I Did It! Thirty Posts in Thirty Days

I did thirty posts in thirty days. I hope I sprouted interest in poetry with my April posts.

One Art

One Art


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
by Elizabeth Bishop

Filling the Vase

My brother was the visiting writer at our NIWP retreat in McCall and an exerice he did about writing inspired this poem. The flowers are a reminder of summer blooms from the garden a few years ago.

Filling the Vase

Writing is wandering through the
garden path harvesting morning flowers.
Gathering leaves, finding fillers,
snipping blossoms as they begin to open.
Pausing to reflect and even observe
while paying attention to the smells.

Gold, chartreuse, and deep red become the wondrous words,
thorny stems phrases cut too deep.
The combination of textures sort the sentence variety
over powered by the sweet scent of similes.

The violet vase is the vessel of form
Aligning the sentences, arranging the words,
Taming texture with attention to audience.

Place the bouquet on the farmhouse table,
or away for a spell to let the contents settle.

Christy Woolum
June 24, 2008



by Jane Kenyon

These lines are written
by an animal, an angel,
a stranger sitting in my chair;
by someone who already knows
how to live without trouble
among books, and pots and pans…

Who is it who asks me to find
language for the sound
a sheep’s hoof makes when it strikes
a stone? And who speaks
the words which are my food?

In the End We Are All LIght

 At least once a year I have to post this poem! This one is one of my favorites.

In The End We Are All Light

I love how old men carry purses for their wives,
those stiff light beige or navy wedge-shaped bags
that match the women’s pumps,
with small gold clasps that click open and shut.
The men drowse off in medical center waiting rooms,
with bags perched in their laps like big tame birds
too worn to flap away. Within, the wives slowly undress,
put on the thin white robes, consult, come out
and wake the husbands dreaming openmouthed.

And when they both rise up
to take their constitutional,
walk up and down the block, her arms are free as air,
his right hand dangles down.

So I, desiring to shed this skin
for some light silken one,
will tell my husband, “Here, hold this,”
and watch him amble off into the mall among the shining
cans of motor oil, my leather bag
slung over his massive shoulder bone,
so prettily slender-waisted, so forgiving of the ways
we hold each other down, that watching him
I see how men love women, and women men,
and how the burden of the other comes to be
light as a feather blown, more quickly vanishing.

-Liz Rosenberg

A Jar of Buttons

A Jar of Buttons

This is a core sample
from the floor of the Sea of Mending,
a cylinder packed with shells
that over many years
sank through fathoms of shirts -
pearl buttons, blue buttons -
and settled together
beneath waves of perseverance,
an ocean upon which
generations of women set forth,
under the sails of gingham curtains,
and, seated side by side
on decks sometimes salted by tears,
made small but important repairs.
-Ted Kooser

Easter is Hope: Images of Garden Valley Community Church

"The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake."  Basil C. Hume
Today I wanted to catch the Easter spirit in photo images at church. Our little Garden Valley church was busting at the seams with 80 people praising today.
 Cute shoes!
 Lovely dress
 Pastor Shane


A Garden Room

 In the winter when the weather is freezing and snow blankets the gardens I like to do decorating in the house. When the sun comes out like it did today I like to begin redoing garden rooms. My rooms may be in a corner between fences, a shady spot behind the greenhouse, or the middle of the wedding garden.
 Today I worked on the Lucy Garden. This garden is in memory of my dog Lucy. It is where she is buried. It is an area behind the gazebo that used to be empty. When we buried Lucy there we began to add plants.
Last summer we redid the Lucy Garden into a BBQ eating area. Today I added even more.
 Grayson was my assistant.
 We decided tonight as we rested and watched the sun go behind the trees that this could be one of our favorite spots around the place.

Happy Earth Day!

 The earth is what we all have in common.-- Wendell Berry 



Concerto for Early Spring: An Original Abecedian Poem

"An abecedarian poem is a special form of an acrostic poem, in which the initial letters of the words beginning each line or stanza spell out the alphabet in order.
Psalm 119 is one of the earliest famous abecedarian poems, the song arranged in sections according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of which is featured in its own section. Geoffrey Chaucer’s “An ABC” is an abecedarian poem based on his translation of a prayer to the Virgin Mary in Guillaume de Deguileville’s allegorical poem Pèlerinage de la Vie Humaine (Pilgrimage of Human Life)." about.com
This form of poetry is very fun to try. Here is one I wrote.

