Posts Tagged ‘ars poetica’


Sometimes, waiting for the poem to come,
I lean in, eyes closed, lips parted,
edging wonder, unsure what comes next—
my heart a fluttering and tremblesome thing.
It’s like being seventeen again, wondering
if the boy beside me and I will kiss.
I love this flirty interlude when the poem
barely touches my lips with a brush
so light I wonder if I’m making it up—
and the pleasure center of the brain lights up
and soon I am breathless, dancing atop the labyrinth,
ready to give myself wholly to the kiss,
no longer able to follow the scripts I have known.
And the poem hovers above my lips
whispering, What truths are hiding inside you,
then plunders me until my eyes are open.


Well, friends, I can’t promise that when you sit down to write poems it will be like the poem above–but it just might be. Here are a host of fun online events coming up when you, too, might write and wonder what truths are hiding inside you? 

“Turning Toward Life with a Pen in Your Hand”: Exploring Poetry of Presence II
TUESDAYS Nov. 28-Dec. 19

“What does it mean to be alive?” Consider this an invitation to join your voice to the big conversation about that question! In this four-week writing series, we’ll converse with poems from Poetry of Presence II: More Mindfulness Poems, an anthology of poems that “crack open the tough stuff and spill out the light.” Every class will consist of reading and unpacking poems, two sessions of original writing, optional sharing, and lots of talk about process. This is a chance to “practice mindfulness smack dab in the middle of our busy lives” through writing—partaking in wonder, embracing paradox, trusting life, and meeting our own lives as living poems. To register or for more information visit here

Happy Birthday Rilke
Dec. 4 

Join me for a birthday salon for Rainer Maria Rilke including of music, story and poetry. I’ll be with renowned Rilke translator Mark Burrows and cultural historian Kayleen Asbo as we trace how the music of Bach re-awakened his imagination after the trauma of World War I, resulting in the astonishing outpouring of poetry that became the Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies. A joyful exploration of the poems and poet that saved my life and the music that saved him. To register or for more information, visit here.

Sitting in the Midst of It All: A writing & self-care retreat
Dec. 7 & 8

Join Courage & Renewal facilitator Marcia Eames-Sheavly and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for a mini-writing retreat—a day and a half of self-care, wonder, quietude, gentleness, acceptance and connection. The wonderful Marcia will be guiding us in Parker Palmer’s Circle of Trust. For more information, visit here.

Stubborn Praise with James Crews
Dec. 18

Join Rosemerry & poetry friend and partner James Crews for an evening of conversing about poetry, change and transformation. This program was originally scheduled for October but had to be rescheduled. If you were previously signed up, you’re in! You should have received your registration info already. Even if you were not previously signed up, you can sign up now! For more information and to register, visit here

Read Full Post »

Dear Pablo,

Because you dared to love Matilde
without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I, too, became the unblooming reed
that carries inside it the radiance of summer days,
the luminosity of moon, the glittering secrets of stars.
I, too, believed I could be worthy of devotion
despite my darkness, because my darkness,
because my shadows, because my shame.
I embraced love as wood instead of crystal—
something growing, something vital,
something solid and difficult to break.
Because you spilled love into ink,
I learned your love by heart.
Your words caressed me and drenched me
like late summer rain, they carried me
through gloomy rooms and moonless years.  
Because you dared to deeply love one woman,
you touched the soul of this other woman,
and I, too, know, because of you,
the perfume of dark carnation, the ripe apple
of happiness, the bliss of being spread out
on a blanket of ancient night,
a kiss that transcends borders and centuries,
the gift of a love so obscure it resists translation,
the gift of a love so personal
it invites the rest of the world.

