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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

You know you've spent a week at a poetry retreat when you board a plane and wonder why the man beside you isn't interested in processing childhood traumas and reading poems aloud. The nerve! Words can't do this week justice, but thank you, Padraig. Thank you so very much. I wrote this one on pantoum day:

Supporting Character

Dad wears costumes when it isn't Halloween.

Emerges from his bedroom Gandalf, a werewolf, a knight.

Dutiful audience, bred to clap and squeal.

Slinks away after Jeopardy & soon he's someone new.

Emerges from his bedroom Gandalf, a werewolf, a knight.

Is he a boy, a father, or both?

Slinks away after Jeopardy & soon he's someone new.

Thank God he showed me that grown-ups can play.

Are you a boy, a father, or both?

The spotlight suits you—is there room for two?

Thank God you showed me that grown-ups can play.

Gandalf's beard devours my small face.

The spotlight suits you—is there room for two?

Dutiful audience, bred to clap and squeal.

Gandalf's beard devours my small face.

You wear costumes when it isn't Halloween.

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author

ha! The poor man beside you. I've almost bothered people before with "have you read this book of poetry? LOOK! READ! BEHOLD!" But I've managed to hold it back.

Thanks for the poem, Jenny. I loved this one - "he showed me that grown-ups can play". Lovely.

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founding

“Thank God you showed me that grown-ups can play.” This is so beautiful. And what a delight to meet you, Jenny Noble Anderson! :-)

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Mona Chopra!!!❤️ It was delightful to meet you too!

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What a wonderful way to show you (and me, in turn) the joys of being fully human. And to your question, "Are you a boy, a father, or both?" I say, Yes, and yes, and YES to an adulthood like this. Thank you for sharing this sweet poem, Jenny. You are a wonder to behold!

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Thank you for this, Friend:).

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I am so thankful for this poem, and that you got to experience this aspect of your father. Lovely.

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He is a father who is a son fir his children to meet

Thank you

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LOVED this wonderous tribute THANK YOU!!

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"bred to clap and squeal" Wow!

Thank you for this beautiful tribute!

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

The pantoum:

Putting on a bra.

In the bedroom, hotel room, bathroom, or change room.

At forty odd years, odd years, even yours.

Punctuated, as a dressing, as an undoing.

In the bedroom, hotel room, bathroom, or change room.

Awkward moved comfortably in, dropping the awk and becoming a sigil ward.

Punctuated, as a dressing, as an undoing.

Growing queerer.

Awkward moved comfortably in, dropping the awk and becoming a sigil ward.

I love my growing need.

Growing queerer.

My chest, close to hold, as breast, the budding and unfurling.

I love my growing need.

At forty odd years, odd years, even yours.

My chest, close to hold, as breast, the budding and unfurling.

Putting on a bra.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Footnote for "the budding and unfurling" - "It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before, to test your limits, to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

~ Anais Nin

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Totally amazing; and totally inspiring. I need to push myself to those uncomfortable places as well.

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author

This is gorgeous Kasane - thank you. the play on "odd" and "awk" and "ward" -- the looking at what's held within an existing word. "I love my growing need" is a line from the deep unconscious. Wonderful.

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Wow. Just....wow.❤️

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What a delight to read! This poem is quiet, and holds (and releases) so much humanity...thank you for sharing.

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Took my breath away Thank You

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Gorgeous, Kasane!

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Incredible ❤️

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Thank you for sharing how this transition feels to you.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I have become accustomed to sadness as my companion.

It lives in my body, in the center of my chest, my shoulders, and my back.

It seemed to happen all at once and but, also, gradually, seeping out into the marrow of my being.

I live a life before, during, and after.

It lives in my body, in the center of my chest, my shoulders, and my back.

I fear it will be my companion for life and I fear it will leave me.

I live a life before, during, and after.

You said you didn’t worry about me, that I had family and friends to accompany me.

I fear it will be my companion for life and I fear it will leave me.

I get up every day and make a cup of tea.

You said you didn’t worry about me, that I had family and friends to accompany me.

Sometimes, he is gone a while but he slides back in and makes a space for himself.

I get up every day and make a cup of tea.

It seemed to happen all at once and but, also, gradually, seeping out into the marrow of my being.

Sometimes, he is gone a while but he slides back in and makes a space for himself.

I have become accustomed to sadness as my companion.

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author

You capture such tension in the line " I fear it will be my companion for life and I fear it will leave me." Thank you Elaine.

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Yes, I feel the weight of this. My husband died a year and a half ago. After a busy two weeks of travel with my sister and to visit my daughter and her family, I realize the sadness has been absent. It's both a relief and a loss. Then at home again today on my own, I feel such a pang as I put out just one, not two cups, for morning tea. You express the uneasy co-existence of two feelings so well. Thank you.

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Oct 8, 2023·edited Oct 8, 2023

Thank you for letting us into this space so that we might accompany you in some small way. I’m wishing you peace for today.

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I am walking this walk with my sister right now.

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Thank you for writing this...I was going to write about sadness. But I am being encouraged to be “positive.” I think I also feel what you write, that it will not leave, and that it will...

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What does that mean to the speaker when you are encouraged to be positive?

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Same journey, same concern for the speaking of it. But just as the wind in the tree is not the tree, speaking of how sadness is operating in one’s life is not embodying sadness, as I see it. Is it that way for you?

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I agree, there is no one part of my life that encompasses all of what is felt in a day. Speaking of it is just that, speaking aloud what is felt.

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Whoa, Elaine! Your original 8 lines really took up a lot more space in that emotion and feeling area when they were repeated, and beautifully so! Sheesh. Wow. Amazing and beautiful and somber!! Thank you.

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Thank you for sharing the beauty of your transparency and for sharig your journey

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founding

“I fear it will be my companion for life and I fear it will leave me.” - wow. Thank you, Elaine. 🙏🏾

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I am moved by this. Even while I am delighted by your "...happen all at once and but..." Your "and I fear it will leave me" rings like trumpets in my ears.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Each morning I walk in circles

around the mulberry tree in my garden.

It’s been a year now, this morning ritual

greeting Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Around the mulberry tree in my garden

before breaking my overnight fast

greeting Mother Earth and Father Sky

noticing the flowers, listening to the birds.

Before breaking my overnight fast,

the coffee in my mug warming, awakening,

noticing the flowers, listening to the birds

step by step, my feet gently touching the earth,

The coffee in my mug warming, awakening.

It’s been a year now, this morning ritual

step by step, my feet gently touching the earth.

Each morning I walk in circles.

Susan

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author

Thanks Susan - how lovely to read this. flowers, birds, broken fasts.

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Thanks Padraig. I think the pantoum form with its echoing repetition is perfect for writing about walking in circles.

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Thank you for this! A few years ago, my marriage was stormy. I wanted to ground to move - so I used to twirl in circles while listening to my favorite faith songs but also bringing the issues at heart at the centre of the circle!

Am glad to report that the ground moved in my marriage and peace has become ordinary almost!

So keep the circle routine dear and bring all that needs moving to the centre.

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Thanks for you comment, it seems like an ordinary yet special routine.

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Susan, this is so lovely! What a gentle poem for the morning. I went walking recently just after sunfall, and even though the sky was getting dark, I could hear all the conversations the birds were still having. It felt very special to witness that moment when day and night overlap. I think mornings have that magic also!

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fantastic! I love it!!! Thank you, Susan!

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Oct 8, 2023·edited Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

A shared coffee date as the day rises

At the kitchen table with view over the pond

Love slowly blooming over ordinary things

The routine cleaning of the kitchen before breakfast

-

At the kitchen table with view over the pond

Fill me with a deep sense of appreciation and love

The routine cleaning of the kitchen before breakfast

Cherish those little moments representing everything

-

Fill me with a deep sense of appreciation and love

Using the French press to extract love every morning

Cherish those little moments representing everything

Fueling our souls and body for the day to come

-

Using the French press to extract love every morning

Love slowly blooming over ordinary things

Fueling our souls and body for the day to come

A shared coffee date as the day rises

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author

That kitchen table, and love, and coffee, and sight. Lovely.

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"Using the French press to extract love every morning

Love slowly blooming over..."

I really like it. Imagine milk foams cloud-like blooming over the dark intense blackness of coffee. :D

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"love slowly blooming over the ordinary things"

Something about shared meals and warmth, and the process of brewing tea and coffee--it's a specific form of love. Wonderful to find these words for it. Thank you!

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Isn't this lovely! Luc, your poem is a sweet example of how the threads of an idea are pulled together into an unexpected, cohesive whole in the last stanza. I love the quiet ritual of this shared morning coffee!

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Oh my word!! Again, I love how this changes the couplings and changes the lines that make them. It's like a whole new poem when those lines are coupled with new ones. Amazing!! Thank you for sharing!!

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Here’s my offering, written this morning after reading Padraic’s email. I look forward to reading everyone else’s, too.

My daughter doesn’t live here anymore.

At home, her empty room is left to the cats.

In a blur of weeks, I settled into my empty nest. I helped her pack her things.

At home, her empty room is left to the cats.

Is there a word for feeling proud and bereft at the same time?

I helped her pack her things.

I knew this day would come, and I never expected it.

Is there a word for feeling proud and bereft at the same time?

I haven’t removed the tape from the wall where her poster hung.

I knew this day would come, and I never expected it.

I am expanding.

I haven’t removed the tape from the wall where her poster hung.

In a blur of weeks, I settled into my empty nest.

I am expanding.

My daughter doesn’t live here anymore

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author

Oh thank you Kerstin - that's gorgeous - so much lament and praise all together. Pride, empty, expected, unprepared. "I am expanding" is a powerful place for it to land, before the turn back to the first line, repeated.

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I am fewer years from this than I was last year. And I know I will "never expect[...] it." I will remember your poem. Maybe it will help. But probably not. But i will hope that it does.

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The experience is a blend of the bitter and the sweet, to be sure. I wish you well as you approach it!

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Whoa... I don’t have any kids, but this one still made me choke up because, “Is there a word for feeling proud and bereft at the same time?” What a beautiful way to experience loss that is positive, even for the one who is heartsick. Thank you!

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A shared experience, Kerstin! Thank you!

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You capture the feelings ol a child leaving home so beautifully. I am reliving this now, as my daughter in law and her family prepare for a cross-country move. May peace come eventually for all of us.

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Thank you-it’s not easy saying goodbye, is it

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

ORDINARY MOMENTS

coffee in the silence

of my morning bed

studying words that slip

into my unconscious

before coffee, dream

after coffee,

wake into the day

in my morning bed

colors of the day

before coffee, dream

after coffee,

wake into my day

never too deep

just deep enough

colors of my day

dark brown, sip slowly

write faster

never too deep

just deep enough

gets attention and

is ignored

dark brown, sip slowly

write faster

studying words that slip

into my unconscious

gets attention and

is ignored

coffee in the silence

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I love how it changed some of the lines when they were coupled with other, seemingly opposite lines. gorgeous!!!! thank you for sharing!!

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

It was perfect reading your pantoum with my morning tea (not coffee) on the couch (not bed) letting the thoughts swirl where they want to go. Somehow, in those early waking moments the truest and most unexpected insights come to me. Thanks for being my companion.

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what a lovely way to start my day over a cup of coffee here iin Rwanda

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author

There is an emerging theme of coffee in these pantoums! Thanks Jeanie. "words that slip into my unconscious"

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founding

Thank you so much, poetry wizard Pádraig for this particular set of pantoum prompts and your beautiful teaching and presence this week 🙏🏾.

-

Tingling, chards of glass in my feet again, upon waking again, alone again.

In bed, whatever bed I wake in, lately, just my own.

Seven, or was it eight years ago, a break again, no baby again, it lost its novelty.

Dreaming, remembering, forgetting, dissolving free.

In bed, whatever bed I wake in, lately, just my own.

Blankets of resignation…

Dreaming, remembering, forgetting, dissolving free.

Please, I won’t ask why (I lied) - what does it mean?

Blankets of resignation…

Whitewashed brick, cowbell clanging, dangling above, the bed, cocooned in books: Boundless Healing, Radical Acceptance, Mating in Captivity, Sex for One.

Please, I won’t ask why (I lied) - what does it mean?

(These) hands, reaching down, cradling those feet.

Whitewashed brick, cowbell clanging, dangling above, the bed, cocooned in books: Boundless Healing, Radical Acceptance, Mating in Captivity, Sex for One.

Seven, or was it eight years ago, a break again, no baby again, it lost its novelty.

(Those) hands, reaching down, cradling these feet.

Tingling, I wake again.

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author

Thank you for this Mona - I love the modifications in the repetitions and the brilliance of those asides in "(I lied)" ... these, those, and the "seven, or was it eight years ago," - the memory of the body. Thank you.

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founding

So so kind of you to take the time to read and respond so specifically and generously. It’s v encouraging. Thank you, Pádraig! 🙏🏾

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so many good things happening here in this tender poem. Very moving. I love the repetitions in addition to the pantoum repetitions.

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founding

thank you, Chris. 🙏🏾

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What a powerful reworking of the first & final line, Mona. 🙏

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founding

🙏🏾 thank you JNA!

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I drink my morning coffee black.

At the counter in my kitchen, on the straw perch of my stool-

For the last few years I’ve taken it black.

After padding down the stairs, grinding the beans.

At the counter in my kitchen, heels pressed into the footrest of my stool-

II am comforted.

I pad my feet downstairs, bring the beans,

I hold the warm, craved cup in my two hands.

I am comforted

by the wide-open mouth of my cup, the perfect white circle hugging dark liquid.

