Thanks for the Words

Thanks for the Words

A smudge was reveled in front of two indentations when
I moved my reading chair to the opposite corner of my room.
My husband was the first to notice
Saying he had carpet cleaner that would erase it.

I didn’t respond – but knew this smudge couldn’t be erased,
one of countless smudges, where feet have rested over centuries.
Where I humbled myself as reader, writer, thinker… learner
longing for words to express novel ideas, ancient yearnings.

What flourished here disturbed previous certainties and riled emotions;
upon this smudge I vacillated between elation and exhaustion.
Your hard work nurtured my thinking, inspired and healed me.
Your words powered my words.

You are a part of me, I took your words in, chewed them up,
integrated those that enlarged my brain weave of previous
learning and values; and swallowed the rest for later
expulsion with other unneeded wastes.

I marveled at your effective use of words, well-crafted sentences,
plots and arguments that were well constructed.
I absorbed new ways of thinking and experimented with your skills.
And sometimes I laughed out loud as I read you.

Every time I placed my feet on the smudge on the carpet
and lowered myself into my reading chair,
I entered an exceptional place, occupied by your words.
The outcome can’t be erased. Thank you.

Patricia Bailey, 2020


I started re-reading Ted Kooser’s “The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets” at the same time I was contemplating the smudge on the carpet of my reading room, exposed as I was arranging the room for my daughter to use as a home office. Two pieces of advice in Kooser’s first two chapters resonated with me, (a) use everyday observations as subject matter (like a smudge on the carpet?) and (b) to think about who you are writing for (all the writers I have read – fiction, poetry, professional, journalistic) and make sure your writing gives them what they need. These two principles guided my previous professional and personal writing, but I needed to transfer these skills to poetry writing. I flexed my fingers and started the writing process.

The Joy of Aging


The second cup of coffee sipped quietly as the morning light strengthens
and we stretch out the stiffness.

A leisurely decision about how to spend the day in creative pursuits
nary a worrying about time-clocks and meetings.

Freedom to choose when mundane tasks are done
anytime between now and never.

Shared memories with loved ones only to discover that we lived different
lives together at the same time and place.

Comfort within ourselves as days flow from solitude to companionship
with friends who fill us for more solitude.

Laughter over things gone wrong when once
we were filled with blame and shame.

Comfort in being mortal as faith promises that a worn out body will be
replaced with a new non-titanium being.

Favorite places and times indexed in our brain to visit when current
place and time become too complicated.

Bitter-sweet memories of people who influenced our minds and our lives
but who are no longer walking the earth.

Being who we always have been even as we are different in so many ways.

I’ve been a bit morose as of late. Maybe the noise from the condo above has rattled loose my brighter side. Whatever is going on, I’ve been fretting about roads I wasn’t able to travel, opportunities I couldn’t seek out… and time has run out. Last Sunday in church, the phrase that stuck from our public prayer of confession was, “We look back with regret, rather than with gratitude.” I tried writing an essay from the depth of my morose — hoping to write my way out. It didn’t work. This is my attempt at gratitude because I really do enjoy who I am and where I’m at. If I like where I’m at, the path here couldn’t have been that bad.

Almost Open


Do we have the courage to

open our doors

to receive the unknown

Do we have the courage to

extend a hand

of compassion with risk

Do we have the courage to

learn of past sins

shrouded in deception

Do we have the courage to

probe our beliefs

pursuing truth and justice


The RDP # 46 – Open prompt brought the smile of an easy post of this photo of a shed that has been waiting in a recent photo file for just the right moment. Then I felt the nudge to express some thoughts in a style of writing that is on the edge of my comfort zone. It takes a lot of courage for me to label this as poetry when I am familiar with the perfect words and lines that are produced by the “real” poets I read. But I suppose it wouldn’t have integrity as a poem about courage if it didn’t require courage to write.

Her Very Sorrow

Joseph Hesch is a very talented poet I follow on WordPress because he so frequently expresses what my soul feels but my brain can’t find the words to express. Here is a poem that grabbed me. Please click on the link below, and maybe grab a tissue.

via Her Very Sorrow



The fading importance of
prior achievements fall golden
from trees once productive.
Catching the soft autumn light to
glimmer their glory or
as a finale to what was.


I’ve been doing some reading of books of poetry and some books and blogs on writing poetry. I was excited to read a useful explanation of using metaphors in poetry posted by  in Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft on the website dVerse – Poets Pub. A couple days later while driving through gently falling yellow leaves catching the soft autumn sunlight I had my inspiration for trying my hand at using metaphors. Not an easy shift for someone who had spent a lifetime doing and teaching technical writing.