Start Close in by David Whyte

I recently organized all my digital folders and finally gathered the poems that were scattered all over the computer into one place.  When I did, it was fun to see how many poems of certain poets I had saved in my favorites file. There were a lot of them by David Whyte. This is one of my favorites because it reminds me that to be a poet, to be a writer or an artist of any kind, you must first learn to be an observer of things that other people take for granted. For many years I bemoaned my lack of productivity and pushed myself to race back and forth doing things that I thought, for sure, would open the floodgates of my writing. How silly of me. The secret was to start where I was in that moment. I have this poem pinned up on my bulletin board near where I write.



Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Read the rest of the poem here, on David’s website (left column of page)

The oh-so-talented Robyn Hood Black has the Poetry Friday roundup today–enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |22 Comments

Begin by Rumi & More!

One of the nicest things about being a part of the Poetry Friday community is that it doesn’t matter if you drop out of the loop for a while and then step back in with a fresh post weeks or even months later. Poetry lovers are always welcome. But that mean getting back into the habit is easy. This poem from Rumi reminds me that the first step to anything is just to start.

This is now.  Now is,
all there is.  Don’t wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved’s table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.


To be honest, beginning is something I’m pretty good at. It’s that finishing of things that often gives me trouble. One of my newest beginnings was setting up Poppiness, a shop on Etsy to offer my nature photographs and greeting cards for sale. Funny thing about trying to sell photographs and art, it’s just as intimidating as facing the blank page for a new poem or novel. Luckily I discovered I am not the only poet/writer/artist. My first day on Etsy I reconnected with the lovely and talented Robyn Hood Black who has a delightful Etsy shop of her own, artsyletters, which features many wonderful gifts for literary lovers. This week Robyn is also offering a fun giveaway over on her art blog Art Break Wednesday. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog for your chance to win a cute little portable light to help you create your next masterpiece during those long, late, and oh-so-dark nights.

To celebrate Poetry Friday and the opening of my new shop, and well, lets just celebrate the fact poetry lovers are some of the nicest people you ever want to meet, Robyn and I are both offering  a Poetry Friday discount for holiday shopping. From now through Dec. 31, just visit either of our shops – Poppiness or artsyletters – and type in the Coupon Code: PF2012 for a 10 percent discount!  You can also find us on Twitter @poppiness, @susanwrites, and @artsyletters or “like” our Facebook pages, Poppiness on Facebook and artsyletters on Facebook.

But wait, there’s more! To help me celebrate even more, Robyn is sharing some of my hummingbird poetry on her blog for Poetry Friday.

Anastasia has the complete Poetry Friday round up.

Friday, November 16, 2012|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |19 Comments

The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3 by Mary Mackey

A friend pointed me to this today and it is one of those poems that spoke to me right away. No need to try and figure it out. I love every line, wished that I had written them all. This poet is new to me and I can see that I am going to have to look for more of her work.

The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3
by Mary Mackey

It’s easy to love
through a cold spring
when the poles
of the willows
turn green
pollen falls like
a yellow curtain
and the scent of
Paper Whites
the air

but to love for a lifetime
takes talent
This is one of my favorite

but to love for a lifetime
takes talent

you have to mix yourself
with the strange
beauty of someone
wake each morning
for 72,000
mornings in
a row so
breathed and
bound and
that you can hardly
sort out
your arms

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Friday, February 25, 2011|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |17 Comments

The Rights by Denise Levertov

A friend recently shared this poem with me as one of her favorites and it has quickly become one of mine too. I want to give something I have made to people who matter to me and need to make a space in my days to do so.

The Rights

I want to give you
something I’ve made

some words on a page–as if
to say ‘Here are some blue beads’

or, ‘Here’s a bright red leaf I found on
the sidewalk’ (because

to find is to choose, and choice
is made.              But it’s difficult:

so far I’ve found
nothing but the wish to give. Or

copies of old words? Cheap
and cruel; also senseless:

this instead, perhaps–a half-
promise: If
I ever write a poem of a certain temper
(willful, tender, evasive,
sad & rakish)

I’ll give it to you.

— Denise Levertov

Friday, February 4, 2011|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |15 Comments

Zone by Louise Bogan

I had been thinking about Poetry Friday all week, trying to decide what to share but nothing spoke to me until this morning, when I came across this poem by Louise Bogan that made me catch my breath.
by Louise Bogan
We have struck the regions wherein we are keel or reef.
The wind breaks over us,
And against high sharp angles almost splits into words,
And these are of fear or grief.
Like a ship, we have struck expected latitudes
Of the universe, in March.
Through one short segment’s arch
Of the zodiac’s round
We pass,
Thinking: Now we hear
What we heard last year,
And bear the wind’s rude touch
And its ugly sound
Equally with so much
We have learned how to bear.

