Thursday, May 21, 2020

DMC: My #PoemsofPresence Diary

One of the silver linings of quarantine life has been the community spirit of reading and writing #PoemsofPresence together. Thanks to Margaret Simon's DMC challenge, keeping up with these "mindful poems about the present moment" on the padlet and on Twitter has not only kept me busy, it's helped to make me feel less isolated. My own focus has been on writing haiku because it makes the daily habit seem less daunting. Not that I haven't missed a few days anyway... but if you can't cut yourself some slack during a global pandemic, when can you??? I'll continue adding to my #PoemsofPresence diary over the coming week if you'd like to stop by again when the month is over.

M. H. Barnes
May 2

no presents
just presence
quarantine birthday

               May 3

               morning walk
               I count my steps
               to the next patch of shade

May 4

sorting my thoughts
into boxes
midday sudoku

Tom Lee

     May 5

     morning news
     a lively debate
     of birdsong

Sarah Laval
May 6

quarantine life
eyeing the grass
get its hair cut

May 7

afternoon tea
I welcome the sun
like an old friend

Richard Hurd
     May 9

     rush hour
     I mistake a cardinal
     for a stop sign

     May 10

     avoiding the sidewalk cracks
     six feet apart
     mother's day


Steve Schroeder
May 11

long afternoon
postponing my fresh start
one more day

May 12

florida spring
the shadow of the ceiling fan

Margaret Simon
     May 14

     no more
     or less that she can handle
     open window

Rene Rivers

May 17

hawk king
the white pickets stand
at attention

May 19

a poem stuck
to the roof of my mouth
morning breath

M. H. Barnes

     May 20

     day's end
     my mask and armor
     laid to rest

                         May 21

                         day 59
                         the moss holds on
                         by a thread


May 23

the lump in my throat
I can't swallow

May 24

a crowd of clover
sunday mass

          May 25

          home workout
          coaxing my muscles
          out of lockdown

          May 26

          the scenic route
          an empty nest
          around the next bend

M. H. Barnes

May 28

high school graduation
takes a back seat

May 29

exploded into shrapnel
days like these

Tomáš Píšek, "The end will bring beginning"

               May 30

               afternoon nap
               resting my mind
               and expectations

                         May 31

                         saying goodbye
                         in search of an ending that isn't
                         the end

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you missed last week's Classroom Connections interview with Laura Purdie Salas, you'll find it HERE. has determined that the winner of a copy of Secrets of the Loon, courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society Press, is...

Congratulations, Jama!

I wish we could extend our #PoemsofPresence challenge into June to feature more daily ditties—there are so many wonderful poems on the padlet, I can't possible share them all! But this is it, folks, only one week left to contribute your mindful poem about the present moment. (Next week we celebrate.) Featured ditties this week were by Sarah Grace Tuttle, Breighlynn, Mary Lee Hahn, and Michelle Kogan.

Carol Varsalona is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink. She's also sharing a sneak peek of her beautiful Nature Nurtures 2020 Gallery that I think you'll enjoy.


  1. Michelle, what a delightful diary...each image alone stopped me and I found myself slowing, slowing, slowing as I read through. Thank you for being such a present presence for us here.

  2. Your 'presence' is felt in all of your poems, Michelle. I especially like your cardinal stop sign poem. Going to do my best to write a poem of presence before May ends...or after. Like you said, "if you can't cut yourself some slack during a global pandemic, when can you?" - words to live by. :)

  3. I'm wowed by your collection, M.! Wonderful work. I think I could pick a different favorite every day.

  4. These are all beautiful. I wrote about a haircut yesterday -- the grass getting one has happened a few times, but not people yet...

  5. I've been postponing my fresh start for nearly three months, now, but I'm glad to see you continue your haiku habit.

  6. I love your Mother’s Day poem. That made me chuckle. What a great gift to protect your mother’s back while social distancing.

  7. I remember doing a haiku diary a few years ago in April & love looking back to it. But this year, yours seems more meaningful in our time. I've enjoyed most of these on twitter, but missed that cardinal/stop sign - perfect! Thanks, Michelle, creative you!

  8. Michelle your poetic diary of entries capture small moments and associated thoughts with much precision. No words are wasted. They each play their intended role. I too have celebrated a birthday in lockdown land this month. It possessed that vital ingredient that no virus can curtail- the love of family. The notion of having a poem stuck to the roof of your mouth is such a great analogy.

  9. I didn't imagine it, day by day amidst all the Twitter notifications and gorgeous photos and chained replies--your haiku have been stand-outs in their economy of words bearing a magnitude of emotion. The turns, the juxtapositions are repeatedly perfect, especially those last three. I hope you're hanging in.

  10. I love having all your snippets here to read together. These little poems are just perfect little pictures. I am seeking shade on my daily walks and have moss hanging by a thread by my kitchen window, so I adore how these things are placed so neatly into your haiku. Thanks for being present and being you.

  11. Michelle, congratulations on adding so many delightful haikus to your #PoemsofPresence Diary. The lawn haircut and shadows during your walk stand out as interesting perspectives on quarantine life. Would you like to offer these two with the photos accompanying them for Nature Nurtures 2020? I'd like to have a Quarantine Life addition to the gallery.

  12. I love all of them!! Perfect way to start the day with your lovely words. And thanks for the giveaway; can't wait to see Laura's new book. Happy Weekend!

  13. Wonderful haiku poems of presence! I love your "present" mind... these poems encourage me to work further along these lines. Thanks for this lovely post!

  14. What a wonderful growing collection. I'm seeing such a complete view of your month.

  15. I'm enjoying seeing all your poems nestled here together, and I like how you wove them in and out of the page. I especially like your two bird haikus,
    "morning news
    a lively debate
    of birdsong"
    Maybe the birds could take a turn in leading us…
    What a spirited cardinal, thanks Michelle! xo

  16. Oh, Michelle, I love these! Reading through these game me such a glimpse of your life and emotions. I especially loved the grass haircut and sorting your thoughts into boxes. Love!

  17. Each entry in your diary is more pithily perfect than the next. You have such a way with an economy of words.

  18. I've really enjoyed your haiku this month, Michelle - though you wouldn't know it by my lack of actually commenting! Thanks so much for sharing & for making room for others to share. XO