Trading Vows

Sunday’s Whirligig: Wordle #60

gritty, fetid, filthy, faces, twilight, home,
broken, empty, cabbage, vow, streetcar, same

The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #252

itch, track, nights, spring, willing, mission,
bell, sense, lost, stand, pay, gloss

Poets United: Poetry Pantry #303


Trading Vows

At first it was just an unreachable itch
this mission to understand how she’d lost
home. An empty sense of difference, never
knowing why she couldn’t be treated
the same as her siblings. She was broken.

Following gritty tracks of memory through
innumerable nights, willing herself to stand
firm, vowing to not give up until the face
of truth was found and would ring its clear
streetcar bell of reality for all to hear.

Then, on a spring day, realized she’d almost
reached the twilight years of her life. Had
paid far too a high a price mucking over filthy
past and its fetid smell of a cabbage patch
left too long after picking. Vowed instead,

to seek the gloss of each new moment, breathe
in its freshness, and know peace in that hard
won acceptance.

Elizabeth Crawford  5/22/16

Notes: Distantly biographical. Once lived about a mile and a half from Franksville, WI, manufacturer of Frank’s Sauerkraut. For a day or two, every fall, it was best to close all windows, turn up the air conditioner, and let the wind and rain disperse the smell of over ripe cabbage from the miles of farmland that surrounded us. Was living there when I found poetry, its inherent truth and its seemingly magical healing powers.

Image is a photo taken at the Botanical Gardens in Green Bay.

Posted in Trading Vows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Far Fetched Tale

The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #251

enter, flowers. fish, took, screen, less,
burn, hung, last, cloth, made, white

Sunday’s Whirligig: Wordle #60

evangelists, gymnast, angel, wrestle, touching, waxing,
cunning, bless, fleeces, bewildered, worsted, beyond

Poets United: Poetry Pantry #302

Zentangle Mandala #10 8-12-09 4

Far Fetched Tale

Just beyond screen
at entry way, flowers
hung above a pond
of bright orange fish,
where bewildered evangelists,
dressed in white worsted,
wrestled over blessed angel
(a former gymnast fleeced
beneath a waxing moon,
by a less than whole cloth
tale. Taken advantage of
by a cunning poet, touched
in the head, but burning
with fervor to be last
of her kind, so made it all
up and then blamed the words).

Elizabeth Crawford  5 /15/16

Notes: Personally, although I did use all of them, I think the words were tippling before they finally showed up.

Posted in A Far Fetched Tale | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Waterfalls and Memory

Sunday’s Whirligig: Wordle # 59

send, rain, think, sound, light, marvelous,
beneath, force, blinds, falling, water, little

The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #250

news, road, bit, show, flow, after,
map, trance, mass, chant, rant, block

Poets United: Poetry Pantry #301


Waterfalls and Memory

It was Autumn, a road trip
in search of falling water.
Beneath the flow of memories
lies a feeling of unease, a block
of light and sounds that send
her reeling away, almost in panic.

Remembers very little, a map, some
rain, a motel room, her daughter’s rant,
chanting her usual list of perceived
wrongs, but it’s all just bits, pieces
of a news show caught at a side glance.
Trance-like movement lacking meaning.

Thinking afterward: a marvelous mass
of messed up memories that blind her
with force of a water fall, rushing, gushing
race to dash itself against hard stone, then
in blink of an eye disappearing underground,
gone but never quite


Elizabeth Crawford  4/8/16

Notes: Road trip was over a weekend. When I looked at the lists, saw the words, falling, water, and knew what I would write about. But the memories only came in flashes and isolated moments, and with an uneasy feeling. So that became the poem. Three days ago, my sister and I went to visit our mother’s grave site. We talked about our memories of different things and she asked me why I have such detailed recall of things, while she can’t remember what happened last week. Told her it was because of all the writing I do and all the years I’ve been doing it. Then came the word lists and the realization that perhaps there are things I still don’t wish to remember. My life was drastically altered shortly after the road trip, and that has obviously altered, perhaps even distorted those memories. Which only means I will have to do more writing.

Image is a photo taken several years ago, at the Dells of The Eau Claire. Another road trip, this one with my sister.

Posted in Waterfalls and Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

After The Accident

For The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #249

grace, join, yearning, silken, any, fire,
eggs, moment, skin, cell, light, boundless

For Sunday’s Whirligig: Wordle #57

menace, father, black, childhood, blocking, light,
speak, throwing, window, plain, dazzling, after

Poets United: Poetry Pantry #300

burning bush final

After The Accident

Pain is the shell that encompasses
your understanding…

__The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Although father seemed a menace
to my childhood, reversing black
Pontiac down driveway while
mother watched from window,
resultant scar became a silken grace
joining far more than skin and skull together.

Became boundless fire throwing light
on deepest yearnings to comprehend.
Constantly egging on any and all
questions that would unblock cells
of understanding. Speaking its dazzling
truth in plain light of ordinary
everyday moments.

Elizabeth Crawford  5/1/16

Process Notes: I’ve written of this incident before, but these words seemed to go back and want another look. The quote is a favorite of mine. Found in the book mentioned above, given to me many, many years ago. Much later, as a middle-aged college student, I found a sculpture hanging in one of the main corridors on campus. It was gleaming white and seemed to be a round object, like an egg, cracked open with a liquid flow of glistening bubbles pouring out of it. And suddenly I knew that my experience at age four, might not have been an accident, but perhaps Divine Intervention, putting all the pieces together, letting me know I was on the right path, doing the right thing. That all of my seeking for understanding was not a quirk, but a purpose. Yes, all of the words.

Image is a digital painting done several years ago.

Posted in After The Accident | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

“when she bedded her zinnias”

For NaPoWriMo: Day 30 – Final Poem

Stepping Stones Photograph by Elizabeth Crawford

Stepping Stones
Elizabeth Crawford

…when she bedded her zinnias…

Stood off to one side
clapping hands
as she rooted memory
in rich moist soil
of fertile mind.

Tapping roots of that
other garden meant
to trap, to cage seeds
of soul in darkened soil
of hard cold rage.

Instead, nurtured words
until they were rooted,
setting me free to bring
them to fruition, marking
stepping stones in present moments.

Learned just enough
to know, I know nothing
of bedded zinnias.

Elizabeth Crawford  4/30/16

Process Notes: Title is a line (per prompt) from Brenda’s poem titled Broken Water. Which may be found here:

When I wrote up the prompt, I had something entirely different in mind, but realized, even as I wrote it that I wanted a line from Brenda’s poem because it marked a realization in my own writing process. It struck a very deep cord in me. Had me remembering that long ago garden, essentially created to keep me busy, to control both my time and activities. It didn’t have the desired effect. Brenda had taken a very distressed moment and turned it into creative healing. For me, that is the most important aspect of any creative endeavor. While I tilled, weeded, harvested, canned and froze all the produce from that other garden, I had no choices about what went into that larger every year containment. But, while my hands were busy, my mind was free to create stories, poems, things I wanted to write. And that word garden allowed me to finally walk away from the trap being built around me. I firmly believe that we writers create ourselves, and our own path, one word at a time. This past month of writing a poem a day once again made me realize that belief. I can only thank Brenda for being one more of the stepping stones in my ongoing path. I think I might have just ‘bedded’ my zinnias. Pray they take root.

Personal Musical Inspiration:



Posted in "when she bedded her zinnias" | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Inside The Dragon’s Lair

For NaPoWriMo: Day 29

friends, time, mistakes, fighting, through, end

dragons lair3

Inside The Dragon’s Lair

It iz almozt done,
little one?

Yup, tomorrow is the last

How do you feel
about zat?

Tired, a bit sad that it’s
going to end, but also
glad that I did it.

You zertainly did,
but not zure why
you did it. It iz  zzoo
much hazzle, doing
both thingz, but you
knew that at the ztart.

Yes, that’s true, but this
time was different. I needed
to reclaim myself.

Reclaim? Not zure I
really underztand that.

With everything that was
going on, I’d gotten to feeling
a bit lost, at odds with myself,
my purpose, my being…
Needed to reestablish the things
that are most important to me,
prove to myself that I could still
do it…still be me.

And did you do zat? 

Yes, I did. I’m still a writer,
a somewhat good one. I’m
still a teacher, maybe a little
rusty, but it’s still there, still
available. And most important,
I am still learning
by being creative.

Zssounds like you were
fighting with yourzelf.

Didn’t realize that I was, but
getting through all of this
sure settled a few things.

Like what?

Getting old doesn’t mean
becoming useless. I still
have something to offer.
Can still make new friends, and
can still make mistakes
and learn from them.

Ahh, yessz, little one,
you are ztill, human.
Age doezz not change
that. Will you reward
yourzelf for thiz reclaiming? 

That depends on you.

How zzooo? 

It’s been a while
since I have ridden
dragon back. I was thinking
maybe a day trip?

You know, all you have
to do is asszk. It would
be my pleazzure.

Elizabeth Crawford  4/29/16

Notes: First image is a digital painting I did while playing with colors. Purely an accident. Second image is from the internet.

Musical Inspiration:

Posted in Inside The Dragon's Lair | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Different Lives

For NaPoWriMo: Day 28

ride, lost, tide, broke, water, still, divide, drop, remain


Different Lives

A child lost in childish things, picking up
language of music and words.
Rebellious teenager learning how to lie.
Young adult thinking marriage would be
easier than a day job in a factory.
Wife, then mother of four still thinking
there had to be an easier way.
An abuse victim learning broken.
Divorced, single parent, swimming
alone through waters of change.
Middle-aged college student wonder-lost
in finding how to become.
Part-time advocate in a Women’s Shelter,
dropping words on paper, calling it therapy, while
crossing the divide between dream and responsibility.
Managing a bookstore still shaping that dream,
while becoming a grandparent.
College instructor trying to turn tide of self-ignorance.
Published writer of poetry and prose, playing
with colors, finding meaning in differing hues.
Side-lined on disability, trying to remain
young at heart while getting so much older.

Looking back on all these different lives lived
one moment at a time, choices made both
good and bad, still dancing to music only
I can hear, awash in lines and colors I create,
can see I have become the woman
only I could be: a purple tree bent
in a celadon breeze.

Elizabeth Crawford  4/28/16

Process Notes: This was not at all what I intended when I wrote up the prompt. Tried to follow the words but they were going off in a completely different direction. Got up this morning and started listing the different roles and lives I have lived. Not what I consider very poetic, but all true and only hit the high notes. And not meant as a list of accomplishments, but rather the places and things I fumbled and stumbled my way into.

Image is not one of mine. Friend called and said she had started painting and was working on a series of trees. Asked her to paint one for me. She sent the image to me two days later.
Celadon is warm green mixed with a cool shade of blue. Purple is the color of personal power. Green symbolizes growth and growing, while blue is the hue of knowledge and wisdom. White may symbolize innocence or ignorance, and in some cultures represents death. Don’t know if she knows the symbolism, but I think the image is perfect.

Posted in Different Lives | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments