Poems from the circle

Leave the dirt on....

Messy, scrambled words
Striving for control
    How I am perceived
    How I am received
Oh! You want me to show you

my skinned knee, 
my bruised heart, 
my bad dream?

My words, without my edits,
will show you the twisted, rambling trail
I have taken to get here.

    Are you sure you can keep up?

By Nancy A. Musgrove
I am grateful for Nancy’s permission 
to share her poem from the writing 
circle here. I continue to meet 
amazing women across different time 
zones. Writing together provides a 
mirror for us to process life in a 
safe place where we have all agreed 
to listen with compassion. 
Interested in joining a writing circle? 
Email met at coaching@aligrimshaw.com

Belated Gratitude

Dear Bill,

Dear George,

Dear Barack,

I am one citizen of the United States of America, just one.

One person who believes that each of us matters.

One who has learned so much this year about what I have taken for granted. I thought a peaceful transition of power in our country was guaranteed. I guess it shows I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I guess I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t listening.

Thank you for holding peace for all of us while I was unaware.

Thank you for the respect you gave the next to come.

Thank you for choosing to honor our country with your letters.

I regret that I didn’t notice or understand how much there was to appreciate about you in the past. I also believe it is never too late to be grateful for someone else’s life and seek to understand what a difference it made for others.

In gratitude,

One member of the United States of America

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

These Letters From Presidents To Their Successors Show What A Peaceful Transfer Of Power Looks Like


Broken shadows across the cracked ground
smoke ghosts reside in charred places
once nestled home spaces, closed
doorways of tomorrow
silent squatters drift
among dreams to
rain, please

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse Poets Pub Challenge 
NONET – a nine line poem that begins 
with 9 syllables, descending 
line by line to 1 syllable.

* First line of this poem taken from 
W.S. Merwin,“To the Light of September

Assurance – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Stretched openness of summer sky. 
Time’s width I can't hold 
in one viewing.

I bend to gather 
this spray of light 
and still can't see all
points arriving through darkness.

Each beam 
it’s own part in the collective
we have named starlight.

I stand openly
as sky falls toward me
into my arms
assurance that is bigger
than this moment.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020
With all of the smoke in the sky, 
the stars are no longer visible.
I remember they are there 
and see them in my dreams. 
Please send prayers and thoughts
of goodness for the many fighting 
the wildfires in Oregon.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

And so …

golden smoke blocks the sun as I stand witness
while winds shift to blow barging into planned days
and so...
I am listening.

What better offering could I make
while extending my reach to you?
My throat burns with an ache to howl.
As the people flee, where is safety now?

So many blue sky days 
led us to false views.
We are all running from something.
walking away from something else.

I'm sending my love on the wind,
the force that both heats and cools.
Both helpful and harmful, depending,
contradictions of the mingled smokey fear.

Tangles of the unknowable 
ringed history, as mystery 
held by the forest guardians
now ash returning to soil.

As flames fly from tree to tree,
igniting compassionate hope or hatred
I see through the window
goodbye waves from living limbs of the still green.

and I feel your heat from miles away.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Oregon's Current Total Fires 37
Total Acreage Burned 805,332.364

Strong winds spread numerous wildfires in Oregon and Washington By Bill Gabbert

Hold on – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

I want to hold hands
sausage fingers in mine
small digits without worry
just skin to skin plain 
without any condiments

I want your fingers intertwined 
juicing out quick squeezes 
of assurance like a secret code 
shared with my first love

I long to hold on firmly 
tender like a ripe peach, 
so as not to imprint
my needs on you

I want to come together
with grape clustered acceptance
gripping without gripe
savoring a shared stem

I want to feel held 
our palms sandwiching
this day's delight 

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

It's open link night at dVerse Poet's Pub. Come share a poem and connect with others. 

Alongside the Tent – poem by Ali Grimshaw

My bare feet travel riverside down the dust talcum path. They feel the way forward while softly grounded in the fine dirt. As the bank of trees lean to shade, the river glides past, over and around rocks. Here it seems effortless for lives of birds, fish and plants to thrive together. None needing to shame or blame. Is it just my interpretation or have the living of the river ecosystem always known that there is enough for all, that everyone’s time will someday pass, that we will someday be nourishment for the next in line and there is peace in the acceptance of being a part of the changing cycle? There seems to be balance here. The kind of balance I am always seeking. As I hike up the pants, I have yet to grow into, I wonder if humans really are the more evolved species. It seems that I have so much to learn from the Osprey’s willingness to try again and the way rivers shift course without blaming the logs that have fallen to block their route. As I pack up my tent site I am already planning my return.

The river knows flow
transforming place without shame 
forgiving teacher

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Haibun Monday, 8/31/20:Take a Hike! Join in the sharing at dVerse Poet's Pub.

Receiving – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

The messages kept landing
paper birds like folded airplanes from the sky.

Confetti of voices wanting to be heard
swirling of anger, colors of hurt, colliding confusion
spiraling to crash on the ground.

We hold our hands out to catch them
scattering in the street to pick up the fallen.

Each message, a precious life with wings
a paper bird in need of repair.

We sit in a circle and begin to unfold 
cupping our hands, just one at a time 
listening to its life of song.

It is like we have always known what was needed.
We knew we would stay as long as it took to give the listening
for each bird to be heard. It was clear. It was not a burden.

As we gently passed them from one hand to another, 
one by one around the circle, 
the sky opened to us all.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse  ~ Poets Pub, Open Link Night with Linda
Share your voice and read the poems of others.

This poem is a reflection on the writing circles I have hosted. I will continue to offer a safe space of refuge for others to be seen and heard just as they are. Love is always the way forward.

Leaving without him

“i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
– E.E. Cummings

Twisted deeply within the realization 
of this being the day of goodbye
A warm sorrow reverberates through my limbs 
down to my heavy steps homeward. 
This is the part of loving wholeheartedly 
that I wish I could skip over. 
When the sunset arrives and takes you with it 
far from where I am.

From the first time I laid eyes on you
your inner charm worked magic on me
a spirit who dared to explore, 
balancing fences, tree limbs, to rooftop scrambles
while others shouted, "There is a kid up there."
You never were the "play it safe" kind.
I knew the someday would come
of releasing you to fly in the wind.

This motherhood thing sucks
just when you've spent 18 years
falling in love with your boy
(even on days when you didn't feel like it)
he turns into a man you adore with your
whole heart proud, filled with keeping.
Just then, it is time to share him
with the world.

It would be greedy of me not to share
but in this moment I don't want to
play by the rules, where sons grow up.
Instead let me rewind; all aches, pains and joys
to live again the rollercoaster of mothering you.
Your journey of magnificent learnings,
dares and caring that accumulate into
you as the tower beside me.

No matter where you walk upon the earth. 
I hope you hear my whispers in your ear,
I carry your heart
I carry it in my heart.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shadows and reflections

Reflecting on life in photos and words.


once you were sure of steadiness
that capsizing only happened to others

then the tilting began, a slow 
deep lean to the left side of righteous

how easily the water seeped in, coldly 
chilling you from the inside out 

like the world had forgotten that you
had always been the floating kind

once you were rescued for no reason
and you never forgot that any boat can sink

when balance is lost at sea.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse Poetry Challenge - Come Sail