Tag Archives: inspiration


Here are two poems by Ginger Andrews. Andrews is a born again Christian who owns a cleaning business and works with and lives near extended family members. There is often a bit of humor in her pieces as well as an acknowledgement of the grace imbedded in everyday life.


Prayer                                                             Ginger Andrews

God bless the chick in Alaska
who took in my sister’s ex,
an abusive alcoholic hunk.
Bless all borderline brainless ex-cheerleaders
with long blonde hair, boobs,
and waists no bigger around than a coke bottle
who’ve broken up somebody else’s home.
Forgive my thrill
should they put on seventy-five pounds,
develop stretch marks, spider veins,
and suffer through endless days of deep depression.

Bless those who remarry on the rebound.
Bless me and all my sisters;
the ball and chain baggage we carried into our second marriages.
Bless my broken brother and his live-in.
Grant him SSI. Consider
how the deeper the wounds in my family,
the funnier we’ve become.
Bless those who’ve learned to laugh at what’s longed for.
Keep us from becoming hilarious.
Bless our children.
Bless all our ex’s,
and bless the fat chick in Alaska.


Down on my knees                                        Ginger Andrews

Down on my knees
cleaning out my refrigerator
and thinking about writing a religious poem
that somehow combines feeling sorry for myself
with ordinary praise, when my nephew stumbles in for coffee
to wash down what looks like a hangover
and get rid of what he calls hot dog water breath.
I wasn’t going to bake the cake

now cooling on the counter, but I found a dozen eggs tipped
sideways in their carton behind a leftover Thanksgiving Jell-O dish.
There’s something therapeutic about baking a devil’s food cake,
whipping up that buttercream frosting,
knowing your sisters will drop by and say Lord yes
they’d love just a little piece.

Everybody suffers, wants to run away,
is broke after Christmas, stayed up too late
to make it to church Sunday morning. Everybody should

drink coffee with their nephews,
eat chocolate cake with their sisters, be thankful
and happy enough under a warm and unexpected January sun.


Arabic Coffee

Rituals can seem simple in themselves, but as acts carried out over a period of time they become imbued with complexity and meaning. The sacredness of ordinary things lies within those layers. You don’t have to understand all of this poem to appreciate it’s beauty or appreciate some of it’s remarkable lines.

Arabic Coffee                                     Naomi Shihab Nye


It was never too strong for us:

make it blacker, Papa,

thick in the bottom,

tell again how the years will gather

in small white cups,

how luck lives in a spot of grounds.


Leaning over the stove, he let it

boil to the top, and down again.

Two times. No sugar in his pot.

And the place where men and women

break off from one another

was not present in that room.

The hundred disappointments,

fire swallowing olive-wood beads

at the warehouse, and the dreams

tucked like pocket handkerchiefs

into each day, took their places

on the table, near the half-empty

dish of corn. And none was

more important than the others,

and all were guests. When

he carried the tray into the room,

high and balanced in his hands,

it was an offering to all of them,

stay, be seated, follow the talk

wherever it goes. The coffee was

the center of the flower.

Like clothes on a line saying

You will live long enough to wear me,

a motion of faith. There is this,

and there is more.


A quiz determined that Rita Dove is my inner poet.  Who’s yours?


Testimonial                                                                                                   Rita Dove

Back when the earth was new

and heaven just a whisper,

back when the names of things

hadn’t had time to stick;

back when the smallest breezes

melted summer into autumn,

when all the poplars quivered

sweetly in rank and file . . .

the world called, and I answered.

Each glance ignited to a gaze.

I caught my breath and called that life,

swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.

I was pirouette and flourish,

I was filigree and flame.

How could I count my blessings

when I didn’t know their names?

Back when everything was still to come,

luck leaked out everywhere.

I gave my promise to the world,

and the world followed me here.

Noah and Joan

Its hard to imagine having more fun than this poem does. It reminds me of a friend who’d say “In my world….”  We knew that meant if she was in charge everything would be different!

Noah and Joan                                                                      Denise Duhamel

It’s not that I’m proud of the fact

that twenty percent of Americans believe

that Noah (of Noah’s Ark) was married

to Joan of Arc. It’s true. I’ll admit it—

Americans are pretty dumb and forgetful

when it comes to history. And they’re notorious

for interpreting the Bible to suit themselves.

You don’t have to tell me we can’t spell anymore—

Ark or Arc, it’s all the same to us.


