Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Story of November

November Poem Day #30--Last Day

The Story of November

Only one November exists
each year and only 30 days,
each individualized, overscheduled
with more than we ever imagined:
a typical gorgeous fall
with golden leaves everywhere,
in the valley and in the mountains,

weddings, our first snow,
Thanksgiving (salmon this year),
setting up the Christmas tree
and decorations at the end,
gathering chestnuts off the ground,
digging about in the garden,
fall finally ending with colder weather

and snow, freezing the leaves
on most of the trees.
Then a thaw dripped through
with the wind and blue skies,
only for a day or two
but enough to be mesmerized
by the thoughts of an elongated fall.

The sunsets were magnificent,
each unique with their orange,
yellow, blue, and purple hues.
We did celebrate my birthday,
Black Friday, and Cyber Monday,
nothing too spectacular unless
you looked for it or needed something.

Now, November is abruptly coming
to an end, with anticipation
of more snow, colder temperatures,
more crazy drivers on the roads
without any knowledge of how
to drive in the snow.
We can still reminisce about fall

and November, immersing ourselves
in such eclectic thinking,
perhaps enough to create
another November just like this one
or wrap up in one of Grandma’s quilts
and hibernate until next November.
Truly, it’s all a matter of choice.

November 30, 2022

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Writing Your Stories

November Poem Month #29

Writing Your Stories

If you are not careful,
someone may write
a story about you.
Before they do, though, it
may be better for you to write
your own story, full of your truths,

experiences, and challenges.
They may not be what others want
to read or share or get emotional about.
But they are your stories, good, bad,
challenging, engaging, and wonderful!
Perhaps, it is now time to write

about your life’s transformations.
For me, it’s about milking cows,
working in the garden,
spending time with my grandparents
at their little grocery store,
going to so many different schools,

learning about history and literature
and bullies, learning to write poetry,
spending time moving sprinkler pipe
or in your room alone, listening
to Chicago and Bread,
roasting Marshmallows and hotdogs

haphazardly stuck on willows
cut from the clump from down by the slough,
learning to play marbles,
riding motorcycles up around Rainey Creek,
selling nightcrawlers to fishermen,
climbing mountains, swimming

in cold Idaho streams and lakes,
catching my first fish in Birch Creek,
experiencing the Hammon chicken harvest
in early fall, going to college
and learning a different way to think,
spending time in foreign countries,

marrying my sweetheart, waiting
for such a long time for children to come,
seeing miracles, moving from place to place,
settling each time—these are all stories,
and there are so many more
that you can conjure up

from memory, once you begin
to reminisce and think about your life.
Just dig deep and often and plop
your life out onto the page
where you see it and feel it again
as if for the very first time.

November 29, 2022

Monday, November 28, 2022

Art Classes

November Poem Day #28

Art Classes

I have discovered lately most acutely
the effervescent talent of artists.
I took a couple of art classes,
drawing and watercolor, and learned
my hands and fingers do not align
with the right side of my brain.

In fact, I had to wonder if my neurons
are actually even functioning.
They try really hard, probably enough
to receive a certificate of participation.

To be real, the blue sky with tinges
of oranges and yellows looked pretty good,
so did a couple of the trees and stems
of grass but the far-off mountains seemed
a little bleak and drab as if they were conjured up
out of forced necessity, not fluidity.

Surely, the brushes and pencils have minds
of their own, yet fail to share with me
what they are doing or thinking, keeping me
in the dark like some type of overshading.

The teacher affirms with just a nod
of her head, propelling us forward.
We struggle on, heads bent,
trying to focus while soft music plays
in the background, our brushes and pencils
dancing and creating havoc across the page.

I have to admit, a bit reluctantly,
that my personal inner canvas exposed
a bit of humility revealing that some things
do not come as easily as other things in my life.
What appeared in my mind’s eye so beautifully
just wouldn’t emerge as such on the page.
I could see it there, lounging so cavalierly, so boldly.
Something within wanted to escape, create,
magnify, be something grand, maybe even whimsical.

So, I let it out, hesitantly, knowing what
was really going to happen, resigning myself
to the inevitable or a surprise, a releasing a sense
of therapeutic wonderfulness, a luminosity,
allowing me to coax out some semblance
of beauty holed up inside that flopped onto the page.

Art is a marvelous way to cajole one’s inner self
to push paint around, do a little shading here and there,
let the paint soak into the page, perhaps even drizzling
it in such a way as to make something look more or less real.

I am okay with all that and will try again and again
until the brushes and pencils grudgingly heed
my plea while the paint strays into real shapes
and images, at least real enough for me.

