through the poetic lens of jone rush macculloch

#17 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2011.

Jone shows off one of her cool photos.

I’m very happy to tell you that today we have a special feast of poems and photos courtesy of Ms. Mac herself, Jone Rush MacCulloch!

I “met” Jone through Sunday Kicks at 7-Imp, and got to know her better through her Poetry Friday posts. She initially sent me one poem for the potluck, but after I saw the lovely photos and haiku from her new book, I persuaded her to let me share several of those with you, too.

Jone: I have always written poetry and loved poetry. I am a big believer of writing down at least three observations daily. Naomi Shihab Nye calls it building up a savings account of ideas. I love short poetry forms. I like the challenge of choosing the words to create an emotion or scene in a minimal way. Haiku and the shadorma (the form of this poem) are some of my favorites.

My grandmother was left handed as am I. When I was a teen, she offered to teach me how to tat, but I was too cool for that. It is one of my regrets. Luckily, I have some of her tatting.

Sadie Rush MacCulloch’s tatting, tatting shuttle and notebook.

tatting shuttle flies
between threads
story knots about her life
I hold one to read

Copyright © 2011 Jone Rush MacCulloch. All rights reserved.

Though Jone regrets not learning to tat from her grandmother, she did inherit another part of her legacy, that of teaching. Jone’s grandmother taught well into her 80’s, and Jone has been teaching for 37 years so far.

This is what Jone had to say about her haiku/photo book, Solace au Naturel:


I decided to pull haiku and photos together when I saw an announcement for a juried “POD” (print on demand) book show at a local art gallery. Well, there were 200 entries and room for 70, so my book didn’t make the cut. But I had a wonderful little collection of my photos and haiku. It’s been a great gift to give. I loved the production part of making the book; the deciding which order, which haiku to include, etc. I find that I want to revise some of the haiku.

In the beginning of the book, I have a quote: “You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly, to borrow it.” (author unknown) I feel that way when I take pictures.


cathedral window
stillness beckons sun’s warmth
afternoon arrives

labyrinth flower
meditation path unfolds
gratitude walk

hip, hop, ribbit splash
water ballet created
frog’s playful entrance

Did you enjoy that bit of family history and those quiet moments of reflection? I certainly did. Jone is such a talented person, and I love that quote about not “taking” a photograph/picture, but borrowing it!

Yes, she’s brought a yummy recipe:

Jone: This is a recipe from my childhood that was forgotten until I met my husband. I went to his mom’s house when we were dating and what did we have for dessert? Graham cracker pie! How many families have the same standard dessert? Now I am a maker of this dessert for family gatherings. Our grandmothers live on with this recipe. I am teaching the grandgirls to make graham cracker pie.




16 Graham crackers rolled fine
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Mix and put half the mixture in a greased pan. Bake 15 minutes @ 325 degrees.


2 cups of milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 egg yolks beaten (save the whites for meringue)
1 tsp vanilla

Put the first three ingredients in a double boiler. Bring to a boil and add beaten egg yolks. (I usually add a tbsp. of the hot mixture to the egg yolks before pouring into the mixture.)
Cook together until mixture coats the spoon. Pour into the pie pan.


3 egg whites
3 tbsp. sugar

Beat until soft peaks form.
Spread on top of the custard.

Sprinkle on the remainder of the graham crackers.

Bake @ 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until brown.


Jone Rush MacCulloch is a teacher and library media specialist from Portland, Oregon. As noted above, she’s been teaching for 37 years (23 in the library). She “loves loves loves teaching poetry to students” and is “in awe of their way of seeing the world.” Jone has always loved and written poetry, and once took a class with Naomi Shihab Nye which she says really informed her writing. Her haiku have been published in the 2010 Member’s Anthology of the Haiku Society of America, and she is currently working on a middle grade verse novel.

When not reading, writing, or taking pictures, Jone likes to walk, garden, spend time with her grandchildren and play with her two dachshunds. Right now she has some of her photos on diplay at a local pizza pub and she sells photo cards at the bookstore on the coast where she vacations each summer. Jone can be found online at Check It Out (school blog), Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit (personal blog), and Solace au Naturel (photography blog). For National Poetry Month, she is writing a Poem-a-Day and is once again doing the Poetry Postcard Project.

Solace au Naturel is available for purchase here (preview available). A lovely gift idea for birthdays, anniversaries, or just because.

This just in: Jone is participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway! Race over to her blog and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Solace au Naturel or The Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Thanks for coming to the Potluck, Jone!



**All photos copyright © 2009, 2011 Jone Rush MacCulloch. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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