But think about it, just a second, time line aside,

it’s not such an awful mistake. The real Noah’s Missus

was never even given a name. She was sort of milquetoasty,

a shadowy figure lugging sacks of oats up a plank.

I mean, Joan could have helped Noah build that ark

in her sensible slacks and hiking boots. She was good with swords

and, presumably, power tools. I think Noah and Joan

might have been a good match, visionaries

once mistaken for flood-obsessed and heretic.


Never mind France wasn’t France yet—

all the continents probably blended together,

one big mush. Those Bible days would have been

good for Joan, those early times when premonitions

were common, when animals popped up

out of nowhere, when people were getting cured

left and right. Instead of battles and prisons

and iron cages, Joan could have cruised

the Mediterranean, wherever the flood waters took that ark.


And Noah would have felt more like Dr. Doolittle,

a supportive Joan saying, “Let’s not waste any time!

Hand over those boat blueprints, honey!”

All that sawing and hammering would have helped

calm her nightmares of mean kings and crowns,

a nasty futuristic place called England.

She’d convince Noah to become vegetarian.

She’d live to be much older than nineteen, those parakeets

and antelope leaping about her like children.


definition of milquetoast: a timid, unassertive, spineless person, one who is easily dominated or intimidated. (After Caspar Milquetoast, a character in a comic strip, 1924 first use.) Frenchified milk toast!

Trouble with the Soul at Morning Calisthenics

The soul is hard to pin down and now I know why.  “Soul” is a very rich writing prompt.  Set a timer for 7 minutes and try it.

Troubles with the Soul at Morning Calisthenics                                     Anna Swir


Lying down I left my legs,

my soul by mistake jumps into my legs.

This is not convenient for her,

besides, she must branch,

for the legs are two.


When I stand on my head

my soul sinks down to my head.

She is then in her place.


But how long can you stand on your head,

especially if you do not know

how to stand on your head.

Catherine Parrill’s Memoir


Everyone has a different process when they are writing.  Cathy has been working on a memoir about her connection to Haiti and some of the important relationships & life changing experiences. Her "scroll" otherwise known as a  huge roll  of brown paper holds a visual map and some of the paper or resources that document the story as well.  In class we've been privileged to be part of story -seeing it develop and to meet some of people in it.
Everyone has a different process when they are writing. Cathy has been working on a memoir about  Haiti and her time there, and some of the important relationships she developed, and life changing experiences she lived, and is living. Her “scroll” otherwise known as a huge roll of brown paper holds a visual map of  the story and some of the papers or resources that document the story as well. In class we’ve been privileged and delighted to become part of the  story -seeing it come together and to meet some of people in it.

Trying by Nancy Pagh

This is the poem and quote I’ve been using this week in writing circles.  This lovely poem has been  responsible for great discussions on taking risks, fathers, and more.  Wonderful writing in response as well to the quote below from Sheryl Sandberg and how it is to be a woman in the world.

If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.                        Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

Trying                                                                                                 Nancy Pagh

The people I love best are the ones who try: the aged

who rise early each morning and part the clump of coffee filters

with arthritic fingers—and the others who stay up

late after working all day in retail, hot pink curl of ear

pressing the receiver, listening to the friend who is selfish

but in agony now. I love the men who are fathers

to children, not buddies not video-game rivals not boys

themselves but clumsy men who ache over the fragility of sons,

but preserve the fragility of sons despite what everyone says.

I love those who feel no skill has come to them innate,

who will hold their small inland dogs again and again

above the sea on vacation, to watch in amazement

the knowing animal body that paddles through air. I love

the B+ student. The thick-chinned girl always picked

fourth when choosing sides for the softball team.

The lover who says it first. The lover who says it second

after a long, long pause. The lover who says it knowing

the answer is no, no, I am too broken. People who knit

things together. People willing to take things apart

and roll all the strands of yarn into new balls for the next time.

The woman who loaded her backseat full of blankets and drove

for three days to the hurricane site.  Even the loafer who tries

his mother’s patience, who quietly speculates and eventually

decodes the universe for us all. Believe me, I have tried

to love others, the meager personalities who charm and butter,

the jaded the cynics the players and floaters all safe

in their cages, this life no responsibility they can own.

They see it too—how trying is always a risk,

a kind of vulnerability some choose for ourselves because

our fathers taught us well, our fathers taught us to try

to remain as fragile and full as this world that loves us.

The author of the poem wrote “Trying” as a response to the poem, “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy.  I found the poem in The Pen and the Bell, Mindful Writing in a Busy World by Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes. Nancy Pagh wrote her poem as a response to “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy