Friday, March 29, 2013


It's after midnight and the thunder rolls, 
reminding me, along with the new growth 
of future long purples (love those irises!), 
that spring really has arrived
 and just in time, to save my sanity.  

catherinenglish 03-29-2013

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all  
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

My favorite British Romantic poet has written
the most beautiful lines of verse and he did it
all by the age of 25; my heart aches with jealousy.

catherinenglish 03-28-2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Joey, in a drawer,
a climber like his dad, 
makes me wonder if I ever
fit into a space that small 
ever in my life? 

catherinenglish 03-27-2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The fun of having grandchildren
is the reminder that we bought similar
silly gifts for our children
when they were young,
and believed in Santa Claus 
and the Easter Bunny, 
and Elmo and Big Bird,
and Bert and Ernie,
and Spider Man and Bat Man
and Superman,
and all was well with the world.

catherinenglish 03-26-2013

Monday, March 25, 2013


My best friend and I attended a play together,
cried at the end, the words,
"Anything is possible" ringing in our ears,
despite the reminder of the tornadoes of life,
the real and present danger, yet--
we know the truth of 
"Ribbit, ribbit." 

catherinenglish 03-25-2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Anna and Milly together,
two friends taking time to see each other,
over Christmas and Spring Break, to deepen 
the bonds of friendship,
happy to be in each other's presence,
happy to just "be."  

catherinenglish 03-24-2013

Writing marathons with high school students
elicit such profound thoughts 
that I sit in awe and watch these writers,
their minds full of potential,
full of ideas
that can take them anywhere
they want to go.

catherinenglish 03-23-2013

Youth Writing Festival
Elkhorn South High School
Nebraska Writing Project


There is never enough time to be grandma, 
especially when babies are babies,
changing every day,
days quickly going by,
when babyhood commences to 
commences to childhood, 
and before we know it, 
adolescence is upon us; 
so I'll savor the hugging time 
as much as possible. 

 catherinenglish 03-22-2013

A speech on advice
elicits various ranks
from three coach/judges.

catherinenglish 03-21-2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Lasagne for Anna tonight,
celebrating her first college spring break, 
home for a little R and R before
heading back to Lincoln. 

catherinenglish 03-20-2013


There is a great joy when Mr. Schanou comes
to teach William Blake's "Chimney Sweeper" poems,
because he brings alive the horror and audacity
and the truth of the little boys' lives and their pitiful 
cries  of  "Weep, weep!"

catherinenglish 03-20-2013

Monday, March 18, 2013


This little green guy 
is supposed to make my 
life much easier. 

catherinenglish 03-18-2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Karen was going to throw away her deep map,
titled "Incomplete Value Study," the title
and painting she chose to symbolize her life; I asked
"May I keep it?"  I wanted to be reminded 
of how an artist's view of life is colorful, complex, 
and completely beautiful. 

catherinenglish 03-17-2013

Mildred, aged 92, 
brought her Spiral 
notebook to the writing workshop 
today; the first date was 1956,
health records
of her children.
She wrote a few lines
about her life
inspiring all of us to live our lives
and be content,
then, slowly, gently,
picked up her cane, 
wrapped her arm in mine, 
walked to the door,
and drove home, in her own car,
twenty miles on highway 30. 

catherinenglish 03-16-2013

Friday, March 15, 2013


A single blue-white light,
small, delicate, whisperly,
fairy-like tendrils,
floats to the tip of my brain;
The ecstasy of God,
the kiss of heaven,
breathes into my being,
a soul awakened
from its earthly slumber,
stuck in the mud,
black and brown
and dirty.

catherinenglish 03-15-2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Sometimes I wonder what it
would be like to live a normal life
of a 9-5 job where you clock in and 
clock out, rather than teaching, 
where the hours are endless,
because after a twelve hour day,
you come home and bake Shamrock cookies,
because your creative writing class is having food 
to celebrate creative non-fiction writing about 
favorite recipes (thank you Dorothy Phillips; may you rest in peace).

