Friday, December 19, 2014

Cuba Feliz, America Feliz!

Comida rica, musica para llorar y bailar, cantantes elegantes y tristes, coches viejos, revolucion....

Delicious food, music for crying and dancing, elegant and sorrowful singers, old autos, revolution - that's the idea I have of Cuba. If it's a narrow vision, that's because Americans haven't been able to travel there for many, many years. But now:

"Change is hard –- in our own lives, and in the lives of nations.  And change is even harder when we carry the heavy weight of history on our shoulders.  But today we are making these changes because it is the right thing to do.  Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future –- for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world."

Wonderful!! And to celebrate the announcement that the United States is, at long last, re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, I want to offer up this wonderful video of a serenade in the streets of Havana. The song is sad, but if you take the time to watch all the way through, you'll see the joy slowly growing in the faces of those musicians, and the camaraderie they share, and the beauty of that woman they're serenading, and the quick glance we get of people in the street.  Here's to getting more than a quick glance - here's to getting to know the Cuban people better.

Pope Francis and President Obama, among others, worked to open up paths of communication after more than 50 years of stubborn silence (not to mention a long campaign of poisoned cigars and exploding seashells, and USAID's infiltration of hip-hop groups,  - ??? - for Heaven's sake....). A short poem first, in the voice of Rosa, a character from Margarita Engle's lovely verse narrative, The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom:

I love the sounds 
of the jungle at night.

When the barracoon
where we sleep 
has been locked, 
I hear the music
of crickets, tree frogs, owls, 
and the whir of wings
as night birds fly, 
and the song of un sinsonte,
a Cuban mockingbird, 
the magical creature
who knows how to sing
many songs all at once, 
sad and happy, 
captive and free...

songs that help me sleep 
without nightmares, 
without dreams.

 She sings: "...and I cry without you knowing that my crying has black tears, like my life."

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by Buffy at Buffy's Blog. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why Does a Chicken?

I've been thinking a lot about riddles lately, since I've been reading a review copy of Peter Turchi's wonderful new book A Muse and A Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery and Magic (my review of it will be in January's Numero Cinq.)

Turchi, who wrote another favorite of mine (Maps of the Imagination) has written a book full of tidbits writers should be thinking about all the time. His observations about how puzzle-making enters into creative writing confirm my own: Good stories always ask a few questions we have trouble answering. Poetry is especially dependent on riddles, since metaphorical thinking is a form of puzzle-making (observing something to be equal to something else.) When we remember a story or a poem, isn't it because it has asked us questions that required contemplation? We  linger in the mystery. Genre fiction, on the other hand, leads readers to solutions. So the more generic (genre-centered) writing is, the less it approaches unknowns and the more it offers up answers. Nothing wrong with that, if reading is done for entertainment - at the end of a good detective story, you usually can hear the final click of the box that contains the solution to the puzzle closing again.  Granted, some genre work does push itself into literary territory. But if you read literary fiction and poetry, too, then you have to be comfortable with riddles that can't be solved - you don't hear that box lid clicking closed.  That's what Turchi's book is all about, and I encourage you to read it - you can find out about it at this link

Ah, the unsolvable riddle - give me one of those from time to time and I'm happy. So my Poetry Friday contribution this week is a poem by A.A. Milne, made all the better since it convinces me that unanswerable questions can be introduced to kids from the time they learn to walk. I mean, why does a chicken? If you know why, you can answer in the comments!


Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don't know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can't whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Paul at These Four Corners. Head over there to see what other people have posted. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday, Calvin Trillin!

Deadlines like little fish floating past me....
I haven't been posting very often on The Drift Record lately, not sure why. Since retiring from my teaching position with Vermont College of Fine Arts, I find myself more than a little thrilled with the non-push and non-rush of not even knowing what day of the week it is. Deadlines float past me like little fish that I don't need to catch, I just want to enjoy their liveliness and their shimmer. I don't mind seeing these little fingerlings swimming around down there under the water - I like knowing life is bustling somewhere around me. But it's like being in the back of a rowboat that's being rowed around a calm lake by a good friend - there's no need for conversation, we're just lolling around in the sunshine (well, yes, it's December, but I mean the interior glow) and I'm letting my hand drift in the water alongside the boat. Drifting over smooth, silky, cool water - a painting by Claude Monet - that's what retirement has been feeling like.

