poetry friday roundup is here!

Happy May, and Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

So, a new month, the month of flowers and strawberries and Mother’s Day (sigh). Tell me, on the first of May, did you wash your face with morning dew to maintain your youthful appearance? Will you scamper through the meadows wild with a garland of blossoms in your hair?

And are you smiling right now? In the UK, May is National Smile Month. Sounds good to me (call me Cheshire Cat). 🙂

I think a good way to celebrate this new month is with a Mary Oliver poem. We’ve talked before about the importance of art, beauty, and gratitude. Whether you write or draw, it all begins with careful observation, being fully present, and as Oliver says, “learning to be astonished.” What is your message?


photo by Julie White

by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

~ from Thirst: Poems (Beacon Press, 2007)


Though this poem is the perfect writer’s credo, this “job” of rejoicing in the wonders of the natural world is a worthy one for all human beings. In this way we become stewards of this fragile earth. In this way we are all poets. 🙂

I’m anxious to see what you’re sharing this week, so please leave your links with the amiable Mr. Linky below. Do help yourself to a little light refreshment to bolster you on your travels from blog to blog. 🙂





Happy to announce that the winner of a brand new copy of Keep a Pocket in Your Poem by J. Patrick Lewis and Johanna Wright is:



Congratulations, Tanita!!

Please send along your snail mail address so we can get the book shipped out to you pronto.

Thanks, everyone, for entering the giveaway. 🙂


Thanks so much for joining us today!!


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.












good friday feast: a mary oliver good morning with baked french toast

“It is Spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” ~ Rilke


Good morning, Poetry Friends, and Happy Spring!

More than a few rabbits have invaded the Alphabet Soup kitchen but we don’t mind in the least. Thought we’d ease into Easter Weekend by serving up an iconic Mary Oliver poem and some delicious baked french toast.

In this season of renewal, growth, and fresh starts, it’s good to remind ourselves that something wonderful may be waiting for us just over the horizon. As someone once said, “you can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.”

So let’s toast this new morning, this new day, with all the positive energy we can muster up and nourish ourselves with food for the mind, heart, body, and spirit.

Remember: we can be the light.

Continue reading

friday feast: celebrating mary oliver’s “poppies”

“Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we only look, and see.”  ~ Mary Oliver (“Look and See”, Why I Wake Early)

poppy field
photo by vgtortoise

What do you see when you look out your window?

Thank goodness for Mary Oliver when you need a good share of hope, a reminder to turn your face to the light. Poppies speak of many things, in general, the imagination — but yellow stands for wealth and success, red for pleasure, white for peace. Enjoy Oliver’s “invitation to happiness” and this photo bouquet of color, beauty, joy, remembrance. Bask in the light of her words and shine on. 🙂

orange poppy
photo by mamavenezia

by Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

~ from New and Selected Poems, Vol. I (Beacon Press, 1993)

Continue reading

2012 poetry potluck giveaway winner and one last poem

Cornelius with the new official Alphabet Soup cookie: Oatmeal Jama Bars.

Cornelius and I can’t and don’t want to believe the 2012 Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck is over. *sniff sniff*

Could it be May already? How time flies when you’re nibbling on good poetry and noshing to the nines!

Oh, what a feast we had — scaling mountains, “borrowing” a mail truck, visiting Cuba, playing with pirates, going to camp. We spiced things up with hot chili, jambalaya and a spooky brew, and even celebrated Passover together. And how about all those wonderful personal stories — grandmas who baked bread, cookies, biscuits and pies? What could be better than a group of fun-loving poets sharing good memories and bits of family history we could all relate to?

Food is the great equalizer, allowing us to reach back in time, adopt new customs and cultures, and bond with others in unique ways. I thoroughly enjoyed all the poems and learning a wee bit more about each of the poets — the journalist in me always craves those wonderful backstories and I thank everyone for digging up those vintage photos and giving us a peek into your private worlds.

Continue reading

sunday bear: mary oliver from no voyage and other poems

“Eloise” by Barbara Wiltrout (vintage baby dress, antique cameo and beads, Spring bonnet, 1992)



A Dream of Trees
by Mary Oliver

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

~ from No Voyage. and Other Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1965)


Last Week’s Door Prize Winners

♥ Declaration of Interdependence by Janet Wong: Libby from Libby’s Book Blog, Gail Gerwin, and Myra from Gathering Books ♥

♥ A Stick is an Excellent Thing by Marilyn Singer and LeUyen Pham: Leslie Muir ♥

♥ A Suitcase of Seaweed by Janet Wong: Katya from Write. Sketch. Repeat ♥

♥ Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin: Candice Ransom from Under the Honeysuckle Vine

Congratulations to all the winners! Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com.

A big thanks to everyone for commenting!


Still to Come:

  • April 30: Lee Wardlaw
  • May 2: Wrap Up and Potluck Giveaway Winner!


♥ Today’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by Cornelius, who is busy making his own music (but wants you to send him a nice doughnut anyway).

((((((YOU))))))(((((CHOCOLATE DIPPED)))))))((((HUG)))))


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