“Zone” by Louise Bogan, from Poems and New Poems. Copyright © 1941, 1969, 2005 by Louise Bogan Charitable Trust.

has this week’s Poetry Friday round-up!

Friday, January 14, 2011|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |3 Comments

When I Met My Muse by William Stafford

I am reading William Stafford’s book, YOU MUST REVISE YOUR LIFE and will have much to report on when I am through. But for now I wanted to share this poem of his that speaks to me while I look for the hand of own muse.

When I Met My Muse

      I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

William Stafford

Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Round-up today. Why not head over and see what other lovely poems are just waiting to be discovered?

Friday, January 7, 2011|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |16 Comments

The Caterpillar by Robert Graves

It’s Poetry Friday! I love this “good worm” poem! I can just picture this hungry caterpillar munching his way thorough the yard to build his “leaf-green mausoleum”

The Caterpillar
by Robert Graves

Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A creeping, coloured caterpillar,
I gnaw the fresh green hawthorn spray,
I nibble it leaf by leaf away.

Down beneath grow dandelions,
Daisies, old-man’s-looking-glasses;
Rooks flap croaking across the lane.
I eat and swallow and eat again.

Here come raindrops helter-skelter;
I munch and nibble unregarding:
Hawthorn leaves are juicy and firm.
I’ll mind my business: I’m a good worm.

When I’m old, tired, melancholy,
I’ll build a leaf-green mausoleum
Close by, here on this lovely spray,
And die and dream the ages away.

Some say worms win resurrection,
With white wings beating flitter-flutter,
But wings or a sound sleep, why should I care?
Either way I’ll miss my share.

Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A hungry, hairy caterpillar,
I crawl on my high and swinging seat,
And eat, eat, eat—as one ought to eat.

Toby Speed has the Poetry Friday Round-up today.

Friday, October 29, 2010|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |3 Comments

Browning Decides to Become a Poet by Jorge Luis Borges

I’ve been thinking about my post the other day about claiming my poet self and went looking for a poem that might support that idea. This one by Jorge Luis Borges hit home for me.


In these red labyrinths of London
I find that I have chosen
the strangest of all callings,
save that, in its way, any calling is strange.
Like the alchemist
who sought the philosopher’s stone
in quicksilver,
I shall make everyday words–
the gambler’s marked cards, the common coin–
give off the magic that was their
when Thor was both the god and the din,
the thunderclap and the prayer.
In today’s dialect
I shall say, in my fashion, eternal things:
I shall try to be worthy
of the great echo of Byron.
This dust that I am will be invulnerable.
If a woman shares my love
my verse will touch the tenth sphere of the concentric heavens;
if a woman turns my love aside
I will make of my sadness a music,
a full river to resound through time.
I shall live by forgetting myself.
I shall be the face I glimpse and forget,
I shall be Judas who takes on
the divine mission of being a betrayer,
I shall be Caliban in his bog,
I shall be a mercenary who dies
without fear and without faith,
I shall be Polycrates, who looks in awe
upon the seal returned by fate.
I will be the friend who hates me.
The persian will give me the nightingale, and Rome the sword.
Masks, agonies, resurrections
will weave and unweave my life,
and in time I shall be Robert Browning.

Jorge Luis Borges

Liz Scanlon is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-up today.

Friday, October 15, 2010|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |13 Comments

Do Not Makes Things Too Easy by Martha Baird

It has been a while since I participated in Poetry Friday but it seems the right way to get myself back into the blogosphere. I went looking for something to share and, as I often to, I started poking around the Poetry Foundation dropping in keywords and names and waiting for something to grab me. Then I glanced at the sidebar and the title of the poem came up and it seemed to fit my mood for the day (week? month?) Some of you who know me well will see some of me within the lines. I do not know this poet but after finding this poem, I’ll looking to read more of her work.


Do not make things too easy.
There are rocks and abysses in the mind
As well as meadows.
There are things knotty and hard: intractable.
Do not talk to me of love and understanding.
I am sick of blandishments.
I want the rock to be met by a rock.
If I am vile, and behave hideously,
Do not tell me it was just a misunderstanding.

by Martha Baird

Here are the links so far for this week’s Poetry Friday:

shares a poem from  exquisite book, Borrowed Names here. Also check out
this week’s 15 Words or Less poems.

MsMac has “Learning in the First Grade”  by Jane Kenyon.

Amy at the Poem Farm says, “I have #15 in my series of poems about poems, “Her Voice”. Also, I invite teachers and students to share poetry or their favorite poetry ideas at The Poem Farm.”

