Thursday, April 28, 2022

Progressive Poem is HERE!

This is my first time participating in the annual Progressive Poem.  I signed up somewhat late in the game, and chose the penultimate line. Gutsy or naive? It's your call!  As my turn came closer I started scouting for lines that would fit. I agree with Tabatha that the poem seems less of a narrative and more about mood. It's atmospheric! So...

Ted Kooser is one of my favorite poets, and since I grew up in Nebraska I have always loved his poem "So This is Nebraska."  I have adapted a line or two from his poem for my addition in italics below.

And now... on to Michelle Kogan for the finale!


Where they were going, there were no maps.

   Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

   We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.

The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.

Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 

 and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds’ libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.

The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.

Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark. 

There are no wrong roads to anywhere

lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove.

Standing at the fence of the cottage, 
    I hear the new note in the voices of the birds.

I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the message of my heart upward.

I make up a song that goes on singing all by itself

Surfing rivers of wind way up high . . . calling zeepzeepzeep in the sky,

blinking back the wee wonder of footprints, mouse holes, and underground maps.

I feel like waving... like dancing around on the road


1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin 
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien 
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame 
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech 
5. inspired by "[in Just-]" by E. E. Cummings 
6. "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada 
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 
9. inspired by Disney songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas 
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor 
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman 
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron 
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer 
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 1
5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis 
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera 
18. Kate DiCamillo's The Beatryce Prophecy 
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith 
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv 
21. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 
22. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen 
23. adapted from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 
24. A quote from Terry Tempest Williams in Birdology by Sy Montgomery 
25. adapted from "When I Was a Bird" by Katherine Mansfield 
26. Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre 
27. a quote from the poem, "Reading in the Dark" from the book, "Please Bury Me In the library" by J. Patrick Lewis.
28. adapted from "So This is Nebraska" from Sure Signs: New & Selected Poems by Ted Kooser

And here are the wordsmiths who added lines:

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

It's another Poetry Friday.  Join the poetic fun at Jone Rush MacCulloch's blog.  Jone is sharing a beautiful morning poem written this month, and other poets will be linked to her blog. YOU are welcome...

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Depending on Ditties... and an Alaskan memory

 Our renovation projects are underway! Hooray! It's a happy Poetry Friday at our house.

Thanks to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes for encouraging me to use ditties to get me through this planned time of upheaval. Her comment helped me remember this ditty which I wrote after a trip to Alaska.

We were on Glacier Bay when the seagulls found us. This photo shows the approach of one gutsy scavenger. I wish I could have snapped another photo during the getaway, but the bird was fast, and I may have been laughing!

The Heist

Gray wings swoop

Yellow eyes snoop

Orange bill scoops

Golden brown cookie

Who's the loser?

© Karen Eastlund

Sunset on the last night on our ship... great memories!

Today is another Poetry Friday gathering. You can learn about Poetry Friday at this link:

Thanks to Margaret Simon for hosting today at Reflections on the Teche. 
She shares the 2022 Progressive Poem.

Friday, April 15, 2022


 Hello friends... just to let you know that my house will be in a state of confusion for a while as we are having renovations done.  We have been needing to get this work done, and I am pleased that it is finally going to happen. Who cares if there is hubbub and mess in the process?

Right now I'm taking a break from packing up books... a big job. My dear books!!! 

Anyway, I'll be following the rest of you when I can. I'm really very lucky to get all this work done, so it's just a matter of getting through it. 

How will we do this? Let me count the ways
First the depth and breadth and height 
Of the upper bath, the neediest of sites
Then insulation and paint all over the place

(Please forgive me Elizabeth B. Browning...)

It is National Poetry Month, as well as another Poetry Friday. Join the celebration at Matt's Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme  He has a wonderful interview with author Leslie Bulion. Thanks for hosting today, Matt! 