 Concerto for Early Spring
After winter
Bulbs began to awaken
Crocus do the maiden voyage
Despite the snow.
Ever hardy daffodils emerge,
Forsythias' buds begin to swell
Giving us hope for early spring.
How long before we till the earth?
Ice still covers the pond,
Just a bit of snow remaining in the garden plot,
Knowing birds are now being sighted,
Longer days begin,
Morning sun has shifted,
Nests will soon be constructed
Over the wedding garden.
Presiding over the concerto the
Quail quickly cross the road,
Robins look for worms,
Starlings return to their same house
Too high to tempt the cats.
Until this season arrives
Very soon I hope
We'll sit by the fire
X-tremely excited for a change while
Yearning for shades of yellow and green
Zigzagging through the yard.

by inlandempiregirl
 Christy Woolum

Woman Who Loves Gardening

 Woman Who Loves Gardening

I have dirty nails
and rarely paint them, living out
my long growing season in the flower garden, trellises
giving view to clematis, Stargazer lilies
whose aromatic flowers
grow in profusion.
I pull the weeds
in the early morning
gritting my teeth
wiping sweat from my brow
and listening
to footsteps of my husband
coming in range to help.
Sun makes my face red;
each sniff with my nose
leaves lily pollen behind.
When I rest it’s the beauty
that causes anxiety to shake loose
from a woman in need
of a quiet place to retreat.

Christy Woolum
June 20,2007

Traveling the Rivers of Washington

 The Pend Orielle River by Metaline Falls

 Traveling the Rivers of Washington

In Washington state
 rivers flow out of the mountains,
connect to guide travelers,
 merge with the ocean,
and roll on to the Columbia.

Coastal Indians paddled the Nisqually, Nooksack, Quinault;
Northern bands camped on the Kettle, Colville, Sanpoil, Okanogan;
Explorers relied on the Spokane, Yakima, and Palouse;
Missionaries journeyed close to the Touchet, Tucannon, and Walla Walla;

Locals love the sound of Methow, Pend Oreille, Puyallup;
Wynoochee, Chehalis, Skykomish, and Elwha;
But when it comes to spelling them-
My favorites are Green, Snake, Lewis, and Rock.

by inlandempiregirl

Christy Woolum

The Table in the Sunroom

Remembering Grandma West, summers, and the Orofino Creamery ...

The Table in the Sunroom

The rays from the evening sun glowed on the hollyhocks;
the windows of the sunroom framed Grandma’s tall gladiolus .
Dad wiped his reddened face,
the pitcher of ice tea sweating under the stifling heat.
Steam rose from the bowl of garden fresh beans --  
we  climbed to the back of the table
wedged between the White sewing machine and the old Kelvinator,
squeezed in the six chairs.

Corn on the cob was always in season.
 The kernels small and golden.
Grandma cut her kernels delicately off the cob,
I begged for the knife so I could do the same.
In a voice that even the neighbors could hear, Mom announced,
“You have good, strong teeth…
just eat it off the cob.”

Next a plate of tomato slices
followed by cooked beets and fried pork chops.
I lifted my legs as bare skin stuck to the chair,
while my brother was kicking my foot,
my baby sister’s damp hair stuck to her head.

From my seat I couldn’t gaze at Grandma’s garden
 or watch the bees buzz around the roses,
but I took in the slow table conversation
as I tried to cut up my tomato:
Canning cherries, and Norm and growing cucumbers,
Konkleville, Canada Hill and cousin John came up.
Is that fire still burning out at Yellow Dog?
What is on special at the Glenwood Market?

Dad took his paper napkin and wiped his face again,
And told Grandma this was the best corn he had ever had.
Her eyes lit up as she rose from the table
And thank goodness headed to the old chest freezer.
A treat from the Orofino Creamery would be
passed around last.
The sun slipped behind the crabapple tree,
The shadows cooled the sunroom.
That cold vanilla ice cream was the best I had ever had.

by inlandempiregirl
Christy Woolum 

Near the Window: An Original Poem

Near the Window

The lamp near the window glowed long into the night,
the wonder of words kept me turning the pages.
Curling up with Nancy Drew, Bess, and George
created a life of intrigue and mysteries to be solved.
Finding poetry at the public library and saving words
as I hunted and pecked on the manual keys.

The stereo filled the hall room with beautiful sounds.
I wore out certain songs as I listened again and again.
I joined the Broadway cast of My Fair Lady and Oklahoma too,
and The Ray Conniff singers backed my up on Somewhere My Love.
How many times could I repeat Three Dog Night singing One
While belting out the lyrics with a makeshift microphone?

Near the window I could breathe in spring,
In winter the panes frosted, then melted in a thaw.
If opened in summer a breeze gave a small reprieve,
Burning leaves crept in at the closing of fall.

The neighbor kids gathered for Kick the Can or Spoons, but
 I cocooned myself in my bedroom upstairs.
Finding comfort near the window with my pile of books
Broadway seemed visible, images from poems remained.
I didn’t pine away about a misspent youth.
I still carry the words and remember the poetry,
And l hear those melodies when I
sit near the window in my childhood room.

by inlandempiregirl
Christy Woolum



by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring— 
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; 
  Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush 
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring 
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; 
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush 
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush 
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.   
What is all this juice and all this joy? 
  A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning 
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy, 
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning, 
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy, 
  Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.