January 24, 2021

Light and Shade

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never ending shade?

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

But seek no honor in my shadow. I will give you no hiding place down here.

Lift up your eyes upon this day breaking for you.

A Cento Poem created from lines of past Inaugural addresses. After listening and watching Amanda Gorman’s poem recitation at the recent Inauguration I became curious about past Inauguration poems. I found them and started looking for common themes between them.

The lines above are from the following poems:

Angelou, M. (1993). On the pulse of morning (Bill Clinton’s Inauguration 1993)

Alexander, E. (2009). Praise song for the day (Barak Obama’s Inauguration 2009)

Blanco, R. (2013) One Today. (President Barak Obama’s Inauguration 2013)

Gorman, A. (2021), The Hill We Climb. (President Joe Biden’s Inauguration 2021)

December 21




Whose woods these are I think I know

One must have a mind of winter to regard the frost and the boughs of the pine-trees crusted with snow

On a clear winter’s evening the crescent moon and the round squirrels nest in the bare oak all equal planets

Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold

Suddenly, in every tree, an unseen nest where a mountain would be


A Cento Poem

Lines from the following poems about winter:

Winter Trees – William Carlos Williams

Choices – Tess Gallagher

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost

The Snow Man – Wallace Stevens

Winter Twilight – Anne Porter


January 17

Some People Just Don’t Get It


Overnight the flakes have descended, and left a carpet of pure white.

Silent, soft and slow descends the snow.

No cloud above

No earth below

A universe of sky and snow

Snow is what it does. It falls and it stays and it goes.

The snow is deep on the ground. The snow is beautiful on the ground.

How is it that the snow amplifies the silence?

A cheer for the snow! the drifting snow!

This is the true religion, the religion of snow.


(A cento poem featuring lines from each of the following poems:

Shoveling snow with Buddha by Billy Collins

Patterns in the Snow by Ernestine Northover

How is it that the snow by Robert Haight

Snow-flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Snow by Eliza Cook

Snow by Frederick Seidel

Snow-Bound: A winter idyl by John Greenleaf Whittier

The snow is deep on the ground by Kenneth Patchen)