Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8th

Jade DeFehr

Would it be


if I opened

my own word shop?

Each word payed

with something


A smile,

a dance,

a hug.

Or would that

make the people


of good things


because they don’t






Lisa Siemens

Today I am

one of them

the wordless

poor, empty

bowl in my lap

tilting towards light,

filling up with the silence

of green leaves listening.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Silver Sky in a Cooking Bowl


- Jade DeFehr

If one thing

in this world will still

be here

in ninety years,

it’s gonna be

chocolate chip cookies

and baking them


Flour falling,

down past the silver sky

of a cooking bowl.

Water dribbling,

creating a tiny pool

at the bottom.

Chocolate chips rolling,

quickly coated with

a temporary bitterness

until warmed in the oven.

And then . . .

the first bite.


- Lisa Siemens

Two days ago, you told me

to read to the flowers.

So I did.

Yesterday, you said, Step outside.

Look for water.

So I did.

And today, you suggested I follow

a recipe: chocolate chips

in the silver sky

of a cooking bowl.

And now, there are cookies

cooling on the counter, each one

touched by the sky. It was not the desire

to eat them that sent me to the kitchen.

It was you and your words

and my need

to be fed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not a Poem (maybe)

The August 2nd poems - Jade's and mine . . .

- Jade DeFehr

This is not a poem!
participating in the following actions
is . . .
Step outside –
it doesn’t matter
you are, so long
as you really are
Think about the doorstep.
Walk around the block,
trying to concentrate
on only
what you hear, feel,
or smell the entire time.
If you aren’t in the city,
walk for 1 or 2 minutes.
When you’re finished,
hug a tree.
Then, walk around a different
block and hum
a cheerful tune like “Mushaboom”, by Feist.
Find water
and think about
the water.
Do whatever
else you want
for the rest of the day
or two more minutes,
but do it with care
and thought.
When you return
to your doorstep
and go inside,
the poem is finished.

- Lisa Siemens

She is a river (sometimes)
green reflections floating

on brown water, white
clouds, moving molecules,

hydrogen and oxygen. The sky
lives on her surface and underneath

where you cannot see, the light
hides in the spaces between

the words she thinks
and the words she says.

Even in the deepest
part of winter, fish sleep

somewhere near the bottom, waiting
for the ice above to thaw.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reading to the Roses

At the end of last summer, in September, I found, between my front doors, a collection of poetry written by one of my former summer camp students. For months and months, I carried her collection in my bag - all through the fall, and through much of the winter. Although I was not writing myself, she was an inspiration. Each day, all through June and July of 2009, she opened her eyes and ears and heart to the world. She paid attention and she wrote. She never missed a day. I knew nothing of this until I found her book at my door - 61 poems for 61 days. William Stafford would have loved her. These poems were written the summer between her eight and ninth grade. She was 14 years old at the time, amazingly present in the world.

For a long time, I have been walking around rather blindly, not seeing, not receiving, not feeling Jade's sense of wonder with the world at all. Last week I decided that beginning August 1, 2010, I would wake up and try to write responses to Jade's 2009 poems - one each day in August. She is much more proficient than I am in all regards - vision, voice, presence. Still, I plan to try to emulate her. I will try to post her poems and one in response. Sadly, I am already behind. But one poem for two days is a start . . .
Here is Jade's August 1st, 2009 poem:

- Jade DeFehr

Someone once taught
me how
to read to the roses,
or any deserving flower.
Alice in Wonderland proves
they can hear and taste and analyze
the words
tumbling out of
my mouth.
One day I might
even come across a flower
of "The Golden Afternoon"
I'd sit next to her
all day
to talk
about poetry
and the Queen of Hearts
and such.
I really would learn
a lot of things
from the flowers.

August 1st, 2010
Lisa Siemens

At fourteen, she decides to write
a poem each day and then

proceeds to do so.
Nothing stops her. Nothing

is undeserving of her attention, each day
an open invitation to small celebrations.

For the flowers, she writes – the roses,
the hollyhocks, the fields of blooming

clover; for the green doors
of summer, the lost and found

stars in the sky, the choirs
that sing in her head,

the crickets, the sun, the solace
of one lonely beetle

climbing his own little mountain,
again and again. For all of us, she writes

and writes and then,
when summer is over,

and fall creeping in, she wraps them all up
like a gift, ties them together

with words and leaves them behind
in the doorways of the lucky unsuspecting few.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spring is blooming everywhere - lilacs, bleeding hearts, irises, lily of the valley, honeysuckle. I go on long bike rides weaving my way down side streets with my camera in my pocket, looking for what is blooming now. Each week it is something new. At school, Raphael, six years old, tells me each morning that the sun is blooming. And I believe him. I think that is what it does in his language. And now, in mine, too. It blooms! When I was small, I trailed my mother through greenhouses in the spring - deciding the flowers I liked best by their names. Bleeding hearts always scared me - not the hearts themselves but the little tear drop at the bottom and their name. I thought they were weeping. At some point, between now and then, I fell in love with them, and with every other sign of summer's arrival. I wait all year long for it to come.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Blue Bike

My new blue bike, I think I am in love with it - something new, something blue. Sky above me.
Ground beneath. Me in between, connected to both, balanced, kind of floating on thin silver wheels that shine in the dark. In early April, when the snow had just gone, I met a little boy on the sidewalk, maybe 5 years old. He introduced me to his bike: "He's four days old," he said, patting the handle bars, sitting on the seat, stretching his legs, balancing on his little toes. Such joy! A new bike! I just had to have one. And now I do. I want to stop strangers on the street and say, "She's fourteen days old today!" I had forgotten how good new things can be. Particularly when the world is green and blooming, which it is right now. In spring, I always wonder how we can possibly call what we do all through the rest of the year, "breathing". I think what I do all year long is hold my breath and wait for spring! I am breathing now . . .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I'm Back

I'm back. Don't know exactly where I have been, but it was not a green place. And now the world is getting greener each day. Spring! My favourite season of the year. The tulips my mother planted at my backdoor last fall, on the last sunny October day, are blooming - seemingly brand new, although, I think, each of those bulbs had a long history of birth and rebirth. The sedum beside them is a thick and sturdy green. April was warm - sunny day after sunny day. And now May has arrived with showers. Cool and damp, but just what all the growing things need.

The flowering shrubs all along back lanes, are blooming, and soon my kitchen window will be filled with the blossoms of my neighbour's apple tree. Can there possibly be a better time to walk through the world with wide open eyes, to have them opened again? So much to see and love! Each time Spring happens it is like the first time - "the leaping greenly spirits of trees," the "blue true dream of sky," "the birth/day of life and of love and wings." Spring is back. I am back!

Summer View From My Kitchen Window

Summer View From My Kitchen Window
I am already more than a week into my summer holidays and just beginning to settle into this greenest of seasons - so glad to be at home with my windows and my light. I am just learning how to post these blogs, spending too much time in front of my computer, not enough time with the sky.  The morning began with thunder - an hour of pouring rain and thunder!!  Long after sunrise, the sky was still dark and ominous, but then suddenly the sun broke through. I put on my garden shoes, grabbed my camera, and went out to the flowers . . .   

After the Rain

After the Rain
After all that wild weather, the day lily leaves were covered with such quiet raindrops . . . 

After the Rain

After the Rain
One side of my yard is lined with leafy peonies - the grandmother of all flowers - pink, white, deep, deep red.  I have been deadheading the flowers all week long, but this one, just opening, survived the storm. I have lived in my house for nearly twenty years; these peonies were here long before I moved in and with any luck will be here long after I am gone.