Smooth, silky, cool water...

On certainly special days, I feel like I'm still at that lake, but this time I'm a fresh-water turtle on a log at the lake's edge, and I have my neck out and I'm absolutely still, soaking up the sun. All's right with the world. My breathing is all I hear. No, that's not true - I hear kids laughing in the distance. Maybe a dog barking. Maybe a crow cawing. No need to respond.
Basking and not knowing what day it is....

So if I don't post regularly on Poetry Friday - that's why. I'm out at that lake. I'm taking a turn at being a quiet turtle on a warm log....

Today, however, I'm not a turtle - I'm popping in because it's Calvin Trillin's birthday, so I want to say Happy Birthday, Calvin.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Trillin

I love the way that man writes (could that explain why I have a whole shelf full of his books?) He's a master of the humorous essay, and he writes fine satirical poetry - political commentary with meter and rhyme.  Reading his work can quickly change a bad mood (when I'm not drifting around on a lake, I'm in the Titanic and it's going down fast) into an okay-it's-not-the-end-of-the-world mood. He makes me laugh out loud, and that's not easy to do because I'm often a cranky, judgmental, hard-to-satisfy reader.

Here is a little something he said about writing poetry, so that's what I'm going to share for Poetry Friday. I think I've got it right:

When people say 'How do you think about what to write about in the poems every week?'  I say, 'Well, I have to turn it in on Monday, so on Sunday nights I turn the shower to iambic pentameter and it sort of works out that way.'

Iambic pentameter in the shower -not as easy as he makes it sound.

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and that you are looking forward to being with family and friends over the holidays. I love the bustle of's still a season when I stop being a turtle on a log and I become one of those shimmering fish.

Poetry Friday this week is being hosted by Anastasia at Booktalking - head over there to see what other people are sharing. Don't miss the poem by the late Mark Strand over at Diane Mayr's Kurious Kitty.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Poetry Friday: Small Packages

It's Poetry Friday, and I want to offer up a song. The link to it was posted on Facebook by my friend Daphne Kalmar. The fact that I don't know what the words of the song mean - don't even know the alphabet in which the words of this song are written - makes me hesitate, but it's not really the meaning I'm attracted to. It's the smile on the singer's face. I can hardly describe how much I love the delight this woman feels as she sings her song.

(If the embedded video won't play, just click this link.)

Look at the way that woman's body moves - her arms, her hands, the way she makes that little "crazy" sign up by her head! Maybe she remembers something while she sings her song. Is it all joy, what she remembers? Maybe there's a little sorrow? I might be imagining it. For all I know, the song could be about a lost hat. But no, you can see it from time to time, the wrinkled brow, the catch in the voice, right?

What is she saying? Do I want to know? I imagine the woman is Russian, I imagine a long history of suffering, life under Stalin, Russian soldiers during the winter of 1942-43. But I have a huge imagination when it comes to sorrow.

While in Oaxaca this September, my husband and I walked past a thin young boy every day who played the accordion and hoped for spare change. He sometimes had an even younger sister with him, in charge of holding out her hand. We gave them whatever coins we had, sometimes more, on the way out from our apartment in the morning and on the way back in the late afternoon. He was always there. He couldn't play well; in fact, he didn't really play a tune, just a note here, a note there, while the accordion itself - pulled out, pushed in - did the job of wheezing and begging. Now I'm home in Seattle in my comfy house, but there's no doubt the boy is still there each day, his back up against the stone wall surrounding the Santo Domingo church. His song and the poverty and heartbreak it represents are there, but also here now, with me.

