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Sunday, May 15, 2011


We have planted our garden and have watered the seeds. The next step would be to "fertilize" the soil – from all that fertilizer can be, beauty is nurtured through its application. Think in terms of "Out of something bad, something good" or making the best of a bad situation. Write a poem that expresses how something not deemed to be the best, works out in the end better than you could have desired.

Marie Elena’s example:

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4.

Sustenance (A Kyrielle)

A seed lay wilting deep within;
Its shallow roots were frail and thin.
The Gardener spoke; its soul was stirred
to feast upon God’s sovereign Word.

Its thirsty roots took hold and fed,
reached deeper down, increased, and spread.
A miracle of life was spurred
by feasting on God’s sovereign Word.

Exquisite blooms released sweet scent,
dispersing precious seeds, once spent.
Please, tender sprouts; don’t be deterred
from feasting on God’s sovereign Word.

Walt’s effort:


Clip and sort;
shards of paper left to fall.
Ten cents off;
buy one; get one.
Expiration dates not heeded
until after needed.
A lot of time wasted
before the feast is tasted.
Your total savings today
is seven seventy three.
Such is our shopping spree
and me, left holding your coupons.


  1. Composting Treasure

    Loose tea
    Tea bags
    Coffee grounds
    And filters

    Chopped chives
    Lettuce leaves
    And grass

    And squash

    Heaped up
    Forked over
    Bottom to the top
    Compost reseed

    Squash and

    Grass and
    Lettuce leaves
    Chopped chives

    Anyone for tea or coffee?

  2. vermiculture

    rain today makes tomorrow
    today's pollen sneeze
    __tomorrow's weed
    life gives you lemons
    __drive to the grocery, mama:
    __we're gonna need a bigger sugar bowl

    I know. I was supposed to turn it into something positive.

    That's what the titular worms are doing right now.

  3. It’ll Get Better

    It’ll get better after it’s worse, I know.
    When I clean up a room, it goes really slow.
    Several hours in, it’s such a disaster.
    It looks like I used a dynamite blaster.
    I’d like to give up, pack up, and go.

    But I know this catastrophe I must master
    So I muster some umph and work a bit faster,
    wondering if my effort will ever show.
    It’ll get better after it’s worse.

    So I become organizer and caster
    And I clean almost down to the plaster
    Then the room takes on a special glow.
    So if life’s storm begins to blow,
    you’ll make it, if you’re an out-laster.
    It gets better after it’s worse.

  4. ARRIVAL (a shadorma)

    You found me,
    In the mountain air,
    Among spring,
    Desert heat,
    Drove me south,
    Resistant search for your love . . .

    Beach love now, with you!

  5. The Garden Show

    A diamond, a bush, a grasshopper
    trip and stumble, flail and fall
    from her finger the ring hopped
    away with their engagement call.

    She thought her world might end
    humiliation the final blow,
    until she met Prince Charming
    because of that old garden show.

    @laurie kolp

  6. Picked Last

    Gym class was a nightmare, the two alpha males
    heading up the teams, choosing one by one,
    always leaving the same two or three ‘til last,
    each of us silently praying, “Please pick me.”

    Even lunch time provided no respite for some,
    scrawny children, picky eaters, not plate cleaners.
    While other kids hid the foods they couldn’t eat
    in milk cartoons, mine was still filled with milk.
    (Where was the lactose intolerance alibi in 1965?)

    Amid the A’s on our report cards were teacher notes:
    Nancy does not eat enough to keep a bird alive.

    Failing to master softball, running the wrong way
    when my bat finally hit the ball, I was sent
    by a well-intentioned teacher to jump rope instead.
    Did she not realize I was afraid of running in,
    dreading the rope’s certain lash across my face?

    Poetic justice, then, returning home for class reunions,
    I see inside their fleshy facades, former cheerleaders.
    No longer so stick thin that anyone even thinks to sing
    those taunting songs about sliding down bathrub drains,
    I still find myself full of health and happiness, no bird
    left starving on my account, and still at my side,
    after all these years, the man who picked me first,
    still convinced (though I know better) that he
    got the better deal.

  7. Waiting

    Barren seeds,
    desolate of roots,
    lonely for life-
    so sorrowfully sown,
    painfully planted
    in autumn.

    Winter cultivates
    with penetrating cold,
    winds of discipline;
    springtime fertilizes
    with overflowing rains,
    buckets of tears.

    In summertime,
    blossoms of gratitude,
    flowers of courage-
    yet some remain
    dormant, waiting
    for next year.

  8. Some fabulous responses to the prompt here. I had taken something positive from each one. A particular favourite is the one about compost: a subject close to my heart!