November 28, 2022

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Milestones in Our Lives

November Poem Day #27

Milestones in Our Lives

Each of us has reached milestones
in our lives, some huge, some small,
some significant, some simple,
but we reach them—

climbing a high mountain peak,
climbing the stairs after surgery;

a weekly date with our loved one;
a night celebrating by ourselves;

a huge promotion at work,
learning a new job that is waiting for us;

a festive feast with so many family and friends,
eating solids after a long illness and hospital stay;

a new color and style of our hair,
our hair finally growing back after chemo;

buying your first home in a new city,
moving into your first apartment;

running a half-marathon as a personal best,
walking your first step after a hip replacement;

going to a concert of your favorite rock band,
listening to our grandchildren sing
happy birthday to you in a video;

the publication of your first novel,
a scribbled message of I love you!
from your little four-year-old;

a nine-day cruise to the Caribbean,
your first carriage stroll with a new baby—

Milestones come at opportune times,
sometimes knowingly, sometimes surprisingly,
yet they come and warm us no matter when,
and we celebrate each one.

November 27, 2022

Saturday, November 26, 2022


November Poem Day #26

End of Parley Street, Nauvoo, IL


I rather like reflections
as I look at the mountain
across the deep, dark blue lake
that sees itself,
sometimes a bit fuzzy
when the gentle breeze
blows across the water,
distorting the true image.

I see similar reflections
of the setting sun
as its deep oranges reflect
and bounce across the choppy waves
or even more perfectly
when turmoil does not exist.

Much clearer are the reflections
of ourselves in mirrors,
big or small, rectangle or square.

Often, just like the reflection
of the mountain or sun,
our view of ourselves
in the mirror is a bit blurry
unless we look more closely,
stand still, and look straight into it.

What do we see?
What do we want to see?
What should we see?

Can we see ourselves reflected
in the pictures of our parents,
grandparents, or other family members?

Do we see our smiles and positivity
reflected in others when we pass them
on the street or talk to them
in the office or at some event?

Often, what others do
or say reflects what
we have done or said
when they follow our lead.

In another room, bathed
in white in a sacred place,
we look into a mirror
in front of us and one behind us,
and we see the reflection
of ourselves forever and ever.

We should not look into the mirror
or within ourselves only to see
what others think of us
or what we think momentarily
of ourselves today.

True reflections allow us to see
with lucidity, no blurriness, no fog,
and help us understand and grasp
what we really can become,
now and beyond today,
perhaps even for eternity!

November 26, 2022

Friday, November 25, 2022

Reading Directions

November Poetry Month #25

Reading Directions

Reading directions has always been
a challenge for me.
I tend to bypass them,
just launch into doing
what needs to be done,
believe I can do it—
or so I think.
Invariably, before too long,
I am frustrated,
making the simple
more complicated.
If I had just read the directions,
it would be done,
finished, perfectly done,
my persona calm and together,
but my overlooking—
yes, ignoring—
directions throws me down
the erroneous path,
causing me to shove
the wrong part
in the wrong place,
causing such exasperation
so perplexing, so disturbing,
that I have to stop,
take five or six deep breaths,
perhaps even ten more
even deeper breaths,
in and out, even walking away
for some time
to avoid the situation.
But, eventually, I run out of steam,
succumb to the more compelling voice
of someone I love
more than life itself,
someone more pragmatic than I,
to calm me down
and think it through.
It is only then
that I finally understand,
once again for the umpteenth time,
that reading and following directions
is the only way to keep
within the bounds
of sanity, sensibility, and mindfulness.

November 25, 2022

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Art of Being Grateful

November Poem Day #24

The Art of Being Grateful

There is an art to being grateful,
especially every single day.
It’s easy to celebrate Thanksgiving
and be safely grateful
for a couple of hours
while we munch down turkey,
salmon, ham, three-bean salad,
some green Jello with pears,
mashed potatoes with real noodle gravy,
cranberries, broccoli salad,
pumpkin or berry pie
(always with ice cream),
or whatever your traditional eats are.

It’s the rest of the time,
when times are tough,
when something goes wrong,
or someone is mean to you.
Gratitude miserably wanes
during these challenging times,
mostly because our “woe-is-me”
weighs so heavily that we submerge
ourselves in its messy stickiness.

The kernel in all this hinges on
striving to be thankful every day—
for the big things, the little things,
the simplest things, even the mundane,
insignificant things.
All our lives are blessed
in some wonderful way.
The trick is learning
to become better sleuths
in finding and recognizing them.

Thanksgiving, November 24, 2022