Comments Posted By Sallie Sharp

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The word: Travelers

The younger woman told her that the baby was due in late September.

Her friend, more than three decades older,
knew the things not to say
and to say.

Easy platitudes.
More tea?
No advice
No stories
Listen.
Smile.
Nod.

Travelers. The older friend knew about travelers.
Her four and perhaps six, if you count the ones lost early, were her travelers.

Waiting for whisper movements after heartbeats,
she felt and remembered the music and sounds they loved,
Heard by ears measured in centimeters.

Avoid sitting near the drum section would have been her advice
had she given any.

Her travelers had moved gracefully, reached toes with fingers,
blinked through the sea, curled, and stretched.

Crowded later,
their movements were crotchety.

We need a bigger room,
they agreed.

A bigger room
world
life
horizon

The big called them away,
from being her travelers
to being their own travelers.

In her body, remembered, they are still embedded,
traveling synchronously.
Startled by drums.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On March 15, 2017 @ 6:01 pm

The word: Adjust

In a small way
I changed my life today.
It’s temporary and inconvenient.
It’s an adjustment.

First, weeks ago,
I saw feathers on the floor of the greenhouse.
Small downy pillows of grey and white
danced
rose
wafted
when I or the breeze touched them.

Then days later, a long tail feather
did not move with the breeze or my presence.

A few days later
more feathers

No blood, but almost.
My dog rushed into the greenhouse yesterday
and cornered a dove.
Grey fear cowering behind a terra cotta pot.

The small dog must look huge to a bird, even one as large as a dove.

Curious.
I searched.

I found a nest on a top shelf.
Cluttered with pots, watering can, knick knacks,
and a nest.
Inhabited.
Eggs, waiting to be doves.

Now what?

The path to the garden leads one through the greenhouse.

The dove has not adjusted to the glass house that surrounds her nest and her eggs.
She flies up,
falls down.

Panic, again.

The small dog cornered her behind the same terra cotta pot today.

We are adjusting.
The dog now may not traverse the space alone.

But, really, am I the only one who is learning something from this?

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On March 2, 2017 @ 8:44 am

The word: Fantasy

She plays at my feet.

Looking up, she notes where we are.
Right now.
At this moment.

Her mind — quick, creative, and young —
travels in worlds never mine.

Mine was then. Hers is now and many tomorrows.

Years from now. How many?
A hundred, perhaps.

She will sit, watching a child at play in a world not hers.

Her thoughts will reach back and jump forward.
She remembers.
And she imagines this child’s child, and the next child’s child.

Sand, family, brown-eyed dogs, snow, books, spring and autumn days, friends, birthdays, fairy tales of fantasy — tether her
and set her free.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On February 8, 2017 @ 11:06 am

The word(s): Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Seizing the day pulled her toward just that.
Seizing the day.

What intervened was everything else
that
demanded
to be seized.

Care for others: parents, children, dogs, cats, other beloved dependents
Care for things that matter not once the day is gone.
But they do make the day safer and
more comfortable.
Shoes needing new soles or souls needing new kindnesses.
All clamored for being seized and nurtured and held closely.

She found herself older and still reaching out to seize the day, the moment, the hour, the year — as they skittered ahead of her on stepping stones of vague
colors and shapes.

Maybe what she had seized was the day or days.
Those days had been hers.
Those days had been filled with soles and souls and kindnesses, she hoped.
She remembered the warmth, the texture and fragrance of those days.

To her, those recollections meant those days had been seized.
That was the best she could offer herself.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On October 5, 2016 @ 10:38 am

The word: Sequin

If the tiniest sequin had a voice
or an entire bag of sequins had multiple voices,
I wonder if they would tell us
that they are not small, shiny disks,
just one of many,
sewn as decorations
onto clothing, perhaps a bit tawdry.

They would remind the world that
they began as gold coins in
Venice.

Do the the sequins quarrel about their forgotten
value and glory?

