Poetic Pauses: Egrets, by Karen Lucci


Egrets as inevitable
As turtles and rare
As turquoise snakes

Sang along currents
Of solitude
Sand solicitously
Entreating attentive

Sinking through shadows
Penetrating waters
Pale as March

Like lead they fell
Splitting water
Like pine logs
’til motionless the water

Deep and sharp
Straight to the heart
Arising again death
Gripped spun up
Like a cockcrow
Breaking night.

– Karen Lucci, Beach Dogs, A Collection

– photo courtesy of www.lazyrivercruises.com

Poetic Pauses: The Garden, Mary Oliver

The Garden

The kale’s
puckered sleeve,
the pepper’s
hollow bell,
the lacquered onion.

Beets, borage, tomatoes. 
Green beans.

I came in and I put everything
on the counter: chives, parsley, dill, 
the squash like a pale moon,
peas in their silky shoes, the dazzling
rain-drenched corn.

-Mary Oliver, “New and Selected Poems”

New and Selected Poems is one of my favorite poetry books and of course, I love Mary Oliver’s work. “Puckered sleeve”, “like a pale moon” and “in their silky shoes” are all underlined in the book.

Was there a word or phrase you particularly liked?

Poetic Pauses: Farmer’s Market

I picked up a copy of Working the Dirt at the library and was immediately drawn to this poem by Marcia Camp. After all, summertime and Farmer’s Markets go hand-in-hand, right?

Farmer’s Market

It isn’t okra cut small and tender the way
     we know it should be, or
tomatoes whose imperfections declare them
     simon-pure, or
peas bursting from their purple hulls
(their remembered anthem sung on summer-
     morning streets,
“Peas…”with soft refrain, “already shelled”)—
we come for none of these, though we ask the
     price at each tailgate.
We’re here to see hardy faces (our parents and
     grandparents with different features)
smile a warranty on produce knowing hands and
     bent backs coaxed to life.
We tender crisp dollar bills, drop quarters
     into calloused palms and
purchase affirmation.
For we need to hear the vernacular of hill,
     prairie and delta in
words carefully weeded from our city talk;
have our nostrils sting from manure on boots,
smell musk of frying bacon lingering in work shirts.
Only here can we feel Dallis grass switch our ankles,
     blackberry briers claw our legs,
hear the night call of the whippoorwill,
     see its red eye pierce the dark, and
know that we did not dream childhood.

– Marcia Camp, “Working the Dirt, An Anthology of Southern Poets”

My favorite line? “For we need to hear the vernacular of hill, prairie and delta in words carefully weeded from our city talk.” Rich. 

Do you have a fave? 

Poetic Pauses: Psalm 103

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:13-19


Wondrous delight is found in the presence of God. With a blank sheet of paper and pen in hand, along with a Bible nearby, begin making a list of the characteristics of God. Write down various names for God. Record attributes of God. List promises of God. Then spend some time thanking God simply for who He is and offering words of adoration to Him. The wonder of God’s presence awaits you. 

-Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck

Poetic Pauses: Mary Harwell Sayler

Waiting for God, Waiting for Light
Psalm 62:1-2

For God alone
in silence
my soul.
From God alone
in strength
my salvation.
My Rock!
My Fortress!
I shall not
be moved.
In God alone
my soul shall
not be shaken.

©1998, Mary Harwell Sayler
Poem originally published in UpSouth.

Wonders await in the stillness. Depending on the time of year, prepare a cup of hot peppermint tea or pour a glass of sweet tea—whatever your favorite beverage may be. Then find a quiet room, a comfortable chair, and sit still for twenty minutes. Your only movement should be nestling into the chair and occasionally sipping your beverage. 
Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment—aware of your hands, your feet, your spine, every aspect of your body’s position. In this place of pausing, talk to God. Tell Him what’s really on your heart and mind. Share with Him things you’ve been afraid to say aloud. Give yourself wholly and fully to God in prayer and experience the wonder.
-Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck
Tiny House on the Hill

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