Fireflies and Summer Skies

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Photo Credit: Thank you and shoutout to toan phan.
Fireflies

Every evening
as the sun dips
low in the horizon
a calm settles.

Fireflies blink
in dusky
summer skies
while the fire crackles

and laughter
breaks into the night.
If I am brave
and open my widening

eyes to see
into the falling
darkness, I can
picture tomorrow

I can dream
I can feel hope
rising in
my bones—

the kind
of hope
that speaks truth
but lives dreams.

Every evening
as the fireflies dance,
if you know how
to listen for the whispers

of tomorrow,
you can tell yourself
who you want
to become.

—Carla Picklo Jordan

Sunset

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Lake Isabella
Sunset

Orange ombre
tapestry covers
the sky-blue of day
until only a sliver

remains framing
the still life,
reflecting off
the tranquil waters

where a fruit bowl
of cantaloupe,
apricot, peach,
and tangerine

captivate my senses
so tangible
I can taste them
I can smell the earth

cooling from her
day’s work. As
the bee buzzes by
in his rush to get back

to the hive,
even he slows down
to savor the beauty.
Pause, Reflect, Savor—

a holy trinity,
a powerhouse,
an embodiment
of living well.


Mama

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Mama
Mama

Leaning on my momma
used to be
as comforting
as slipping
into a good story
(and hers were the best)

like the time
she took a train
across Czechoslovakia
in 1956—-a wide-eyed
young bride boldly

braving new worlds,
baring her teeth
at armed guards
who dared dump
her unmentionables,

changing a tire
at 12,000 feet—
even the Alps
didn’t scare mama;

now little mama
leans on me,
her fragility
a reckoning of age,

and so we measure
this middle
in the luxury
of not rushing.

I see
our new season,
as one of priceless pause;
this time demands us
to rest
in the beauty
of now.

—A draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

A Septet of Lines

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Photo Credit: Shoutout to Annie Spratt on social.

The poetry challenge I place before you today this: I’d love for you to try writing a lune.

A lune is a sort of English-language haiku. While the haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count, the lune has two different options.

The first option for a lune is a three-line poem with a 5-3-5 syllable count. The second variant is based on word-count instead of syllable count. This means the poem still has three lines, but the first line has five words, the second line has three words, and the third line has five words again.

I chose this latter form to write my poem. Today I give you a Septet of Lunes. Try your hand at it and share it in the comments. I look forward to reading your take on the lune.

dinner on the deck

the cardinals always come--
strutting red coats,
snapping seeds in a single crunch.

the dark eyed junco hops
tentatively to feed,
nervously glancing side to side

the chickadees flit over lightly
with great decorum
landing lightly on the feeder.

sparrows hide in the bushes
waiting their turn,
hanging out in patient packs.

the house finch dines together
with the others--
sparrows, chickadee, cardinal and junco.

when the blue jay plows
in to feed,
the sea of birds part;

but the noisy starlings arrival
clears everyone out--
iridescent bullies chasing away friends.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Bop BeBop

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Thanks to Alec Douglas @alecthenomad for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/iuC9fvq63J8

The prompt for the day: the Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song.

Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain.

The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain.

Well, I’ve never written a “bop” before, but I’ve listened to bebop. (Maybe that will help me…) Here is my first (very rough) attempt.

at the intersection

the bus line passed right in front
of her window every morning--
a new opportunity
and a lost hope for breaking free.
the dying happens slowly,
she mutters into the glass pane.

the fear of death is a powerful aphrodisiac.

he bundles up to ward off
cold days and even longer nights.
the gnawing hunger never
waning; any sort of food will do.
traversing alleys, seeking,
always longing for the next door.
yellow lights flicker inside
the neighbor's kitchen reflecting...

the fear of death is a powerful aphrodisiac.

...a table full of food, scents wafting--
oh for once to not be hungry!
catching her eye he smiles
stomach growling, indecisive.
death is a friend to no one,
he thinks, and slowly turns the knob.

the fear of death is a powerful aphrodisiac.


—a poem in progress by Carla Picklo Jordan

Who Am I?

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Thanks to Lorenzo Nucci @lorenzonuccipe for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/VrfGS6S86uo

On a day when I just don’t know what to write, these are the words that come to me.

Some days I am quite certain I know the answer to the owl’s question, but other days I am no so sure.

I am always me.

True to myself.

Essentially me in every year and place.

But sometimes I hide in plain sight so no one can see the me I wish to be when I’m all alone.

Who Am I?

Today I heard an owl
Singing in the summer trees
Such a plaintive cry had he
the branches bent in the breeze
I searched the trees high and low
my heart broke to hear him sing,

Who, who am I, oh who am I?
Who, who am I, oh who am I?

I know a single moment
Cannot define my story
But this entailed glory
of bird, flight, and song for me
Whittled words on my heart’s wall
that always will bear my name—

Who, who am I, oh who am I?
Who, who am I, oh who am I?

—draft by Carla Jeanne

Rest Trumps Tired

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Thanks to Clément Falize @centelm for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/WZ2V1j2a1K8

A “golden shovel” poem is a poem within a poem—like a puzzle or a mystery. Oh and puzzles and mysteries are challenges that I love.

A poem within a poem? How does that even work? I’m so glad you asked.

First I had to choose a poem to “hide” inside my poem. I chose David Whyte’s poem “Enough” because I love it.

