poetry friday roundup is here!

“All it takes is one bloom of hope to make a spiritual garden.” ~ Terri Guillemets

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Please help yourself to a cup of tea and a cookie or two or three. 🙂

We have a very special treat today. Knowing how much you love her work, I asked Barbara Crooker if she’d share a poem especially appropriate for the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, it’s good to remember that no matter what our personal challenges may be, we’re all part of the same human family and nothing matters more than fostering Peace, Joy and Love whenever and wherever we can. Enjoy her poem and all the other poems being shared in our friendly circle this week, and may a good measure of Hope always light your way.

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I can’t exactly explain the connection, but somehow, I equate the amaryllis with hope. I’d sent one to a friend with breast cancer as a “no special reason” gift, and she reported to me how hopeful it made her feel, something green like that in the middle of winter. She died, and I bought one (the bulb, in a kit), for myself the following Christmas, and it became hopeful for me as well, the green blade rising (that references a hymn) when everything outside was dead, cold, white . . . I’ve given a number of these as gifts for these sorts of reasons, and everyone seems to have a similar response.

"White Amaryllis" by Kay Smith
“White Amaryllis” by Kay Smith


The amaryllis bulb, dumb as dirt,
inert, how can anything spring
from this clod, this stone,
the pit of some subtropical,
atypical, likely inedible fruit?
But it does: out of the dark
earth, two shoots, green
flames in December,
despite the short days,
the Long Night Moon
flooding the hard ground.
Nothing outside grows;
even small rodents
are burrowed in
the silent nights.

Then, one morning—
a single stalk,
then a bud
that swells, bells
full sail, full-bellied,
the skin grows thin,
tighter, until it splits:
heralds the night
will not be endless,
that dawn will blossom,
pearly and radiant,
and two white
trumpets unfold, sing
their sweet song,
their Hallelujah chorus,
sing carols in the thin cold air,
and our mouths say O and O and O.

~ first published in Confluence, Copyright © 2001, Barbara Crooker. All rights reserved.


"Still Life with Amaryllis, Evening" by James Aponovich (2012)/Clark Gallery
“Still Life with Amaryllis, Evening” by James Aponovich (2012)/Clark Gallery

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Now, please leave your poetry links with Mr. Linky, and don’t forget to add the title of your poem or book in parentheses after your name. I will update this post with your info throughout the day.

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1. Iza Trapani (Pet Names)

2. Jeff @ NC Teacher Stuff (Waterloo Sunset)

3. Laura Purdie Salas (Cherries in the Sun)

4. Laura Purdie Salas (15 Words or Less)

5. Diane Mayr (Spark)

6. Kurious Kitty (A Robert Frost Christmas Card)

7. KK’s Kwotes (Robert Frost)

8. Matt Forrest Esenwine (Not So Easy)

9. Steve Petersen (This Happens)

10. Linda Baie (Robert Louis Stevenson)

11. Robyn Hood Black (A Christmas Carol’s 170th Birthday)

12. Violet Nesdoly (Ben’s Quilt)

13. Charles Ghigna (The Snooze Cruise, Picking Out a Christmas Tree)

14. Vikram Madan (An original poem inspired by Renee LaTulippe’s ‘Bitter Snits’)

15. April Halprin Wayland/Teaching Authors (Winter Solstice: Girl Talking to the Sun)

16. Matt Goodfellow (Jean Genies)

17. Matt Goodfellow (ADVENTure)

18. Matt Goodfellow (Miss Bouquet’s End of Year  Class Comments)

19. Greg Pincus (Visit from Ken Nesbitt)

20. Laura Shovan (new postcard poem, The Mosquito)

21. Poem Farm (Look Up)

22. Tabatha (Walt Whitman)

23. Myra @ Gathering Books (Self Knowledge by Kahlil Gibran)

24. Janet (Bright Field)

25. Mary Lee (Ending ‘Self Esteem Week’)

25. Tara @ A Teaching Life (Visiting The Poem Farm: Indian Summer)

26. Donna (Deck the Hulls)

27. Liz Steinglass (Spark 18: Red Dress)

28. Heidi Mordhorst (Spark 18: We Be)

29. Margaret (Classroom poems inspired by Dickinson’s ‘There’s a Certain Slant of Light’)

30. Shelf-employed (original STEM haiku)

31. Doraine Bennett (The Snowflake)

32. Bridget Magee (Off to the Library)

33. Jone (Draw by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater)

34. Little Willow (Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver)

35. Sylvia Vardell/Poetry Friday Anthology (Christmas Is by George Ella Lyon)

36. Sylvia Vardell/Poetry for Children (Bib of Christmas Poetry)

37. Jeannine Atkins (National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry)

38. JoAnn Early Macken (Meteor Shower)

39. Janet Squires (The World’s Greatest Poems by J. Patrick Lewis)

40. Lorie Ann Grover (Directed)

41. Joy Acey (Christmas Star)

42. Ruth (This Peace)

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♥ For more about Barbara Crooker’s work, please visit her Official Website.

♥ Other Barbara poems at Alphabet Soup:

This will be my last Poetry Friday post for 2012. Thanks for joining us today and for visiting this past year. I appreciate all your poetry love and look forward to sharing more tasty poems in 2013. Have a joyful, supremely delicious holiday!!

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

34 thoughts on “poetry friday roundup is here!

  1. Barbara’s poem is powerful, but even more so because we learned the story behind it.

    Thanks for the offer of cookies, but we’ve been inundated with cookies at the library. It’s nice to know we’re appreciated–but it’s not nice tallying up the carbs we’re consuming!

