saying yes (to a poem)

img_0757Lately I’ve been trying to simplify my schedule, opting for Nover Yes; looking for ways to streamline and pare down. It’s not just that the holidays are busy, or that family is busy, or that applying to schools in New York is busy – although all of those are true. I am realizing that my longing for less is a sign that should not be ignored. It’s not laziness and I’m not in danger of becoming bored if I take a day off. My brain cells are not all going to wither away and dissolve into nothingness if I say No (to the contrary, that’s when I will finally have the time to think and to create again).

But. I said Yes to something this past month. I almost dismissed the idea altogether – without even considering it – and then, hesitantly, opted in. And it has been surprisingly, refreshingly wonderful.

I said Yes to writing a poem every day during Advent.

Now, I love to read poetry, but I am not a poet. I have not taken any classes on the actual craft of writing poetry. But having both the structure and the freedom of this daily discipline was beautifully empowering for me: I have not written regularly – let alone daily – in years. I know I need to reflect, I know it’s a practice that’s good for me. But having this form – both familiar and unfamiliar – to help me do it, was fun and freeing. Some days, I wrote haikus. Some days, I wrote acronematic poems. (Some days I had a stomach bug and didn’t write at all.) I got to play around. I didn’t have to be an expert. It didn’t have to be perfect. It didn’t have to be long. Writing every day didn’t need to mean writing down all your thoughts and feelings and making sense of them all and coming up with a profound and moving thought at the end.It also didn’t have to be pouring out my innermost heart and prayer requests. It didn’t have to be vulnerable or emotionally exhausting. But it could be. It could be anything I wanted – or anything I needed.

Turns out, it’s good for me to write every day. Christmas came and went – and I missed the discipline of my evening poem. On Christmas night, I composed a poem in my head as I lay in bed; I thought about writing it down, but suddenly felt unsure. Advent was over. Wasn’t that the deal? A poem-a-day during Advent. But I missed it. I still do.

In the meantime, as I figure out how I move forward (Poems for Epiphany, anyone?), I thought I’d share a few of my Advent Poems here (you’ll notice they aren’t particularly “Advent-y” in terms of content…Maybe next year I will reflect more on the season and less on myself).

And I leave you with these questions:

  • What can you say Yes to?
  • How can you make space for reflection (without judgment) in your life this year?




I tire of having a “big heart.”

Of “feeling the feels”

Too much.


It’s exhausting, you know —

every decision: the weight of the world.


I long for the easy life,

and covet not those who have more,

but those who have less —

of the “feelings,” that is.


What might it be like?

To see the sun rise,

and simply think:

“It’s Tuesday”?


(I don’t always love

loving so much.)



Hot Food  (12.05.18)

The irony

of loving hot food,

but also wanting

to savor every bite.

So that, inevitably,

the last is always cold.



Just a Tree  (12.15.18)

There’s so much sadness

in saying goodbye.

Some of us love fiercely.


Who can know?

The great wave of emotion —

the way it surges and pulses,

rising up inside until your chest feels ready to burst.

It’s more than a heart can bear,

and comes spilling out of the body.


I watch as tears run down his cheeks.


I — of all people —

should be able to understand.

Isn’t empathy my jam?

And yet, I don’t.

I grow cross, and crosser still,

unable to muster up any tenderness

(plenty of which he has shown me,

in my own moments of uncontrollable emotion.)


Despair and longing fill his eyes,

which he rubs as he avoids eye contact.

But all I can say is:

“Come on, let’s go. Enough already.

It’s just a tree.”



Frankenstein  (12.17.18)

Sometimes,“Nothing’s impossible”

feels like an empty lie.


I don’t want someone else to tell me —

“All things are possible,

with God.”

Because I don’t know,


if I believe




He created the universe,

and everything in it.

But sometimes doesn’t creation

spin out of control?

After all,

just look at Frankenstein.



The Christmas Party  (12.19.18)

They say

“a mother’s work

is never done,”

as if it’s a badge of honor,

something to be celebrated.


But they have it wrong.


Why should we celebrate

the endless dishes,

the mounds of laundry

to be sorted, folded, washed?

The neverending teacher gifts

to be made or purchased, put together;

Notes of thanks to be written.


(Not to mention — of course —

the hands to be held,

fears to be eased,

tummies to be rubbed.)


But now,

I would love

to go to a Christmas party.


In past years,

I found them burdensome —

at best.



I long for an invite:

a night out with friends

and dangly earrings.

Lipstick, perhaps.



we wrap presents on dirty floors,

texting each other

about our kids.




Filed under advent, blogging, children, faith, god & faith, motherhood, parenting, poetry, resolutions, Uncategorized

2 responses to “saying yes (to a poem)

  1. Kristen

    Wow. I love these poems so much and I’m so glad you said yes to this challenge. Keep writing, dear friend.

  2. tutu384

    Haha! I loved the hot food and the tree ones the very best!!! Great challenge for you to accept!

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