American Robin, 2020
I saw the fledgling lying on the step
by the weekly Gazette, ran inside
for a scarf or handkerchief, some soft thing
to carry the bird to safety, as if
one dark eye,
open still, held the world’s hope.
As I kneeled at the bird’s brown feet,
his eye met mine, then closed.
I grieved what I could,
red breast and wing—
and then I got back to work.
from Singing at High Altitude (Main Street Rag, 2021)
* Poet’s Writing Prompt: Write a poem in which you encounter a bird or other (non-human) animal in an urban environment. Connect something about the animal with something in your own life. Consider incorporating a piece of clothing into your poem. You might want to pose a question, but don’t answer it completely.
I hung hope out with the laundry,
clothes-pinned tenderly beside a pillowcase
and two sheets.
I could tell she needed air—
a sweet puff of wind.
She needed to get warm again
basking in the sun.
After a few hours,
I came out with my basket and took her down.
We both felt refreshed.
She said, “Don’t put me in the closet with the sheets.
Spread me on your table.
Let your guests spill their wine and crumbs of bread.
Wash me gently; put me back in the sun.
Lay me across your bed
so I may warm you in the night.
Or put me on the children’s bed
that I might comfort their dreams.
Whatever you do,” she said,
It is the only way that I can live.”
from What Holds Us (Sarah’s Circle Publishing, 2011)
* Mass Poetry Writing Prompt: Write a poem personifying or giving voice to your hopes for the coming year. Have a conversation with them. Discover what they need from you, and you from them.
Jennifer Markell‘s first poetry collection, Samsara (Turning Point, 2014), was named a “Must Read Book of Poetry” by the Massachusetts Book Awards, 2015. Her second book of poems, Singing at High Altitude, was published in November 2021 by the Main Street Rag. Jennifer’s work has appeared in publications including The Bitter Oleander, The Cimarron Review, Consequence Magazine, RHINO, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and The Women’s Review of Books. She serves on the board of the New England Poetry Club and is a long-standing member of the Jamaica Pond Poets. For the past twenty years Jennifer has worked in community mental health and as a psychotherapist. She lives with her husband and two well-versed cats.
Ingrid Goff-Maidoff lives on Martha’s Vineyard where she walks the fields and trails around her house with a notebook in hand. Originally a songwriter, Ingrid turned to poetry when her daughters were born. She is the author of over a dozen books of poetry and inspiration, including What Holds Us, Befriending the Soul, Good Mother, Welcome, The Abundance of Grace, and has a little shop and a website called Tending Joy, which feature her books as well as a collection of cards & gifts. Ingrid’s most recent book is a collection of poems titled Wild Song.