Alison says, “I have walls on my mind today, with Frost’s Mending Wallover at Wistful Wanderings.

When you need to take a break and destress, pop over and check out the poetic cartoon Tanita shared. You’ll be snorting and laughing.

Tabatha Yeatts gets things moving with an educational rap.

Mary Lee has a perfect poem for Labor Day over at A Reading Year.

Ruth shares an original poem.

Random Noodling looks at haiku by famous writers.

Kurious Kitty features Shakespeare’s 27th sonnet. The quote at Kurious K’s Kwotes is by Jean Cocteau.

The Write Sisters has “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.

Karen Edmisten shares Morning Song by Marcia F. Brown

Heidi Mordhorst perks things up with The Hello Song from PBS “Dragon Tales”

For Labor Day Shelly has some poems about some hard-working people

Jeannine Atkins says, “I wrote a post called Ways to Listen to the World about poetic inspiration.”

Over at on the Stenhouse Blog they have a great poem from Stenhouse author Charles Fuhrken.

At Wild Rose Reader Elaine Magliaro shares an original poem titled “Toasting Marshmallows.” and at Blue Rose Girls Elaine posts have a poem by Kalli Dakos titled “A Teacher’s Lament.”

Cassy says, “I’m on a campaign to create wonder over at my blog, and so I posted a poem called “Halleluiah” by Mary Oliver.

PaperTigers is in with a post about the poetry of Jorge Argueta.

Jeni Bell, aka,   shared an excerpt from the Tori Amos song “Winter” and offers thoughts on how it relates to Maggie Stiefvater’s new book LINGER (“Winter” was part of the playlist for the book).

Semicolon’s contribution to Poetry Friday is Young Lochinvar by Sir Walter Scott .

“Rivers” is the topic for Ben’s Poetry Mix tape this week.

Janet Squires shares Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon: Poem, written by Ruth Forman with illustrations by Cbabi Bayoc.

At Bildungsroman today you can check out the lyrics and video for Shadowfeet by Brooke Fraser.

Carol Wilcox at Carol’s Corner shares some football poems to get us in the mood for the season.

Please add your links to Poetry Friday in the comments and I’ll round them up throughout the day! Thanks for participating!

Friday, September 3, 2010|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |37 Comments

Poetry Friday – The Poems from July 30, 2009

This week’s Poetry Friday entry are the terrific poems from yesterday photopoetry of 15 words or less. Here was the picture:

And here are the poems.

Clinging precariously
Dancing in the sunshine
One big wind could mean the end
Such tragedy
~Anne McKenna


Like peas in a pod
They followed Bob
They, too, loved the magic of grass




One fine thread,
that’s all,
but it’s enough,
my friend
across space, across time.

~Kathy Q.


Fringe on the curtain,
swaying in the breeze.
Wait, those are lacewings
traveling by trapeze.



Eggs waiting
to be hatched
to live
to kill
to love
to lay
to die





She gazes
at the pendant
lighting imagining
him hanging
by his nose.

~Diane Mayr


Green Invasion
We disguise our ship
as earth-grass,
extending traps. Soon
we will capture aphid-beings
to interrogate.

~Kate Coombs


Swinging in a warm breeze
Stretching toward the sunshine
Suspended paradise

~Celeste Ribbins


Tiny Jewels

tiny jewels
don’t be fooled
hanging free
disguised as peas
waiting for their enemies.
~Sue Douglass Fliess


Mother Nature
hangs lacewing eggs
like my mom
tied mitts on a string

~Violet Nesdoly


Deep into a fairy world of green

~Linda Covella


Swamp plants upended,
cling to milkweed shores,
reaching with poised
buds to waiting water: home.

~Brenda Stokes


Life hangs on
by a thread
in spite of us.

Tantinizingly Tenacious

~stu pidasso


How many greens
can be found-
values criss-cross
on the ground,
summer soup
of color.

~Diane M. Davis


Friday, July 31, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |2 Comments

15 Words or Less – Photopoetry

Laura Salas  is taking the month of July off from blogging. She asked if I would like to host 15 words or less photopoetry for the month and I said sure! This is no pressure, lots of fun. If you’re not familiar with it, you can read the guidelines here.

Here’s this week’s picture. Do you know what they are? This is from my garden and I was so excited to find them on the milkweed plants today. They are lacewing eggs. Soon they will hatch and devour the legions of aphids that are waiting for them all over the plant.

What does this make you think of?