The woman in the video - her pleasure is as much a poem as the lyrics of her song, isn't it? The boy and his sister in Oaxaca - small as sighs - those sighs are poems. And when it comes right down to it, who can say what a poem is or how it comes to us?  I look at the woman while she sings - her hand slapping the table is a poem, her smile is a poem. And the melody drifting out into the Oaxaca air - I could hear the music before I could see the boy - that was a poem.   Delight, joy, suffering, songs, musical notes floating in the air, a teacup on a table, Mickey Mouse on a Russian apron, a hand held out for spare change - all poems. Sometimes they come in small packages.
This week's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Diane over at Random Noodling. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, October 17, 2014

POETRY FRIDAY: A Wandering Scotsman

I've recently been researching the life, prose and poetry of the Scottish writer Alastair Reid for an essay soon to be published in Numero Cinq as part of my Undersung series.  Reid, who died a few weeks ago at the age of 88, was a wonderful poet in his own right but was probably best known as a translator of Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. Reid also wrote a children's book that is a favorite of friends of mine (maybe it's reached cult status?)  The title (previously out of print but now back back in print via The New York Review Children's Collection) is OUNCE DICE TRICE; with pictures by the graphic artist and illustrator Ben Shahn.

The book includes, among other delights, several imaginative counting systems (from one to ten - a journey that Reid proves can be fun.) Two examples I particularly like:

Ounce, dice, trice, quartz, quince, sago, serpent, oxygen, nitrogen, denim


Instant, distant, tryst, catalyst, quest, sycamore, sophomore, oculist, novelist, dentist.

In the book, Reid collects relatively unknown words and offers them up to us in all their strangeness, the way a talented chef would reveal the secret ingredients of a favorite dish:

You can hear one of his best poems for adults, "Curiosity," by clicking here. The poem is a dog's and cat's (but mostly human's) view of the old adage "Curiosity killed the cat," with Reid coming down hard in favor of being curious.

That link can serve as my poetry contribution today to Poetry Friday, but here's what I'd really like to share - a description of childhood that Reid wrote:

“The principal difference between childhood and the stages of life into which it invariably dissolves is that as children we occupy a limitless present. The past has scarcely room to exist, since, if it means anything at all, it means only the previous day. Similarly, the future is in abeyance; we are not meant to do anything at all until we reach a suitable size. Correspondingly, the present is enormous, mainly because it is all there is.... Walks are dizzying adventures; the days tingle with unknowns, waiting to be made into wonders. Living so utterly in the present, children have an infinite power to transform; they are able to make the world into anything they wish, and they do so, with alacrity. There are no preconceptions, which is why, when a child tells us he is Napoleon, we had better behave with the respect due to a small emperor."

Like Maurice Sendak, Alastair Reid took children seriously while taking language playfully. I encourage you all to read more of his work. You can listen to the poet, with his slight Scottish burr, read several of his own poems for adults over at The Poetry Archive and at the Scottish Poetry Library

Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty. Head over there to see what other people have posted. And if you want to read my most recent post at Books Around the Table, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Poetry Friday: Ahhhhhh....Home!

I am back from a long trip to Oaxaca - the entire month of September spent there, speaking Spanish, hearing Spanish, wandering through the city markets, wandering through the churches and plazas, wandering in general. I posted on August 29th, over at Books Around the Table, in anticipation of the trip, wondering whether Oaxaca would inspire me to write. After all, the stimulation of "all six senses" (taste, touch, smell, sight, sound - and wonder) is usually a good nudge toward creativity. Oaxaca certainly doesn't disappoint in terms of sensory excitement: Senses were stimulated. I think three photos (the tablecloth in our dining room, a pile of small rugs for sale in the market, a stack of tamales) say everything that needs to be said about textures, tastes and colors.

We heard the church bells ring every morning and afternoon, calling people to mass. We heard oompahs coming from tubas in parades going down our street. We watched giant puppets spinning and dancing at a church where a wedding party was just arriving, and we spent an evening watching and listening to danzon: couples swaying - with a surprising mix of formality and sensuality - to Cuban music. Wonderful.

Oddly, I did no writing at all - other than postcards to family. Having prepped all the sensory receptors, maybe I overloaded on stimulation. And maybe I just wanted to live in the moment, not processing everything through the greedy How-Can-I-Use-This side of my brain. It's not that I was feeling blocked. I just didn't want to write. I wanted to buy chiles and plantains and sesame seeds and grapes up at the market, and I wanted to toast them and grind them up with chocolate into  a delicious mole without thinking, "I'll write a poem about delicious mole."

