On a Day like This

Inspired by lines from Mother Teresa

Exclaim over a day like this, with its high, thin
clouds feathering sky over cerulean sea. Wonder
at seeing over distances so vast. Marvel at its
warming from a slight chill.

Even on a day like this the day (and everything)
can be shattered into millions of pieces,
and the incomprehensible can manifest and destroy
whatever or all we hold close.

Destruction can be capricious and vast
and overpowering. Loss and sorrow can descend
and weigh so heavily that even breathing
can now seem impossible.

What we live for can die… Live anyway.
What we hope for can be denied… Hope anyway.
What we build can be destroyed… Build anyway.
What we love can be taken away… Love anyway.

Exclaim over all days. Welcome this day.
Live. Give thanks. Cherish and remember.
Hope. Volunteer. Help someone. Offer hugs.
Build. Love. Tell those you love you love them.

On a day like this be fearless and loving.

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
September 5, 2011

~*~

I wrote this poem three years ago. Blessings to the memory of all those we lost.

Posted in Activism, Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, Notes on the Literary Life, Samples, Transformation | 4 Comments

New poems in paper wasp and Kokako!

I’m delighted to report that I have several new poems in the current issues of paper wasp (Australia) and Kokako (New Zealand)!

Here’s one of my poems in paper wasp:

crow’s-feet
my mood
reflective

My sincere thank you to Katherine Samuelowicz, Editor and Manager of paper wasp!

Subscribe to paper wasp! (It’s quite safe….)

Here’s one of my poems in Kokako:

the letters
and books I never mailed
Mom’s ashes

My sincere thank you to Patricia Prime, Editor of Kokako!

Subscribe to Kokako!

Press on with YOUR writing.

All the best, Andy

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Japanese-style short form poetry, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets, Samples | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

My poem for the people of Oso

Click on this link to Tumblr and read my poem for the people of Oso, Washington here.

After the devastating landslide, I felt compelled to write a response — in hopes that my writing would offer comfort and solace. I wrote “May We Now Do Great Things.”

I’m grateful that ArtsWA approved my post for Art with a Heart.

Blessings to the people of Oso: the victims, the survivors, and everyone affected by the devastation.

I know that need is great everywhere. If you can help the people of Oso, please do. Thank you.

Sincerely, Andrew

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, Poets, Samples | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Final Thoughts

I’m delighted that I participated in NaPoWriMo 2014. It’s my third year in a row.

I followed the NaPoWriMo prompts one year. That year I found the prompts to be interesting and challenging; I definitely stretched my capabilities as a poet and writer.

This year I decided that I would use my own prompts. More importantly, I decided I would choose a subject I would write all the poems on, or the bulk of poems on.

I chose to write about Padden Creek, a small creek here on the southerly side of the city, and its surroundings.

I’m happy with my output of poems: thirty-five or so poems in thirty days, all Padden Creek-related! I’m generally happy with the quality of these poems, too.

(Additionally, I have several more poem starts to work with — later!)

Whatever series of prompts we use, NaPoWriMo is valuable. It allows us to revisit and renew our commitment to our writing on a daily basis. NaPoWriMo is a valuable strategy in defeating writer’s block. The quantity of work we produce during NaPoWriMo
is valuable, too: we have a block of new poems that we can and should return to for editing, revising, and rewriting.

If we post our NaPoWriMo poems on our blogs or other blogs, we must then exercise care in identifying literary journals and editors interested in publishing this work.

One literary journal I admire greatly doesn’t consider work published on personal blogs or any work previously published electronically. I was quite disappointed, because a couple of my NaPoWriMo poems (“Easter Service” and “An Easter Poem”) seemed to be a good fit — until I examined the journal’s submission guidelines.

(This is why I decided NOT to post my Day 32 poem, “Birding Along Padden Creek,” on my blog. It’s one of my favorites from this month; I’d like to work on it some more and find a good home for it. A good home — not here!)

We should not work for NaPoWriMo; NaPoWriMo should work for us, and it should work for us in meeting our writing goals.

Thank you to everyone who read my NaPoWriMo poems and my blog. I’m especially grateful for your comments and feedback.

Do you write? What inspires you as you write?

Press on with YOUR writing! See you next year!

Cheers, Andy

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets | 2 Comments

I Reflect on Padden Creek Estuary

On some maps “estuary,” on others “lagoon.”
Isn’t this where the conflicts begin, in maps

and language, semantics and word choice?
Isn’t this where the warring begins,

in denial of common waters and sacred ground,
as if water and land could truly be owned

or sold, apportioned to victors or buyers?
We are mere custodians, and we are failing.

What, exactly, is human nature? Yes.
Is war in our nature? No; war is a choice,

a narrative marketed and sold. Human
activities in bulk constitute a war on nature,

a war on the very underpinnings of life,
a war ultimately on ourselves.

Which is most important, nature or nurture?
Let me tell you a story: nature nurtures me,

serves as counterpoint to my struggles
with low self-esteem and despair,

longing and belonging. I could be wrong.

Lagoon or estuary — you know my preference —
this is where it all begins for me now:

the meeting and commingling of fresh
and salt waters, secret histories jostling

for daylight, the cycles of histories,
conflicts, and wars. The warring continues

everywhere. In myself, too: between
self-esteem and despair, desire and repair.

I am comforted by ecstasy and reverence
and by the knowledge of death’s certain

and confident approach.
But I’m not afraid. Why be afraid?

Death is and always has been
part of life. Warmongers and those

who profit by war would have us
believe this of war, too.

But war isn’t and has not been
part of life, not always. War must end,

and war will end. On some blessed day
in the future, peace will prevail on earth.

Our descendants will be astonished
at how long it took, will be astonished

at the carnage and horrific waste.
Humans will have, and know, peace.

I know this. There is enough for all
of us, if we begin simply —

with this understanding — all water
and all land is a common trust,

and sacred. All life is sacred.
On some blessed day in the future,

Padden Creek will be daylighted,
will be unobstructed by manmade barriers.

Padden Creek estuary will fill and empty,
nourish and nurture as it always has.
Padden Creek estuary will celebrate.

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 34

Posted in Activism, Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation | Tagged | 2 Comments

Cat, Padden Creek Trail

Shouldn’t you be inside,
napping? Scratching the furniture
or carpet, climbing the drapes,
trashing the mini-blinds?
Asking for catnip and treats?

You, with the pale gray
and white fur, the vaguely
Saimese markings: you’re
a domesticated short-hair cat.
Housecat, as in inside a house.

I fear your hunting prowess,
fear for unwary squirrels and birds
even if you’re well-fed. They’re
no match for you. I can’t see
why you’re outside, not inside.

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 33

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation | 2 Comments

Please consider following this blog

Dear followers, thank you so much for following and reading my blog.

Are you following this wonderful blog? It is delightful, colorful, and from a talented poet, writer, and teacher.

Follow and read here.

Blessings to all, Andy

Posted in NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets | Tagged | 8 Comments