A Haiku

Yesterday it rained
Only for half a minute
We cheered anyway.

For the month of April, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating with poetry! Join us with a sonnet, limerick, or rhyme and link it up at Bigger Picture Blogs!


Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
                                 ~ Langston Hughes

This poem is a favorite from childhood. I’ve loved it since before I knew about racism, before I knew about poverty, before I knew about strife – even though I was born in Mississippi and lived my first years with my family of five stuffed in a tiny apartment in a place where my mom couldn’t get a job despite a Master’s Degree in Business because she was Asian and a woman. I was a child surrounded by love, therefore what could I know of racism and poverty and strife?

Though I might have scarcely understood it, this poem called to me. The imagery of stairs and the darkness of wood and shadows and the light of crystal fascinated me. I loved the motif of mother and son, the combination of warning and guidance, all coming from a place of love.

I’ve seen a little bit more of the world now, experienced a few more things, and I understand this poem with a little more clarity now.

And still the poem calls to me, singing its phrases in odd moments, like whispers scattering across my mind. And I find I’m still drawn to the same imagery, the same vision of stairs and darkness and light. It captivates me. I seek it: the stairs, the darkness, and the light.

Virtual Coffee

Happy Tuesday everyone! If we were meeting for coffee today, I’d welcome you with these banana chocolate chip muffins. (Aren’t they just the moistest muffins ever?) If we were really meeting for coffee, I’d want to share these muffins with you and read poetry together. Does that entice you – or are you rolling your eyes at me right now? If it’s the former, I’ll share a poem with you. One that keeps running in my head. If you’re among the latter group, I’ll put the poem at the end of this post so you can easily skip it.

I used to hate reading poetry in school. It always felt like teachers beat the interest straight out of any poem. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I get poems better with more life experience, but there are a handful that truly just sing to me.

Anyway, I have to thank everyone who offered suggestions to help overcome my teaching challenges with the kids at SOLD. (And I know I still owe an email or two – it’s coming, I promise!) We had a fabulous time last Saturday. I decided to teach a drawing class, working on their skills of observation to help them relearn how to see things as they really are, not as how our minds and habits teach us to see things. They really did seem to dig the lesson and art does surpass the language barrier more easily than writing. I also spent time talking with them, a kind of heart-to-heart so they had a better sense of who I am, what my goals and expectations are, and how I want to help. I think that moved things forward quite a bit, so I’m feeling much better now about the track we’re on together. All in all, it really was a great weekend. If you didn’t read my post from Sunday, you might be interested to read it – about the chance I had to spend with one of the kids’ families. I think it might be one of my favorite stories from this year so far.

The Thai New Year is coming up next week. I’m SO excited because not only is it basically a week-long, nation-wide water fight (and no, I’m not kidding – it’s tradition to get everyone wet in celebration of the coming of the rainy season), my cousins and an aunt are coming to visit. I cannot WAIT to see them! They are three male cousins who grew up together and all of them are such pranksters. It’s always a ton of laughs to be around them. They’re coming up from Bangkok in a truck and they’re already making plans to bring hugs buckets of water to toss or shoot at people along the way up. They heard it might be on the cool side next week, so they’re trying to think of ways to make the water warmer so people won’t get hit with cold water.

So, we’ve been here about four months now and last week we finally met our neighbors. We’re clearly very social people. They invited us over for a glass of wine and we had a great time with them. They’re a couple from London (though I think they’re Irish themselves). They work in publishing and enjoy living abroad in different countries. They lived in Spain for about 10 years, then Bulgaria, and now Thailand. So they have lots of fun stories to tell! I think we’ll be inviting them in return sometime later this week. It definitely would be nice to have friends so close by.

All right, I’m sure I’ve yammered on long enough now. Hope you enjoyed the muffins! And, as promised, here’s a bit of poetry for you, just beyond the button.

Join in the Virtual Coffee fun at Amy’s!




At the edge of the terrace
Beneath the vault of life
Time withers like falling leaves
The cage transforms into a swooping bird
Cutting through the darkness of night
And the daydreaming sorm
So deliberate and long

Blushing dawn,
Grant me wings
Like a bird
Soaring across the sky
I yearn not to be dirt
That turns into a star
A slave who turns into a master

Or a cage that transforms into a bird
I will leave this decaying bag of bones
This evanescent world,
Flying beyond immortal time
Into the arms of eternity.

~ Zakariya Amataya

I love that line “I yearn not to be dirt” – sounds a bit morose by itself, but in context, oh wow it sounds so hopeful, doesn’t it?


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