Archives for posts with tag: poetry

This is one of my very favorite poems. It’s from When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (yes, the guy who wrote about Winnie-the-Pooh). 

I started my morning journaling about what could be next in my trip and I realized that I’m living this poem out more than I ever had before. 

My most obvious choices appear to be to go into Washington, go back to the woods, or just go wherever my feet take me. I still haven’t decided. 


Spring Morning

by A. A. Milne

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the streams where the king-cups grow –
Up to the hill where the pine-trees blow –
Anywhere, anywhere, I don’t know

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on the water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?

Where am I going, The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all,”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow –
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.


Do you not yet know?
The city is your prison.
I will set you free.

– source unknown, told to me by a friend years ago.

Months ago I wrote a haiku about this and today I decided to capture it on video. This is me and the same child who, last year, wore galoshes all Summer long.


Will you spin me ’round?
Rainboots reflect sunbeams as
You say, “One more time!”

The other day, the blogathon had a writing prompt: What are your favorite apps? I had something else I wanted to write that day but it got me thinking. My favorite “app” has got to be twitter itself. I’ve been an on-again-off-again twitter user for a while now and the on-again periods have led to some really fascinating connections in my life. Maybe you’re on the fence about whether you want to use twitter or you just aren’t sure why it would be interesting. Let me tell you what I’ve enjoyed.

First, of course, are the witty famous people. When I started using twitter, Roger Ebert and Neil Gaiman regularly pointed me towards interesting articles or oddities, or they would share some short, beautiful turn of phrase they’d encountered. I miss Roger Ebert for the everyday poetry that he would share.

If that were all twitter was I would still have enjoyed it… but probably wouldn’t have stuck around. I’d like to tell you about the friends that I’ve made around the world but I let my day get away from me. I’ll continue this thought tomorrow.

I’ll just leave you with this teaser: neil gaiman proud

I haven’t much time to write today; I’m off to see a double feature at a drive-in cinema. I had no idea that you could still find those. I’m pretty excited, actually. I’ve never seen a movie at a drive-in, and tonight I’m going to see two. In excellent company. First up is Man of Steel, which I don’t care about at all but other people in our crowd are excited to see. I’m really looking forward to Now You See Me. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s the new heist/illusionist movie with Michael Caine in. That’s all I needed to know to be drawn in.

I’d like to share a few things with you that I’ve found moving. Let’s begin with Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait with a Straw Hat.

Vincent van Gorman

Last week this face greeted me every time I stood from the desk I was working at. And every time, I thought, what a lovely painting of Dave Gorman. If you weren’t previously aware of the genius that is Dave Gorman, you’re welcome.

I hardly know how to introduce this next piece. Close your eyes and listen to this video for a moment before you actually watch it.

And finally, a poem from one of my favorites, Ogden Nash.

The Beggar

(After William Blake)
Beggar, beggar, burning low
In the city’s trodden snow,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy dread asymmetry?

In what distant deep of lies
Died the fire of thine eyes?
What the mind that planned the shame?
What the hand dare quench the flame?

And what shoulder and what art
Could rend the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to fail,
What soft excuse, what easy tale?

What the hammer? What the chain?
What the furnace dulled thy brain?
What the anvil? What the blow
Dare to forge this deadly woe?

When the business cycle ends
In flaming extra dividends,
Will He smile his work to see?
Did He who made the Ford make thee?

So… one of the exciting things in my life is the fact that my littlest brother has lived with me since he was 13 so he could be part of the alternative school where I work. He graduated tonight! I’d planned to sit down and write a little bit about what I’ve learned about “parenting” a teenager and how proud I am of him and all that… but of course today’s been mad busy and I’d like to sit and catch up with my sister more than I want to be written tonight.

So instead, please enjoy another double dactyl:

Williver wolliver
Wee Lukas Olliver
Traveled four continents
Looking for fun.
Whether he made it
Is hotly debated by
Sipping on rum.


So… this happened today:

That will be my brother. The same genius who brought you Simon the other day brings you Skeletor today. And chorus line dancing. You’re welcome.

There’s so much more that I wanted to tell you, but an old friend just showed up out of the blue. He’s on a road trip and realized he was near Chicago and decided to drop in. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, have another double dactyl. This one was a collaboration between two 14-year-old boys and me. I’ll tell you more about them tomorrow, too.