*with references to Love Sonnets XII and XVII

Read Full Post »

One Unexpected

at the edge of understanding
growing wings—
now, the leap a joy

Read Full Post »

Like a pale blue ribbon,
soft and lovely,
your words are woven
through the nest that has held me
since the merciless shot of loss.
Your poems meet me again and again
with their open eyes
and their open hands.
They say, Rest here,
sweetheart. I understand.
You, with your pilgrim heart,
your insistence on devotion,
you have cradled me
with your honesty.
Long before I knew
I needed to be saved,
your words found me,
stitched through me with love
as if that is what words are for.

Dear friends, here is where you can find out more about the remarkable Gregory Orr. 

And here is where you can find one of his poems that has saved me in the past year. 

Read Full Post »

I want it to be said
I was the kind of woman
who would weep in the concert hall,
undone by the beauty of song.
I want to be remembered
as a creature who loved
spring grass in her bare toes
and dirt in her hands
and the sun on her skin,
and I want everyone I love
to know for a fact
I chose them as my family.
I hope they will say
I loved the blank page
more than any word on it,
though I thrilled for words, too—
It was weird, they might say,
how she would sit there for hours,
days, years, wondering
about the next true thing,
letting the blank rub off on her.
She was so happy, eyes closed,
fingers hovering above the keyboard,
leaning into that moment
when anything is possible,
that edge where she learned
she had wings.

Read Full Post »

with a line from Charles Simic, “The Prodigal”

Glade of light on the empty stage.
She steps into it, eyes blinded.
Someone in the audience
clears a throat. Someone
scuffs a sole. Many invisible
someones make no sound at all.
She has faith they are there.
She is holding a stack of papers.
Her chest contracts, rises.
So much that happens goes unseen,
a secret cinema.
She opens her mouth
and the words fall out like leaves
releasing themselves from a tree.
With each sentence she is more bare
until only her trunk remains.
She is an aspen arriving in January,
skeleton exposed.
What no one can see
are the roots. What no one can see
is she is standing on trust.
It has taken her fifty-two years
of bursting into color and
wildly waving her branches
to finally learn how 
to stand still.
The other trees stand with her,
and though it is winter,
their roots grow wider, deeper.

Read Full Post »

at the Immersive van Gogh exhibit in Chicago

Dark, and then suddenly
gold, gold in a major chord,
gold as if living inside Sunflowers,
gold in the ear drums, gold pulsing in pores,
gold thrumming in breath.
golden thoughts of only large sunflowers
van Gogh painted in anticipation.
Gold is perhaps the color of hope,
and so, bombarded with gold
on the walls, gold on the floor,
gold on my skin,
is it any wonder golden tears
fall like petals down the cheeks?
Perhaps, you, too, have prepared
for something beautiful
that hasn’t come to pass.
Perhaps, you, too, have lived
in that golden world
long enough to know it is real,
to know the beauty of bloom
so vibrant and full, know, too,
the beauty of withering.
Perhaps you, too, have known
love so golden the longer
you live it, the richer it becomes,
so rich you must create new colors
to know it, must give it away
to know at last how rich it is.
Perhaps you, too,
know the sunflower inside.

Read Full Post »

for “the lucky buyer” who “went home with a certificate of authenticity” for an “immaterial sculpture” by Salvatore Garau

What could be more valuable
than nothing? The nothing that
frames “The Thinker,” the nothing
that holds every bowl,
every vase, every bust, every thought.
Let others buy the clay, the steel,
the papier-mâché. I will be satisfied
with nothing more than nothing.
Nothing pleases me. Nothing
enchants me. Nothing,
as Heisenberg says,
has a weight. Just think
of the space here beside me
where you are not.
If someone asks me why
I have a five-by-five-foot
empty space taped off in my home
with a plaque that says I Am,
it is because I am so in love
with nothing. Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

This poem was published in Rattle’s Poet’s Respond on June 13, 2021

Read Full Post »

One Divining

using words
as dowsing rods—
there, the current inside

Read Full Post »


These poems
are only words
nesting on a page,
but when you read them
they become
can you feel
how they are drawn
to the red flower of you,
how it is you
who gives them
the nectar they need,
how it is
what is inside you
that supports
their tiny

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: