Seven Deadly Sins I Learned in My Youth (Poetry)

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.It’s wrong to ask someone for help.
You should never ever play with matches.
You shouldn’t let people see your underwear.
Don’t spit food out of your mouth.
Don’t throw up all over the floor.
Don’t say, “damn,” “shit,” “fuck,” or “hell.”
Don’t ever drink the water in Mexico.

***

Now it’s your turn. The above poem contains seven lines, each with seven words and is about seven things I learned not to do when I was growing up. Write your own such poem. It doesn’t have to be about seven deadly sins. It could be about seven favorite foods or songs. Please share your poem on your own blog or in the comment field below. I look forward to reading it.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

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Monday Musical Memory: Song and Poem for Graduates

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Today, I’m giving you a two-for-one special. Not only will I sing a song with a powerful message for graduates but I’ll also read a poem I wrote several years ago that I share with those in my life who are graduating. This year, my niece Ana in Florida and my cousin Darby in Colorado are graduating from high school and college respectively.

In The Sound of Music, the Reverend Mother sings this song to Maria, encouraging her to follow her heart. At the end, the song serves as a background for the family’s escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. When I was in fifth grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf & Blind, I sang in the school choir, and we performed this song for the commencement ceremony at the end of the year. Ana, Darby, and anyone else graduating this year, this poem and song are for you.

Graduate

 

Go out into the world–never look back.
Reach for the top–always look forward.
Aim as high as you can.
Dream as big as possible.
Use your mind, heart, hands,
and know you can do anything.
Trust your instincts.
Energize your life.
***
What do you remember about graduation? Did you receive gifts from family and friends? Were you in the school choir that performed during the commencement ceremony? What song did the choir sing?

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

In the Garden (Poetry)

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

On this, the last day of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem that appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders, which is produced by Behind Our Eyes, (BOE) an organization of writers with disabilities.

Another version of this was published in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. You can click on the Play button below to hear me read it. I hope that as we move into May, you’ll still take time to read a poem or two now and then. Poetry is meant to be enjoyed year round, not just in April.

 

In The Garden

 

There are no trees, just an expanse of dirt
with steps leading down from the yard.
At the age of twelve, while Mother and Dad work,
I sit on the steps,
study seed packets of peas, corn, tomatoes.
With limited vision,
I read labels, gaze at pictures.
Five-year-old brother Andy is out riding his bike.

Sirens wail in the distance, come closer, are silenced.
“It sounds like fire engines,” says Dad.
After a while, the phone rings.
I hurry in the house to answer it.
A male voice asks for my mother.
I rush outside, call her to the phone.

“Hello,” she says.
“Oh my god! We’ll be right there.”
She slams down the receiver,
returns to the yard, me in tow.
“Ed, we need to pick up Andy at the police station.
He was playing with matches near that shack
at the bottom of the hill when it caught fire.”
I’m abandoned in the garden.

 

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Thursday Book Feature: The Same Sea, The Same Gloaming

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Same Sea: The Same Gloaming: Poems

By Eugene O’Connor

Copyright 2018.

 

The poems in this short collection center mostly on nature, covering such topics as oceans, darkness, and insects. The book opens with a quote from a recruitment ad for a 1913 expedition.

I like the vivid imagery in this collection. My favorite is “Making Snow Angels,” which brings back happy memories of doing the same thing when I was a child. Since poem topics cover all seasons, this book could be read at any time of the year.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

In Praise of Joe by Marge Piercy

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

, Marge Piercy tells us that although coffee is disgusting at times, she can’t function without it. She starts by talking about how she prefers it hot but will drink it iced, tepid, or rancid from a vending machine if necessary.

She compares its blackness to that of bark from an apple tree or swamp water, perceiving its richness as that of tannin, a substance of plant origin used for tanning and in medicine. The scent of coffee, rising like steam, kicks her brain into gear.

She talks about drinking it in coffee bars or out of thermoses or in cars or stadiums or on a beach, explaining how it goes off in her head like a siren in the morning and radiates throughout her body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s latte or cappuccino. Coffee keeps her moving.

She explains what her life would be like without it. She wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. She would continually press the snooze button and creep through her days. Coffee stimulates her speech and makes her feel human every day. In her last line, she emphasizes the idea that the inky blackness of coffee fuels her writing.

 

Note: Because of copyright concerns, I cannot post this poem here. You can read it on Your Daily Poem.

 

Your Turn

 

I triple dog dare you to take some time to explicate your favorite poem the way I did above. Read the poem a time or two and write down what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Like a detective, gather facts. Then compile your ideas into a cohesive review. If you do this on your own blog, please leave a pingback here so I can read it. Good luck. Thanks to Lynda McKinney Lambert and dandeliondiadem for inspiring this.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Songs of Heartstrings

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

By Miriam Hurdle

Copyright 2018.

 

The pieces in this book focus on nature, healing, and other topics. The book is divided into sections, each beginning with quotes from others. An entire part is dedicated to poems inspired by the weekly challenge on Coleen Chesebro’s blog.

I like the variety of poetry forms used in this book, including villanelles, pantoums, and acrostics. I found her pieces about her family moving and especially enjoyed “A Walk on the Beach,” since that’s one of my favorite pastimes when visiting my brother in Florida. Because some of the poems are about spring, this would be the perfect time to read this collection.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

The Lanyard by Billy Collins

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Since this is Favorite Poets Week, I’m sharing my favorite poem by my favorite poet. “The Lanyard” reminds me of all the useless gifts I was compelled to make for my mother during summer camps and art classes.

A perfect example is the ash tray I made for her during a pottery class at the YMCA she encouraged me to take when I was in seventh grade. I can’t describe it except to say it looked like something the cat dragged in. She may never have used it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

 

 

How about you? Did you ever make anything for your mother? How did it turn out? Did she ever use it?

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.