Sunday, April 18, 2021

Being Wise Eleven

                         Garden peas a few years ago in my garden.

Being Wise Eleven April 18, 2021

Green, green, green! The iris

are blooming, white and purple.

I planted them too close together,

but they bloomed anyway, defying

horticulture laws and behavior.

The grass, too, is that brilliant

green, that open rebellion. Don’t

tell me it’s not spring. My cells

know. Who says there aren’t

miracles. It’s April, isn’t it?

Green time.The flowers, the

birds, every leaf, every blade

of grass. The bees foretell it:

pollen and honey have arrived. 

You can’t go back now. Even

your old loves have resurrected

themselves, and the new ones

grown bolder. Green is here 

and there and everywhere.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Being Wise Ten

 Being Wise Ten April 11, 2021

For Marie Hammond

In Memory of Sam Hammond, August 22, 1947–February 25, 2021

Oh, Sam! I miss you! You gave yourself 

so freely. You egged me on to do a book

with my grandmother’s diary, and then

you helped. You made sure I had omitted

no lines of possible research on what their

life was like in the China of 1910, and who

exactly they all were, these people they

mention. You even found some answers

for me. Five different families learned

about Grace, A China Diary: 1910-1916

and wrote to me of their relatives, friends

of Grace and Harvey. Grace had bipolar

disease, not understood well in 1910, but

the missionary doctors were wiser than

those in Oklahoma when they returned

home. I came to understand Grace better

–my goal for doing the book. I remember

how you and Marie celebrated with me.

Other times you were there when we

shared dinner. I loved to make you

laugh. It was so easy. I saved up

outrageous stories out of my own life.

Once you joined a small writing class

I was teaching. I had a young black

student, new to writing. I could tell

you approved of how I worked with

him. I always believed my students

could write well and better. And they

did. You left us in February. But for

me, you’re still here, part of my life

and thought. A model of a loving man 

in an increasingly distraught world.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Being Wise Nine

The cover of my new Baba Summer Book Two, painting image by Nikolai Smirnov, Kostroma, Russia "The First Snow"

Being Wise Nine Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

Resurrection! In a cold house.

Resurrection ferns by the Haw River.

I am almost eighty-four and still

alive. The frost killed the hydrangea’s

new leaves, but the daylily leaves

are erect as usual. Did the peach

blossoms survive? I can’t tell through

the kitchen window. The hens are

hunkered down, their feathers

fluffed for warmth. A cold sun

brightens behind the curtains.

The poem begins before I’m fully

awake. I put on my jacket and

spread a blanket over my legs

and feet. Easter morning. I

celebrate with a new poem

while the Earth’s resurrection

continues unabated. Two lamps

in a dark house. One human

being awake and alive. No

telling how much longer I

have to inhabit this body, be

this person, bundle myself up

in wool and my favorite

blanket, drink hot tea, and be

grateful for another day of

life and love.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Being Wise Eight

 Photo of peach blossoms outside my kitchen window 

                    by Janet Wyatt March 2021

Being Wise Eight March 28, 2021

When I yield, admit it’s time

to wash the dishes, and I

stare out the kitchen window,

peach blossoms cluster

themselves in my view. Drudgery

disappears. Can that many

peaches crowd those slender

stems? Will some fall that

others may be pollinated and

grow fat and pink? Will bugs

gnaw and chew before my

eyes or will some come safe

to the window harbor? Will

the unruly grape vines climb

over the chicken run and feed

the hens below them? Will I

be able to reach up and harvest

the volunteer peach, the impetuous

grapes? Possibly apples and

pears may still bear. Oh, the

work to reclaim my orchard. 

So many broken limbs, unpicked

fruit, vine tangles. And the figs.

Will they survive? We plan a

garden. So far onions and

replanted peas. Next beets.

Later cukes and beans. Tomatoes

and sweet peppers. Meantime

the bees are busy among the

nascent peaches. Oh, please

live. Please make fruit 

we can all eat.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Being Wise Seven

 Janet took this photo of our pink cosmos last summer.


Being Wise Seven March 21, 2021

How does wisdom come into it?

Am I any wiser because I’m older?

I seem to forget more. On a busy

day, I might forget my pill. My

legs get tired and I yearn to sit

down and put my feet up. Enough

work for awhile. I’ll rest now. 

Then the next morning I find

the pill I didn’t take. I do

compensate, write things down

in my appointment book, get

books ready to mail as soon as

I get in the orders. Once I forgot

my class, but the students weren’t

angry. I’ve already chosen books

for my fall classes. I try to walk

every day, but sometimes I

forget that, too.  I do well on the

whole, but what I forget troubles

me. I don’t know, of course,

how much longer I have to be

here, to cook and clean and teach

and learn. And I’m not the only

one in my life who forgets. We

all do. I used to lose things like

car keys and house keys. So I

wear my emergency pair of

keys. I should be able to outwit

myself. I’ll give it a try.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Being Wise Six

        Our rooster, Pauli, supervising his hens. by Janet Wyatt

Being Wise Six March 14, 2021

There are always temptations.

“Add four thousand to your

credit line.” I had trouble with

the web option and was put on

hold with the phone option. Not

worth it. I have enough credit.

I’ve stayed out of debt. “Find

out when your stimulus check

will arrive.” I got lost in that

web search, too. It’s in the works

and will come. No worries. Best

to focus on finishing my taxes

and helping these women who

trust me to edit their writing.

Do more cleaning. Walk longer.

Do the work in front of you.

Your body is healing if slowly.

You have some good years

still to come. A day at a time,

as they say. Your body is quiet.

Your soul is peaceful. People

love you. No worries.

  supervising his hens.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Being Wise Five

Christmas 2016

Being Wise Five March 7, 2021

Aging interferes with memory.

People used to admire mine.

Now I need reminding. I keep

two records, when I only need

one. If a book slips out of sight,

I can’t find it. I search my piles

of folders for class notes, student

work, miscellaneous papers I

don’t want to lose track of. But

where are they? Yet the lines

of new poems rise to the surface

My words are still there and

many memories, even if not

the ones I’m looking for. I do

pretty well on grocery lists and

remembering meal plans. My

life is simple: writing, publishing

what I’ve written; teaching, 

nudging my students to keep

after their goals, pointing out

awkward phrasing, celebrating

the completion of a book. 

Amazing that I still have

students. Once I forgot my 

class, but they were not angry.

They called to remind me. Can

love compensate for memory

loss? Sometimes, Muse Mother.