Replaced now by shiny disks crafted from Chinese hands
not Venetian goldsmiths, they are
swept up for the dustbin after parties and projects are set aside.

Disbelief.
In another life, we were gold coins.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On September 27, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

The word: Happiness

Happiness is coming home
From a long journey
From a crowed market
From a long wait for anything
From boredom
From a long day or a short day that feels long.

Settling in, checking mail, returning calls to family and friends, flipping on the kettle.
Walking the old dog slowly through the neighborhood. She settles at my feet while I read and write.

Hearing the gas heater automatically start on a cold morning
or the air conditioner do the same on a hot humid night
Chopping vegetables in a familiar kitchen for dinner,
work shoes off, thick socks on.

The small things that home offers clear up
space for those people most loved.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On September 17, 2016 @ 4:38 am

The word: Ineffable

Separated by a Formica table top,
a greater chasm than imagined.
She thought the tabletop could have been a room, a skyscraper or a planet.

“You are ineffably selfish,” he said.
She, an English teacher, knew he meant something
other than
this.

He meant she was speakably selfish, a view not shared.
He said ineffably
intending another F something that he had used to describe her of late.

Correct him or leave it alone, she asked herself.
Probably ignore it.

She was fast becoming something other than his love.

But she still was an editor.

Why share that with him?

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On September 27, 2016 @ 2:34 pm

The word(s): Too much

Too much
is not
essentially a
negative.
Maybe it is about
expanding
the
container.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On August 24, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

The word: Legendary

Cossey Johnson.
My father said Cossey Johnson was the stuff of legends.

I remember the legend’s name
so many decades later.

Johnson’s fame,
earned as a college gladiator,
was temporal.

Not a legend after all,
except to a child taught young that clashes among
heroes
involved oblong balls (or is it oval? I never cared enough to learn).

What was a girl to take from that?
It’s not for her, becoming a legend.

In choosing legends to teach to a child who was born into
nuclear bombs
racism
sexism,
why not Plato?
or Madame Curie?
or Marie Antoinette? (she lost her head
but she remembered her children)

Let’s try to do better.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On August 17, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

The word: Jug

At night the vessels call across the room.
Softly.
Don’t let the people hear.

We are the most beautiful, thus the best
The crystal wine glasses chime together.
Etched delicately,
Singing when clicked with a spoon,
They could be right.

Yet.
The goblets,
Crafted individually,
Heavy, dusty, usually forgotten.
Only three of eight remain.
Unseen in a back corner of a little used cabinet.
In rich baritones and imperfect harmony, they
remind their cabinet mates that they are the oldest.
We came from the old country.
The country, they note, has been renamed, redrawn, discarded.
The goblets remain.

What about us?
Who is making that noise, the etched and aged ask.
Plastic cups made from recycled yogurt cartons clamor for voices.
No music there, but valued,
Reached for by young hands, jostled by loyalty.
“I want the orange one!”
“No, you use the green one. Orange is my favorite color.”
This much love must mean being best.

Yet.
Smug mugs add to the silent conversation.
In the kitchen, dark except for starlike appliance lights,
The mugs are reminders of special occasions, special places, special people.
Also jostled by loyalty
Cupped by aging hands, a day older every day,
Tea, coffee, vessels of gratitude for morning warmth.

A rumble from above the fray.
Confident, heavy, no sentimentality there.
Sighs of acknowledgement below.
All are ultimately fungible.
(Although who would give a child juice in a treasured goblet?)

Only the jug holds a gallon.
Case closed.

And has a handle.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On July 29, 2016 @ 4:48 am

The word: Ephemeral

Ephemeral
Scents and sounds of our lives.
Underpinnings to experience. Soothing. Comforting.

The furnace hums against the New England snow. The AC rattles and roars against the Texas heat. Ephemeral and reassuring.

Putting the house to bed at night, the promise of coffee ahead. Solacing.

Humming the same songs to babies of a different generation.

Fragrant baby smells leading us back to our beginnings.

Calamine lotion. What was it for? Perhaps its fragrance, ephemeral, was why we felt better.

Coppertone carries us to the beach while the heater pushes back the winter.

We capture the ephemeral.

A fragrance transporting us back decades, a phrase remembered from mothers and fathers, the hummed tunes.

All boxed in our memory with surprising keys. Joy and remembrance flits out.
Ephemeral and solid.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On July 23, 2016 @ 7:33 am

The word: Sensuous

He is old.
Really old.
Living alone with memories and photographs, frequent trips to the doctor,
diminishing numbers of friends.

He has stopped going to funerals and memorial services.
“Too many of them to go to them all.”

His days, once sensuous (and sensual), are dry, almost empty.

The old, the really old, seem to have few freedoms, few things sensuous.

But his freezer is packed with ice cream.

So many flavors: mint chocolate chip, strawberry shortcake, Mexican vanilla,
pistachio almond, chocolate fudge, Hawaiian pineapple, Dutch chocolate, Belgian chocolate, natural vanilla bean, cherries a la mode.

Some are far in the back, their frost-covered containers difficult to read.

Life has narrowed, but his ice cream choices have expanded, spreading across his small, crowded freezer.

Pulling along his oxygen tank, he heads out with his son
to get more ice cream.

Surely rocky road, cookies and cream, and cherry vanilla count as sensuous
for the very old.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On July 6, 2016 @ 1:11 pm

The word: Happiness

Her happiness trickles upstream and down, bubbling, throwing off spray.
The spray lifts, caught by the wind, sent further afield, to fields, hills, houses.

She creates her own happiness and others’ happiness and sends it aloft.
Like dandelion seeds, puffs of new life
Sent afar like the newest good writers in Charlotte’s Web.

Carried along, dancing joyfully, these seeds of adventure and joy and happiness
Found where she looks, because she looks.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On June 22, 2016 @ 1:02 pm

The word: Focus

The very young are here,
Eyes unfocused, lives unwritten.

Sleeping. Eating.
Growing daily, cell by cell.
Sleeping again, more sleep, certainly more than their parents.

The simple pulls us through the days.
Simple, busy, repetitive
Sharply focused on the simple.

They have so much to learn, their great-grandmother called through the ether
and the years.

Focus.
First the eyes, then the rest.

Walking, falling, pulling up again, falling.
It’s a matter of focus.
Of course, so are astrophysics and economic theory.

All in good time.

Today is simple, busy, repetitive.
We focus on the known, cell by cell.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On May 18, 2016 @ 8:47 am

The word: Eyeshadow

Another of those words that baffles:
Eyeshadow

Eyes as the window
meet
shadow.

Eyes are open, revealing, turning the regular upside down so the brain
does not get lazy.

Shadow moves with stealth,
assisting the clear to be murky and ill defined, shades of dark.

Eye and shadow sharing word space seem strange bedfellows.

But if we are talking about a cosmetic, does it matter?

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On April 27, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

The word: Sunshine

The child overlapped with her great grandmother for thirty days.

One was beginning.
One was leaving.
One moon cycle was all they shared.

Her great grandmother, knowing the name the child would carry, called her Sunshine. Sunshine was not the name her parents had chosen. It was not her name at all.

Only her great grandmother called her Sunshine.

Sunshine’s grainy photograph, lifted from the try of a creaky printer, was tacked near her great grandmother’s hospital bed.

Sunshine was her first great grandchild. They shared one moon cycle.

Sunshine’s great grandmother did not see the child reach age one, two, three, four or, now, five.

In the grainy photograph, perhaps she saw the promise of the life ahead of the child, the generation of and before the child’s parents, the generations stretching back and back
and then forward to Sunshine.

And then forward from Sunshine.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On April 6, 2016 @ 11:35 am

The word: Tea

I came to tea
Late.

