Friday, July 5, 2024

Fox Listens poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday!  Be sure to visit watermelon-juicy Jan at bookseedstudio for Roundup.

Paul and I were talking about how it feels like we are in a new chapter, and it might be called the "Two Dips a Day" chapter, because lately we have been taking a morning dip and an evening dip in the lake! 

Unfortunately, the reason for the double-dips is I have the hives...oh, the itching is like being on fire. Awful.

 So maybe this is the universe telling me I NEED a new chapter. It can be really hard for me to slow down and relax. I have to make time to DO NOTHING. And to do nothing in the water with all the lake-joy lizards, frogs, flowers, breeze, laughter, splashes, etc... glorious respite from the itching...AND with my best friend beside me...ahhh.

Also, I posted over at Smack Dab in the Middle on the topic of mystery, as in the mysterious source of our power, writing, and creativity. You can read the post here. 

That brings us to this week's reading life, which has been lovely! I'm still thinking about Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. The book examines the aesthetics of joy, things like abundance and harmony and surprise. It gave me some new ideas for ways to further infuse my daily life and living space with joy.

And how about Black Girl You Are Atlas by Renee Watson? It's a short collection of poems beautifully illustrated by Ekua Holmes, and I found a lot ot love!

The poem "Love Shows Up" is basically a list of all the ways love shows up in the speaker's Black girl life. My favorite stanza:

"Love shows up in spring when the leaves return to trees,

keeping their promise that they'd be back."

The poem “Penny Fountain,” which is full of wishes, ends with this:

"Wish for healing the invisible, aching places.

Wish for someone to love you the way you need it.

Wish for no need

for wishes, for no prayer to go


“Lessons on Being a Sky Walker” opens with these lines:

"When they tell you

the sky is the limit, vow to go past that."

The poem "Underbelly" is a list of ways to think about one's body. I especially love this line:

"Black girl body be lighthouse."

"Turning Sweet Sixteen” opens with a challenge:

'But what if I want to be sour? What if when you ask me, How are you?

I tell you the truth. I am not fine all the time."

Here's a favorite line from the poem "What I Know About Rain":

"Sometimes rain is just rain."

The book ends with the poem with a marvelous message for girls of all ages and ethnicities:

"Love It All"

All your body parts, all your imperfections, everything. Lovely!

It's been a week of listening -- listening to summer, listening to my loved ones, listening to my body. No wonder for my ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem I was drawn to this rendering of a little fox listening by Oregon artist Jennifer Lommers. I wanted the ending to go against what one might expect! Thanks so much for reading (listening). :)

Fox Listens

Fox listens as light stirs

the forest floor

Fox listens to the deer


Fox listens as stones

call across centuries

Fox listens to beetle and owl,

to lichen-sheathed log

all of them singing

the same refrain

forget me when I'm gone

- Irene Latham


  1. Oh I hope you feel better, Irene! Thank you for the resources and the lovely fox poem.

  2. Dear Irene,
    Appreciations for this bountiful lake of summery imagery & reading ideas. Renee Watson creates the magic mojo in her story sharing - novels & poems. Glad to see these highlights in BLACK GIRL YOU ARE ATLAS.
    I luv the Jennifer Lommers fox folk art & your foxy poem ... the deer line especially works magic with the closing surprise line.
    [on hives: hoping your hives are gone now. Once in my late 20s, a time associated with a huge upset, I suffered hives & my md. tasked me with putting a specific script. ointment on them, over which I was to tape Saran-Wrap-like paper! I made squishing sounds at work, as the hives were on my upper thighs. In a few days, they vanished, but who knows why? Hope your md can offer relief, as hives are beastly. Glad you have Paul & the lake to soothe you.
    Hugs, but not on your hives!

  3. Do you know the source of your hives, Irene? I have a lot of thoughts about them (I get shots for mine!). I like "wish for no need for wishes" and the Fox listening to the deer vanish. xo

  4. Woah. Renee Watson is a fav of mine and Eukka Holmes is the person who most me to try mixed media...I simply must read 'Black Girl You are Atlas' Thanks for the tip! Sorry about the hives...but cheers for double dipping. I have had tons of fun writing this week but nothing to share yet. Off to visit Jan..."forget me when I'm gone" what an unusual parting.

  5. Irene, thank you for the wonderful snippets from "Black Girl You Are Atlas" Your sweet listening fox does bring a surprise at the end. I had to go back and read again, imagining all the different beings "singing the same refrain." The fox is so sweet. He really is listening.

  6. Fox Listens is haunting, Irene --in a gorgeous-I-want-to-remain-there way. Fox does appear to not want to let go of all that she hears.

  7. I'm so sorry about those miserable hives. I hope you have relief by now.
    Your surprise ending for the Fox poem accomplished a surprise. We had a fox that killed one of our cats. While they are beautiful, they are hunters by nature. Thanks for the snippets of Renee Watson's book.

  8. I am officially beginning to gather titles for this August's Sealy Challenge. This one is the top of the list. Gorgeous illustrations. Gorgeous snippets. And your fox! What Margaret said about the surprise ending!
    Sorry to hear about your hives. Glad you have a best friend and a lake for double dipping! Hope you heal soon!

  9. I'm so, so sorry you are dealing with hives. My mom has been dealing with them long-term, so I hope yours go away quickly! But a two-dip a day sounds pretty good. It's so hot that it seems necessary. I think I might need to get that Joyful book. I bought BLACK GIRL, YOU ARE ATLAS on one of my indie bookstore trips. And I'm happy to report that I FINALLY found a suitcase for my stickers at a thrift store with a writing buddy this afternoon. Many thanks for the amazing idea! I will post when I have it fully decked out. Also, we have a lot of rogue foxes in our neighborhood, which means we don't have rabbits, which makes me a little sad. But I think this poem just might make me view foxes in a different way...

  10. Irene, I hope your beautiful lake soothes your itchy body. It is so annoying to feel itchy, especially in this heat. Thanks for the look into "Black Girl You Are Atlas" by Renee Watson. There are so many lines that resonate with me. Your new ArtSpeak poem is a gem and the ending is exactly what I did not think would appear. Since my weekend was jam-packed with family events, I am making rounds slowly throughout the week.I hope the itching does not linger. I use Mometosone cream prescribed by allergist for my summer itches.


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