the snow fall


caught in a web
of branches
government shutdown


I wrote these senryu earlier in the week for my many friends and neighbors who work for the federal government. So many people are struggling from the shutdown–employees, contractors, restaurants and other local businesses, lyft drivers, spouses, children, and on and on. Washington feels quiet and hopeless and angry.

For more Poetry Friday visit Miss Rumphius Effect, where I’m sure many will be posting tributes to Mary Oliver.


21 replies
  1. Tabatha
    Tabatha says:

    Thanks for writing about this, Liz. It is a completely maddening situation. My next-door neighbor is furloughed, and when I heard that someone in the administration said they would be cool with people NEVER coming back to work, I wondered what she must think about that. We have two bags of food in the hallway to take to the local food bank today. The #TrumpMcConnellShutdown stinks.

      • Mary Lee
        Mary Lee says:

        I agree! But the brilliant (not that I like them, but they are undeniably effective) diversionary strategies of The Idiot in the White House have worn us down to the point where we can’t seem to focus. There’s so much to protest! Where to get started?!? Then he throws another diversion out, and it gets even more complicated.

        Want to know what’s hard? Teaching 5th graders about forms of government, when our democracy is looking a whole lot like a dictatorship at this point. Thank goodness for our 3-legged stool of a government, but the stool is super wobbly right now. I’m trying something new this year — pairing symbiosis in science with forms of government in social studies. Our guiding question is What does it mean to have power.

        • Liz Steinglass
          Liz Steinglass says:

          Mary Lee, what a brilliant response to an impossible situation. I can only think this is an example of how our system can be challenged. I suppose we’ve seen the courts try to balance him sometimes. And now hopefully we will see Congress try to do their jobs a bit better.

  2. jama
    jama says:

    Thanks for these, Liz. It’s what everyone is thinking about and feeling helpless over. Maybe this afternoon’s address will signal some kind of resolution.

  3. Michelle Kogan
    Michelle Kogan says:

    No he’s not capable of giving at all–he can’t see past his nose, he serves himself and no other. Thank you for your haikus–the country must keep going and some how the rest of us must put some of the pieces back together again–Marching helps, if only to know you are doing something.

    • Liz Steinglass
      Liz Steinglass says:

      He’s the way he’s always been–serves himself and just tries to accumulate more money and attention and doesn’t care how.

  4. Molly Hogan
    Molly Hogan says:

    Thanks for sharing these, Liz. They are so pertinent and so sad. I’m continually stunned and outraged by what it happening in our country, and at a loss for what to do about it.

  5. Kay Jernigan McGriff
    Kay Jernigan McGriff says:

    Thank you for sharing these powerful poems. I don’t understand how so many are still fooled by him–especially in Congress. How many times will they have the rug pulled out from under them before they wake up? I do hope that this standoff ends soon for all those effected–and that its end doesn’t just lead to more shutdowns.

  6. Carol Varsalona
    Carol Varsalona says:

    I will try to leave a comment again, Liz. I did like your senryus and the accompanying photo. They are stand-up shoutouts against the shutdown. BTW, I was in Reston, Va during the Christmas week and thought it was a shame that Washington was a lonely place for both tourists and workers. Thanks for sharing your voice with us.
    Also, I wanted to apologize for not responding to your question about NCTE19. I was trying to beat the clock with the holidays and preparing the Wonderopolis’ Wonder Team roundtable presentation.


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