Ask A Poet An Abstract Question…

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“Mom, what is the meaning of life?”
Oh, it depends on which meaning you mean.
Sometimes it’s amorphous, ephemeral, obscure—
Other times it’s the spaces in-between.

I’ve glimpsed it in sunshine and moonlight,
Walked its beat in a graveside procession.
Been smacked by a smile, a laugh, a look,
Lost its trail in shrouding depression.

This question is too complex without context!
I could fill books with the conflicts I’ve had.
Saints and philosophers have failed as I—
“Umm…thanks, Mom, I think I’ll find Dad.”


My kids ask me a lot of questions, big questions, and I do go on. Sometimes I can tell it’s all rushed over them like a gust of wind, barely ruffling their intellectual hair. Other times, we spend an hour talking about cremation or self-respect or kindness, and I feel like I’ve made a little bit of an impression. I think we owe it to them to try, though, even if they won’t get it until they’re adults. Every bit of understanding of the human condition leads to self-awareness. Self-awareness plants the seeds that blossom into empathy, and good grief, do we need more of that.

I also use a great number of words my kids don’t know or understand–yet. How’re they going to learn them if they never hear them? Slap out those five and six-syllable monsters and then define them. It’s hugely entertaining when they work them into conversation later.

Clutch Tight Your Pickanick Basket

img_7889high in Montana
bearware the ursine menace
claws, fangs, frosty floats


We went to Glacier and honestly saw very little of it, because of the massively swollen ankle and our lack of an appropriately-sized vehicle. The kids were delighted to see this bear, however, because instead of eating them, he gave them things to eat. A+, A & W bear.

One, Two, Boogaloo

Nose party

There’s a party in your nose
And all your fingers are invited.
Show your mom your goody bag,
She’s sure to be delighted.

The dance floor’s kinda small,
But you can twist and grind.
Tear it up and lay it down,
No boogie left behind.

Tissue box across the room?
There’s storage even closer.
Your mouth is right below your nose
And bonus—even grosser!

So cram that finger way up in
Until it disappears.
When that party’s petered out,
It’s time to hit your ears!


I found this classy picture on the iPad and it inspired me to heights of verse. I’m pleased to add some culture to your Sunday.

Lavatriage

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Heart of a young parent
Inside a middle-aged host.
The floor may not be lava,
But your ankle sure is toast.


My dear 46-year-old husband did this to his ankle in the middle of our roadtrip to Montana last week. He was playing “the floor is lava” with the 6-year-old. There are many advantages to having your kids later in life, but occasionally your body decides to remind you that there are consequences for your foolishness.

The 6-year-old was the one who told me exactly how this came about. I’m glad she’s around to make sure no detail is left unshared.

Light Bright

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cherish the old soul
but diamond dust in my eye
her shiny new one


I am lucky enough to have one of each–a wise little old soul and a sparkly new one.  These littles with the newly minted souls burn fiercely, and she gives me hope that we will find our way, that the mistakes of our past do not have to be repeated.  Love big, cry hard, laugh loud, and try all the things.

Almost

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now that you are eight
you pedal-fly and don’t look back
but you’re only eight


I’m posting from a campsite again. This year, the medium boy has a level of independence that leaves me anxiously waiting to hear his bike bell and know that he’s fine. We let the line out, then pull it back a little, let the line out, pull it back again. For him, this is exhilarating and scary and slightly difficult to navigate. Is he ready? Am I ready? Almost.

Subpart D, Paragraph 2

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don’t get your shoes wet
small lawyers got around that
technicality


I don’t actually begrudge them this particular adventure–I’d be worried if they didn’t immediately and desperately want to play in every creek they see.  He was waging a losing battle against the water skippers, flinging mud and small stones only to watch them regroup in an instant.  I believe next time he will request a flame thrower.