I had been served sweet cafe au lait
as a child
in New Orleans.

A crime, perhaps.
Who caffeinates children?

Coffee’s bland cousin: tea
Warm, sure.
But no kick to it.
Some ceremony involved.
Water into a pot and wait.

A distance second to grinding beans and torturing them
through a
narrow
tunnel
into an
espresso cup.

Decades later,
Tea and I met in the middle, led to the center by tea-loving offspring. Perhaps generations of English roots have more
influence than I credited.

Coffee shops are fragrant, loud, laptop neighborhoods, the quickest with assemblers.

Steeping tea is a quiet pursuit.
Teashops pulled me in, finally.

Stop, drop, and roll.
(No, that’s fire.)

Stop, sit, and wait.
A silent, sand-filled tea timer holds me rapt.

My hands cradle the cup.
Gentle, quiet, fragrant.
Cradling is an act etched into my DNA.
Warmth reaches up to me.
Stop, sit, rest.

Unnecessary to have the kick.
Well, ask me in the morning.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On March 16, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

The word: Water

She was drawn to water.
She could dive effortlessly, smoothly, gracefully.
Floating on her back, she would drift, eventually sleep.

Her children would splash her.
Enveloped by cool, she stirred in sleep.
Floating.

Her children, young seals, swam under and around her.
Again she stirred. Awakening.
Supported, she floated.

Drying in the sun, water inches away, she told the seal tribe that her childhood had been magical,
although without water.
A desert sea around.

She shed childhood,
fled the dust and scrub trees and brown.
Moved to water.
Where else.
Water beckoned her.

The sea lapped her legs, moved her imperceptibly.
Tides changing, rising, falling.

She shook off the desert.
Seal like, waking up to the sea, swimming, diving.
Drifting in the slow tide, napping.
Floating.

Then captured.
Then abandoned.

Thrust again into dust and brown.
No longer floating.
No longer able to float.

Adrift.

The seal children grew, floated away, whisked into the world.
Wondering, as she lay dying, if water awaited her.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On February 10, 2016 @ 11:38 am

The word: Organic

The beetle hurried across the satsuma.
The satsuma — orange, knobby, nectar filled, reflecting months of sunshine
on a tree in my garden. It is just picked.

Rain has been plentiful. Insects, birds, humans, small creatures of our warm nights — all sip from the same source.

Carefully blowing a wisp of air, I send the beetle on its way in my garden.
Fare thee well, small, vulnerable part of our shared space.

The beetle and I share gratitude (at least I credit the creature with gratitude.)
He or she journeyed across the roundness of fruit from my garden.
And lived to get to the other side.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On January 20, 2016 @ 10:43 am

The word: Jalopy

We bounce along, bound for tomorrow
Packed with yesterday and today.

Could jalopy be a metaphor for living?
Delicious, complicated, startling
Sometimes the jalopy fires up with the turn of a crank
Other times, hmmmmm.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On December 16, 2015 @ 10:40 am

The word: Sullied

Chocolate
Looks like mud when worn on the face, hands, t-shirt, sides of jeans
that were used, conveniently, for wiping stickiness off
Looks like something
to avoid
to judge
to inch away from.

Looks sullied.

But
it
is
not.

It is chocolate.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On November 18, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

The word: Grace

Grace.
Sister goddesses in Greek mythology.
Givers of charm and beauty.
Temporal, superficial gifts.

There’s more.
The grace of the traveler.
Life lived well.
Life ending with grace.

W.H. Auden said
Let your last thinks be thanks.

What better grace.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On October 7, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

The word: Jealousy

We are having a baby, we said to her as she reached toward three.
“But we already have a baby.” — her reply

You’ll love this person, we said when we brought home a younger, blond smaller person.

“How would you feel with a younger blond wife in the house?” — my mother, ever wise.

My mom called it the green-eyed monster. She, ever wise.