If you’d like to play, just choose any topic this image makes come to your mind and write a quick 15 Words or Less poem. Your poem doesn’t have to describe this photo. The picture is just a jumping-off point.  Basically look at the picture and write a poem of 15 words or less inspired by the photo. Please add your byline to the poem so I can include it in the poetry Friday roundup.

Go on. You know you want to.


Thursday, July 30, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |35 Comments

Poetry Friday – The Poems from July 23, 2009

This week’s Poetry Friday entry are the terrific poems from yesterday photopoetry of 15 words or less. Here was the picture:

And here are the poems
Tethered Lives
cornflakes and scales
hay bales
rabbit trails
bone rails –

we live in chains.

— Allen Taylor

Don’t know what it’s for
But over by the door
Hole there in the floor

— slatts

Break through.
Into the Darkness.
Or climb in
And find out what’s really there.

— Becky Levine


Trust, Adventure, Imagination
No one knows
what’s inside a hole,
or a world of
and hobbits.

— Diane M. Davis



one minuscule crack
one infinitesimal drop of moisture
one process of oxidization
one unexpected delight

— Diane Mayr

Dry peeling skin
made him groan
low and eerie
like midnight’s moan.

— Cindyb


Aim for the next

— Kathy Q.

If Willy Loman Had a Sex Change
Death of a Suburban Mother and Saleswoman, circa 1950s

That iron did
me no good
I threw it


To hell with

— Pamela Ross

Never listen to sixth grade kids –

“Put your nose here,”
they said.

Sucked in!

— Susan Stephenson

Fix – now please
For you never know
how big I will become
Maybe eternal ugliness

—  Anne McKenna

Friday, July 24, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |4 Comments

15 Words or Less – Photopoetry

Laura Salas is taking the month of July off from blogging. She asked if I would like to host 15 words or less photopoetry for the month and I said sure! This is no pressure, lots of fun. If you’re not familiar with it, you can read the guidelines here.

Here’s this week’s picture.

What does this make you think of? Which side are you on? Did you just drop something in the hole? Has someone dared you to put your hand inside? Where does the picture send your imagination?

If you’d like to play, just choose any topic this image makes come to your mind and write a quick 15 Words or Less poem. Your poem doesn’t have to describe this photo. The picture is just a jumping-off point.  Basically look at the picture and write a poem of 15 words or less inspired by the photo. Please add your byline to the poem so I can include it in the poetry Friday roundup.

Go on. You know you want to.

Thursday, July 23, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |23 Comments

Poetry Friday! Here are the poems from 15 words or less July 16th 2009

This week’s Poetry Friday entry are the terrific poems from yesterday photopoetry of 15 words or less. Here was the picture:

And here are the poems!
of lint and life
waits for wind
to disseminate

~~~ Diane M. Davis


Shared Desire
Gray hair, untamed,
just like mine.
We hope for a breeze
at the clothesline.

~~~ Cindy Breedlove


This is proof–
even a flower
can have
a bad hair day.

~~~ Cynthia Cotten



Why do you
revile me,
repulse me?

~~~ mlyearofreading



She fastens
her children
to parachutes
preparing them
for an inconspicuous
invasion of
cultivated lands.

~~~  Diane Mayr


Helen meant to blow,
but instead she inhaled.
Then she spat and coughed.

~~~ jennifer-d-g


Sunships of wonder
waiting to ride
the breeze,
to create their own worlds.

~~~ Kathy Q.


together we grew
then the winds came
scattering us afar
it’s time
to bloom apart.

~~~ melissa


Wishing to be 5 yrs old again.
With wisdom
to know how great 5 is.

~~~ Amanda



A hundred tiny wisps of hope
Waiting to be sent into the world.

~~~ Sue Douglass Fliess


Just one big blow
Fly away fairies
Bring back wishes
of hope,
happiness and love

~~~ Anne Mckenna


Sphinx Sperm?
Soft, white and tiny
dandelion seeds twirl gently on
a mythical breeze.

~~~ John Mutford

Friday, July 17, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |5 Comments

Poetry Friday! Here are the poems from 15 words or less

This week’s Poetry Friday entry are the terrific poems from yesterday photopoetry of 15 words or less. Here was the picture:

And here are the poems!

Watch your step
you never know where they go
way down
into depths of despair
— Anne McKenna

Watch Your Back
Planks remain bare

Poisonous vines
don’t tread visible paths

They climb directly
into your heart

–Laura Purdie Salas

Breath catching
Heart palpitating,
searching depths
Mastering fear,
Take a step!
been afraid too long

— melissa


I’m so glad
I’m not Jimmy Stewart
In that movie
Here I go!

— slatts


The view–spectacular!
But now….

Spinning, spiraling….

