Questions Bring Understanding

National Celiac Disease Awareness Day is one example of a time to ask questions to fully understand another person’s experiences and needs. In Dictionary for a Better World, the Try it! encouragement today is to ask questions to start a conversation the next time we are curious about a person’s experience, and allow their comfort level to drive the conversation. I couldn’t agree more – it’s okay to ask questions to increase awareness.

The poetry form introduced on pages 74 and 75 for the word question is a villanelle, which is a 19-line poem with two rhymes throughout, made up of five tercets and a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet recur alternately at the end of the other tercets and both repeat at the conclusion of the final quatrain. As I was writing this post, a redbird broke the silence with a tweet – and inspired this poem.

Heavenly Tweet

A red cardinal feeds at my window
Singing a song of praise
That’s my mother tweeting a heavenly hello
Fluffing crimson feathers, putting on a show
Reminding me to be kind in my ways,
This red cardinal feeding at my window

Everything I do, and everywhere I go
Honoring her legacy in all my days
That’s my mother tweeting a heavenly hello

She checks in from above on her daughter below
As I make way through the maze
This red cardinal feeding at my window

She shows up to say I’m still with you, you know
Yes, I’m right here beside you always
That’s my mother tweeting a heavenly hello

She brings me such joy, her halo aglow
I smile through my tear-blurry gaze
A red cardinal feeds at my window
That’s my mother tweeting a heavenly hello

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

3 Replies to “Questions Bring Understanding”

  1. What a fitting moment for your visitor to arrive and inspire this beautiful poem and “heavenly hello” from your mother. I enjoy reading about people’s experiences with cardinals at the most unexpected times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, that is lovely. It’s not the first time I’ve read of your feathered friend reminders of your sweet mama. Nice rhyming words chosen for your villanelle. So natural-sounding! My favorite line is: “I smile through my tear-blurry gaze”


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