{thanksful – 4: the seven sisters}

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

I love the challenge of writing to a form, and this month, the Poetry Sisters tackled the terza rima. (Since I’m late here, I’ll skip the details on the history of the form, etc.; I’m sure Google and the other ladies are your friend there.) As usual, all of mine sucked (additionally, I kept forgetting the theme). As usual also, others of us REALLY made the form work. I love how that happens every time.

I notice that I have a preference for meter – I’m an iambic girl, but I tend to fall naturally into a six-syllable line, and am rather fond of the heroic couplet. My first effort went into that, and it was a holiday poem… sort of. Not as cheery as one would have hoped. I decided to try to make a longer line – a fourteen syllable line, as some classic terza rima use. It was a bit of a stretch, but worth the effort, because it got me out of a rut in this repetitive, tumbling form that too easily falls into ruts for me.

Reykjavik 22


in gratitude: for indrawn breath, for pauses before song,
in praise of STOP and WAIT FOR IT, for beating my own drum.
for awkward stumbles, missing notes, for doing it all wrong,

that every hand can use the tools to change a day’s outcome,
that I am not my bones, my face, my hair, my flabby gut,
that Who I Am Right Now is not The Me I Shall Become.

that screaming, “Help!” is not a shame, nor is it a shortcut,
that days of lying down in tears does not mean I am through,
that sometimes progress means that we go downhill on our butts,

that sometimes less is truly more, not what we can accrue.
in praise that chores – at times – are to the soul a mindless ease
a balm applied to busy minds that we can sink into,

in praise for what is gone for good through living’s agencies,
and thanks indeed for what remains: today. its bounties, seize.

Poetry Friday today is brought to you by the letter S, and by the number 7. We have some sick sisters this month, but don’t miss Sara’s poem, which is about all of us (!), Laura’s nifty poem on hope – in an election cycle, Liz’s beautifully heartfelt pair of glass half full poems, Tricia’s Langston Hughes-esque lament and Kelly’s adorably grateful not-a-triolet. More poetry is hosted at Laura’s.

Meanwhile, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” ― Theodore Roosevelt. TGIF.

11 Replies to “{thanksful – 4: the seven sisters}”

  1. I love every single line of this poem to the bottom of my gut and butt! I’ll file it alongside Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Glory Be to God for Dappled Things.

    Thank you for your earthy wisdom. 🙂

  2. OH, yes. You totally changed the feel of this by using longer lines, by “breathing longer” as it were. It feels…measured. And truly grounded and grateful. Because those who can be grateful for all the things wrong are dear to me, as they are also the ones who can often see to make things right. xo

  3. “for awkward stumbles, missing notes, for doing it all wrong,”
    This is me, EVERY Sunday morning, and I often bemoan it when mass ends to the organist. Every time his is response is, “No one cares but you! They’re just happy for your song.”

    I love this poem. I wish I’d had the forethought to move beyond iambic pentameter. You’ve prodded me a bit to think of MORE.

    And I adore your final admonition:
    “and thanks indeed for what remains: today. its bounties, seize.”

    I’m all for seizing every minute. Thank you for this. It’s a much needed balm for my soul.

  4. Thanks for this poem of gratitude and hope — “complex gratitude” is a great way of describing what so many of us are struggling with right about now.

    Especially love:

    “that every hand can use the tools to change a day’s outcome.” We need to keep believing that.


    “chores – at times – are to the soul a mindless ease
    a balm applied to busy minds that we can sink into”

    There is comfort in performing the mundane and predictable. There is a sense of control that calms.

  5. OH TANITA!!! How I love this!!

    This line just makes me swoon:
    that screaming, “Help!” is not a shame, nor is it a shortcut


    I really see how many of us needed to express complex gratitude this month (always?) and I just think, well, ok then. Thank you, still…

    1. I like that phrase, “complex gratitude.” That truly is what it is. We get accustomed to the …mechanism of Thanksgiving, the every-year-ness of it, the banality of the phrase, “count your blessings. But COMPLEX gratitude is getting to the granularity of the idea, that every breath is a gift… and that every stumble and beesting is, too.

      Deep, sister.

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