Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11 Tribute
Wikimedia commons photo

Perhaps some of you have visited our 9/11 Memorial site in New York City. I have not. Tonight, as on each anniversary since 9/11, a light tribute will extend high into the night sky to honor those who perished. You can view some images of the tribute here.

Our town librarian asked me to write a poem for our town's 10th anniversary observance of 9/11. My wish is the same on this 16th anniversary.

Golden Seams

Remember the day a ruptured sky
spread emptied and silent over us?
Doves and their kindred spirits dared not fly.
Smoke billowed. Haunting words
dropped heavy as descending stones.

On a stage where some called out, “Revenge!”
we cleaned and dressed our nation’s wound,
reached out to any stranger’s pain                      
to bond with post-9/11 glue.

On widening trenches of mistrust
we heaped security and sacred creed,
a monument to our lost innocence;
a Maginot Line Band-aid.

Do we wear you like a proud tattoo,
America’s September scar,
vengeance, vigilance– emblazoned
on muscles we habitually flex?

What if our splintered self, instead, displayed
seams layered like Japanese Kintsugi art–
heroic deeds of that one day  
now gilded by forgiving hearts?

Let gold-illuminated seams                     
embellish and adorn our fractured vessel.
Let doves fly in from wild skies
to roost at last in sunlit olive branches.   
                      Joyce Ray © All rights reserved

 Note: Kintsugi (kin-tsugi) is the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics. The artist applies layers of lacquer to adhere the pieces together. The final layer is laced with gold to illuminate, rather than hide, the breakage.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

POETRY FRIDAY - Celebrating Verse Novels

This summer I discovered two verse novels for middle graders at my summertime library. Perhaps one or both have been shared before, but they're treasures to me, who will also be celebrating a birthday this month.

GONE CAMPING, written by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, is a fun book that is also a resource encouraging kids to explore writing poetry in different forms. (HMH, 2017)

Sam and Lucy are first time campers with their parents, but Lucy is a bit fearful as the camping trip begins.

The Woods Ahead

In the woods ahead
Branches and shadows reach everywhere.
In the woods ahead
How will I ever go to bed?
Who knows what creatures lurk in there.
Could be raccoons, or fox, or bear
In the woods ahead. 

The extensive appendix explains rhyme, rhythm, poetic techniques and forms while referencing the book's poems.

Nikki Grimes' GARVEY'S CHOICE (Wordsong, 2016) is an important verse novel with themes of bullying, parental relationships and finding one's own voice. Grimes uses 5 -line tanka verses to tell Garvey's story. She's a master!


Mom's got a talent
for origami, but she
can't fold me into
the jock Dad wants me to be.
At least she knows not to try.

Go here if you want to visit Tamera Will Wissinger and Nikki Grimes.

Click over to Reflections on the Teche for Margaret's Birthday Treasures, amazing student poems that begin a new year, and all Poetry Friday treasures. Thank you, Margaret!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Donna at Mainely Write came up with a challenge for World Poetry Day- a scavenger hunt to find a poem! What better way to prime the pump for poetry month in April? Just reading the directions is a hoot. Thanks, Donna, for making this exercise so much fun.

Each line was discovered by a visit to one of eight blogs well known to Poetry Friday participants. After following her careful clues, here is the delightful spring poem I found:

Silence blooms.
The world turns green-
another year spinning around to throw
furns unfurled
under trees
pining for the fragrance of the forest.
Figments and fancies
play with me.

The ferns in Yorkshire Kris's delightful YouTube video won't be unfurling in New Hampshire anytime soon!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Poetry Postcard Exchange

The Poetry Postcard Xchange has been so much fun for me. Thank you, Jone, for coordinating it all! Throughout this month, I anticipated those small word surprises in my mailbox and each one was a delight. Besides the gift of  poems, I got to meet Poetry Friday poets from across the country -well, I only exchanged five poems, but received poem postcards from  Hawaii, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, and NY. They're a wonderful array of art, photography and creative handcrafted cards. I treasure them all!

Here is my fan of poems from Linda Bie, Irene Latham, Carol Varsalona, Joy Acey and Margaret Simon. Several poems expressed HOPE, which many feel the need for in this new year. Others encouraged me to be OPEN and to SAVOR life's moments. Each one fed my soul.

This newbie to the Xchange may not have followed the spirit of the exchange with my own poems, however. I chose five post cards from my collection and wrote poems using the image as inspiration. So most were not New Year wishes.

One did express hope, however, and I'm sharing that one today since I believe (hope) the recipient has received it. Hi, Linda Mitchell!

The former year has dropped away
like acorns and
Be still, listen
for new
Strength will come and
with it,

This woodblock postcard by artist Holly Meade of Sedgwick, Maine inspired the poem.  

Holly, a talented woodblock artist, author and children's book illustrator, lost a battle with breast cancer three years ago at age 56. 

A collection of Holly's prints may be viewed at She- Bear Gallery.

Violet has the Round-up at Violet Nesdoly/poems. Thanks for hosting, Violet!