Where’s Jimmy Stewart
when you need him?

— Kathy Q.


and round
redwood tight-gripped
I wish
had so graceful
a bannister.

— sartorias
Wasn’t sure
where I was headed.
Pick a card,any card.
Life’s a gamble.

—  Martha Calderaro

Round and round
One step down.
Round and round
Two steps down.
All around. Ground.
— Louise Henriksen

July 9 Post – 15 word poem
Cycles, circles go around,
Until the way of dusty death and ground.

— G Grenley

Each day
fans out
from Summer
but connected
in their uniformity
of season.

— Diane M. Davis

Steps too narrow.
Feet too long.
I think I’ll stay
up here.

— Cynthia Cotten



Board, so bored,
with the same steps.
Time to stop looking back and go up.

— Sue Douglass Fliess


The Board Monster
Board monster’s here.
Couldn’t nail him down.
It spins wooden paddles
spanking kids in town.

— Joyce Lansky

Here I stand at the top of the stairs
Wondering which way to go.

— Barbara Van Deusen
the body falls
into an upturned truth
its been waiting to meet
all its life

— Shutta Crumm


Friday, July 10, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |9 Comments

15 Words or Less – PhotoPoetry

Laura Salas is taking the month of July off from blogging. She asked if I would like to host 15 words or less photopoetry for the month and I said sure! This is no pressure, lots of fun. If you’re not familiar with it, you can read the guidelines here.

Here’s this week’s picture.

What does this make you think of? Are you going down or freezing at the top in fear?

If you’d like to play, just choose any topic this image makes come to your mind and write a quick 15 Words or Less poem. Your poem doesn’t have to describe this photo. The picture is just a jumping-off point.  Basically look at the picture and write a poem of 15 words or less inspired by the photo. Please add your byline to the poem so I can include it in the poetry Friday roundup.

Go on. You know you want to.

Thursday, July 9, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |29 Comments

Poetry Friday – Nils Peterson, Silicon Valley's first Poet Laureate

Recently Santa Clara county appointed its first ever Poet Laureate, Nils Peterson. Peterson hopes to help make poetry more accessible to people who otherwise might not "get" poetry. Isn’t that what Poetry Friday is all about?

From a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News about Peterson:

"When you write poetry, you see the world differently, you see it more sharply," muses Peterson, who refers to himself as a coffee shop poet. "If you look at things hard enough, they start to look back at you."

The poet hopes that language can help us catch our breath in the world as change comes fast and hard all around us.

"Poetry takes a snapshot of where we are so we can look back," says Peterson. "We are all moving so quickly that we forget, we begin to live in a perpetual present. Poetry helps us remember."

You can read more about Peterson at the Poetry Center San Jose.

Where Here Is

How will we know where here is
until it tells us, until this oak speaks
its story and these grasses whisper
what their mothers said to them
when they were seedlings? The crow
overhead is not just a carrier of
crowness. It speaks with the caw
of its own life. The air about us
is this air carrying smell messages
from the majesty of this place.
Knowing where here is — is paying
back the world with our attention,
not planting a heavy foot on the shore
of the earth like a conquistador.

— Nils Peterson

The round-up of all the Poetry Friday posts in the blogosphere can be found with Kelly Polark.

Friday, May 15, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

The Poems (All Locked Up) April 17, 2009

This was the picture I posted yesterday while filling in for [info]laurasalas  on 15 Words or Less Photopoetry. What does this make you think of? Where do you think the keys are for all those locks? Does it make you smile?


Here are the poems people wrote as a result.


I’m all locked up,
I don’t know why…
Better to ponder,
than sit and cry…

– Fred Higgins


From experience
one finds that
the key to
most locks
is not
using a key.

– dmayr



In this room
feeling locked up
With no key
there’s no escape

– Linda Bozzo


“They’re having a party.
Can I go?
Oh, don’t be so dramatic.
Just say no.”

– Cindyb


First Warm Day of Spring

Lock a year
19 years
all clicked free
one canoe
six beers.

– Pat Schmatz



In and out.
Or not out?
Who comes?
Who doesn’t go?

– Becky Levine

My brain
Without coffee
In disarray

– Jeannine Garsee

Key to Her Heart

He searched for the key to her heart
Like so many others before him

– Rick Wainright

Friday, April 17, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , |5 Comments

Haiku #5 – Dichondra

Okay, I’m cutting it a little bit close but there are still a few minutes left in today for my haiku. I spent the day on the patio in the backyard, no, not lazing around but planting my native dichondra in-between the stones that make up our informal patio. I have creeping thyme in-between some but the dichondra I have is native and I really like the look of it. I’ve been growing a flat of it for a while so I could have it to divy up in all the bare spot. Each little leaf looks like a miniature lily pad to me.