Friday, April 8, 2022

A Poem for Holy Week

 Next week will be Holy Week in the Christian Church, so I decided to share this poem which I wrote recently. It begins with the phrase "I bind unto myself." I found this phrase in a book of Celtic Prayer from the Northumbria Community, and it spoke to me. I hope is might speak to you as well.

thanks to George Berberich at Unsplash

I bind unto myself today
the cardinal's cheer
that greets the dawn
the patient wren
upon its nest
the yellow shaft of
flicker's plume

I bind unto myself today
all those who suffer
near or far
who need a cure or
home or food
I offer up for them
my prayer

I bind unto myself today
the power of words 
to foster peace
the strength of words
to counsel, claim
to comfort 
and to teach

I bind unto myself today
the treasures of the psalms
Create in me a heart
Oh Lord
to walk your path
to know your calm

© Karen Eastlund

It's Poetry Friday every Friday!!! 
Join the gang at Janice Scully's Salt City Verse.
Janice shares some stunning verses from At The Pond,
by David Elliot.
Thank you, Janice!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

I bind unto myself this day

Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday. Today I'm delighted to host this group of spiritual pilgrims. The focus this month is to consider what we bind ourselves to in our spiritual journeys. 

Although this prompt was my idea, I found it to be a challenge. I listed a number of ideas, but couldn't find the key to writing about them. Finally I settled on this: I bind myself to prayers for truth. Then I remembered a story... 

It was early spring, quite a number of years ago, when I put a display of seeds on the science table in my classroom of 4-year-olds: mustard seeds, orange seeds, beans, peas, the outer shell of a coconut, pinecones, and some cattails. We would explore the various seeds and talk about them. I announced at our morning meeting..."There are seeds on the science table. See if you can tell what kinds they are. Look for the coconut shell and the cattail." 

When the meeting ended, we dispersed to various activities throughout the room.

Quite soon, I was confronted by a boy with a serious, almost angry, look on his face. He thrust the cattail toward me and demanded, "Is THIS from a real cat?"

I caught my breath! Oh no! Yes, his question was funny, but I knew I dared not smile. His face told me I was in serious trouble, and I had to respect his strong emotion. I realized I could do nothing but offer apology after apology, followed by one explanation and another. And, it took quite a few of both before I finally regained his trust. 

I remember being both embarrassed and amused, but also, I felt considerable respect for him that day.  At the tender age of four, he had resolutely confronted me and conducted a serious search for truth. 

I hope he continues that practice today.

A classroom memory...

The search for truth is a vital discipline, and I find it a hard job in our world. In many instances we can't actually know the truth, so where do we put our trust? How can we make decisions?  At times I have trusted something or someone that was not trustworthy. Or I made a false assumption because it was convenient. Without a doubt there is plenty of work ahead of me as I continue to pray toward truth and discernment. 

I join you all in prayers for peace in all interactions of life: within families, work environments, social arenas, politics, and between nations. You and I know of war and rumors of war in the world in many places. I pray that we might be agents of reconciliation. I bind unto myself a prayer for peace.

I tried some verses to express further thoughts...

I bind unto myself today
the cardinal's cheer
that greets the dawn
the patient wren
upon its nest
the yellow shaft of
flicker's plume

I bind unto myself today
all those who suffer
near or far
who need a cure or
home or food
I offer up for them
my prayer

I bind unto myself today
the power of words 
to foster peace
the strength of words
to counsel, claim
to comfort 
and to teach

I bind unto myself today
the treasures of the psalms
Create in me a heart
Oh Lord
to walk your path
to know your calm

© Karen Eastlund

Feel free to join this group in your own Spiritual Journey. Please just post your link in the comments and I'll watch as I can throughout the day and round up your links the old fashioned way. 

Blessings to all in this beautiful season of renewal. 

Linda Mitchell writes of trust at

Carol Varsalona shares poetic thoughts at

Margaret Simon posts of feeling unbound at

Ramona remembers hymns at

Chris Margocs has an interesting insight at

Denise shared her favorite words from the hymn I Bind Unto Myself Today:

Ruth sends a poem of her current dreams at There's No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town