Poetry Open Mic

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  • The Hutchmoot Poetry Open Mic was so terrific but I find myself wanting to lose myself in those words again. Any of you who read your work (or that of others), would you consider posting it here?


    I’ll go first because mine was silly.

    Definition of Terms

    • Yooper – native of the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan. U.P-ER. – Yoop-ER – thus, Yooper
    • Trenary – U.P. tiny town, famous for:
    • Trenary Toast – a twice-baked brick of bread which, when dunked in coffee soaks up approximately half a cup, allowing the the toothless (or toothed) to “eat” their coffee
    • And – the Trenary Outhouse Races, held in February in which outhouses on skis race down a hill. One member of each team must be sitting in the outhouse during the race (yes, we do this every year and it gathers a (comparatively) huge crowd of cowbell-ringing Yoopers (and Trolls – you know, those who live below the bridge)).

    Okay – finally – the limerick:


    There once was a Yooper named Larry,

    who hailed from the town of Trenary.

    He ate coffee with toast.

    In an outhouse he’d coast

    with TP for the win – sedentary.

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    Here is a poem I wrote inspired by Psalm 149.

    The sun slowly ascends

    salmon pink surfacing

    in periwinkle sky

    bringing light to the day.


    I sing for joy on my bed,

    44 years of mornings

    each humming a new song,

    inviting me to join in.


    Sometimes, I curl back into darkness

    unprepared to face the day

    though the morning’s melody

    bids me listen.


    I resist.


    But not today.

    Today I dance to heaven’s song

    mercifully new each day.

    Sacred tune that attunes

    my moves and moods

    to the Holy Spirit.


    Perichoresis enacted.

    Rhythmic interpretation.

    I in Christ.

    Christ in me.

    Love Up
    Love Down
    Love In
    Love Out

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    I don’t know if you call thus poetry, but here is my try.


    Light, airy, weightless, soaring freedom.
    Freedom to know who I am in Christ,
    To know I am accepted in the Beloved.
    To become who I was created to be.

    Freedom from sin’s downward pull.
    From the pit of sluggish, slothful, slogging upstream,
    From the struggle to get out of bed and face the day,
    From bowed-down, weighed-down, unmotivated non-life
    From sleeping the hours away to hide from the day,
    From trying and failing to meet God’s unreachable expectations.
    Or are they really my earthly dad’s expectations?

    Freedom to know God as my Father,
    To know that He is with me and for me,
    To be awake, alive, anew; to explore, wonder, see as a child,
    To live with passion and not with fear; with love and not with duty.
    To worship, treasure, and enjoy God.

    Why do I fear freedom?
    Why do I stay and wallow in my stuck-ness?
    Why do I want to fly but choose to remain earthbound?

    Oh God, would You work in me to desire the riches of Your freedom,
    To cast off the fear-filled shackles and put on faith-filled wings.
    To discover the joy and adventure of being loosed from my bonds.
    To be finally freed.

    Here is one more. I don’t know if it will copy and paste the special symbols. It wouldn’t paste the arrows, so I’m trying sending it as an attachment.


    Jason ~ Your’s is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.

    I love this. Thanks @suzishepherd! There were so many wonderful things read that my brain couldn’t hold it all.

    Here’s the Leonard Cohen poem I opened with. I was a little worried as I started that it wasn’t going to be as funny / encouraging as I think it is, but it felt kind of perfect. Here’s to the fakes!


    Out of the thousands

    who are known,

    or who want to be known

    as poets

    maybe one or two

    are genuine

    and the rest are fakes,

    hanging around by the sacred


    trying to look like the real thing.

    Needless to say

    I am one of the fakes,

    and this is my story.

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    Here’s the poem I shared. Thank you all for being such a supportive, encouraging group. You’ve made me brave.

    On Blueberries

    My boys eat blueberries like candy.
    I’d rather they eat blueberries than candy.

    We buy them in large bags, freshly frozen,
    and we pour them liberally,
    summer’s bounty in a mid-winter bowl.

    One child—
    he who likes sameness and predictability—
    asks for them daily.
    For health and possibility and love,
    I oblige.

    As I thaw another handful under the cool flow of water,
    I remember
    the prick of bushes,
    sweetness wafting on the air,
    and a steep descent.

    The heat, the sweat, the weight, the work—
    All for a small pail of goodness
    To be picked through and washed and savored.

    I am suddenly aware of our family’s wealth
    And our poverty.

    Even as I rejoice over the goodness I hold
    And the relative ease of such provision,
    I mourn that my children are so disconnected from its Source.

    I resolve to take them blueberry picking—
    Once ice thaws and green returns to earth—
    Just as my own mother once took me.

    I understand now:
    It wasn’t just for the blueberries.

