Singing for Health and


April is National Poetry Month and singers are invited to share poems they love during class. Following are poems shared in April 2018. Would you like to add one of your own? E-mail it to [email protected].

Singing clears the mind-

Rejuvenates the soul.

Makes one kind-

Makes one whole.

Marilyn C. Ramirez,

Lynnwood Singing Friend

Eat Your Broccoli or Else ~Maria Veres

you'll get scurvy and your teeth will fall out

all over the floor with an enormous clatter

which will terrify the cat, who will leap into the chandelier,

short out a wire, and blow every fuse in the house

the dog will sneak through the dark and scarf down

every last pearly tooth (that dog eats anything)

the tooth fairy won't ever come again

you'll have to go to the dentist for new teeth

she'll make you cut her five-acre lawn with manicure scissors

every Monday and Thursday for three years

to work off your bill, because you won't have any money

because the tooth fairy couldn't come

because of the dog, who will develop chronic indigestion

from crunching too many teeth and chandelier pieces

all because you wouldn't take one teensy-weensy

bite of vegetable. Rebecca Crichton

Prayer in Gratitude for the RIght Song Arriving at the Right Time, for Example Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising", or Chet Baker's "She Was Too Good to Me"~Brian Doyle~

Because you know and I know that a song can save your life. We know that and we don't say it much, but it's true. When you are dark and despairing a song comes and makes you weep as you think yes yes yes. When you are joyous a song comes to top off the moment and make you think the top of your head will fly off from sheer fizzing happy. A song makes you sob with sadness for such pain and loss as throbs inside the bars of the song. A song roars that we will not be defeated by murder but we will stand together and rise again, brothers and sisters! A song makes your heart stagger that you found someone to love with such an ache and a pang. A song comes-- how amazing and sweet and glorious that is. And this is not even to get into how amazing and miraculous music itself is, the greatest of all arts. But this evening, haunted by a song that slid out of the radio and lit up your heart, we pray in thanks that there are such fraught wild holy moments as this one. And so: amen.

Karen Bachelder

Change of Life~ Judith Collas

Her life was ok

Sometimes she wished she

were sleeping with the right man instead of her dog,

but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog.

The Summer Day ~ Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Barb Demuri

I met the Buddha on the road.

I knew him by the light; it played

like music at his lips and eyes.

"Awakened one!" I cried.

He yawned.

"I do desire to be desireless."

"You'll get over it," he said.

I said, "I seek a quiet mind."

He said, "Shut up."

"No, really," I rejoined.

"I'll follow you wherever you may go."

He said, "I'm

going to go to sleep." And did.

He snored. I grew bored.

Persistent flies buzzed at my lips and


At last I cried,

"Buddha Schmuddha!

Enlighten my sweet ass!"

He said,

"Now you're talkin'."


Diane Shiner encouraged by Denise Levertov's The Fountain

Don't say, don't say there is no hope

to cling to. Just this morning a murder o

of crows met in protest, croaking at cars

on my road. Two cars, twenty crows.

Don't say, don't say there is no hope.

Don't say, don't say there is no joy

to nourish. Blackberries stain the shirts

of my grinning grandchildren; smoke-filtered

sunsets are spectacular. Lemonade quenches.

Don't say, don't say there is no joy.

Don't say, don't say there is no will

for change. A carbon-dioxide capture plant

just opened, honeybees are recovering,

Hanford Reach is saved, my nasty neighbors

conserve water. Don't say there is no will.

Don't say, don't say there is no future

to protect. Too late, too much, too hard.

Everyday I see someone toss a starfish

tin the sea, paddling, planning, planting

trees and ideas. Don't say there is no future.

Don't say, don't say there is no work

to do. Or undo. There's the shovel,

here's the phone, we're the relay team

for Earth. Say there is no finish line, but

don't say, don't say there is no hope.

Karen Bachelder


Let us give thanks.....

For children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.

For generous friends with hearts and smiles as bright as their blossoms.

For feisty friends as tart as apples.

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them.

For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible.

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and as good for you.

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions.

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you throughout the winter.

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes.

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings.

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter.

For all these we give thanks. Amen.

SWEET INSANITY Claire Braz-Valentine


My mother looks at me,

the way only my mother can look.

I have just purchased a bright red jacket

to wear with my bright pink dress.

how old are you now she asks?

She knows.

She is testing me.

45 I say....

She shakes her head. "That's right.

And when the women in our family go crazy,

and the women in our family do, you know,

they do it at 46," she says.

"Be careful," she says as she stares at the jacket.


One year to the big ticket,

then I wouldn't have to explain red jackets anymore.

One more year to pay the bills on time,

and take showers every morning,

to stand in line at Safeway.

one more year to figure out the phone bill,

to have two checking accounts because one has to rest

while I use the other so they balance themselves.

One more year of going to bed at a sensible hour

so I can wake up at unreasonable ones.

To get to a job that was crazy before I was.

Twelve more months to have good manners,

to keep secrets,

to comb hair that doesn't want to be combed,

to keep a spread on my bed,

and to feel guilty because I read junk novels,

and don't clip coupons from the newspaper.

52 short weeks

to believe one oven cleaner is better than most,

to think I have to cook hot dogs before I eat them.

Oh madness, sweet insanity,

smoking cigars and eating chocolates,

pinching men's asses,


setting fire to my desk,

peeing on it first,

learning at last how to spit.

Pink plaid jackets over red polka dot dresses,

lounging in bed

watching Godzilla movies on a VCR for five days in a row

because I'm too damn crazy to go anywhere,

telling people who want to help me for my own good

to just fuck off,

letting the cats sleep on the kitchen table

for the rest of their lives

the way they've always wanted,

not planning to wash my car next week

when I know I'll never wash it,

never being called reliable again.

Madness, my sweet heritage,

you sure as hell owe me,

and if you don't arrive on time,

I'll just go crazy without you.

Lord God, how I pity

those families of sound mind. ~ Meredith Regal


On the day when

the weight deadens

on your shoulders

and you stumble,

May the clay dance

to balance you.

And when your eyes

freeze behind

the grey window

and the ghost of loss

gets into you,

May a flock of colours,

indigo, red, green

and azure blue,

come to awaken in you

a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays

in the currach of thought

and a stain of ocean

blackens beneath you,

May there come across the waters

a path of yellow moonlight

to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

wind work these words

of love around you,

an invisible cloak

to mind your life. ~ Diane Gillespie


The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,

to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye

and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,

and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,

it is not poised on the tip of your tongue

or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river

whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those

who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.