    Mine is still embryonic, but I will come back - that's a promise.

  9. I love that this is a safe place for rough drafts. This draft is rough, for sure, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to return before the week's out so I wanted to go ahead and share it now.

    Here it goes, still untitled:

    At first we did not notice as they wound
    around our ankles, shedding them like shoes.
    We paraded proudly down the rows looking only side
    To side with our wide-brimmed hats and simple pails of water.

    Everything we learned said everything
    We’d need was water and sunshine to grow.
    Water and sun we had and we smiled,
    While creeping roots stole silently beneath.

    And then our walks got harder.
    Calves straining at the tangled vines and our backs
    wondered from where they’d come as we bent
    fighting to free our legs from their wicked fingers.

    Turning to our flowering friends, our innocent,
    wincing eyes wept, straining to find hidden faces.
    But salty tears do not grow beauty from shallow soil
    And good and bad swirl together in their reflective pools.

    “These weeds have turned to trees!” I shout.
    Grasping, tearing with rough worn hands
    “We’ll never get them down.” But we let the
    Never carry over into our night-long toil.

    The day soon rises on straining shoulders;
    Our Weathered faces speak the sun.
    Pails are cast aside for buckets
    And our calloused feet sigh in cool, soaked soil.

    Our now muscled forms tread lightly on tender,
    tended earth. Knowing eyes keep careful watch
    over fledglings finally free. Lessons hard-learned
    have rescued beauty from ignorance .

    To see my writing on my blog, you will need to click on the "writing teacher writes" tab.

  10. I'm not sure why I show us as Nancy and not as Nancy Posey. The mysteries of the internet! How can I link my blog?

  11. Nancy, looking at your blog, the section labeled, "About Me" (your profile) shows as just Nancy. That's the only place I'm seeing your name in singularity. Try going back in to re-write your full name and see if that makes a difference.

  12. It's an ill wind

    I learned to appreciate weeds.
    A painful back
    and arthritic knee
    brought disinclination
    to stoop or kneel.
    One whole summer of seeding
    without weeding.
    gave me flowers and grasses
    in wild array of colour
    and form.

    Still very much a draft...

  13. Jane Shlensky is having trouble posting, so I am posting this one for her:


    The boy in a room full of manure, joyfully shoveling,
    is sure a pony is in there somewhere. His cup half
    full, his eye arched with the rainbow after the storm,

    his belief in happily ever-after struggle,
    and walking on the sunny side of life

    serve him well. His small hands gripping

    wooden handle, he understands instinctively

    that he is flinging fertilizer, not wading

    into a mountain of excrement.

    That boy might marvel that we are offended
    by being told to eat shit, when a garden lush

    from night soil fills our tables and bellies,

    given a little water and sunlight.
    In a world where recycling is still embraced
    as some new-fangled idea, perhaps we should
    admit that the cycles of nature include what
    we eat and excrete, that the fertilizer we dispense
    feeds us and the animals we feed on.

    What we don’t use to fertilize the flowers
    will only stick to our shoes and bog us down.
    Fertilization then is a matter of attitude.
    Writers know that hardship provides for
    powerful poetry, good blues lyrics, and
    stories worth the hearing. Pain
    informs understanding, and failures
    either pile up and stink
    or plow the ground for
    new seed.

  14. Nancy, thank you for posting this for Jane. Jane, I'm sorry you are still experiencing trouble. I've tried to figure it out, and I know Walt has as well. We'll keep working on it. Thank you for your persistence! We're glad to have you on board.

    Marie Elena

  15. Thanks for the kind words, and smiles Marie Elena and MiskMask . Was only able to get to a few poems--

    Co-fun's ''It'll get better''- encouraging

    E. Johnson's ''Waiting''- beautiful

    Marie Elena's ''Sustenance''- inspiring.

  16. Thank you, Susie, for the mention. Very kind. :)

  17. If you didn't know you couldn't tell.

    "The poor little mite - doesn't have much going for him does he?"
    She was wearing a blue man-made fiber overall
    The too-red lipstick spidering round her mouth into pursed lines
    made me think of a cat's bottom as my anger rose.
    "Get out," is all I said.
    In the low light glow hospitals do so well I gazed at my son
    sleeping his second night in the world
    in a transparent crib on a yellow cellular blanket.
    Long dark lashes like his father's, rosebud lips like his mother's,
    genetic heritage from both of us with all that meant.
    There were not fairy godmothers or good witches
    to herald his birth but I was there to know his gifts would be many,
    he would make friends easily,
    he would find the memories he needed when he needed them,
    he would be strong and he would do more than survive.
    That woman, her automatic thought processes
    already categorising my child based on stereotypes!
    "More than you." I wish I'd said.

