Double Dutch Poetry

Reading Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise, Poems for Two Voices is akin to Double Dutch jump rope — you have your part, your partner has hers and when you’re in the groove, it’s pure joy.

The poems (all of them about insects) are set up in two columns. One reader takes the left column, the other the right. Some lines are read aloud in unison, others, alternatively. Sometimes you and your partner are reciting the same words, other times your words are completely different.  It’s dissonant and delightful.

Many moons ago, Emma and I would cuddle up in the chair in my bedroom and recite the poems. We loved House Crickets for the onomotopoetic chorus of “cricket cricket” that rubbed throughout the poem. The entomological narrator of Book Lice “… was born in a/fine old edition of Schiller. His fellow louse  “…passed [his] youth/in an Agatha Christie.”

I’ve never particularly feared these six-legged beings. Reciting the poems with Emma was a particular pleasure, especially when the fireflies told us, “Light is the ink we use/Night is our parchment.” How can you not fall in love with such an image and thus think a little more kindly of the “bugs” so many want to squish?

Our Double Dutch poem reciting is now the stuff of memory. Like the life of the mayfly, our time of reading poetry each night after dinner seems to have lasted only from morning till night. The next time we’re together, I’m bringing the book along. And maybe this poem, too.

We’re                              We’re
Mother                            Daughter
We part
                                          We part
Though our hearts
                                          Though our hearts

Span the miles                Span the miles
When we visit

                                          When we visit

There is joy                      There is joy

again                                   again
we part
                                             we part

taking one another           taking one another
with us                                 with us
as we go
                                              as we go.

Debra B. Darvick

Red All Over

If I hadn’t forgotten my container of red peppers to snack on while I ran errands, my husband might never have snapped this shot. Right before I left, he received the week’s challenge from his camera club: Photograph something red.

Isn’t this red-on-red totally rad? Not to mention the circle of pinkish highlights atop the pepper. I was hungry when I came home but Martin’s view of the world never fails to feed  me.

photo courtesy of Martin Darvick


So What Is Kundalini Yoga All About, Anyway?

Back in 2011 I was in the kind of downward spiral that can take you under  forever or spit you back out with the possibility of turning it all around. A chance purchase of       a $20 Groupon led me to a Kundalini yoga class.  I  had no idea what Kundalini was, but I figured ten classes for $20 was a good bet. If I didn’t like the studio, no big financial loss. Instead, I found a lifeline.

Kundalini was nothing like any yoga I had ever practiced. The breathing techniques gave me pains in my collarbones; the postures could be exhausting; there was some chanting; there was a gong at the end of the practice. After that first class I was hooked.  I left wanting more.

A Kundalini class is built around “kriyas” or motions designed to support all aspects of our being. A kriya can be motion or a series of motions designed to clear and support our physical, emotional and spiritual systems. There are kriyas for strengthening the adrenals, the lungs, the kidneys, the immune system. There are kriyas to help release anger, boost our courage, loosen knotty places in the subconscious. There are heart openers and mind openers, stretches for the spine and for the spirit. The purpose of all this is to release the energies stored in the root chakra, using it to empower the entire energy system.

I’ll never forget one of those first classes.  The teacher had taken us through a vigorous heart opener and then had us do the breath of fire in camel posture. All of a sudden I was overtaken by a huge desire to scream, an impulse I dreaded giving in to. How could I let loose and scream? How could I not? There were only three of us in the class; the other two students were teachers of mine. I figured if I did let loose they would understand, and if they didn’t well, that was on them. I was there for my own well-being. If that meant giving in to the urge to scream then I had to trust what my body was signalling me to do.

I screamed and screamed and screamed. I felt green poison geysering from my chest. It felt completely awful and totally wonderful, much the way throwing up is awful and yet you know once all that yuck is out of you, you will feel so much better. That class was a turning point. Whatever I released that morning made room to begin the healing I so badly needed. 

Over time, I grew stronger. My collarbones adapted to the “breath of fire,” and I began to enjoy how contracting and releasing the muscles in my abdomen powered up my lungs. My abdominal and neck muscles began to support me in a challenging stretch, each session a few seconds longer. 

This summer will mark ten years of my Kundalini practice. It remains a lifeline. Over time the practice has enabled me to turn my life around, one breath of fire at a time.


Photo by Mimi Ditchie licensed by Creative Commons. “Star Trails Over the Alabama Hills”