All we need is love?  

This past session, we focused on writing using a form, originally created by Terrance Hayes as a way to honor Gwendolyn Brooks but now morphed into honoring any poet/poem. Here is the  “Golden Shovel” approach to writing poems:

Select a line(s) from a poem you like. Use each word in the selected line(s) as the end word for each line of your poem. Keep them in order. Your poem doesn’t have to be about the same subject. Give credit to the poet who wrote the original line(s).

To the reader of the new poem (below), you might also like to read the end words, alone, and find the original lines from (in this case) Dickinson there.

Don based his “Golden Shovel” poem on the first two lines of
Emily Dickinson’s “Love reckons by itself — alone.”

Love reckons by itself — alone —
“As large as I” — relate the Sun
To One who never felt it blaze —
itself is all the like it has —

by W. Donald Wheeler

All we need is love
the songster-poet reckons.
Maybe so, but hard to come by.
Perhaps it’s not love itself 
but the ability to love — alone —
that lets us feel fulfilled as
much as we’re able. In large
measure, loving is as hard as
accepting love — well — I
find. Can you relate?
More likely, one is the
Moon, the other the Sun. 


The End of the Drought


by Jacqueline Poehlman


A hazy desperation lurked in the grass

The parched silence of wilting;

crisp and desperate.

Until the forceful impact of the first droplets

springs forth a moist freshness,

a joyful noise of optimism,

applauding our courage to survive

and leaving us a new beginning.

Close Encounter

by Don Wheeler


We left sunny Paradise

the village

for the golden show

of Tahquamenon Falls

Mr Black Bear

galloped out the woods

not after us

we just got in his way

I braked & swerved

he did neither

turned our fender

into a concaved tangle

we were mad

we were scared

we were thankful

we could continue

Just like Mr. Bear

Harvey, 2017

by Nessa McCasey


Storms become personal

when they flood your home.

When it happens to you

the name of Harvey becomes

a nasty man rather than a storm.

He is a mean uncle or a corrupt

politician; a robber or a disaster;

a transformative social change

or something to ignore.


On Monday evening, August 28, the Spiritual Expressions group met and we wrote from a poem by Dermot Healy called Storms. I hope that Harvey will indeed offer gifts in disguise…


by Mary Raab


The storms that wreck you

are gifts in disguise

like a Picasso painting

you rearrange

jagged, mis-shapen edges

to make something new

and beautiful.


(Mary wrote this her very first time in the group!! Well done!!)

Hymns for Mankind

by Donald Wheeler

Speaking with respect.
Touching with restraint.
Listening with thoughtfulness.
Answering with kindness.
Helping without condescension.
Loving the soul of the reprobate.
Appreciating the humanity of the fool.
These humble things would make the world a better place.

When immigrants are welcomed home.
When strangers are greeted with respect.
When a medley of skin and words, of dress and hair
is valued as the pot of gold at rainbow’s end.
When exclusion is at last excluded from our thinking.
When the value of a lesson matters more than its source.
When our search for truth ignores political bounds and
all other preconceptions.
Then will we be on our way to proving mankind can survive.

written during April 2017.