I got lucky with the first line.
between stepping stones
hugging the dirt
green carpet hugging the dirt
patches of green
hugging holding digging
carpet covers
green carpet covers the dirt

green carpet covers the dirt
round circles
green leaves
pond leaves
lily pad
lily pads for ants

lily pads for ants

between stepping stones
green carpet covers the dirt
lily pads for ants

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 5, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

Where Do I Go?

I woke up thinking about libraries and how much they have meant to me over the years. I have often said the books saved me until I was strong enough to save myself. And the idea for this poem came to me….rough around the edges as I just wrote it an hour ago.



Where do I go
when home is not enough
or becomes too much
to bear?

Where do I go
to find myself
when I am lost
to find others
who are just like me
or not like me
or from a place
I wish I could call
my own?

Where do I go
to take a chance
to follow my dreams
to learn to believe
who I am
is more than enough
for me to be?

I go to books
and find
new worlds

I go to books
and find
new friends

I go to books
find myself.

Susan Taylor Brown
@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2009

The full Poetry Friday round-up is with Julie Larios at The Drift Record.

If you love books and libraries as much as I do, please consider backing up one post in the blog and making a comment to help the cause.

Friday, March 27, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |16 Comments

The Love Song of Wolfgang Puck (with apologies to T.S. Eliot) by Eileen Tse

Eileen Tse, aka hulabunny , posted this last month but I didn’t think it got the attention it should have so I am, with her permission, reposted it for Poetry Friday. For your reading pleasure I present a parody of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”  (click here if you want to read the original first.)

The Love Song of Wolfgang Puck
(with apologies to T.S. Eliot)

by Eileen Tse

Mettez une tasse de farine dans la sucre.  Ajoutez
une petite cuillere de vanille et deux oeufs, frappe.
Melangez bien.  Enfin, ajoutez une demie tasse de
chocolat amer.  Frappez avec un CuisinArt. (1)

Let us go then, you and I,
When the neon stretches out across the sky
Like a turkey laid upon a carving board;
Let us go, through certain over-crowded dining halls,
The shopping malls
Full of rundown Dairy Queens and Taco Bells
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Aromas that smell of a hearty bouillabaisse
Waft down alleyways
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Do not ask, “That scent!  Oh, what is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

The women dine on macaroni
Talking of Caffe Borrone.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellowtail that lies atop a bed of rice,
Garnished with pickled ginger on the side;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a luncheon to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to cook and bake,
And time for all the types and sorts of gadgets
That frost and decorate your cake;
Time for fish and time for veal,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of the mid-day meal.

The women dine on jumbalaya
Talking of La Pastaia.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Tuna ahi?” and “Quiche Lorraine?”
Time to take the pasta out to drain,
With the sauce just a little bit too plain –
[They will say: “My, but her recipe is faulty!”]
My salad dish, croutons seasoned but not too salty,
My chowder rich and creamy, accented with a hint of poultry –
[They will say: “But how her food is paltry!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the cheese souffle?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which in a minute can go either way.

For I have known these meals already, known them well:
Have known the dinners, breakfasts, lunches,
I have measured out my life by weekend brunches;
I know the scallops steaming in the half-shell
Beneath the herbs and spices from the Indies West.

So how should I digest?

I should have baked the king crab’s claws
Scuttling across the floors of Lucky’s.

No!  I am not Julia Child, nor was meant to be;
I am an amateur chef, one that will do
To grill a lamb chop, toss a salad or two….

I grow full… I grow full…
I shall unzip my trousers to let my belly roll.

Shall I indulge in dessert?  Do I dare eat a peach?
I shall try the white chocolate mousse, then work it off at Reach.
I have heard the waitresses singing, “Tip us!  Tip us each!”

We have lingered in the chambers of the feast
By bus-boys clad in aprons red and brown
Till indigestion shakes us, and we drown.

(1) This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, which features various dessert recipes.  This is taken from the recipe for Nuages au Chocolat, a fluffy chocolate dessert not unlike a chocolate souffle.   “Put one cup of flour in the sugar.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla and two eggs, beaten.  Then, add a half cup of bittersweet chocolate.  Beat in a CuisinArt.”

Eileen’s original post on the poem can be found here.

The roundup today is at The Holly and the Ivy

Friday, February 20, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |19 Comments

Cloudy, With a Chance of Poems by Lawrence Schimel

We are actually enjoying some much needed rain here in San Jose this week so this poem by Lawrence Schimel, aka[info]desayunoencama , appealed to me. It originally appeared here in the Christian Science Monitor. It is reprinted here with Lawrence’s permission.

