Letting Go

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Photo Credit: Thanks 🙌 and shoutout to Максим Степаненко.

I took an old prompt and did some stream of consciousness writing. Interesting the things that hide out in our sub-conscious.

I started with a list of eight words and a task. Being a (sometimes over) achiever, I relish the accomplishments of tasks. So I set about this challenge with gusto.

As I have often said, poetry is one of the more uncontrolled writing options. Deep inside of each one of us, there are feelings and thoughts that we seldom give voice. Too often we bury how we really feel in exchange for what is expected of us to feel, or we respond how we are expected to respond by our circle of family and friends.

These words, and perhaps the book attached to the words, brought out some feelings buried just beneath the surface. I have spoken and written before about my complete disgust with platitudes. Too much of my childhood was spent listening to them in sermons or from well meaning members of that religious community. This poem reflects those feelings.

You can try this kind of stream of consciousness writing, too. I highly recommend everyone journal in some way. For me, it can be as cathartic as a good therapy session. (Sorry Kelly.)

Here is what you can do:

Grab the closest book.
Go to page 29.
Write down 10 words that catch your eye.
Use 7 or 8 of those words in a poem.
For extra credit, have 4 of them appear at the end of a line.

My word list included these gems:

Supersaturated
Concede
Let go
Strong shouldered
Wayward
Empty
Need
Achieve

Once you have gathered your list of words, see what they say to you and put your pen or pencil to the paper or your fingers to the keyboard and start writing! I hope you enjoy the process as much as I did.

Let It Go

Suck up the sorrow like a sweet
slurpy through a straw, head resting
in hands as if to catch the pain.
Let go. Empty yourself of need.

Go on, give in, concede body
mind and spirit to the Spirit—
It is the Lord’s will after all.
He is Sovereign over our pain;

we are supersaturated
in the spirit and strong-shouldered;
we are weak-kneed, walking wayward.
We are walking in the true light;

Let go. Empty yourself of need
go on, give in—concede body
mind and spirit to the Spirit.
It is the Lord’s will after all,

for God is in control, sister;
and he will never give you more
than you can bear. You can trust him
with all your heartbroken pieces.

You need to trust in letting go
and letting God. No one else but God.
But you see, I stand here alone,
in pain, and straining to maintain

any remnant of dignity. How?
Tell me, how did we believe
all of the crazy platitudes
undermining good common sense?

How is grief less of a burden
thinking that it is for our best,
believing that God allowed this
pain for our growth and his pleasure?

I let go of sorrow, let go
of dignity in heaving sobs
with incoherent words that say
just how much I don’t understand.

I stand up, cry out, stamp my feet
shout out loud how ruthless and cruel
life can be. I don’t shout at God;
I acknowledge the suffering

and let it go. I breathe out and
release the pain; but when I can’t,
I concede. There isn’t always
a reason—don’t suck in, let go.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What Really Matters

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Thanks to Andrea Zignin @andreaz91 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/Us8dszDXx28

Two things happened today. First , I think I came across one too many platitudes on social media. I think I’ve grown tired of the same old being labeled as new. I’m just tired of it.

Second, we drove by a church on the way home from school today, and Evan made the unsolicited observation, “So many churches say things about how they ‘love people’, but they don’t really mean it, Mom. What they mean is that they love people who look like them.”

Mic drop.

Painful truth out of the mouth of a 12 year old.

I think that this poem came out of my brain processing all these things. I used a long line poetry form—13 syllables in each line and an “aabb” rhyme scheme within each quatrain.

Wind In My Sails

I used to believe in the power of platitude
a well turned phrase spoken with just the right attitude—
a spirit of humility mixed with compassion,
a spark of light with the ability to cash in

despair for hope. But there came a time when I required
more than empty words and broken promises acquired
from someone else’s wisdom. I needed to live in
my own truth, and I needed to refuse to give in—

needed to refuse the bill of goods sold off as truth,
sold off as positive conformity to the youth.
So when I finally stood and shook off the shackles,
I found myself straight-backed, fearless, and without hackles.

Just to be clear, I do still believe in the power
of gratitude, the gift of grace, rest in each hour;
I believe in the unflappable human spirit,
the inner voice of God whether or not I hear it.

I have to live my life and to see things as they are
to walk my own road and fly low under the radar.
Platitudes should go the way of frogs and fairy tales—
when I release them, I feel the full tilt of my sails.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Grief Never Dies

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Thanks to Elizabeth Kay @elizabeth_kay for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/mAl4MikDENMq

A Saturday offering—a bit of a reflective piece.

Grief Never Dies

I grieved the litter of kittens
who died beneath the mud floor
of the old red barn—

birthed in trying circumstances
with sunday school refrains
playing on the radio,

buried in the garden—
discordant mews silenced
by a rousing gospel chorus;

now the kitties are settled
into the terra firma—
and I am older and wiser—

and still grieving.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

May the winds of grief move you forward.

Sacred Circle of Trees

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Photo Credit: Mike Ross

The poetry writing prompt I found for today asked me to write a poem in which mysterious and magical things occur. Immediately my mind drifted to our trip to Ireland in 2018.

One of the best parts of our trip to Ireland was the driver we hired as a guide. Having been a guide for many years, Tim knew some of the most interesting, out of the ordinary places to see. He tapped in to the stories I had heard or read as a girl.

Faery Stories were always my favorite. I loved the stories of magical wee folk, whether cute or capricious, bringing joy or sorrow to those around them. When Tim told us we were close to a “faerie ring”, you can imagine my joy.

Our driver explained that the faerie ring is any free-standing circle of trees. He said that farmers will not cut down the trees even if they are in the middle of field.

Superstitions are strong in Ireland.

Sometimes you get a Wishing Trees inside of a faerie circle. A Wishing Tree is a hawthorn tree where people tie ribbons to ask blessings from the local saints (or from the wee folk). The story is told that if you go into these forests today and tie a string to the trunk of the tree in the center, you will be able to “hear beyond”.

We did visit a sacred circle of trees with a wishing tree in it, and I found it eerily peaceful. This poem pays homage to that visit.

The Circle of Trees

They called and I came,
the circle enfolding me
in silence.

Listen to the hum
of the ancient rhythm.
Listen to the rumble
of wisdom.

They called again and I heard,
like whispers floating down
from the trees.

Do you know
that churches
do not house God?

We are the keepers
of all things
wise and wonderful.

We are
the storehouse
for memory.

Did you hear that?
Did you hear the whisper?

But the only voice
I hear is my own
echoing back to me;

until there on the tree,

I see my string
flickering
on the breath
of the wind.

—A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What would you wish on a hawthorne tree?

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 23

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Today’s prompt encouraged me to read another poet’s work and glean an idea or image.

The challenge was to write a poem that responds, in some way, to the other poem.

I used, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman and used her phrase “we rebelled against the southwestern wind”. It’s definitely a work in progress.

The Wind 

We rebelled against the southwestern wind, the cold northern front, and Santa Claus;

he was NOT the reason for the season, after all.

Somehow we believed our lives were better as we drank in dogma between sips of sherbet punch at the potluck.

We were rebels with a cause, after all.

We were on the journey with Jesus and the Gospel coalition, traveling together, celebrating dedications (instead of baptisms), ordinances (instead of sacraments), and knowing that our way was The Way to life everlasting: Sola gratia, Sola fide, and Sola scriptura.

O sole mio! We were enlightened with the truth after all.

We wore one piece bathing suits as a sign of purity and culottes down to our knees to hide any immodesty. We didn’t go to dances or play with playing cards, and under no circumstances whatsoever did we curse.

We knew such things were of the devil, after all.

Everything changed the day I actually met the southwestern wind, with the rays of the sun shining like hair from her head. I had been fearful really, of seeing things through her eyes. But we sat under the cork tree smelling the flowers and talking until the dawn joined us for coffee, and the rooster crowed.

In that moment I stopped rebelling,
and started believing in Santa Claus.

—A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Every poem is a journey. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed mine.

NaPoWriMo2021 Day 15

I remember the first moment as an adult when I realized that some of my ancient ruins included fear of abandonment and shame.

Through many years of therapy, I learned to recognize the effects of a shame-based mindset in my own life. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have ever experienced any shame-based trauma (or whether you’ve given any to others), l found this great site with some very helpful information.

As I read, I saw the toxic ways I was responding to the shame I learned in my childhood. I also discovered ways to replace the old negative messages with positive ones.

I know how quickly my tongue can be critical. A snark is so much easier than expressing my feelings honestly, but I am determined to tame my tongue and break down some of my own ancient ruins.

Ancient Ruins

Stones speak
the language of time,
but the old women
could crush
a stone
with the tip
of their tongues.
Gosssip
hisssing
like catss
whisspering
sussed out
ssecrets
sshaming —
heads held high,
hands folded with piety,
noses turned down
inside their houses of glass.

—a Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

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.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Seventeen

 Today’s poetry writing prompt was to make a specialized dictionary. This could be, for example, a dictionary of nautical terms, or woodworking terms, or geology terms. Anything, really, so long as it was not a standard dictionary.

Well I just so happened to do this one yesterday in my “experiences, a list of horrific” poem. If you want to read this poem, see yesterday’s blogpost.

Today after a beautiful time of worship, we headed down to Dearborn to do some more photo/video work with SARN and the Syrian Refugee families. Negativity has surrounded these ones who have suffered, much of it given in the name of religious piety. In spite of this, there is a tireless contingent of volunteers working to help these newcomers not only to assimilate in their new country, but also to thrive. These volunteers are inspirational to me; they are all professionals–medial doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, art therapists, music therapists and educators. All week long they work in demanding jobs helping people in need. Then, during their weekend “free” time, they are volunteering, still helping people in need. In addition to all of this, they are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters who are caring for their families and loved ones.

These volunteers live my favorite saying: don’t try, do. They are not TRYING to make a difference, they are MAKING a difference.

I dedicate this poem to SARN and to all the volunteers in this world who give time and talent asking nothing in return. Your selflessness is inspirational to all of us. You live the spiritual laws that cross culture and religion and denomination. Thank you for showing the rest of us the way to peace.

the Real four spiritual laws

1.
the source of difficulty convoluted–
a pack of angry hornets buzzing,
a breeze refusing to blow in scorching heat,
a maze of mysterious pathways with many voices shouting, “This is the right way!”

the clamor is deafening.
who can hear above each one
shouting the odds of his opinion?

2.
kindergarten teaches us what we need to know in life–
be kind to one another;
share what you have with others;
wait patiently in line;
lend a helping hand whenever and wherever possible.

3.
the solution sits on either side of our head–
collaboration happens only with cooperation;
cooperation begins with listening.

4.
live gently amidst the clamor.
be calm when the storm hits.
speak softly when others shout.

point the way to Peace. 

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.