A daily poetry practice to generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us, for published and novice poets alike
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Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines.
Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.
Today’s words were contributed by Barbara A. Schaal, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Poems submitted for April 15
Speaking truer truths with force
Plants dont need permission to exhale oxygen
Playing was never my forte
Dedication to Living is Work
The wise owl flying a low palindrome
Liberation invites ancestral dysfunctional patterns.
— Braveheart Gillani
His truth he questioned as he lay there
In stark wisdom silent as an owl
Oxygen coursed in dedication to him
Through neither smile nor scowl.
The truth of the matter is that I push myself
Over and over again
Huffing and puffing must breathe in oxygen
Dedication in silence
Because I have to be as smart as an owl
And convince my body to build up my resilience
— Maureen Kleekamp
Thanks, Dean Schaal. I hope anonymity takes this sentiment closer to the truth.
Thanks for your dedication, your direction, your vision
you were the oxygen as we quietly suffocated
Now, it is you who are silent
The owl of Minerva rises only after dusk.
The truth about the silent flight of an owl:
days of dedication during childhood
the joy of burning free oxygen.
Little things that brave adult America remembers
— Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Comparative Literature
Perched, a little wobbly, atop the portable oxygen tank,
The old owl drew long shaky breaths
Through transparent tubing.
Where was his famous dedication to truth now,
the healthier (for now) animals taunted,
but he kept silent.
Wisdom often does.
With the dedication to prey
of a barn owl
Silent, I listen
and gather oxygen to catch the truth.
— 2020 04 15 by Lloyd Klinedinst
The owl stays silent
while persisting in
a world where truth is
— Eric Reiss
Bleed the bird or suffocate
Lavoisier, make vast exercises of thwarted
dedication, irony lunges of
Lift the silent practice of oxygen
until the weight or the
scar exceeds all habit.
Resonating for truth the voice is lost
in the tube.
By damp night the ear awaits the owl.
Your presence eats my oxygen, perching
silent at the edge of my breath.
Athena’s owl of Truth in night’s mind, majestic
wings and golden talons so sharp you could slit my wrist.
I’m blind in your comfortable darkness, yet
fierce and hungry, too. The Indians say
your head revolves to spot the truth. My love
for you is dedication to death.
— Julia Gordon-Bramer
I spoke again my mad truth
and everyone got silent,
as if God ripped the oxygen
out of the room.
It takes such dedication
to be an owl. I always
wanted to be a dove.
— Matthew Freeman
— james goodman 4.15.20
The truth is hidden
like the legs of an owl
It takes some dedication...
— James B. Moog
Sheets with an owl, forest stripes
ladybugs and stuff
You’re supposed to be sleeping
silent and everything.
but truth is,
you’ve dedicated over an hour
in a low oxygen space under cover
to a good idea.
— Patty H
The flight of the owl is silent
Like truth starved of oxygen
And the fruitless dedication
To their lies.
— c coleman 41520
She moved past me and walked away. Stealing my oxygen.
I turned my head nearly all the way around. Like an owl.
But I did not hoot or screech like an owl. No.
But my green eyes watched her. Seeing clearly in the dark.
And, like the owl, I would be a silent killer. And I would be justified.
Because I read the bible every day and the bible says
“Fear the Lord. There must be dedication to the truth.”
But she did not fear the Lord. And she had turned my head with lies.
— Kevin Farrell
The owl watched over all of us
The symbol of stupidity and carrier
of goddess of Wealth at the same time.
There was no Truth
to be told.
We sang in dedication of the owl
And in return got
oxygen of lie to survive in
the new world named
— Jey Sushil (Track for International Writers)
We continue to breathe shared oxygen - apart
With dedication to each other’s lives.
Yet this quiet place is not silent.
The neighborhood owl calls to her mate
Two blocks away
Accompanied by the wind chimes on my deck.
— Karen Engelkenjohn 4/15/2020
The owl is silent to the call of lesser beings
unimpressed by our truth and dedication,
our plague songs and woe. She is worriless
in the night, there will be scurry and mice,
there will be air to ride on, enough oxygen
for a winged beast hunting in the dark.
— M.E. Hope
you ever seen an owl’s legs?
look it up, for a sharp intake of oxygen
a silent truth perched in our forests
they’ve got glorious, long, elegant limbs,
track star legs! hidden under all those feathers
how admirable, their dedication to flight
when they have other options
and how puzzling, the possibilities
concealed beneath our fluff
— Gabriella Martin
is truth oxygen or methane?
I've got the dedication to find out BUT
truth is a silent owl except for that one word
that haunting word, that unanswerable question
as if it gave a hoot, but I'm dedicated to ruffle its feathers
and say in defiance "Why?"
— Dan Cuddy
The Witching Hour
Last night there was a gathering of owls outside my window;
glassy eyes sad and huge.
Not the usual single lonely cry, but a forest of haunted sounds.
Tears for silent dedication and missing obligations.
Truth is the oxygen missing in the room; the devil is in the news.
Looking desperately for love and hearing only echoes in response.
Their mating calls a funeral dirge, a reclamation from the earth.
Last night there was a gathering of owls outside my window.
— Susan Lively
The owl hears what it hears but is silent.
When it speaks, it tells the truth:
oxygen is necessary for life.
Meditate and feel your breath move
in and out of your lungs. Inhale
for 4 beats, exhale for more than 4.
Repeat. Repeat. Dedicate yourself to feeling
the world still, to feeling wholly alive.
— Mary Ellen Benson
The truth is starved for oxygen
He has such dedication to lies
So many so often so outrageous
Those around him who can’t be silent
Will be removed and punished
As the owl hoots in the night
So do many of us with frustration
— Betty Springfield
The truth is
I want the o's
I want the o's of Owl, Osprey, and Orangutan,
the o's of Onion, Oyster, Octopus,
Olive, Orange, Otter, Oak
the lOud o's and the silent Ones
Of rOund mOuths and nOstrils
dedicated to breathing On and On
— January Kiefer
Life with the Virus
What dedication to our fellow man,
We are silent when we are asked to stay at home,
A rush on toilet paper, and now we no longer roam,
Instead we look for the truth of when,
We can pursue our work, our fun, our friend,
But for now we are like the owl,
Who, Who, has taken our oxygen?
Our life with the virus, when will it end?
from between the tender
yet towering blades of grass,
a glimpse of the owl
beyond my emerald world,
yielding a still moment
that his dedication
as my predator is real;
my oxygen suddenly fleeting,
the shudder of my being
For he now comes.
Great and horned mother owl
glides away from the company of her parliament
a laser-focused dedication to her fledglings
slicing like a tiger through dark oxygen of forest canopy
a silent sentinel
seeking only the truth of sustenance.
— Steve Givens
before the viaticum
round and fierce with fright
betrayed the knowing the truth without
the near silent requiem for oxygen
still dedication to one
In clotted darkness
nesting in a duvet of deceit,
the silent owl draws oxygen
dedicated to last gasps,
then soars in search of truth.
— Linda O'Connell
My mother discovered an owl in the early dark
on her way home from swimming. She retrieved him, her hair still wet,
freezing in long brown chords by the time she had returned to the car,
her damp towel now dedicated to that silent form.
We awoke to my father leading us by hand to where the small creature slept:
inside a shoebox, above the old white radiator. I asked him if he would live.
I forget if he told me the truth, or what he imagined was the truth. Later that day,
my mother, wise in matters of healing, drove us out west, to a bird sanctuary.
"He needs oxygen," she explained, "and we can't give him that."
She seemed so brave, I remember thinking, and so sad.
— Gwyneth Henke
turned the owl,
came roaring up the tree;
his dedication to the image of wisdom
came to fruition as his head came ‘round
and he glared down at me;
bringing with it more oxygen
Owl’s dedication to the bounty
Of the dark silent night
The silent darkness of the unknown
May hold hidden truths
That enrich our soul
As oxygen enlivens our bloodstream
— Carol Haake 4/15/2020
Dedication is an owl drawn to a
Like our lungs to oxygen.
The truth buried deep in its wing is
Silent as the turn of its head,
Final as the open of its eye.
— John Randall
Is there enough oxygen left?
Tell the truth.
The owl is silent and refuses to answer.
Her dedication to honesty terrifies us.
— Sharon McClinton
Oxygen for Breath
The owl sits steadfast and silent on her perch.
She, as I suppose She is, has confidence
in her dedication to her instincts.
She does not screech by day as her name suggests.
We hear her strong call for truth by night.
It is an attentive reminder, like oxygen for breath.
-To trust our instincts and hold closely to our truths.
— Laurie J
Crying in Public
Can’t say it has not ever happened
No matter your dedication.
If gnawing truth into lips
Force words into silence,
owls would not swivel
that way to you.
Feathers for Wings
I keep them in wide mouth glass pints like petrified roses, strange
how the wonder of flight seems so weightless. Under the Atlantic cedar,
I retrieve them on my knees like silent prayers abandoned at night. The owls know
I know they know I can't leave them to weather the wind. This dedication isn't love, it is
how we breathe in the dark with little regard for nitrogen or oxygen, and kiss
past midnight through morning to feast upon fat ripe hours. I shall
outfly fear when
I gather enough feathers.
— Casey Hampton
Air bound is thinned and thick
Just out of doors
Now stalled silent
Two ways to sustain motion
A feint, can I have
Whos, a golden hour owl
Her pause before
a curled white swan
Stay at Home Nocturne
DJ Night Owl spins circadian rhythm and blues
For the nocturnals holding on flashing red request lines.
Dedication—This one goes out to you from miles away,
Traveling high on radio waves untouchable but deeply felt.
Sound is oxygen in a silent life.
And although the song was written for someone else,
It is the truth I was longing to hear.
A silent moonlit dance.
against the silhouette
of an owl’s desire
Behold its prey, straining
for oxygen, in dedication
to its own truth.
— James B. Moog
Winter’s dedication storms today.
A silent burst of snow descends.
There is a gray blanket of sky.
The crisp oxygen burns in my lungs.
The hoot of an owl.
Was it me?
Truth be told, I am tired of this cold.
— Alexandra Steszewski
Never have I been so conscious of my lungs
Silent engines in my chest
Pumping oxygen with dedication
Until they don’t
Never have I been so conscious of the missing owls
The child thinks they are everywhere
In truth they are mourning doves
A species in decline
Life is built on
Silent truths and lies and
Dedication to staying
In this world with love and
Other natural forces we
Like trees filled
With oxygen and owls.
— Mary Elizabeth Horner
The silent truth,
not making a sound.
The scowl of an owl,
as it hits the ground
sucks the oxygen,
out of my chest;
I can finally rest.
— Kelley Lingle
A barred owl hoots, indicating which path I should take.
Wise beyond its years, able to see what I cannot.
There's still time for course correction, to ascertain the route that is most direct.
Oxygen fills my lungs as I inhale; warm breath escaping through pursed lips.
Dedication to finding the truth keeps me moving, silent among the pines.
— Kim Lehnhoff
Listening requires dedication and patience and sometimes courage.
One must be silent to hear the horned owl hooting in the night,
Or the telling of a terrible truth
Or the counting of breaths,
The intake of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide,
A kind of reverse alchemy,
— Pam Hughes
Last night, when we were sleeping,
An enormous owl flew from tree to tree
Outside our house--
Seeking a kind of truth
That he needed like oxygen:
A silent dedication
That we did not understand.
— Robert Henke
As the sun drops behind the hill
Vultures riding the thermals
Circle to enter cliffside roosts.
Oxygen rises from the off-gassing spring.
Frogs call, looking for mates
Trust that darkness protects them
From the silent owl’s flight pouncing prey
With obsidian-sharp-sighted dedication.
— Jo Schaper
Don’t speak foolish words today
That is how you carry grief
Them to the end, even after the oxygen
Off, you cannot be there, I know, its
mourning in the empty pews, where dedication,
becomes just another casualty, a new number
and revered, we’re sorry for your loss
times we live in, that is the
if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I’ll be here on
we’ll see each other soon, what else do I say
can give back what was lost, I feel I’m nothing but an
way over in that tree branch, an observer aloof.
At two in the morning
Suburbia lies silent.
Hunched over the computer
Completing an assignment
With dogged dedication--
Open the window for more oxygen--
Who who who, who who whoooaw
Barred owl somewhere under the stars
Lets me know the truth of who’s in charge.
— Jo Schaper
She sat, silent
In her lazy chair
Wise old owl eyes
Staring into her oxygen-rich future.
Despite her blown veins
She accepted her truth
And celebrated her new dialysis shunt
And dedication to not dying in her sleep.
— J. Thomas
My neighbor calls
When she hears the owl she worries
that it may prey on her little dog.
In truth, the dog is her oxygen.
His dedication to her, like hers to him, is unassailable.
She should worry more when the owl is silent.
My neighbor calls about the owl
When she hears it
She worries it may prey on her little dog
The dog is her oxygen
Her dedication to him,
Like his to her,
She should worry more
When the owl is silent.
stayed up 3x past bedtime, dedication
to the role of the red-eyed owl
ran into the abyss on the back of
the silent moon, no need for oxygen
lungs expanded and folded on their own,
avoidant of the dreamed truth
— Sabrina Spence
The fabled owl, silent spirit of wisdom,
of legend and fantasy, of myths and wild magic,
keeps watch through the night within oxygen rich woods,
in dark dedication, this sentinel soul,
lends truth to the stories,
— Bernie Mossotti
Headline photo: George Tsapakis via Unsplash