    Michele Brenton.

    Sorry it's a bit late.

  18. This was inspired by "Waiting" and "Sustenance" by E. Johnson and Marie Elena, respectively.

    Out of Death, Life, Powerful, Flows

    "...Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24

    Sown into the ground, forgotten,
    Through darkness, sorrow, tears and woes,
    Shell dies, releases life, and then,
    Out of death, life, powerful, flows.

    My hopeless "death" situations!
    Desires die, so life can grow...
    God's Word sustains: satisfaction--
    Out of death, life, powerful, flows.

  19. Oops,meant to mention that my poem "Out of Death, Life, Powerful, Flows" was my attempt at a Kyrielle.

  20. Thank you for your kind words, Susie! The Kyrielle is one of my favorite forms. Great job on "Out of Death!"

  21. Susie, thanks! And your kyrielle is just beautiful!

  22. Salt

    It’s time to mow the grass for the first time
    This spring – the tousled dandelion heads
    Bobbing above great ragged waves of green.
    Next to the street, the lawn is struggling,
    Burned under mounds of salt thrown down by plows
    Last winter. Nothing can live with that much salt.

    My father told me once how they used salt
    In the ancient world, as fertilizer,
    Spreading it on the fields to make crops grow.
    Too much salt in one place damaged the soil,
    Scorched beyond use. But when spread thin it was
    Golden! Life and death in each farmer’s hands.

    The good book says: you are salt for the earth.
    And I think of how we all get piled up
    In great toxic mounds of long-lost goodness.
    We poison our own back yards, when we could
    Be scooped up and scattered to the fresh winds
    Helping wheat and weeds grow up together.

  23. Nancy, choose the "name/URL" option from the comment as menu, and you can use any signature you want. That also let's you link back to your blog or to a specific post if you paste in the full address

  24. I missed the second part of your question, Nancy. Sorry about that. Thanks for your help, Barbara!

  25. Rainbow Reminder

    Rain tickles the treetops
    and sprinkles the grass.
    Not much, but enough to flood
    our picnic plans. We scamper
    inside and snuggle by the fire,
    watching the rain dance across the ground
    we drift into a trance inspired by the tinkling sound.

    The rain lets up and the sun
    breaks through the clouds. Inviting
    us to come outside and look around.
    Hand –in-hand we meander through the moist
    grass. Shimmering drops reflecting the sun;
    a rainbow grows in the sky where
    this morning there was none.
    Reminding us how sweet the rain can be
    when with the one you love.

    This was a hard prompt for me...my husband said it was because I only write about depressing things.

  26. This is certainly not depressing: it has a happy feel to it.


    Emma is three
    and it's all about fairies
    with gossamer wings who
    live in bushes and trees
    who lazily nap and dream
    on a warm summer breeze
    playing with the bird and the bees

    Emma's pink frilly frock
    and matching silk wings
    her fairy wand dusting everything
    seeing magic and mystery
    springing from myths
    of bewitched beings who
    live and play amongst us.


    It starts at conception, they said
    the chromosomal triplication
    bringing a host of differences.

    Nurture and feed, they said
    basic needs for growth and survival
    are the same as any other.

    Saturate with love, they said
    environment and support
    can make all the difference.

    Offer opportunity, they said
    success and productivity may come
    but don’t be too hopeful.

    Watch in amazement, WE said
    as personality, giftedness and
    joy spring forth beyond all expectations!


  29. beauty for ashes

    if you sprinkle them
    just right
    around the edges
    the breeze will catch their
    embered, empty ruins
    feather them into a fine fringed
    sash, a new perimeter sewn into
    heart’s hem,
    forbidding wolves, inviting light.
    and if you close your eyes
    and quietly beckon the sun,
    something new
    will grow
    up straight and strong
    from the center.

  30. De: Beauty for Ashes wows me.

    Kelly: Absolutely love it! I wish everyone out here could see your little Marina. What a dollbaby!

  31. Well, I hardly any sooner got it out of my mouth that I'd love for everyone here to be able to see little Marina, when Youngstown's Channel 21 piped up with this news story: http://www.wfmj.com/category/179433/video-landing-page?clipId=5863656&topVideoCatNo=127724&autoStart=true&redirected=true . My cousin Chris Donadio and his wife Kelly (author of Marina's Musings, above) were interviewed regarding 21 iPads that their not-for-profit organization, Down Syndrome Association of the Valley, distributed for free. Check out the news feature, in which you will get to see Chris and Kelly's little Marina in action. ;) SO very proud of you and Chris, Kelly!!