness about hunger, a third grader said she would want to use her voice to encourage others to clean up the environment, and a second grader raised her hand and shared her heart for the plight of Haitian immigrants so passionately and articulately, I thought I had been transported to middle school.

These are the future peacemakers and bridge builders of our world. These are the thinkers and change makers.

And I get to work with them every day.

I will bind myself willingly to this kind of work–to peacemaking and restoration and love because I believe this is what will ultimately change the world. Respect, cooperation, listening with empathy, being willing to change your mind: these are the heart of hope for our future.

And so with this fullness of hope in my heart, I pray that peace finds its way to you wherever you are and in whatever you do.

We are what the world is becoming, so with one small but collective voice let’s sing so our voice is heard.

#bethechange #peacemakersunite #tryalittlekindnessinstead

The Dreamers

Image

Photo Credit: Thanks and shoutout to Dan Smedley

Lately I have been reading through the Poetry Foundation website like a novel. Sometimes I search a theme, sometimes I just read through the site recommendations.

By doing this, I have discovered some amazing poets who were previously unknown to me, and I have also discovered some interesting forms of rhyme and meter.

I experimented today with a rather unusual rhyme scheme in an eight line stanza. It’s been so refreshing to take time each day and write. I’ll tell you, it does something good for my soul.

Never stop dreaming big dreams, friends—it’s the only way you’ll ever attain them.

Dreamers

On small boats, through the long canals, they came
settling in the lowlands, digging ditches
building dykes and drains, trying hard to tame
the water running uphill. They resolved
to change their thinking; new habits evolved
and soon sleek dwellings began to appear
great in hope and greater in scope than fear
until the gleaming wheat claimed their riches.

Tell me why it is that hordes of locust
love to swarm in the warm, wet month of May.
Sudden rain like the mind keenly focused,
calls and corrals a throng of living things.
And so folks lived like paupers on shoe strings
eating barley grass and growing green beans
while listening to the constant humming
of water flowing and tymbal thrumming.
None too soon, the greedy beasts flew away.

And then more dreamers came, some in sleek boats
skimming through the canals, seeking reprieve
from the mundane and stale in hull-less oats;
some carting a lifetime of hopes and dreams
in broken barges with leaking seams.
But come they did with courageous fervor,
to be farmer, builder, and observer—
full of faith, hope, and the power to believe.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What Did You Whisper to the Wind?

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

Today’s prompt was based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. 

The challenge was to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

The Osprey

Today was the day, rising
early to head to the water.
Was that the grasses waving
good morning as we drove by?

Squinting against the sun shining,
who did I hear whistling
high-pitched and clear through the sky?
What bright sparkling caught my eye?

Whose nest was filled with littered bits —
brilliant twig jewels in morning light?
All at once I saw them coming 
fast and furious diving downward flight

orienting with the wind, floating 
on air, streaking like lightning
hunting by high dive, plucking fish
like cherries from the fresh water.

Head buried underwater, tucking
talons back, gripping their wriggling
prey on upward ascent. Tell me,
what do you whisper to the wind?

--A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What is your favorite memory in nature?

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day Two

Photo Credit: https://mymichiganbeach.com/petoskey-harbor-springs

Today’s prompt was to write a poem using Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” as inspiration. So here’s my stab at it. Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me for more of the same.

Even Now

I dream of immense white sand 
rolled out beside a rocky 
shore, piles of dunes rising like 
mountain castles--like places 
of refuge for the weary. 
Even now,

I see the whitecaps riding 
on the backs of waves when 
their weight grew too burdensome 
to carry, the slow rhythmic 
mesmerizing ebb and flow.
Even now, 

I feel each deafening and 
weighty expectation, my
mind thick with hesitation 
and uncertainty, my heart
knowing what the stars demand.
Even now,

I taste the salty sweetness 
of tortilla chips and wine—
each bite and sip reminding
me of two divergent roads,
yellow wood and deep longings.
Even now,

I know the bittersweet call
of tragedy and regret—
the burden of longing for 
more of life—and the lovely
dance of stars begging a kiss.
Even now,

I wonder what could have been 
had we listened to the sun 
singing brightly somewhere off 
the curve of horizon, to 
the moonless night sky’s bidding. 
Even now, 

when the driftwood still dances 
with rock and sand in a large 
coffee table box kept as 
a ballroom for such affairs, 
I wonder what might have been. 
Even now.

--A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below.

Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.