Wings Wide Open


Ruth Ayres recently encouraged me to think about what it means to live with arms wide open.  Even though I’m an introvert at heart, I love to take quiet risks.  I was born curious and that curiosity hasn’t subsided in my sixth decade of living.  I guess that’s why I also love teaching.  I am always looking for the new — looking to learn.

Last week, I found a new poetry form.  I never had heard of it before.  A new children’s poetry book, Nine:  A Book of Nonet Poems written by Irene Latham and illustrated by Amy Huntington, will be published in June. Nonets are poems with 9 lines and 45 syllables. Nonets can go in descending or ascending order (9-1 or 1-9 lines).

Line 1: 9 syllables                                                                                                                                  Line 2: 8 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 3: 7 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 4: 6 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 5: 5 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 6: 4 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 7: 3 syllables                                                                                                                            Line 8: 2 syllables                                                                                                                                Line 9: 1 syllable

I decided to have a go at writing nonets. I actually like the challenge of having to stay within a form.  It is somehow comforting to have parameters, boundaries – a garden border, a frame for my thoughts.

Nine Song Birds

In my yard, under the great green pine,

The songbirds gather in the shade

Pecking and chirping along:

Robin, jays, chickadees

With one joyous voice,

While woodpecker

Keeps the beat:

Rhythm – – –







Purple, white,

The crocus first,

In row upon row,

Then Yellow daffodils,

Golden guardians stand watch.

Sunshine in the form of flowers,

Long awaited spring returns and blooms.

As I continued to reflect on the idea of “arms wide open,” it made me think of the poem by Emily Dickinson, “Hope is a Thing with Feathers.”  I had repeated that poem over and over again when my mother was gravely ill six years ago. On a crisp, blue early November day when she was cremated, I walked out into the cemetery and suddenly a flock of Canadian geese took flight.  They honked and flapped, creating a “V” as they lifted into the air. I smiled and took in this as a final good-bye from my mother whose name was Vivian.  She was a teacher too and an artist.  It was Vivian who taught me to live life with arms wide open.

7 thoughts on “Wings Wide Open

  1. Thank you, Ruth! I’m turning around in my mind – “recipes are like poetry” – trying to think of another blog post idea! Your prompts give me great food for thought (pun intended) and inspiration to keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never heard of the nonet poem form either. Spring is bursting out through your two poems. I may have to play with that form someday. Canadian geese in formation is awesome to watch. What a timely formation for you.


  3. Wow. I love your words today! It is a delight to learn about nonets, and the transition to remembering your mother was lovely. I will remember that V you saw the day she was cremated. What comfort.


  4. Thank you, Anne. I write and I forget people are reading what I’ve written. The nonets were a lovely surprise to me, as were those geese. And every they fly overhead I smile up at the them, because I know my mom is watching over me!


  5. I love the nonet – it is a structure that allows you to expand gradually on a theme and yet achieve great verbal economy. Yours are superb! Thank you also for appreciating my comment on the Wandering Ambivert blog! I am an amateur poet too – please check out my work if you feel so inclined!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Satyen, for your kind words. Your poem Migrant has such powerful images, Dirge – made me cry. And I loved these lines from So Can I – Hunted by hungry predators, often before it’s born, The bird still sings its magical tune. You have such a strong voice. I have begun to follow you.


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