Mundelein, Palatine

Once, Dr Frankenstein

wanted to visit the

man on the moon.

He tried to beat gravity


grafting on wings that he

stole from a loon.

I like words. I can admire a long, yet tightly crafted sentence, and I can really get into the economy and compact beauty of short-form poetry. I’ve quite enjoyed taking my time with haiku: taking time and considering how to capture a moment just right within the constraints. A couple of months ago, I decided I was going to write a double dactyl about all of my students. I finished two. This was my favorite:

Lepiskew, lepescule

Juniper Escue will

probably rescue a

new kind of bug.

“It’s so cute!” She’ll exclaim

As she thinks up a name


describing a hug

Welcome to 2013, dear readers! Yeah, yeah, it’s June and this is my first post. I’ve been meaning to write you for *ages* to let you know what I’ve been up to, but I’ve been busy either moping my way through the winter or, you know, doing stuff. I’ve received some nice feedback on the little bit I’ve posted and I’m inspired to get back in the habit of writing consistently.

This is not a gardening blog. Nor is it a travel blog.  I’m excited about both of those things, but I’m also interested in… well, just about everything!

Here are some of the things I might write about. If something catches your fancy, let me know and I’ll be sure to write about it:

  • Unschooling: I was unschooled and would like to unschool my children if I’m ever lucky enough to have any. I have never attended any classes that I didn’t choose myself. I turned out alright and consider it a gift — one that I wish everyone had.
  • Science! I tutor my friends’ kids in science. I struggle to find ways to connect these guys with knowledge that I love in a way that’s consistent with my unschool and anarchist principles. It’s a fun challenge.
  • Life in community. For the last 9 years, I’ve lived in a large (3-400 member) intentional community. Think commune, except that this commune is also a church.
  • Music! I play a lot of music. I play upright bass and piano in a band called Ami Moss and The Unfortunate. I also compose music on the piano and 6 months ago I started an orchestra called the Chicago Cacophony Orchestra. I’ve also begun teaching piano to a few of my friends.
  • Gardening/food justice. I’d like a more personal relationship with the things I put in my mouth. Think about it: our food is made out of dirt and sunshine. I want to see it for myself!
  • Games. I love to play an ancient board game called Go (or baduk in Korean, weiqi in Chinese) and I’ve put a lot of thought into my poker game.
  • How we learn, what people are capable of. I think that people are simultaneously not as smart as we think we are… and in other ways, we’re capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for.
  • Poetry. If you look through my history, you’ll see that I’ve posted a fair bit of poetry I like. I’ve always meant to make audioboos or youtube videos of me reading some of my favorites. Would you listen if I do? I also plan to post some stuff I’ve written recently (double dactyls about people I know) and write more.
  • The Carnival de Resistance. This is a travelling arts and resistance festival we’re going to put on in two towns in Virginia this coming September.
  • Storytelling. I adore reading aloud to people and also telling stories from memory. My main work in the carnival de resistance will be live storytelling, so I’m scrambling to learn more than ever about that.

I could keep going, but I have plans with someone… 20 minutes ago. Let me know what you think and I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

Yours eventually,


P.S.  Here’s some Tom Waitsy goodness just for you: 

Tonight, I’m going to start an orchestra. I’ve been meaning to do it for years. I’ve always thought it would be fun to find people to play chamber music with, but tonight I’m finally going to make it happen. It turns out that Alexander McCall Smith (the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books) stole my idea… way back in 1995. He was with some friends at a school orchestra concert and remembered how much fun it was to play music with other people. They looked around for a just-for-fun amateur orchestra and when they didn’t find one, they started the Really Terrible Orchestra. It’s about the joy of music without pretension.

I’ve had several conversations over the years with friends who used to play clarinet (or french horn or trumpet or…) but haven’t had any opportunities to play since high school. Starting tonight, I want to give them that opportunity. Does this describe you? Are you in Chicago? Feel free to drop by tonight at 8:30 and we’ll see what we can make happen.

And now, something completely different:

Once upon a time, I posted favorite poems here now and then and called it the poem of the week. I don’t think I ever made it by any sort of weekly deadline, but I’ll give it another go!

Here’s one by Roald Dahl, read by… some guy on youtube who’s been reading me poems for years. Roger Ebert introduced him to me ages ago.