Pausing in Nature on a Mothers Day

(Photo found on Google Images.  Swaner Nature Preserve, Summit County, Utah)


Thank you

for sky

for cloud

for current bush

for buzzing bee

for hiving systems recipe for happy

yellow energy


Thank you

for sun

for trees

for redwing black bird’s

call for keeping

me at bay

in perimeters of color


Thank you

for boardwalks slow walk

living waters

nipping toe-dip footbridge

for pussy willows gesture

for stalwart cattails

fluffy grassy pillows

for bedding mule deer


May all the two-legs and large ears

Hear well these prayers

for you and you and you

and may we ably pay to keep these spaces

open, safe, and more than simply on display

but cherished

wrapping all our children in wisdom and beauty


for grazing sand hill cranes

for fox and timid cottontails

and keep away the strange and wild




who come in tarry clouds of never ending

climbs and S- curves

slave ways East to West, a hundred yards abreast,

a million miles in all directions


ghastly assailants raging on


and trying to pass even their own reflections on the window panes


Ha! Ha!

But I am quite content

to pause here in the stillness

for fixing and holding gaze across the great unknown

somehow I know I’ve chosen wisely

in gracing sane and sacred space

a world away and closer to divinity

Praise God!

for wise and fertile Earth

and all Her loving



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Present Company Included, Maybe… No, Mayflies


It’s raining everlasting

mayflies on the windshield

on my skin and in my eyes


flies May


no disguising

the swarm of napalm grey poupon

clockworks Springing


I raise my hands to a rite of passage

a prayer to God

I am, they are, thy will, thank you

a million minute whispers

soft and silent,  falling kisses

on a child’s sticky milkweed fingers


they linger in kinetic stillness


remain or step aside?

wonder wanders on to what, when, why

the what:  I’ve yet to find in walking on

the when:  I’m told will blush to pink in timing

the why:  lies deeper in the now



I think Eckhart Tolle should know

the meaning rests on wings of mayflies


and here,

and here, and now


I envy what the mayflies are and have or haven’t got

hovering weightless in a reckless loose-looped knot

side winding wind


no thought for thoughts

unbound by words

a swarm of ever-present metaphors

then gone

punctuated yellow

on the windshield



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Divining Rod



The well went dry on Earth Day

What more can I say?

which might be better served and saved

in swilling swell a wishing well into existence

oh, savory sweet imagination bring living water

to doubtful divining rods


and yet I know, the light of the Lord is my strength

I will not thirst.


He fills my cup to overflowing, like Grandma did

a cherished vessel, tireless in giving

much like a special tin cup meant just for me

perched on the top shelf, worn and waiting

high on the shelf of best-loved memories

The kind of love that filled a well to never failing

in the early years




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If a poem


if a poem       by Heidi Robertson


if a poem were a puppy, I’d never let go.

if a poem were a teacher, would she bravely say, “NO!?”


if a poem were a person would she friend or foe?

would she tug-o’-war words? would she leave or stay on?

in the end:  only change



on for hours, adds more cream for reduction

keeps just the right temp

stepping, lining, swirling, lofting

bringing her to a bowling royal softball stage

revision upon revision


until a slab of buttery sweetness


wrapped in sweet caaaaaaarahhhhhhhhmehhhhhhllllllll


if a poem were a tenant would he pay for brain space?

would he fire up the grill, down a cold one,

or in case, the long sprawl balls up, six hundred bucks short

will he hold up close-blinded with convention’s cohorts


Try to grasp the problem with diction and rhyme. No use.

It bleeds truth where high tech suture glue won’t hold.

In the end you’re on your head, butt up in a parking lot

and all the reusable grocery bags in Park City and Colorado

won’t deliver what you want or need.


poems in your head get away


blow willy nilly to the landfill

while one is lodged between car seats,

up-dog with receipts, paying transient tax


if a poem were a bouncing child would she ask you to play?

cry jubilation or fall rainy day to dodgeball

Would she stay on the fence, rather than risk rejection?


for a month some worship all things poetry

glorying Oliver, Strand, Neruda’s socks, Keats

you track in, week two, in sweat shorts and muddy cleats on a sunny day

no problem

the contest said a poem a day, you paid the money

after thirty years, does any of this matter? maybe


you listen

knowing poems are indifferent to catch and release

but you are moved to write anyway


in the end all anyone wants to hear, to read, to write is…

you are beautiful, needed, useful, loved

and heard


still you wonder

can a wild thing be loved beyond catching, touching, naming?

there is no taming it

“Try as you may,” the wise say,

“There is no holding on, so do it for the joy.”