You can check out my “golden shovel” like this: first, read my poem as a complete unit. Then read it again using only the last word from each line and you will read David Whyte’s beautiful poem, “Enough”.

After the week (or three) we’ve been experiencing over here I really felt the need for rest because somehow I can never seem to get enough rest.

Trace is walking really well. We are both amazed at how straight her shoulders have become. She can raise both arms straight up high (she hasn’t been able to do that in years) and her shoulders are even and no longer slumped.

Another benefit since surgery is that her CRPS foot pain has subsided a little. She is so grateful for that!

Lizi is still struggling with pain and trapped gas in her body from the surgery. We are praying it is absorbed into her body or released out one way or another. Ev has been staying with her to help with Little E, and she has been really grateful for his help.

The dogs are finally home, and we are continuing on with their training.

As for me…well…

I. Am. Exhausted.

Sometimes overwhelmed.

Anxious.

Well, you get the idea.

Perhaps you feel the same?

It’s ok to not be ok.

It’s ok to decide to rest.

rest

I find it enough.
moments like these
when sounds are few
and fewer still are words
these moments are
enough.

no space for what if
or worries about what not
to do or say. Yes, in these
moments I find soul words,
I find space within this
time to catch my breath.

if only, if
only this time were not
just like this
life--a fading breath

if only this
space for sitting
for being here
and present in this
life of wondrous opening
would allow me to
receive the
joy of living life
in the present. we
know the places we have
said no--where we refused
to live again;
where we struggle and
strive again.

I find it enough until
pressures of the now
rage against the still; until
again I rest in the still now.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Dancing Buttercups

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Artist credit: Annelea

The world is beginning to dream again and so are we. I see strength returning to Tracy’s spirit, and it does my heart good. She was able to use her walker to walk to the sink, sit down and wash up her face and arms in the sink today. A milestone!

She said it felt so good. She changed into a personal nightgown and felt like a whole new person.

We are hoping to get her into in patient rehab on Monday but it is pending insurance approval. You know how it is…

It is not good enough that doctors, nurses, and Physical and Occupational therapists recommend it. No, the insurance company, not her personal medical team, must approve it first. Please pray with us she can go.

On another note, my dear friend Annelea has launched her website. Trust me, you want to click that hyperlink and check it out; she is a gifted artist.

I am honored to continue a collaborative process Annelea and I began several years ago. I write—she paints.

This poem is the second in our most recent collaboration. I am writing poetry for the paintings on her website.

After this year of pandemic and quarantine and staying home, I am ready for dancing buttercups on a far away shoreline. I hope you are swept away with joy and hope and dreams of summer.

Buttercup Dreams

I slept
in a field
of buttercups

down
by the Cape
where salty air

and shipwrecks
drift together
near the rocks

buttercups
with orange-tip
butterflies nestled

finally free
once again
to dream

How
shall I
bear the joy

of living again
in this glorious
invincible summer?

—a draft of Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Trust the Wait

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Today is surgery day. I am still in the surgery waiting room and she’s been in there for four hours already. To distract myself from the bile creeping up into my throat, I wrote.

It’s what writers do.

It’s what poets do.

It’s certainly what I do.

I will keep you all posted as soon as I know something.


Trust The Wait

There’s a breathless expectancy
in the hospital waiting room.
I feel it in the man in blue
speaking nervously on his phone;

I feel it in the woman dressed
in coral slacks and matching bag
as she rushes past with purpose—
a faint hint of lillies wafting.

Trust the wait; live in the question—
beauty is becoming in us.

Doctors and nurses bustle by
eyes cast downward even as I
earnestly hope one brings me news.
The darkness of waiting covers

me like a cocoon; I hate this.
I hate the persistent nagging
of worry, the lingering doubt—
the waiting and the not knowing.

Trust the wait; live in the question—
beauty is becoming in us.

I am longing for this darkness
to burst into glorious light;
I am waiting for certainty
in the middle of misgivings.

So I will close my eyes and long
for days when sunshine kissed the waves,
and I will set foreboding fears
aside to dream of unknown shores.

Trust the wait; live in the question—
beauty is becoming in us.

Denial? Perhaps there is some;
I prefer resigning to rest.
Not dispassionate, but rather
prepossessed to my pact with peace.

Trust the wait; live in the question—
beauty is becoming in us.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Nguni Cattle

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This painting is by the artist Annelea. She has many beautiful pieces on her brand new website. Check her work out here.

One of the great privileges I have enjoyed is travel. Beginning with an opportunity to teach in China when I was in my early twenties, I’ve experienced teaching many different countries and cultures through the years.

On one of those journeys, I made a lifelong friend, a South African girl who was heading to Croatia/Bosnia to do humanitarian work. Through the years, Annelea has travelled and lived all over the world, and we have remained fast friends.

Annelea has been painting for many years. In different countries she has taken classes, made community connections, and grown as an artist. She has finally launched her website and has many beautiful pieces and prints for sale. She’s one of a kind, and her work is as delightful as she is!

This poem highlights one of Annelea’s paintings. I hope you visit her website and enjoy the beauty and movement of her paintings.

Nguni Cattle

They move with the wind heavy
feet plodding as dust rises—
to them there is no today
and there is no tomorrow;

there is only now and grass
and eating and digesting.
So the days move day to night,
only in their dreams they move

beyond the roaring fire,
beyond the crystal clear night
beyond all the shining stars
to the magic of the moon.

I wonder if other worlds
like this one exist —- worlds where
people and creature alike
remain unfettered by time.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan