Friday, August 02, 2013

Poetry Friday -- Habit

by Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void



Like a Bad Habit

The ivy is overtaking the front bed.
It approaches the lamb’s ear insidiously.
It has overwhelmed a pair of stepping-stones.
Clearly, the whole driveway is within the scope of its ambition.

I admire its tenacity.

But my will 
will dominate.
My pruner and I
will reestablish
boundaries.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2013



The theme of the recent Choice Literacy writing retreat was "Habits." We've all got 'em. Some are strong and productive, and the others eat our good intentions for breakfast.

I'm trying hard to fortify my morning habits of exercise and writing so that they are strong enough to withstand the tsunami known as teaching. I'll be keeping my best two hours for myself, but that leaves about 15 other waking hours for everyone and everything else. Seems fair, doesn't it? Check back in October and we'll see how I'm doing!

Poetry Friday is one of my favorite habits of all. Margaret has the roundup today at Reflections on the Teche.


18 comments:

  1. Thanks for your post today. I have been writing on Tuesdays for the Slice of Life Challenge about Habits of Love. This is different from daily habits. The habits that we love by, such as generosity, forgiveness, and play, make our lives more meaningful and lived with intention. Like your poem, it's about taking control of your own life and how you live it.

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  2. Hi, Mary Lee. "It approaches the lamb's ear insidiously" -- why am I picturing a Gorey illustration for that line. Good luck sticking to your habits as you head into the school year. Why is it so easy to take care of everyone else and so hard to make time for ourselves?

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  3. Mary Lee-
    Your poem made me laugh. For three years, I have been waging an ongoing war with bindweed (and teenagers, but that's a whole other post). At this point, even though I pull faithfully every day, the bindweed is clearly winning.

    On a more serious note, the Choice Literacy website sounds wonderful. Don Graves and Don Murray shared a slogan, "Nulles sin dia linea" (never a day without a line). I really do think the habit of just sitting and writing every day is what gets the job done. Now if I would only do it…

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    1. I think bindweed and teenagers are BOTH "a whole other thing!" And dealing with them might be more alike than it is different!!

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  4. Whoops, meant to say the Choice Literacy retreat sounded wonderful. I know their website is wonderful!

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  5. Love this line, tsunami known as teaching.

    I'm glad you have a plan to start the first two hours for you. Keep the balance and I will check in with you later.

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  6. Best of luck keeping your habits stuck. I like your image of the school year tsunami - I've always likened the start to falling off a cliff - similar overwhelmed, out-of-control feeling. Can't wait to celebrate your October success!

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    1. I agree about the cliff. Adds a new layer of meaning to FALL!!

      Last week's poem compared the start of the school year to going over the edge of the sledding hill.

      Seems like the common threads in our metaphors are fear mixed with giddy excitement, loss of control, and drowning. Hmm...

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  7. Vines are terrifying! I love the double will.

    My problem is that writing and exercise seem to compete for the same early morning hours. Either I write or I exercise. I can't seem to fit in both.

    I admire your tenacity.

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  8. It's so refreshing to hear about the struggle you feel as we head back into the school year. I teach, read, and write so passionately. Sometimes it feels as if I am fighting with my own will. The teaching tsunami image fits so well in my reality. Having the courage to develop habits to stand against the storm is exactly what I needed to hear today. You gave me courage!

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  9. Yes, it can be a tsunami at times! Well said! Making time for quiet reflection in the morning does help. (And I find that exercise and writing often go hand in hand.) Happy Poetry Friday!

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  10. Watch out vine! And good for you that you've established a habit - two hours of time to do as you want to do:write, exercise.

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  11. ...read as I'm listening to the music of Maria Mena, an amazing singer/songwriter who has a song called Habits. :)

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  12. I would not want to be on the other end of Mary Lee's quiet, determined, loving tenacity! Total admiration for your dedication to whatever you are focusing on. My favorite, too, is the tsunami known as teaching. I was told by a friend that the first two years of retirement would be difficult in that you have to find your schedule/new normal etc. It's supposed to be freeing and fun after all. But I still am working on this. I figured after 41 years at the helm, I could take as much time as I needed to choose my best habits. But I do need them. And since I am "staying" in education, I am seeing how I need more tenacity to keep from becoming too wild! Thanks for your thought-provoking poem. And good luck with your two hour plan. Janet F.
    Blog will happen.

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  13. You picked the perfect picture for this poem, with that great caption: "habits eat good intentions for breakfast" : ) Your poetry brings a visual story to life in my mind. Thanks for sharing. Working on my Poetry Friday debut still ; )

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  14. I found myself pitying the lamb's ear -- perfect plant selection for this poem, Mary Lee. I hope your year gets off to a stellar start.

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  15. Thanks, Mary Lee, for stopping by. I'm working on habits too, as you saw, and exercise is one of them. Care to join me in a sun salutation in the morning? : )

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  16. Hi there Mary Lee. It does take an enormous amount of willpower and discipline to make one's self write every day. I have been quite remiss in writing in my journal - I find myself catching up and just rushing through my reflections - which isn't always a good thing. Hope you regain those boundaries and put the growing ivy in its place. :)

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