    Have a great holiday, Jama, I look forward to more of your delightful posts in 2013!

    My three links will be live after midnight.


  2. “Nothing outside grows;
    even small rodents
    are burrowed in
    the silent nights.”

    I so agree about the hopefulness in these bulbs. They, like many gifts of nature, hold magic. Thank you, Jama. I am now wondering if it is you who introduced me to Barbara Crooker before – I love “In the Middle” too.

    Happy Poetry Friday to a most gracious hostess! I will be making some latkes soon, methinks. Have a wonderful holiday! a.


  3. Isn’t that gorgeous! I especially love:

    then a bud
    that swells, bells
    full sail, full-bellied,

    I’m in with a beautiful poem by Irene Latham, called “Cherries in the Sun,” from her The Color of Lost Rooms collection. That’s at http://laurasalas.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/cherries/

    I’ve also been sharing a writing book each day the past couple of weeks, and several of them deal with poetry:>)

    And this week’s 15 Words of Less Poems are at http://laurasalas.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/hold-it-together/

    Happy Holidays, Jama, and thank you for always being such a welcoming, wonderful host–for Poetry Friday and every day. I don’t make it by as consistently as I’d like to, but it’s always good to know your warm blog is here, waiting, and beautiful!



  4. Lovely to think about, that clod from which comes such beauty. I like especially “and two white/trumpets unfold, sing/their sweet song.” Thank you Jama, for such love and warmth (and cookies) in each and every post. You bring a smile always. And thanks to Barbara for another thought-filled poem. This Friday, I am sharing another ‘find’ in my seemingly never-ending quest to clear out some things from the past.
    I wish you joy in your holidays, Jama, and see you next year!


  5. “that dawn will blossom,
    pearly and radiant,” – so gorgeous and hopeful.
    Thanks to Barbara Crooker for sharing, and for sharing the personal stories which now bloom with the amaryllis.

    Hearty thanks to you, oh Dearest Jama, for welcoming everyone with cookies and tea! Please tell Mr. Cornelius he looks festive and dashing with his red ribbon.

    I’m celebrating Monday’s 170th birthday of A CHRISTMAS CAROL:


  6. I love Barbara’s story of giving the amaryilis to an ill friend. And I love these lines of her poem:

    “their sweet song,
    their Hallelujah chorus,
    sing carols in the thin cold air,
    and our mouths say O and O and O.”

    I’m reminded of the O antiphons of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Only a poem could be so eloquent with so few words!


  7. Hi, Jama. What a gorgeous poem — it brings me back to that sense of wonder. How does anything so beautiful live inside that flower bulb? Thanks for sharing and happy holidays!


  8. Hi Jama! Here’s my Poetry Friday contribution this week.
    Thanks so much dearest for hosting!
    The lovely image you chose and the beautiful poetry are food for the soul. Very timely. 🙂 I feel like im going towards the eye of the hurricane at this point with so many things happening all at once, this has made me pause and made me sigh. Thanks dearest Jama.


  9. I echo what others have said. I loved hearing the story behind this poem.

    There IS something so wonderful about anything green growing at this time of year!

    Thanks for hosting PF.


  10. Loved the amaryllis poem – hadn’t been a fan of the flower before this. Thanks for hosting today. The cookies were especially tasty for breakfast this morning!


  11. I’m sitting right by my bulbs. They’ve got shoots about two inches high. My favorite part is the beginning–dumb as dirt, inert, clod, stone–a perfect contrast to the magic that comes later.


  12. Thank you sharing Barbara Crooker’s poem. I love the lines:
    “Then, one morning—
    a single stalk,
    then a bud
    that swells, bells
    full sail, full-bellied,
    the skin grows thin,
    tighter, until it splits:”
    It is like an explosion of hope for the dark winter. Lovely.
    Thank you also for hosting Poetry Friday. I’m glad I got to participate (even if I had a bit of technical difficulties with Mr. Linky 😉


  13. Thanks as always for your sumptuous post! I’m in this week with TWO posts– “Christmas Is” by George Ella Lyon at PoetryFridayAnthology.Blogspot.com and my bib of Christmas poetry at PoetryforChildren.Blogspot.com


  14. Jama, your site welcomes in so many ways. Thank you. I’m not sure whether I like most the beginning or end of Barbara Crooker’s poem. I do love how the end pulls me around to start again. My first amaryllis was a gift about 10 years ago, and mine is now green and tall and might actually do its bursting thing just about when company comes. It all began long enough ago that I can’t remember what colors I chose, so that will be exciting.

    Hope you have lots of tea sipping and cookie dipping (I know Cornelius’s ways) ahead.


  15. Thanks to Barbara (and Jama) for sharing such a touching story and beautiful poem.

    I’ve been quiet over at NWR this month while I work on a time-consuming project, but I’m making the rounds to other blogs slowly but surely. I’m actually sad to know this is your last PF post of 2012, Jama – where did the year go? – but look forward to seeing what you have in store for 2013.

    And shouldn’t St. Nick by your eye candy? He’s quite the dashing fellow! 🙂


  16. I tried to pick out my favorite lines but this is just one of those perfect poems that ribbons simultaneously in so many directions. However, I am especially partial to it all arising from something “dumb as dirt,/inert”–we forget sometimes that the magic happens without much effort on our part. Okay, I forget.

    Thanks for hosting and for shepherding my link, Jama, and jolly hols to you!


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