Rolled Sugar Cookies

3 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 scant t. soda
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
1 c. shortening.
Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening

Beat two eggs in separate bowl
Add 1 c. sugar, 4 T. milk, and 1 t. real vanilla
Beat together and add to dry ingredients.  Roll out and cut with cookie cutter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let set on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack. 

Frosting: 1/2 c. butter, 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar, milk or half and half for consistency, 1 t. real vanilla...and food coloring of your choice.  (This recipe is approximate--I really don't have measurements!) 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all of the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory!

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strain of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

-Emily Dickinson

The day after the district tournament reminds me, 
not everyone wins, 
but to lose with a smile 
is winning, and a far greater 
win at that. 

catherinenglish 03-13-2013


The joy on  my students' faces 
on early morning bumpy bus rides
makes each pre-dawn day
worth more than a million dollars. 

catherinenglish 03-13-2013

The view out my back door during a blizzard 
reminds me that March is a month of chaos,
not only of barometric pressure and birds,
but for the dozens of speech coaches like
me who are just about exhausted from 
weeks and weeks of practice and performance. 
We will welcome Spring, always in sync with 
the State Speech Tournament, obviously,
for a reason. 

catherinenglish 03-13-2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just when Jerry thought he wouldn't have to scoop snow again,
a blizzard. 

catherineenglish 03-10-2013


Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing as 
President Lincoln, but the only thing
I really detested was his voice.  I always 
imagined Abe had a voice more like Tommy Lee Jones'
a baritone that commanded the room with his 
exquisite storytelling ability. 

catherinenglish 03-09-2013

Ode to Jane 

A real friend brings you pedialyte
when you have the stomach flu
and feel like you're dying, 
lying in bed, body aching,
and your mouth feels like 
the Sahara Desert, and 
all you do all day is drink this 
pink stuff and water 
and sleep. 

catherinenglish 03-08-2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I forgot how much 
I love watching basketball,
thinking of my dad. 

 IT is the first mild day of March:
          Each minute sweeter than before
          The redbreast sings from the tall larch
          That stands beside our door.

          There is a blessing in the air,
          Which seems a sense of joy to yield
          To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
          And grass in the green field.

--Excerpt from William Wordsworth's "To My Sister"

How much I admire the poetry 
of this English bard,
memorizing verses meticulously,
and then writing it down with ease,
so I could enjoy his words on the first 
mild day in March centuries later.

catherinenglish 03-07-2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Main Image

Here's where I want to be this summer,
living in a new home in Missouri, preparing 
to teach teachers at Missouri State,
where the weather is milder than the 
cold Nebraska winters I have grown 
tired of.

catherinenglish 03-05-2013

Monday, March 4, 2013


Seems like yesterday Joseph Charles English
was born, a week after my 50th birthday, 
a little boy who already has my favor, 
waiting to be born until that magic number, 
me adoring the fact that he had the classic 
"Cave smirk" like everyone in my family,
thinking how his great-grandpa must have
smiled down upon him and smirked, too. 

catherinenglish 03-04-2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Every time I drink a cup of coffee,
I will think of fair trade and how 
unfair it is to so many people 
around the world; it makes my 
heart hurt to know that I live 
in a place where most people 
are oblivious to the suffering 
of others who just want a fair 
price for the back-breaking work 
they do.  

catherinenglish 03-03-13

Black Gold Movie

Saturday, March 2, 2013


It has been a long time 
since I laughed my ass off 
at a movie, but Bradley Cooper 
you played a crazy man with ADD 
so very well. 
And it didn't hurt that Robert DeNiro 
played your dad.

catherinenglish 03-02-2013

Friday, March 1, 2013


This is my favorite photo
of the two John's in my life:
the sweet blue-eyed boy
with the bowl haircut he hated,
and the man he was named for,
my dad, working man, 
just clocked out at Behlen's
stopping by my sister Chris's house in Columbus,
ready for a beer and a smoke,
and some time with his grandkids.

catherinenglish 03-01-2013

I can't believe I have joined
Pinterest because I simply don't
have the time; how do people do it?

catherinenglish 03-01-2013