Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer, followed by a prompt to help you write your own poem.

Sandy Bot-Miller wrote to tell me this poem was, “written rather spontaneously as my daughter gave birth to her second child at the same time we were asked in Minnesota to shelter in place. I was feeling the weight and wonder of both events simultaneously.”

This poem raises questions about our persistent hope, in the face of adversity, that “all will be well again.” Whenever we are hurting, wounded, sick or suffering, we wait in hopeful anticipation for healing. But healing is never a return to the way things were. Growth is a transformational process. In order to accept and love life as it is now, we have to let go of what was. Grief is a fact of life. Do our lives become deeper, richer, and wiser when recognize bereavement as something sacred, and bow to it?

Tracy Rittmueller

I tell them what I know
Sandy Bot-Miller

while indigo ripples
break through dark waters
and bells of Norwich
ring inside circles
stitched in isolation
I bow to all
that cries
sacred—
chant old
new born sounds—
watch daffodils
promise some
but not  all
will be well
again

Writing Prompt based on “I tell them what I know” by Sandy Bot-Miller

We offer writing prompts based on featured poems for people who want to write something, who need a little help getting started. We don’t imply that you ought to write something. Many people enjoy reading or listening to poems without feeling compelled to write one. You might simply read this prompt as an exploration into what the featured poem is doing, and how its language works. This can deepen your acquaintance with poetry and lead to great pleasure in being a reader of poems.

Want to write your own poem in response to another poem or song?

Many poems are born after hearing the composition of another poet or lyricist. Italicized words in this poem are from the song “Bells of Norwich” by Sydney Bertrand Carter, which in turn is based on the writings of medieval mystic Julian of Norwich.

To write your own poem, choose a line or phrase from Sandy’s poem, or from the song “Bells of Norwich,” or from any poem or song that moves you. Work it into a sentence or question of your own. Write a few more sentences or questions with your chosen phrase in them, and then keep writing whatever comes into your head without stopping for 10 minutes. This is called freewriting. Put your writing away for a couple of days, then take it out again for a revision. This Writer’s Digest Article offers tips for revising a poem.

Sandy Bot-Miller will be the guest editor for Sunday Morning Lyricality in August, 2020. She is an artist-poet with a desire to address a personal and planetary search for peace, beauty and meaning. Her love of working with fibers, oil pastels and words gives her a way to express what she sees unfolding in her inner landscape as well as the outer world. Residing in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, she strives to use imagery that expresses our human longing for connection and healing. Her reflective attention to archetypal images help inform her creations.