to find Patti Singleton these days.

Poetry Post Inspired by Some Facebook Friends


Molokai, Hawaii  I wonder... PHALL PHOTO 2013

Molokai, Hawaii
I wonder…

Had a lively conversation on FB last night, in which we all offered up some of our favorite poets. I volunteered to post our list, so others might add to it.

Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary OliverNew and Selected Poems

Rainer Marie Rilke: “Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Antonio Machado: “In order to write poetry, you must first invent a poet who will write it.”
― Antonio Machado

Francis Ponge: “My mother was an admirer of a little-known French writer whose name was Francis Ponge, a sort of parody name. Ponge was a man after my mother’s own heart. Ponge wrote in minute detail about the appearance of such things as sand and mimosa and soap. Soap particularly fascinated him. Ponge wrote long essays on the appearance of soap, page after page of descriptions of soap. He wrote a novel titled Soap. My mother translated some of his poetry. This also concerned soap.” – Jonathan Miller, in ‘Among Chickens’, Granta (159)

Rumi: “I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
― Rumi

William Stafford: “I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”
― William Edgar Stafford

Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Naomi Shihab Nye:  Elaine Mansfield and her late husband, Vic, opened (E) and closed (V) their books with the exceptional poem, “Kindness.”

Here is another special Nye poem that I love:

“I’m like the weather, never really can predict when this rain cloud’s gonna burst; when it’s the high or it’s the low, when you might need a light jacket.

Sometimes I’m the slush that sticks to the bottom of your work pants, but I can easily be the melting snowflakes clinging to your long lashes.

I know that some people like:

sunny and seventy-five,
sunny and seventy-five,
sunny and seventy-five,

but you take me as I am and never
forget to pack an umbrella.”
― Naomi Shihab NyeTime You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25

Neruda: “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
― Pablo Neruda100 Love Sonnets

Sharon Olds: 

”… to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.”

Sharon Olds (b. 1942), U.S. poet. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 18 (1993). On why writing poetry, though “always difficult,” is easier than not writing it.

John O’Donohue:  “If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.”
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

David Whyte: “The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat. Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.”
― David Whyte

Contributors to our list: Elaine Mansfield, Joseph Anthony, KåyMä-rie Liå, & Mary Friedel-Hunt.

We would love to add your poets to our growing list. Oh, and add a note about why you love your poet/s.

Author: Patti Singleton

Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the desert, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy.

23 thoughts on “Poetry Post Inspired by Some Facebook Friends

  1. Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly
    let it cut more deep.
    Let it ferment and season you
    as few human or even divine ingredients can.
    Something missing in my heart tonight
    has made my eyes so soft
    my voice so tender
    my need of God
    absolutely clear.

    Great Patti, Being part of it.
    Elaine (

  2. I love Li-young Lee, Mark Doty, and Paul Matthews. They wake me up and remind me that I am in love with the world.

  3. Lovely Post, thank you for sharing, Patti. You have wonderful taste. You too, Elaine, love Hafiz. 🙂 Here’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago that somehow fits the mix. Hope you like it.

    It’s called, Becoming


    Moving further down

    the muddied roads,

    along the tiny villages

    of water, the memory

    drips with secrets.

    Every reminiscence

    cups drops of moisture

    at its center. Filtering

    into the thinnest gullies,

    each memory’s warm

    liquidity dissolves image

    after image, lovingly,

    from the inside. Until

    one night, the past stumbles,

    and the future rises, like

    a manta ray leaping for the moon,

    like a clear word sung tirelessly

    all morning, like

    breath into prayer, like night

    into morning, loss into gain,

    eternity into


  4. Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty”
    GLORY be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
    Praise him.

  5. Great post, Patti! I’m not sure if I’ll be doing facebook…but sounds like you had an interesting discussion 🙂

    • It was actually wonderful and we all made new friends; never too many of those.
      I only joined FB because it was part of a 30-day platform building challenge that I did back in March.
      As everything else in the universe, I grab the good stuff and ditch the crabby people and things.
      Many hugs!

  6. Lovely poems from others, and I especially appreciate yours, Joseph Anthony, because you wrote it, it’s beautiful, and it brings me to the truth of living in the world of becoming, allowing change and movement, hanging on to nothing that I thought was a sure thing.

  7. Not being a part of the FB conversation or even ever having posted a comment here, I am compelled to share a few of my most favorites here, for others to see & embrace. Hope they ‘fit in’ well enough! Many you’ve posted are also in my heart.
    Anyway, here are 3 that come quickly to mind:

    1. Perfection Wasted by John Updike

    And another regrettable thing about death
    is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
    which took a whole life to develop and market —
    the quips, the witticisms, the slant
    adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
    the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
    in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
    their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
    their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
    their response and your performance twinned.
    The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
    in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
    Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
    imitators and descendants aren’t the same.

    2. forgiving our fathers by dick lourie

    maybe in a dream: he’s in your power
    you twist his arm but you’re not sure it was
    he that stole your money you feel calmer
    and you decide to let him go free

    or he’s the one (as in a dream of mine)
    I must pull from the water but I never
    knew it or wouldn’t have done it until
    I saw the street-theater play so close up
    I was moved to actions I’d never before taken

    maybe for leaving us too often or
    forever when we were little maybe
    for scaring us with unexpected rage
    or making us nervous because there seemed
    never to be any rage there at all

    for marrying or not marrying our mothers
    for divorcing or not divorcing our mothers
    and shall we forgive them for their excesses
    of warmth or coldness shall we forgive them

    for pushing or leaning for shutting doors
    for speaking only through layers of cloth
    or never speaking or never being silent

    in our age or in theirs or in their deaths
    saying it to them or not saying it –
    if we forgive our fathers what is left

    3. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
    ― Rainer Maria Rilke

    • Nancy, you are so welcome here, at this place where friends dwell and neighbors stop by to sample our wares.
      I had no idea that Updike was a poet, except that some of his novels have made my head tilt and made me wonder if I had just read a novel-length poem…
      Dick Lourie is new to me, but I like all the dreaming going on in your example…I will explore his words soon.
      Ahh, now that piece of Rilke prayer that you offered up…have you read my journals? Do you know that I have been chewing on this one for days? Of course I am trying to hard to “live into the answer.”
      Thank you!

      • I have been reading a lot of your posts, but began just recently. I either missed the part of the journal where you were chewing on the Rilke or can’t quite recall at this moment!! I’ve been chewing on that one for years!
        The Dick Lourie came to me from the movie “Smoke Signals” – a favorite of mine.
        The Updike came to me from a friend of my mom’s. My mother had shared it with her when she lost a loved one and then she shared it back with me and my sister…along with my mama’s quote “I just fell in love with it”. And I did too. I read it at her funeral, almost 5 years ago now. And I share it every time I get the chance.

      • I am so sorry for your loss. Seems she would be happy about you sharing it.
        Rilke was one of the poets that got the FB posts going. So we are grieving new friends, contemplating same poem…
        Not good w/movie titles, but I think I know this one…will check it out, just in case I have not seen.
        Oh, I meant my private journal, that is why it was interesting that you shared that particular poem!
        Take care and do come back:>)

  8. Your FB friends and you have excellent taste in poets! Great post.

    • Thank you! I’m sure they are not to everyone’s taste, but I’m glad you like them. I had a great time exploring the ones that I didn’t know and reading more from the ones I love.

      • You’re welcome! There were some real gems in your list, some I hadn’t thought about in years. I feel inspired by your post to ferret out more, so thanks for that post.

  9. I loved the Sharon Olds quote — so much to share!

  10. Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”
    ― Mary Oliver,

    I love this and enjoyed reading all of them. Thank you for stopping by my place and nice to see someone else writing about mermaids too.

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