Wednesday, December 21, 2011

blooms and sings

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, 
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
--Wendell Berry

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

anywhere between

Glimpse the maskless teacher
anywhere between
the riddle of your endless question
and the awkward, lovely
of mystery's obedient

--lks 2011

I put this found poem together from Frederick Franck's book The Zen of Seeing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

even a sky

Somewhere between
this tag of words
and the place
it's never been

a window frames
what shines like water,
but could be
even a sky.

--lks 2009

This was the first of the found poems I've written using the magnetic poetry kits.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

lullaby redux

Despite the lullaby intention set by my mix of chamomile and valerian I can’t go to sleep. Little mice feet sound larger than I hope they are behind my refrigerator and I remember how my brother’s big black dog chewed through the refrigerator coil while he and his family were away. A friend tells me how when he was hiking the Appalachian Trail mice chewed off a big hunk of his long hair and made themselves a nest, there in the shelter while he slept next to a skunk. The skunk may have slept through it too. My cats don’t seem inclined to do anything about these noises. The other morning the tiny corpse of a mouse lay next to Penelope’s fat gray paws in the kitchen and though it hurt my heart to see the creature’s little pink feet still and lifeless I was glad at its smallness. I’ve moved for now into the bedroom where I don’t usually sleep, the one where most of my books are and where an oil painting of sailboats hangs over the bed. My grandmother painted it when I was a little girl, and one of the boats has my name; another has my mother’s and another my aunt’s. I take a big bottle of lemon Pellegrino water to bed with me as well as the cup of herb tea and a book I stopped reading four months ago. The house settles into the almost-winter night and my lonely heart aches a little for my lost love as I fall at last into slumber.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Cloud

This cloud is the head of a bull, ready to move but not moving yet.
This cloud is the comb you found on the bus last week and were afraid to touch. Little points of light fly down from in between its scary little teeth.
This cloud is a pointy jester's shoe with bells on its upturned toes.
This cloud is the anomalous, achy blues song you heard on the radio last Saturday night in the middle of the classic jazz show. It wants to be sleek and pretty but turns inside out like a growl of cumulus trying to make it through another afternoon of atmosphere.
This cloud wants to share the sky with a bird of prey.
This cloud owes the bank a lot of money and is about to burst and fade away, spent from spending.
This cloud is a tiny key that fits a mysterious lock you haven't laid eyes on yet.
This cloud is the wake of an outboard motor boat bouncing across the choppy brown waters of a summer lake after a storm.
This cloud is a flag at half mast.
This cloud is waiting for other clouds so it can say what it needs to say to someone other than an empty sky.
This cloud tastes like the dry sand of uncooked grits hidden in the middle of butter and salt.
This cloud hums an off-key tune about traffic jams and text messages lost in the ether of its soul. It wants to catch up with the randomness of all those mis-sent dots and squiggles but doesn't know where to start looking.
This cloud is a glob of grape jelly spilled on a formica tabletop at Waffle House late at night.
This cloud is an origami crane, carefully crafted from crispest cardstock for good luck.
This cloud is a crimson ribbon unraveling at the edges.
This cloud is a knot of paneled pine shaped like a wizard's lazy eye.
This cloud tastes like a swig of cough syrup, a gulp of bitter licorice that goes down slow and unwilling and hangs around your throat and palate long after its flavor should have faded.
This cloud is a silver thimble with a minuscule dent on one side.
This cloud is a silk scarf caught in sharp winter branches. It changes color along with the light that holds it.
This cloud is a dormant hornet's nest sagging away from the delicate paper cells of its center.
This cloud is trying to tell you a secret, but if you don't learn its language, you'll never figure out what it has to say.
This cloud has a gray jersey hood pulled over its head because of a really bad haircut.
This cloud is an inkwell waiting for a pen nib.
This cloud needs a name but resists being captured by syllabaries and alphabets. It's waiting for someone to come up with another way to remember who it is.
This cloud is tired of compound words and sentences.
I know this cloud's cousin from last winter, when the setting sun played at hiding behind it during January's reluctant snowmelt.
This cloud has your name and speaks like a tree or a mountain. Its voice is deep and strange with an edge of purple in it, like a fire burning painted paper on a cold stone hearth. When it makes an appearance I catch my breath and wonder at the elegant, inimitable grace of its presence. Being around it is almost, but not quite, more than I can bear before I have to look away and do something else with my heart, my soul, my breath, and the mind I have always used for knowing things.

----© Laura Sorrells 2011
all rights reserved

I've been experiencing a sort of stasis when it comes to writing poetry the past few months, maybe longer. My energy hasn't been particularly available, I guess. This past Monday I was at a meeting of the Writing Club at the school where I teach, and the students, including three of mine, wrote poems with great enthusiasm and dispatch.  I became determined to write some sort of poem too. The assignment the club sponsor had given the students felt too abstract for me so I used an old idea I once borrowed from somewhere (I can't recall exactly where) to write this.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

a poem by Jane Hirshfield

Unnameable Heart

The cricket who
kept me company three days
has fallen silent,
I don't know where.

There are so many
lives of which I know nothing.
Even my own. It moves now
through my fingers toward yours
and I know nothing
I can say that will name its heart.

A boat drifts far out
on the river below the mountains,
and below it
the fish, the great fish
that the one in the boat has come for,
swims in the shadows.

Perhaps the cricket is there, inside the fish.
Stranger things have happened.
I have looked everywhere else
for my lost companion.

From here, the shadow looks small,
but to the fish it is huge.
Range after range of mountains,
and still the old painters
found a place
where two could walk together, side by side.

--Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, December 4, 2011

a gesture of never

Some blue, irresistible lantern
insists we descend
into a gesture of Never.
A prodigal tug of small
but sensuous grace
stretches intently:
a new and beneficent rumor,
a companionship, a fete,
an orange flower
growing on the ancient roof.

--lks 2011

This found poem came from The Gardener's Bed-Book by Richardson Wright.

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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or