Cloudy, With a Chance of Poems

The Weatherman predicts
a partially sunny day.
But the Poet doesn’t care
if it rains or if the sun shines;
there’s poetry in every kind of weather.

An idea for a poem
blows in like a sudden storm,
words dropping into the Poet’s mind
in a clear, quick rhythm
like the pitter-pat of rain
against the rooftop.

An image seen in the shadow of a cloud
suddenly sparks another poem
quick as lightning forking the sky.

Fair weather or foul,
the Poet welcomes all possibilities.

The Poet predicts today will be
a day with a chance of poems.

by Lawrence Schimel

The Poetry Friday roundup is with[info]laurasalas  today. Read more Poetry Friday posts or add your link here.

Friday, January 23, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |9 Comments

Lost by David Wagoner

I came across this poem today while looking for poems to use at juvenile hall next week. I was searching for several "identity" types of poems to cut up and let the students rebuild. So often the hardest thing to do is to just stay still, be quiet, be who you are so the world can find you.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

Learn more about this poet here.

This week’s round-up of all the Poetry Friday posts can be found here, with thanks to Anastaia Suen

Friday, January 9, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |6 Comments

Now I Become Myself by May Sarton

I haven’t done Poetry Friday in a long time but I have been rereading this poem a lot of late. I printed it out to keep near me in my office to remind me of my most important goal for the coming year, to be here, be now. I need to become closer to the me that others see and realize that person is a person of value. I want to be comfortable in my skin, whatever shape it may be at the moment.

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before—”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

May Sarton


The round-up for Poetry Friday can be found at A Year of Reading,

Friday, January 2, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |5 Comments

Wistaria by Witter Bynner

I am still seeking poetry of the air, the clouds, the freedom of flight. I found this one when searching on “clouds” and while it may not be about the freedom of flight, any poem which mentions the poppy is all good in my book. 🙂