Eye color, I am not sure.
Monster, maybe.
Innate, certainly.

Perhaps it’s a good monster, like Cookie Monster or Bert or Ernie.
Teaching moderation, self-reliance, looking inward for self.
Cookie Monster? Well, maybe not.

Bert and Ernie, yes.
Monsters who shared, grew as one and two, and one or two
Had sleepovers, solved problems, shared, argued.
Jealousy? Yes.
A monster?
Still not sure.

Eye color?
Brown.
Then green.
Then another brown.
Lots of small people came home.

Jealousy wafted away, only to return when absolutely necessary to keep things
real.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On September 16, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

The word: Apfelstrudel

She flits in her fairy wings.
Dancing from walkway to soft grass,
Hopping, darting, radiant.

Apfelstrudel, of course.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On August 26, 2015 @ 3:29 pm

The word: Disperse

Where are my children, her mother asked?
A century ago, a lifetime, they were satellites
orbiting her world, her ankles,
reaching for her, her hands, her approval
Mostly her love.

Whoosh.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On August 20, 2015 @ 6:14 am

The word: Bubble

On a summer morning
We, walking briskly.
Stopping suddenly.

Ahead
A stranger on a low wall blowing bubbles

A flock of iridescence floating on imagined breezes

Meeting and morphing
Exploding with joy
Scattering away, up, out of sight

Summer snowflakes

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On August 20, 2015 @ 6:10 am

The word: Floribunda

She tended her garden before learning how.
Her children, too, tended
Works in progress
Blooms, thorns, draught, rains, and floods

Looking out over it all,
the growth
the flowers
the seasons
the births
the losses

The balance leaning to saturation with joy.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On May 20, 2015 @ 10:44 am

The word: Appropriate

She feels the dimming light of late afternoon
Or perhaps it’s the truth of later, early evening.

What’s to be done.
How to push back the night

Before fire and inventions, the pushback was feeble.
Night came, a whispered announcement.
A rapid fall into quick darkness.

Appropriate, then, to move aside.

Let the young awaken.
They stretch and grow and step into place.

She’s a placeholder unready, unwilling. Pushing back.

She brawls with the seeping night.
Her campaign against the blackness intensifies.

If, perchance, she unseats the interminable darkness,
And awakens with the young,
Then what?

She wins a share of their mornings and its cycles.

Unsure when to descend the ramparts with grace.
Unschooled in defining her own appropriate.
She’s a temporal fugitive from appropriate.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On April 23, 2015 @ 7:05 am

The word: Faithful

Faithful.

Faith.

Slippery things in a kaleidoscopic life.

She found the faith of her German forbears unyielding.
Likewise, the faith of her French Catholic ancestors was not adaptable.
The small church of her childhood evolved to be equally non responsive.

I will put my faith in my people, she reasoned. They are the faithful.
Her family, a composite of the earlier, was the kaleidoscope.

They were the bedrock: quartz, sandstone, basalt, obsidian, granite.
They brought the colors of time and travel.

Igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary.
Her faith was in them and theirs in her.

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On March 31, 2015 @ 11:07 am

The word: Scattering

Scattering
(used in a good way)

In genius, ingenious nature.

With the help of the wind, a few plants
scatter their young.

Seeds float downward on the breeze,
hoisted skyward in the beak of a passing bird,
landward in the cheek of a homebound squirrel,
perhaps kicked from home by hikers, unaware of the scattering
at their feet.

The wind and the breath of a child send dandelion seeds — shaped like stricken umbrellas — bouncing away from the mother.

Thistles, dandelions, maples trees. Mother plants ask
Where are my children?

They are scattered.

Ingenious.
Scattered seeds survive, thrive, flourish, scatter their own seeds.
Too much competition with the mother plant dooms the seeds
that stay close.

Where are my children?
All mothers ask.

Scattered.

In a good way

» Posted By Sallie Sharp On March 11, 2015 @ 6:28 pm

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