I wanted to laugh with Teresa, the woman who worked cleaning up the Airbnb garden apartment we rented - she gave me mole-making and tamale-making lessons. I wanted to look at the power in her arms as she stirred and stirred and stirred the mole, and just luxuriate in that strength and be amazed by it, without putting my amazement to practical use in a poem.

But two weeks into the vacation, I found myself wanting to come home. I began to read G. K. Chesterton, whose writing is quintessentially English - precise prose about the chalk hills of Sussex. I began to fantasize about my green garden, with the leaves on the cherry and apple trees beginning to turn gold; as I walked in the Oaxacan sunshine - 80 degrees year-round -  I thought about the way Seattle's air would now be filled with an autumn chill. I wondered what was the matter with me - why couldn't I stay in the moment?

Missing home has a powerful, powerful pull on people. Or maybe I should just say "on me." It's part and parcel of any wanderlust drama I create. It sits just off stage, smiling at me, ready to interrupt any poetic soliloquy I conjure up. "Home," it whispers. Or, after thirty days, "Home," it shouts - I can't control the volume. The longer I stay away, the louder it gets.

I heard recently that a poem I submitted to Seattle's On the Bus series was accepted and will appear on buses (or maybe just one bus?) around town. The title? "Home."

There's a good chance I'm more creative when life is slightly less stimulating. A nice walk around the block might be all I need from time to time - a chance to reflect, but not time to take in more and more and more. Maybe a few months from now, I'll write something inspired by Oaxaca. But one thing I've been reminded of: The life of a wanderer is not for me. I do like a bit of adventure, short, sweet, and temporary. And I do like to drift - you know that feeling in a rowboat, when you put the oars down and the current takes you for awhile? Drifting like that is lovely. But when I drift, I like to stay within sight of the shore. I like to know that with a few strong strokes, I can turn the boat shoreward, and I love the sound of the boat's hull scraping slightly along the pebbles as it comes back to rest on the beach.

My trip to Oaxaca helped me remember that I am at my most creative not while rowing, not while traveling, not while taking in what is new and strange - but while leaning with my back up against a log on a rocky Northwest beach. My gaze and my thoughts might eventually turn outward, but my body - the real, physical me  - needs the taste, smell, touch, sight, sound and wonder of home. Cherry trees turning gold, cold air, sturdy evergreens, a rocky cove, saltwater and logs and a shore - definitely a shore - to pull into.

Here is a poem by Nelson Bentley about a Pacific Northwest beach. To some of you who read The Drift Record, it will be familiar - I've posted it twice before - maybe I'll post it each time I come home from a long trip to Somewhere Else.

Zero Tide 

I walked from our cabin into the wet dawn
To see the white caps modulating in,
The slow wash of the word in the beginning:
Wind on the bowing sedge seemed from Japan.
A cloud of sandpipers wavered above the dune,
Where surf spoke the permanence of sun.
Back inside, I sat on my son's bed
Where he sweetly slept, guarded by saints and poets,
Oceanic sunrise on his eyelids;
I whispered, "Sean, get up! It's a clamming tide,"
And thought of chill sand fresh from lowering waters,
Foam-bubbled frets across the hard-packed ridges.
"Sean, it's a zero tide!" From a still second,
He came out of the covers like a hummingbird.
"Don't wake up Julian." In the pale blue light
He dressed in whirring silence, all intent.
Along the empty coast the combers hummed:
Sleepy gulls mewled in the clearing mist.
My wife and baby slept folded in singing calm,
Involuted by love as rose or shell.

                                             - Nelson Bentley

Be sure to follow the links (here and here) to read more poems by Bentley - he was a generous teacher and mentor, and an undersung poet; he's not afraid (as I am) to use the word "sweetly,"; it makes me happy to think I can introduce his work to more of you. If you teach English to young adults, his beach-centered poems are the perfect way in to poetry - direct and heartfelt, with a story-telling voice that doesn't put kids off.

Just look at that water - deep emerald green - brrrrr....wonderful!
Poetry Friday was going to be hosted today by Monica at Cartwheels (previously The Poem Trail) - but she is unable to host due to an illness in the family. Instead, head over to Tricia Stohr-Hunt's blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect, for the round-up. Thanks, Tricia. And Monica, hope all is well soon.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Poetry Friday: Josephine Jacobsen, A Poet's Poet.

[Quick note: Don't miss Sylvia Vardell's wonderful article w/ teacher resources about poetry and social justice.]

For my Poetry Friday contribution, I hope you'll head over to Numero Cinq, which has just published my essay about the marvelous and woefully undersung poet, Josephine Jacobsen. In the essay I take a close look at three of her poems, and I consider the fate -in general - of "a poet's poet," which Jacobsen was.  To entice you over to Numero Cinq, I offer here the first two stanzas from her beautiful poem, "Of Pairs" :

The mockingbirds, that pair, arrive
one, and the other; glossily perch
respond, respond, branch to branch.
One stops and flies. The other flies.
Arrives, dips, in a blur of wings,
lights, is joined. Sings. Sings.

Actually, there are birds galore:
bowlegged blackbirds, brassy as crows;
elegant ibises with inelegant cows;
hummingbirds' stutter on air;
tilted over the sea, a man-of-war
in a long arc without a feather's stir.

[read the rest over at Numero Cinq.]
For the Poetry Friday round-up, head over to lovely Renee La Tulippe's NO WATER RIVER.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poetry Friday: Using All Six Senses in Oaxaca

It's my turn to post over at Books Around the Table, the blog I co-write with my critique group (Laura Kvasnosky, Julie Paschkis, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, and Bonny Becker) so I'm sharing some thoughts about my upcoming trip to Oaxaca and about using all the senses to write. You can use this link to head there and read the whole post. Here on the Drift Record, I'll just show you some of the photos, and in honor of Poetry Friday I'll toss in a small poem of mine that Jama Rattigan once shared with readers over Alphabet Soup. It was written about the market in a town called Tepoztlan. Oaxacan markets have a charm all their own. Don't miss the link at the bottom to a very special church organ in the little village of Tlacochahuaya.


Black avocados, yellow mangos,
bowls of menudo to start the day.
Tall, cold glass of fresh horchata,
green papayas, pink mamey,
pork pozole, pumpkin seeds,
chiltepines, round and red,
coconut juice and golden guavas,
then the different names for bread:
little shell and little piglet,
little ear and little horn,
now a cup of spiced hot chocolate,
sweet tamal with cream and corn,
lime paletas, piloncillo,
guava jelly, caramel flan,
herbal tisanes, magic powders:
Market Day in Tepoztlan.

 To hear the wonderful antique organ of the Templo in Tlacochahuaya, click here.


The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by Jone at Check It Out. Head over there to see what other people have posted. 
And don't miss the latest installment of Sylvia Vardell's Poet to Poet series - this time around, I get to ask the questions, and Skila Brown answers.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Poetry Friday: All Moon-mad, Again

Lots of family obligations lately, which means not much writing time. But even when life is busy, there is time to go out and gaze at the moon -- especially when it's a "super moon." How beautiful was that last one? Answer: VERY BEAUTIFUL.

In honor of my seasonal moon madness,  I offer up this poem by Carl Sandburg. It doesn't have the formal inventiveness I usually like -- but I love the boy with the accordion, I love the old man and the cherry trees, and most of  all I love the fact that it is, at heart, all summer and all moon.

Happy Poetry Friday! Only a few more weeks of summer left - make the most of them.

Back Yard 

Shine on, O moon of summer. 
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,  
All silver under your rain to-night.  

An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.  
A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;
    to-night they are throwing you kisses.
An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a
     cherry tree in his back yard. 
The clocks say I must go—I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking
     white thoughts you rain down. 
     Shine on, O moon, 
Shake out more and more silver changes.

                                                  --Carl Sandburg 

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Irene Latham over at Live Your Poem. Head over there to see what other people have posted. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Poetry Friday: A Holler, Not a Smile

Today's the 4th of July! 

When I was a kid I said "Today's the 4th of July" with a mix of delight and terror. I knew the day would be loud, it would be beautiful, it would be a little out of control, and it would ride roughshod over all those polite holidays like Easter, the day of white gloves, white patent leather shoes, white purse, white hat. The 4th of July was all about shorts, bare feet, sunburn, skin that tasted like salt if I licked it - which I did - and somewhere in the distance, cherry bombs and bottle rockets going off.  Easter was a sugary smile, the 4th of July was a holler.

It was also my grandfather's birthday. Walter Vane Wagner, married to my grandmother for more than sixty years. He tattooed a couple of his knuckles --- a spider and a butterfly ---- with a sharp pen knife and some ink when he was a teenager back in the late 1910's - and when I sat on his lap as a kid, I would make him show them to me. He was a man too thin for his name, so everyone just called him "Skinny" --- if it hadn't been for a good set of suspenders, his pants would have been down around his knees each day. He worked his whole life as a lumberjack for the Weyerhaeuser Co., back when trees were big

When we all got together for our 4th of July picnics, it was my grandfather who was the center of attention rather than anything as abstract as America. He was one of those complicated men who made it through the Great Depression on pure grit and willpower, and he wasn't sweet - my grandmother, Mary Alice, took those honors. Gramp was...what was he? For me, he was a combination, of fascinating, scary and magnetic. He smoked - in fact, he was the only smoker in our big, extended family - and from a young age I associated cigarettes with long, lean men of the Wild West. My grandfather beat Marlboro cigarettes to the punch on that. Now my grandfather's great-grandson - my youngest son, Mike - has a tattoo of a tree all the way up his arm from wrist to elbow. My eldest son, Josh, has a tattoo of Mt. Rainier at sunrise. Both are gentle souls. Neither one smokes.

Skinny, Mary Alice, my Aunt Gloria (who was called Gee) and my cousins Randy and Colleen, my dad John, my mom Lorene, (everyone called her Peach) and the three of us - Johnny, Mary, me - on the beach for the 4th of July: When I close my eyes, I can still see it, smell it, taste it. Later, my own kids got added into the scene - Josh and Mike and my daughter, Mary, always the bravest of the bunch, turning over rocks to discover crabs, or swimming with her Aunt Mary and her Great-Aunt Gloria in the freezing water of Puget Sound.

Gad, I loved those warm days and those picnics, sharing laughs, sharing food. There were always hot dogs cooked on sticks over a beach fire, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, dill pickles, olives, maybe some A&W root beer to wash it down, always plenty of coffee in heavy, glass-lined thermoses, strawberry shortcake to round it all out. Gramp - Skinny - could out-eat everyone.

As the dark came on, there were boxes of sparklers - we would run across the grass creating trails of light, or sail lit sparklers out onto the saltwater, stuck straight up into big driftwood logs. When I was a kid "the beach" was in front of the cabin my grandmother's parents built on Elger Bay, half way down Camano Island. During the years my family lived in California, we substituted the fireworks at Spartan Stadium in San Jose for the beach, but it wasn't the same. Eventually, we all moved back - first my husband and me, then my mom and dad, then my brother and his family, then my sister. Once we were back in the Northwest, the beach became Rosario Beach on Whidbey Island, home now to the Maiden of Deception Pass.

And for the years my parents had their own home on Whidbey Island's Penn Cove, we had our picnics there in front of the house.

It seems we stayed out from dawn (sunlight coming up over the Cascade mountains) to dark (sun going down behind the Olympic mountains.) The day would end with s'mores around a beach fire and all of us getting sleepy staring at the embers.

Since it's Poetry Friday, I'm going to post the lyrics for America the Beautiful. Whenever I hear this song, it un-glues me. But I don't think of this country the way I thought of it when I was little.

America the Beautiful: a holler rather than a smile. A little out of control. Not always sweet. Magnetic but scary. Riding roughshod. Yes, we have spacious skies and purple mountains' majesty, but just like the 4th of July, in America there always seems to be the sound of something exploding in the distance.

Happy 4th of July, everybody.
If you're interested in seeing what other people have posted for Poetry Friday, head over to Heidi Mordhurst's My Juicy Little Universe. You'll find the round-up there.