Poetry Project — March 2017

Tanita gifted us this lovely photograph as source material for our ekphrastic poems this month. (Crediting the Creative Commons…)

I played around with complicated forms and longer narratives but in the end I settled on this response, both short and simple. Enjoy it, and then go and read the others…

The Persistence of Trees

When a girl can’t reach
what she wants or needs
she grows up into herself,
the way a tree might stretch
deep from its taproot
into the generous cup of sky
in order to get the necessary
light, the light necessary
for it to flourish, to transpire,
to eventually cast
its own shadow.

My sisters’ poems are here:

Poetry Project — February 2017

The assignment? A villanelle.
The theme? Brevity, shortness.
The irony? Running out of time!

So let’s call this one a draft, shall we?
Just in under the wire.

Stitch In Time
By Liz Garton Scanlon

Let’s make it quick – this hour’s not my own
I catch a borrowed breath but don’t exhale
The stitch in time has already been sewn

Each moment passes – sinks just like a stone
The second hand a whip that raises wales
Let’s make it quick – this hour’s not my own

But can a heartbeat really be postponed?
I hurry, my old story sounding stale
The stitch in time has already been sewn

The wormhole dropped through, wrinkle blown
The minutes meted out on God’s grand scale
Let’s make it quick – this hour’s not my own

but does it matter when I cut this close to bone?
What if I stop and let the measured gears derail?
The stitch in time has already been sewn

I rip the seams and start again alone
Shake off the fetters, lift the veil
And just like that, the hour is my own
The stitch in time, so carefully re-sewn

My pal’s poems:

And for more wonderful everything, Poetry Friday is here

Be well, my friends….

Poetry Project — January, 2017

A new year would be incomplete without new poetry! I’ve gathered with my sisters-in-words once again to debut a new set of poems each month — all focused on a certain form, or theme, or both. I know — it sounds like last year. And the year before. But this time, of course, with new assignments!

So we’re starting with the Somonka — a Japanese form that is really just two tankas put together like love letters — so imagine two voices speaking the different stanzas. The rules for a tanka are five unlined rhymes, with 5/7/5/7/7 syllables, respectively.

I loved this form, and wrote several, but they all ended up with too much snark and not enough sweet. I’m sorry about that. I have a heck of a head cold. But regardless, here they are and let’s hope I’ll have softened up by next month. 🙂


A Love of Winter

Air brisk & cheeks pink
I love you, January
Everything feels new!
I jump out of bed for you
(Except when I just cannot)

Feckless southerner
I put my all into this
Thirty-one whole days
But you’re only game for three
Unrequited, I freeze up



Breakfast is at five
You forget, so I wake you
You’re so forgetful
You cup my ears in your hands
Ask, “Who’s this? Who’s a good boy?”

You stand under me
When I turn I nearly trip
Furry reminder
I’m not alone – you are here
You are always here for me


A Good Soak

Yes, I’m claw-footed
but I run hot and heavy —
I hold you, my dear,
in my porcelain embrace,
while you try to slip away.

I come for comfort
I long to be warm and held
but this is too still
and confining. Lethargic,
I find I must pull the plug.

To read more of these, click here!

And for Poetry Friday, head to TeacherDance!

Poetry Project — December 2016

I’m on the road so am not able to devote time to a more lengthy post, but as the years comes to a close I’m grateful to have my Poetry Sisters with me, as always.

This month, we tackled another ekphrastic — using photos Andi took at Glencairn’s Cloister at the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

It looks to be a place of pure, loveliness and it inspired this from me:


Look Up
Liz Garton Scanlon

There are times (like these)
when being somewhere beautiful (holy, almost)
becomes not just pleasant but necessary,

when being somewhere old (and lasting)
becomes not just reassuring but the way
to stay upright, as if a stone column could
serve as a spine, as if a medieval cloister
were the four chambers of one’s own heart.

There are times when we need to see (and trust)
that even granite can be carved into wool
and wings, that even the hardest wall
might soften in the face of dappled sunlight
and someone’s grand ideas.

There are times when we need to see (and trust)
that even when surrounded by manmade concerns,
we are lifted by looking up (by following)
the golden eagle and turtle dove into the sky.

And here are the others:
Sara Lewis Holmes
Kelly Fineman
Tanita Davis
Laura Purdie Salas
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Andi Sibley

Poetry Princess Project — November

Well, hello autumn.
Hello, election season.
Hello, dark mornings and short days.

My sisters-in-verse and I have met another month with a poem. We chose gratitude as a theme because, well, tis the season. And lord knows we need to counter the dour daily energies and news stories and Twitter wars in the world right now.

And our form? The terza rima — a funny little slip of a thing that reminds me of knitting (ok, so I don’t knit but I’ve learned the basics several times) in that you pull a stitch from the middle of each stanza into the next one and build the rhyme scheme off of that. Throw a little iambic pentameter in and you’ve got yourself a poem.

I tried a couple. They weren’t easy. I felt constrained — more than I often do by form — but puzzles are supposed to keep us fresh, so what’s the harm? Here goes….


Gratitude in Rhyme
by Liz Garton Scanlon

Times like these, true gratitude’s a stretch –
days hammer on, the pitch of life insists.
Amazing grace that visits every wretch

(and finds and saves and otherwise persists)
seems strangely quiet, absent in the din,
as we reveal ourselves – we can’t resist.

Our darkest thoughts are matched by deed akin –
are we not better in our hearts than this?
What if we all start fresh, just now, begin:

Hot tea, good dog, obligatory kiss.
From there, go bigger – promise, listen, vote –
before you know it, moments of real bliss.

Because we have each other, we’re afloat.
We try, we love, we write this thank you note.


Half Empty or Half Full?
By Liz Garton Scanlon

My neck bends upwards, gazing at the moon.
I ask: is it half empty or half full?
It’s all in how you see this silver spoon,

this tree, its leaves; this sheep its autumn wool.
Is every thing just resting on the verge,
the push that feeds into tomorrow’s pull?

Even optimists raise up a dirge
into the void, the middle of the night –
the owl cries, all aching hearts converge.

But then it’s dawn: the breeze, the birds, the light.
Have faith, the moon will wax again to right.


And, in celebrating the end of another year writing with my favorite gals, why not run off and read their terza rimas, too?

Kelly Fineman
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Tanita Davis
Sara Lewis Holmes
Laura Purdie Salas

Plus, while you’re at Laura’s, you can hook into all the Poetry Friday poems because she’s hosting today! Hurrah! Enjoy. Be well.