    On Blueberries

    "I really wasn't a reader, until I started reading." -Mick Donahue

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    @jenroseyokel I feel the weight of that poem as my book of poetry, Soil of the Divine, is on Amazon as of yesterday. I fear I am a fake, though I long to be genuine. Thank you for sharing.

    Love Up
    Love Down
    Love In
    Love Out

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    Josh Duncan

    I’m not going to post the one I read, but I’ll post the Billy Collins poem that was going to be me second:

    Questions About Angels
    Of all the questions you might want to ask
    about angels, the only one you ever hear
    is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

    No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
    besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
    or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
    or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

    Do they fly through God’s body and come out singing?
    Do they swing like children from the hinges
    of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
    Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

    What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
    their diet of unfiltered divine light?
    What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
    these tall presences can look over and see hell?

    If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
    in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
    filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

    If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive
    in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
    the appearance of the regular mailman and
    whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

    No, the medieval theologians control the court.
    The only question you ever hear is about
    the little dance floor on the head of a pin
    where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

    It is designed to make us think in millions,
    billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
    into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
    one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
    a small jazz combo working in the background.

    She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
    eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
    to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
    forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

    Does anyone know the poet who shared “I am – Almost”  in the Open Mic @Hutchmoot? I think his name is Zack. Looked for him but didn’t see him after that session. Please encourage him to share that poem here. I NEED to hear that poem again.


    From Eric Schrag (with his permission):


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    @racheldonahue I LOVED your poem. Thank you for sharing this.

    @dockanz WHAT. I didn’t know you just released a poetry book. Congrats! Can’t wait to read it!

    @joshua-duncan That poem is amazing. Love Billy Collins. I briefly considered reading “Another Reason I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” just for the fun of it, but then I remembered Thousands. How can we persuade you to share the original poem you read? 😉


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    Josh Duncan

    @jroseyokel, I would normally be happy to share a poem, but I’m trying to finagle that one into something publishable. Apparently a lot of journals consider posting poems on an open forum “publishing.”

    Maybe this would be a good time to mention the Poet’s Corner forum here on RR. Here’s the link:


    If you want feedback on your poetry please join! It’s a private forum, but Jen can add you. We’d love to see it become an active community! Come on, all you Open Mic Rabbits!

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    @joshua-duncan Oh dang… that’s right. I forgot that. I haven’t done much journal submitting because I never could figure out where my poetry fit… haha.

    @racheldonahue I loved your Blueberries poem! Thank you for sharing!


    Here’s the one I read that I wrote this past winter.

    The oak outside my window

    in the winter wind sways

    and stays


    in the earth, immovable,


    for a friendly visitor, or a new view, a sunrise

    or a sunset or a bluebird

    or a new birth


    leafless, barren, buried life

    the oak stands open to every whisper of wind,

    cold, snow, rain, she extends her limbs

    in welcome


    Spring nowhere in sight

    she lives in the well-worn paths of ancient

    forests whose stubborn ways are written in

    the seed from which she sprung


    she grows taller each year

    “fell the forest”

    yet there is a quiet resistance, inches, twigs and leaves

    blowing in the winter wind

    around this mighty oak


    Thanks, you dear brave people, for giving me courage to share this with you.

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    The poetry slam was probably my favorite ninety minutes of HM2017, which is saying something. Glad to see a written record of it appearing here (thank you, Suzanne). To help in completing the record, here is the Christmas poem I read:

    The night almost had me:
    Sleep with no dream, no rest;
    Dark without Abram’s stars;
    Lead silence that freezes
    Flesh, blood, bone and marrow.

    I had no breath to plead —
    No word, no cry;
    Only a groan to ask

    And I heard in my breast
    A woman bearing God
    Groaning in labor pain,
    Then a baby wailing,
    Then two sighs, and soft breath
    In the rhythm of sleep,
    And rest.

    That day Mother and Child
    Spoke my language, uttered
    A plea I understood.

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    Lisa Eldred

    And here’s my Ghost Story of the Reformation. Only linked because I’m tired.

    This is a poem I wrote back when I and some other graduates finished our academic training for missions.

    “Now go we must while daylight lasts,
    Forsake the peaks who gave us sight
    As rainfall leaves the lofty mass
    To give man drink and river flight
    For rivers have this lesson learned
    (And we’d do well to undertake):
    Unless they part, no land is turned
    Unless we part, no thirst is slaked

    So go we must while daylight wanes
    And turn from sails who bore us nigh
    Like fruit is gathered not in vain
    To feed, to seed before man’s eyes
    The word of truth whose growth is real
    Whose boughs are spread abroad in speech
    Whose leaves of green the nations heal
    Whose members part for farther reach”


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