Poems of Presence


finding myself
raking patterns
in the litter box


This month at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog, Today’s Little Ditty, Margaret Simon put out the challenge to write “to write a mindful poem about the present moment,” a poem of presence. I think it may have been Heidi Mordhorst who suggested we try to make this a daily practice with a hashtag on twitter. With Margaret’s and Heidi’s challenges in mind, I’ve been trying to take a few minutes each day to check in with the world around me and quickly write a haiku or senryu. (A haiku if the observation is about nature, a senyru if the observation is about human nature.) Over the years when I’ve been able to make myself do challenges like this on a daily basis, I find that it changes my attention, and I am able to be present to myself on and off throughout the day. This is what happened yesterday when, true story, I observed myself cleaning the litter box.

Jama has the round up today at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

I hope you all are well.



25 replies
  1. Linda Mitchell
    Linda Mitchell says:

    I hope you are well, too. I have so enjoyed writing in community with #poemsofpresence. Sometimes, my scribbles are silly and sloppy…sometimes they aim for poetical. But, I love that there are others out there taking a moment of the day to turn into a moment we can share. It helps.

    • lsteinglass
      lsteinglass says:

      I’ve also really appreciated writing in community. I think the connection inspires me to keep going.

  2. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
    Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to clean a litter box, but it was never a job I relished when I was younger. You almost make it sound enjoyable! Almost. (The break between L1 and L2 is brilliant, Liz!) Don’t forget to post one or two of your poems of presence on the padlet at some point this month. 🙂

    • Kathryn Apel
      Kathryn Apel says:

      I too admired the masterful break between L1 & L2. I’ve only had a brief encounter with a litter tray – and I can’t say I found myself there. More like my stomach. I’m thankful for wide open spaces and farm cats! And the humour in your poem!

  3. Carol Varsalona
    Carol Varsalona says:

    Liz, finding myself is a habit I try to get into. When I am particularly stressed and can’t find my balance, I turn to nature for a walk. It releases crazy, cooped-up feelings during my quarantine life. Your poem was able to bring me to a level of peacefulness this morning.

  4. Linda Baie
    Linda Baie says:

    I saw this when you shared, had a big laugh with my daughter about it. They have 5 cats, so more than one litter box. I shared with her that it might give a moment of peace! Love that you did capture this moment, Liz!

  5. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Liz, I’ve been to this garden in Kyoto! I watched a monk rake the pattern. I love that this mindful activity snuck into your cat box duty. Perhaps you needed a calming moment right then.

  6. Karen Eastlund
    Karen Eastlund says:

    Love it! Yes, this practice does change my attention. No cats here… but maybe the counter cleaning deserves some attention… Thanks.

  7. Rose Cappelli
    Rose Cappelli says:

    You’ve truly captured a moment in time and with just a few words conveyed the importance of finding oneself in the present. Thank you.

  8. Heidi Mordhorst
    Heidi Mordhorst says:

    I have really enjoyed all your haiku and senryu, Liz (and thanks for reminding me of the difference). Twitter is so ephemeral for most of us that it frees me to just splat things out there and keep up a practice. I too have been observing my own reactions to our situation–time to do that is a gift, I guess.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *