Friday, May 4, 2018


Do you ever think you have happened upon something brand new and exciting, that you can't wait to introduce to the world? That's what happened to me this week. About ten days ago, I came across Jeanne Lohmann's work on Parker J. Palmer's Facebook page. I thought perhaps she was a new poet, but discovered that no, that was not the case at all. Instead, I found out that Jeanne Lohmann was a Quaker poet who has published over ten volumes of poetry and has been featured in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. A poetry trail named for her is a dedicated part of Hypatia-in-the-Woods Center for Women in the Arts in Shelton, WA. She passed away in 2016, at the age of 93. 

I love Jeanne Lohmann's writing, it reminds me of several other favorite poets, most notably Mary Oliver and Marge Piercy. Here's a sample:

"Praise what comes"

surprising as days and kisses, all you haven't deserved
of days and solitude, your body's immoderate good health
that lets you work in many kinds of weather. Praise

talk with just about anyone. And quiet intervals, books
that are your food and your hunger; nightfall and walks
before sleep. Praising these for practice, perhaps

you will come at last to praise grief and the wrongs
you never intended. At the end there may be no answers
and only a few simple questions: did I love,

finish my task in the world? Did I learn at least one
of the many names of God? At the intersections,
the boundaries where at least one life began, and another

ended, the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?

Jeanne Lohmann

Read a few more of Jeanne's poems here.

Brenda is hosting Poetry Friday at Friendly Fairy Tales.


Jane @ said...

How wonderful to discover a new-to-you poet, and one who was quite prolific, too!

Ramona said...

Oh, I can't wait to explore more of her poetry. A line I love: "did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?"
And since my kiddos go to Shelton occasionally to visit family, I may tag along this summer and check out the poetry trail.

Glenda Funk said...

What a wonderful poem. The inversions are superb and effective. I like the way the poem speaks to life's struggles and how important praise is during times we don't feel like praising, then ends w/ how this is the way to know God.

mbhmaine said...

Meandering along a poetry trail sounds like a delightful experience! The title of this poem really captures its essence "Praise what comes." So many phrases resonated with me: "surprising as days and kisses", "books/that are your food and hunger" etc. Thanks for sharing work from this new-to-me-also poet today.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

So much good poetry in the world. Daunting to be a newer poet in such company. I love catching "the smallest glimpse of the holy" in life and in poetry.

Tabatha said...

A breathless and breathtaking poem! Thank you, Carol. I think it would be great for you to do the swap. If you are nervous about it, maybe you could just do one or two this time.

Tabatha said...

P.S. I'm SO GLAD you like IMPERFECT!

Mary Lee said...

This poem is a calming deep breath!

GatheringBooks said...

These are my favourite lines:
"the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?"
- there is comfort to be had in these words.