I hold it, warming my two hands.

It awakens and boosts me with anticipation.

The wide-open mouth, the perfect white circle offers me dark liquid.

For the last few years I’ve taken it black.

It awakens and boosts me with anticipation,

I drink morning coffee black.

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author

An ode to Coffee!Glorious. Thanks Maggie

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“The wide-open mouth, the perfect white circle offers me dark liquid.” Thank you for this imagery! This is a loved part of my morning, too. ☺️

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Thank-you, Pádraig, as always, your curiosity and questions are gifts.

---

Like a miser with gold coins, I count my collection of old bruises

at dawn, while sipping coffee, strong and bitter, as my son, unexpected gift, still sleeps

these old, almost forgotten moments, now clambering for attention each morning as I wake

remembered/recovered in the course of PhD research - my days, my life

-

at dawn, while sipping coffee, strong and bitter, as my son, unexpected gift, still sleeps

I am ashamed that I abandoned myself because forgetting was more comfortable

remembered/recovered in the course of PhD research - my days, my life

because i learned young, no different from many, that I deserved to be punished

-

I am ashamed that I abandoned myself because forgetting was more comfortable

I still have the table that bears the scar from that time you threw a chair at me

because i learned young, no different from many, that I deserved to be punished

but my body has always remembered my tormenters and, today, says "No!"

-

I still have the table that bears the scar from that time you threw a chair at me

these old, almost forgotten moments, now clambering for attention each morning as I wake

but my body has always remembered my tormenters and, today, says "No!"

Like a miser with gold coins, I count my collection of old bruises

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author

Thank you for this Chris - my god, a poem that is a roomful of memory, furniture, memories of furniture (that thrown chair). I like the attention to the time too, the mornings, when those old memories crowd, alongside the image of the sleeping gift of a son. Thank you.

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Thank, you, Pádraig, it is lovely to be part of this riot of creativity and this kindness of attention and exchange.

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Such a powerful poem. I count my collection of old bruises. And always your comment too, sometimes it feels like poetry knows something I don't. Yes!

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founding

oh my god, Chris, this poem brought me to tears. “I count my collection of old bruises”.. And then the remembering/recovering.. and “but my body has always remembered my tormenters and, today, says "No!"” Thank you 🙏🏾.

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Thank-you. Sometimes it almost feels like poetry knows something I don't. And yet, I (or we) are the knower. Even when the choice of words and phrases seems to be made elsewhere, we are the chooser. I don't know if i am closing the distance between that feeling of distant wisdom and my own wisdom (or at least knowing). I'm reminded of William James famous words (which i'm pretty sure i've quoted here before): "In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly."

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founding

“Sometimes it feels like poetry knows something I don’t.” What better inspiration could there be for writing poetry than this? I think Pádraig has said something like - you make the poem, and then the poem looks back at you and in that there is a making/remaking that happens... I’d say a kind of alchemy. Thank you for that William James quote. I’m struck by the “sadly.”

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yes, that "sadly" gets me every time. It also resonates with Ursula K. Le Guin's devastating parable The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. read that as a teen and was scarred for life - in a good way.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I hold close to my heart, the fear of losing you


In my entire being


I can’t remember when it wasn’t


Sometimes a trigger before, sometimes relief after

In my entire being


Guilt


Sometimes a trigger before, sometimes relief after


There is regret for how much pain is created

Guilt


Endless pages of journal entries, written to soothe yet sometimes exacerbate


There is regret for how much pain is created


My body must learn how to detach fear from love

Endless pages of journal entries, written to soothe yet sometimes exacerbate


I can’t remember when it wasn’t


My body must learn how to detach fear from love


I hold close to my heart, the fear of losing you

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author

The juxtaposition of holding the fear close to your heart - the familiar and complicated pain in recalling pain. Thank you Jena.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

This was a really beautiful prompt and an eyeopening exercise in form. Thank you so much.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I loved doing this exercise...here is mine

On awakening I weigh myself in the closet and then go to the fridge

I am in the dark and in my home

I have been doing this for a long time

I pray to be an instrument of God before I put my feet down, put on the kettle and feed the cats

I am in the dark and in my home

I am a slave to my morning ritual

I pray to be an instrument of God before I put my feet down, put on the kettle and feed the cats

I feel like I am keeping secrets when I am alone like this in the morning

I am a slave to my morning ritual

I line up a scone, the cream and the cat food from the fridge

I feel like I am keeping secrets when I am alone like this in the morning

I guess I wake up hungry

I line up a scone, the cream and the cat food from the fridge

I have been doing this for a long time

I guess I wake up hungry

On awakening I weigh myself in the closet and then go to the fridge

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author

Thank you Patricia - the ritual, the scone, the closet, the secrets, the aloneness, the cat (and the cat's food) and the "I guess I..." Thank you.

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Oh I’m honored!! I sincerely thank you for the invitation to participate and the prompts! That’s what set me rolling! I appreciate you very much

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Oct 8, 2023·edited Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Hallo! I was at the Omega Institute Poetry Unbound workshop last year.

(Pádraig, I was half of the duo that mistakenly attended the spiritual dancing class on day one)

Here are my lines from this morning in punk pantoum form:

(whisper) Tina Turner sends me messages as my spiritual guide.

Sitting upright meditating, driving in my car, or walking, I summon my council.

She joined in June following her death in May.

In the blue hour of the morning, I sit. I ask for guidance or say, Help! I listen.

Two mornings ago, I listened. A grieving friend came to my heart. I wept. I sent her a poem that I knew she needed. Thanks again, TT.

I am fortified.

In the blue hour, I ask for my council to surround me, then I listen. That's key, people. Oh, and on the eleven minute mark of random hours in the day.

You may believe this to be placebo, or better, delusion, I would. But if you could feel the love and calm… I hope you do.

I am fortified

It is 7:11 in the blue hour

You may believe this to be placebo, or better yet, delusion. I would too. Tina Turner agrees. But I wish for you the strong, calm love.

I have been told that I have TIna Turner legs, I don’t. Don’t you think I wanted to believe that?

I sit in the blue hour.

It all started in June.

I have been told I have Tina Turner legs, but friend, I acknowledge reality,

and (whisper) Tina Turner sends me messages as my spiritual guide.

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author

How lovely to hear from you Anna. I mentioned you to everyone at the retreat this year. Unfortunately nobody had gone to the wrong retreat on Monday morning (truly I was hoping for a repeat) and there would have been some absolutely brilliant places for retreat participants to go wrong! Damn.

Thanks for this Tina Turner shoutout! I love the playfulness of it, the defence of it, the spirit of TT and the blue hour.

Do you know this gorgeous poem?

https://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php%3Fdate=2007%252F08%252F29.html

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This is lovely - and playful! - Anna. Thank you!

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Oct 8, 2023·edited Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

WAKING BEFORE DAWN-A STAG AND DOE SONG:

Awaking before dawn

in my house by the highway,

as I have, since my son was born

I meditate in my true form.

In my house by the highway

it feels revelatory

to meditate in my true form,

as I search for the deepest silence.

It feels revelatory

to hold a deck of divination cards,

as I search for the deepest silence,

when my body feels most alive.

I hold a deck of divination cards,

as I have since my son was born,

when my body feels most alive—

awaking before dawn.

Great way to start a Sunday! Thank you Pádraig and this lovely community.

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author

I love those divination cards, Sean, and the way your poem links them to birth and awakening from the small death of sleep too.

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Thank you. My mornings are essential to appreciating the beauty of living. I don’t write in the pantoum often, and this was a wonderful exercise and prompt.

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I love it!

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Thank you!

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@sean love how that pantoum came together ❤️

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

I cannot bear the Word.

I skip mass; delete emails from preachers.

It was Advent, time of hope.

Father renewed his driver’s license; mother deaf to my pleas; I stopped speaking to God.

I skip mass; delete emails from preachers.

I feel numb.

Father renewed his driver’s license; mother deaf to my pleas; I stopped speaking to God.

I miss that person. She had a softer heart.

I feel numb.

The iron cross greets me silent at the door.

I miss that person. She had a softer heart.

My body floats now, just above the mess, uncertain where to land.

The iron cross greets me silent at the door.

It was Advent, time of hope.

My body floats now, just above the mess, uncertain where to land.

I cannot bear the Word.

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author

I love the strength of that line "I cannot bear the Word" Patricia -- and the multiple ways in which "bear" works here.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Okay 👍🏼- ( I wrote this / immediately on the back of the latest oil bill)

1. Ordinary for you: Space

2. Where? In the basement, near the laundry and the parakeets.

3. Time? The light changes- I get hungry - the dogs get hungry - the cat gets hungry - the other people get hungry -

4 other triggers?

It rained - then it rained again- then the ticks came in on the hungry animals-

5. The RAIN

6. What do I wish to say to a Tick ? STOP sucking our blood!!

7. Behold !! This crlinder full of Organic Flea/ Tick Repellent Spray !! It is a glorious - it smells divine!! People comment on how nice I smell- what is that cologne you are wearing?

8. Well thank you for the kind compliment!! My new dearest friend - shall we now saunter off into the landscape together confidently?

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