Poetry is Power

Dear Naomi Shihab Nye,

Congratulations on your selection as Young People’s Poet Laureate.

Several years ago, I was fortunate to spend a weekend in your class at Asilomar. I still have the work I completed that weekend, including a detailed drawing of my childhood neighborhood. There were many magical moments as we worked together in our small group, including your recitation of “Kindness” and your sharing of the back story of that poem. To this day, it remains my favorite poem – I’ve passed it along to numerous friends and family when they’ve needed it most.

Years later, I was studying for the week at Teacher’s College when you gave the closing address. Listening to you speak, I felt such kinship with you. Whenever I’m asked who is my favorite poet, your name is the first to pop into my head.

Your words have such power and I am so very grateful for the way your words have enriched my life.

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The Girl on the Train

My friend and I were riding home on BART from San Francisco. The only open seats were the priority seats right inside the doors, designated for disabled riders. We grabbed them and sat down.


At the first stop in Oakland, a huge crush of people entered the car all at once. The last one on was a young woman, nearly doubled over. She grabbed onto the seat, looked at us imploringly and said, please, I’m seven weeks pregnant. With that, we both jumped up and she fell into our seats.


She looked up at me, and since no one had taken the seat beside her, I sat back down. She then turned to me tearfully and told me that she was in pain. Excruciating. Had to stand up in the middle of a meeting and leave work. Asked me, is this normal?


What do you say to a woman doubled over in pain in the early stages of pregnancy?


Every pregnancy is different. You should call your doctor. Have you called your doctor?


She had called her dad. He was picking her up from the train and driving her to the Emergency Room though he didn’t know why.


We rode together for the next several stops. Spoke in quiet voices. Invited calm. It will be all right. No matter what, everything will be all right.


Today is Easter Sunday. The day she and her husband had planned to joyously announce to her parents that she was pregnant with their first grandchild.


I don’t know her name. I don’t know the rest of the story.  I can’t stop thinking about her.


Today she is my Easter prayer.

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Radical Hope

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Kathy Moore has fallen into a bad habit of reading the news every morning instead of poetry. This has caused despair to creep into her writing. This year she vows to begin each day searching for the light and getting some words on the page to reflect that. She will breathe new life into the poetry project she began long ago. #writingonair

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Waiting for Rain

We wake this morning

to a gray uncertainty

the mountain that we love,

our devil mountain,

has disappeared

obliterated by ashes falling

from a firestorm

one hundred miles away

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Fallen Rain

What’s the name of that strange awareness

when you come across a new word

and then it appears everywhere?



is a word I hadn’t heard before

at least I don’t remember it – yet here it was today

appearing twice within the space of a few pages


Petrichor, the earthly scent

when rain falls upon dry ground



from the Greek words petra,

meaning stone, and ichor,

the fluid like blood in the veins of gods


Was Trudeau thinking about that, as he stood somber in the rain

Recalling rain that wasn’t rain, but bullets –

Bullets raining down while the blood of the fallen flowed


(found poem sourced from ‘Wet Ink’ by Amy Goldwasser and ‘Transubstantiation’ by Susan Firer in New Yorker magazine, November 12, 2018 and Justin Trudeau speaking at World War I commemoration, Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, November 10, 2018.)

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