If a poem were a critic

could it bring itself to say, shoe on the other foot,

“Clean it up!”

or would it hang the UDOT placard more softly

Surveying with binoculars

Sizing up a safe scene, the rolled semi drooling a puddle?

What would a poem see in authenticity and form beyond a ton of kitty litter?



hazmat day was yesterday

today all things are new!  Woot Woot!


we read, we write, we smile, we sigh,

go home with hand-outs

realizing we’ve left a space we’ll likely never occupy again

like yellow legal note pads waiting a second read

let it go


then off to a second and third job

bussing tables, pushing a yellow cart

partner with mop, and broom while streaming bag liners keep time


She hangs the sign like tomorrow’s school schedule

“Closed For Cleaning”

which makes passer and poet panic cuz we need to go even more now

from drinking too much coffee and thinking poetry


she holds her tongue

graciously waits the flush and hand wash

the passing feet

the door swing

then she cleans up as if we were some of her own kids at home


so we can play

with wonderful






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On the Patio at Library Square


On the Patio at Library Square, by Heidi Robertson, 4-15-2018

Where in the world have all the homeless come from?

Patrons more genuine in presentation than somber friends of libraries

How came these soiled squatters to our fine city, dust jackets reveling in the sun?

What can their clothes confess that pressed and proper only beg to say?


That homeless are authentically preserved in ways affluence can’t procure

The humble do not moan the open sunny spaces; don’t wrongly take what privilege

fails to say in eye contact, in shuffling leather attaches, in cutting decks,

in tossing hair and cash, in loading apps for sweets and coffee, unacknowledged perks


Yet from a thickset sunny space, a tree-ringed face raised up, appealing not her plight,

But barefoot, with a single shoe and wallet, fraternal twins in wear and masculinity

Advanced tentatively, a hopeful conversationalist before a gawking judge and galley.

Then, with a dark-roast, toothless smile brewing, she whispered,


“I’ll come back when it’s not so busy,” and went outside to pray for the entitled.












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Meow meow meow meow meow: Henrietta Pussycat Tries on Her Art Hat


(Painting by Susan Herbert)  This painting works so well with the quote to come!!!

I wondered what scary things might ruin a purrfectly good day today.

Turns out, Friday the 13th held plenty to celebrate!


  1. Cookie ate school breakfast, which meant she had a full tummy and a better disposition from the get go. Three Cheers for Cheetahs!
  2. We danced to John Jacobson’s Youtube Happy Feet.
  3.  There may have been a break through (hoping for a truce)  for two little boys who have been feuding since first grade. (crossed fingers)
  4. Practicing cursive is a hand cramp on any day for some students, but today it was a bit more tolerable and even fun as we tackled Shel Silverstein’s very hungry… Dragon of Grindly Grin (limerick). Plus, the Coo Coo for Coco Puffs teacher read and acted it out in animated fashion.

5. Spaghetti day and homemade rolls.  Yesterday, I wanted the kids to quietly follow me  back to class.  As we passed through the lunch room, the heavenly aroma of baking pizza took us to an olfactory high equal to Art.

I  announced, “Mmmmm. Take in that smell!  Mind you, you don’t need your voice to smell.  Your nose is NOT connected to your mouth, so PLEASE stop talking. Within a few steps I realized I had been incorrect, so I apologized and retracted the statement.    Today, a child pulled a spaghetti noodle out of her nose and said, “SEE!”

6. Science:  Book writing and debriefing.  Model making and debriefing  amber and mold & cast fossils went well.  (Good News:  My fossil book demo diagram of a wooly mammoth looked like a wooly mammoth.  She had a big tusky stash.  Better News: My diagram of mummified King Tut looked like an Ulta or Sephora teen cosmetic poster child and less like the wooly mammoth. Although, Tut did have a tufted soul patch beard.

7.  Increased happy laughter, especially from one little boy whom I  hadn’t heard laugh out loud for months due to a strong medication he’d been taking.                                    (Meta-cognitive note to self:  Remember smiles and laughter are signs you are doing something RIGHT!)

8. Yay! I finished a favorite read aloudThe Liberation of Gabriel King.  THEY LOVED THE BOOK.  Me too….again, again, again.  It is a staple read each year I repeat 4th grade.  I’m going to miss reading this book out load and engaging students in impromptu questioning, predictions, and commentaries.  (Sigh.) Truly.  I will have to think of my change in position as a kind of “moving up” and be brave like Frita Wilson and Gabriel King.  Uh huh.

9.  More SCIENCE I learned something new from my students that rates up there with “Did you know perfume comes from the butt of a whale?”  Apparently, in a past civilization, (which one was unknown) people were sometimes sacrificed (weren’t sure why) after drawing lots. The person who got the black piece of bread was thrown into a bog.  The bacterial content in the bog itself would preserve the body so well, modern scientists have been able to lift finger prints from the preserved corpse’s fingers.  Freaky!!! Cool.  There are people living today who have the same dNa as some of the bog people!  This explains all the walking dead I see at Starbucks each morning! 🙂

10. Finally, Art Cat Wore an Art HAT!!!!

Of all the blessings of the school day, this TOPPED ALL!  (I know, bad pun.)

I was complimented for my painting, even though,  I don’t feel the need to be complimented.

“Mrs. R, your painting is so good!  You are a “pure” artist!  You are as good as the artist who painted the Mona Lisa!” said Petunia.

“Thank you for that high compliment,” I replied.  I was happy she was happy. She carries more sadness than a child should have to carry.

Side note: Some kids are quick to seek affirmation for their artwork.  This must be symptomatic. There is an insecurity that prevails in the mindset of American children and adults. Why do so many insist their Art must be judged. I often think… Please, don’t ask me, “Is it good?”  Tell me what makes you happy about your creation.  I would like to remove the judgement mindset somehow.  I wonder if it is possible.  As I move into my new capacity, I want children to learn to be present and to appreciate the “Joy” of entering into creative process more than they feel the need to be praised by me.

So, after an hour of silent water color painting to Spa music, the children and I were resonating blissful. When the bell rang to go to recess, it felt irreverent to break the silence.  We were in another dimension.  I could have gone straight home and taken a nap.  It was that good…..and I am not a napper!

So all in all, FRIDAY THE 13TH wasn’t scary at all. 

Hat’s off to a purrfectly choreographed day!


(Disclaimer:  Testing happened.  It just didn’t make my top ten list, unless you count the essay portion.)







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If you give a child a cookie…


(If it was a hard day for me…..chances are… was a harder day for her.)


If you give a child a cookie

maybe she will be grateful

maybe in her heart she’ll feel

you really care and remember it


You know that she hasn’t had breakfast for the last three mornings



Chances are she won’t let on.


She’ll devour the cookie,

run outside and within five minutes

throw a kid off the Big Toy and laugh at her for crying


Chances are…no good deed will go unpunished

Thanks to the Law of Sublimation

You’ll be feeling crummy

as you’re repaid with the usual arguing, sass, and back-talk

within the hour.


If you help a child with homework

maybe she will learn,

maybe not

Chances are,  the teacher won’t learn her lesson either…

and will make the same attempts and failures again and again

erring on the side of the kid


The child will remember 5% of what you taught her

in spite of all the time and prep and effort

while you know deep down,

you could have divvied all that Grace and all those minutes

to the other twenty-three

knowing you’ll not see the work of “the one” return the next morning.


If you give a child a muffin,

wait with her, watch for that “promised” someone

not show up,

you read with her, make excuses for the one who broke the promise,

and then gift an extra copy of the coveted Dork Diary chapter book

to her, because you know she wants it so much

knowing she doesn’t have her own books at home,


Chances are she may never be able to read it.


If you buy a child some fashionable snow boots

for a Thanksgiving Eve doorbell ditch,

If you supply another homework folder, and another, and

three more adhesive multiplication charts,

and days on end of lunching

and hours of listening to nonsense in the deafening lunchroom,


If work endless, after-school hours

composing and sending email for and in her behalf,

making the “really hard calls”


Don’t be surprised if

one day

all “the parents”  crawl out of the wormy woodwork

come to town in a dirty dust cloud demanding impromptu meetings and action

only to broadside and defame you to your face

in front of your boss

and maybe even in front of the child,

who may even join in for a crazy chorus


If you give and give and give

to children

don’t expect positive emotional cash flow

Life’s not Fair and Love is sometimes hostile

don’t expect folks to be kind

or the team to be professional

Truth is….the work’s not Safe and is prone to



If you give a child a cookie

don’t expect anything in return but some of their cavities

Every day is an inequality and a wonder

and only the roughriders survive to rope and tie down fleeting smiles


I wake to humble and realize

(sometimes at 3:00 in the morning)

I’m middle-aged, stuck, afraid, and lonely

No one can help

and there are just some things that school can’t fix

politicians just don’t get it

no one seems to get it and I am invisible



I tell myself again….

People are more important than things

more important than test scores

most of my life I’ve believed it too

and this, while being beaned in the head by a kids’ cookies


Sometimes I think: This is not what I signed up for

but it’s what I got


I try to change my thinking to

If you give a child a cookie….


just smile and let it go.




















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