Clouds dream and disappear;
Waters dream in a rainbow and are gone;
Fire-dreams change with the sun
Or when a poppy closes;
But now is the time of year
For the dark earth, one by one,
To show her slower dreams. And nothing she has 
                       ever done
Has given more ease
To her perplexities
Than the dreaming of dreams like these:
Not irises,
Not any spear
Of lilies or cup of roses,
But these pale, purple images,
As if, from willows or from pepper trees,
Shadows were glimmering on Buddha’s knees. 

~~~ Witter Bynner

Read more about this poet at Wikipediia.
The round-up for this week’s Poetry Friday is at Check It Out.

Friday, December 28, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |9 Comments

The Poet’s Secret by Eizabeth Stoddard

So often the words of a poet seem both mysterious and magical to me. This poem seemed to captured my thoughts about the elusiveness of painting pictures with our words.

The Poet’s Secret 
The poet’s secret I must know, 
  If that will calm my restless mind. 
I hail the seasons as they go, 
  I woo the sunshine, brave the wind. 
I scan the lily and the rose,         
  I nod to every nodding tree, 
I follow every stream that flows, 
  And wait beside the steadfast sea. 
I question melancholy eyes, 
  I touch the lips of women fair:        
Their lips and eyes may make me wise, 
  But what I seek for is not there. 
In vain I watch the day and night, 
  In vain the world through space may roll; 
I never see the mystic light          
  Which fills the poet’s happy soul. 
Through life I hear the rhythmic flow 
  Whose meaning into song must turn; 
Revealing all he longs to know, 
  The secret each alone must learn.         
by Elizabeth Stoddard 

The round-up this week is over at http://ginasblogging.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 21, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |2 Comments

Sheep by C. Kennett Burrow

I don’t know much about this poet but I loved the image this poem brought to my mind. 

Huddled, rain-drenched, forlorn they stood,
Their fleeces blown one way;
The wet wind cried in solitude
About the failing day.

Leaves whirled below, aloft; the sky
Sagged like a sodden shroud;
No stir of life, no pleading cry,
Came from the draggled crowd.

Sudden the western portals wide
Opened on that gaunt fold;
Then lo, a flock beautified
With fleeces dripping gold!

C. Kennett Burrow  

Friday, December 14, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |3 Comments

Chapter Heading by Ernest Hemingway

One doesn’t often think of Hemingway as a poet which is why I like this little gem. (Okay, we also share a birthday.) It also matches how I feel with going to work the day job when I would so much rather be home working on my next book.

Chapter Heading

For we have thought the longer thoughts
And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devil’s tunes
Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
Another in the day.

Ernest Hemingway

The round-up this week is over at Becky’s Book Reviews.

Friday, December 7, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |2 Comments

nobody loses all the time by e.e. cummings

I discovered e.e. cummings at a very young age, much younger than I was probably ready to understand or appreciate him. It was a rebel time in the 70s and his unconventional formatting appealed to me. So much so that I appropriated the style for my own poems for a while. (Probably longer than I should have.)

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like

Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything

i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle

and started a worm farm)

e. e. cummings


Whoops – I forgot to add that The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Two Writing Teachers today.
Friday, November 30, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |10 Comments

The Sky by Alfred Kreymborg

I went looking for a poem that I could connect to my current WIP which is about flying and this one caught my eye because of the title. While I can’t connect it in the way I wanted to, I felt moved by it enough to share it. Alfred Kreymborg was an American poet, the son of a couple who ran a cigar store and a lifelong friend of the more famous poet, Carl Sandburg. You can read more about Kreyborg here at Wikipedia.


Is that beautiful old parchment
In which the sun
And the moon
Keep their diary.
To read it all,
One must be a linguist
More learned than Father Wisdom;
And a visionary
More clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
One must be an apostle:
One who is more than intimate
In having been, always,
The only confidant—
Like the earth
Or the sky.

Alfred Kreymborg (1883–1966)


If I missed you, please leave a note in the comments and if you are late to the party, never fear and still leave a note so I can add you to the final round-up.

Well I’m in above with “The Sky” by Alfred Kreymborg.  🙂

The Shelf Elf starts things off with a  look at Genevieve Cote’s illustrated edition of The Lady of Shalott.

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers shares an original list poem about being thankful.

In with another original poem, Cloudscome at A Wrung Sponge is following Miss Rumphius Effect’s poetry stretch in writing an apology poem.

After a very strange encounter with a spider poem this morning Mary Lee shares “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman. 

TadMack brings “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden to the table for us to feast upon.

I’m loving all the creativity Poetry Friday is inspiring. It seems like we are getting more and more submissions of original poems.

John Mutford joins those sharing original poetry with “Written Up: A Novice Poet Down On Paper.” 

D.H. Lawrence can be found with Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect where she shares his poem “At the Window.”

Kelly Fineman has some great information about the very poetic Rossetti family including two poems, “Heart’s Compass” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and “Sonnet” by Christina Rossetti.

Jules at 7-Imp has not-shopping and Thomas Merton on the mind today.

Liz Scanlon is in with a little gratitude, a sonnet announcment and a little Rumi.

Charlotte of Charlottes Library has a plea for help from those familar with the oddities of blogging at blogspot.com. She also shares “Epistle to be left on Earth,” by Archibald Macleish.

Westminster Phase is “Playing” with Mary Oliver.

Ruth challenges you to look at the world through different eyes with  with her post  linking to “Man in a Parking Lot” by Catherine Jagoe and her thoughts on Gwendolyn Brooks poem, “To an Old Black Woman, Homeless and Indistinct” at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.

Sheila at Greenridge Chronicles shares a found poem (found on her desk, that is.)

Another original poem very appropriate for Poetry Friday is Magic of Ink by Becky Laney at BLBooks.

Writerjenn has a discussion of a great Marge Piercy book on poetry (and much more).

A pair of Thanksgiving Poems: “I Ate Too Much Turkey” by Jack Prelutsky and “Giving Thanks” by Eve Merriam courtesy of Shannon Cole at The Cole Mine

Becky at Farm School has Paul Engle’s “A Modern Romance”, about “a packaged life”, which seemed just right for Black Friday.

Michele at Scholar’s Blog is in with her favourite poet – Shakespeare to get us in the mood for winter weather.

You can read “November” by Elizabeth Coatsworth thanks to Suzanne at Adventures in Daily Living. Did you know that each week Suzanne also posts the code for the round-up to be linked to the lovely Poetry Friday button? Thanks, Suzanne.

Crooked House sweetens the day with “Gingerbread Children” by Ilo Orleans.

Marcie at World of Words shares some E.E. Cummings poetry, inspired after reading Catherine Reef’s biography of Cummings.

Don’t foget to check out Lisa Chellman’s review of F E G: Ridiculous Stupid Poems for Intelligent Children, by Robin Hirsch.

A few more late editions (I love this – having them all in one place – so please let me know if you posted something,)

Kelly at Big A little a is in with some academic haiku.

You can giggle at the The Elf and the Dormouse by Oliver Herford over at Slayground.

And Slyvia Vardell tell us all about the NCTE poetry blast at Poetry for Children.

If I’ve made any goofs – please let me know so I can correct them.

Friday, November 23, 2007|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: |36 Comments