Monday, September 30, 2013


There is nothing worse than feeling
and utterly in despair,
and right now, 
I just feel ill,
and I keep wondering
if I am ever going 
to feel well again, 
and hate this recurring

catherineenglish 09-30-2013
(photo by Kyle Bruggeman)

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Our nephew Kyle is an outstanding
photographer, capturing
split-second moments,
a ball, in motion, 
looks stilled, in time,
but in the blink of an
eye, is caught,
I think,
or maybe it was an
incomplete pass.

catherinenglish 09-29-2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013


If I have learned anything after 
an eight hour class with all kinds of 
ordinary people who have been 
ticketed for speeding
(one guy admitted to 117 in a 60!)
and collisions, it is
and do not ever text,
drink, or do anything
crazy ass stupid while
driving a motor vehicle.

catherinenglish 09-28-2013

Friday, September 27, 2013


In June 2011 I was 
privileged to teach the 
summer institute focused on 
Native American literature
and social justice,
visiting the state penitentiary, 
attending a "sing" of the Spiritual 
and Cultural Alliance, and a few 
days later, driving in a van to Winnebago,
Nebraska, talking to Lance at Ho-Chunk, Inc., 
after many intense days of stories and videos
of heart-wrenching lives, to which someone asked,
and Fran Kaye said these famous words, immortalized
in a Daniel Boster created bumper sticker 
I treasure beyond all measure. 

catherinenglish 09-27-2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Tonight, I thought about the 
last time I saw Steve Leach; 
he was the guest speaker at a school 
event. I can't recall what it 
was--I have attended so many.
But he was his jokester self 
but with a serious tone, reminding 
students to get the best out of life,
and he openly shared his health struggles,
and this past August, when I registered 
for a new driver's license in Missouri,
for the first time ever,
I checked the donor box,
in honor of Mr. Santa.

catherinenglish 09-26-2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It's kind of creepy to me
that a book on powerful essay writing
is compared to a blank page
of standard notebook paper
that looks like an Olympic 
athlete, large biceps and quadriceps
complete with a laurel crown,
upheld by odd looking people, 
who must be writers.

catherinenglish 09-25-2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I never cease to be amazed
by teachers and writers who
actually respond to Tweets or 
Facebook postings or other 
social media when you least 
expect it. With all due respect,
thank you, Jim Burke.

catherinenglish 09-24-2013

Monday, September 23, 2013


I should have posted this 
on 9/11, especially after 
visiting the memorial this summer,
the editorial cartoon cropped, 
without the NYC skyline 
in the background,
cut out of the local newspaper,
only a few days after,
when missing poster signs 
were everywhere,
lives lost, the silence of 
our friends, 

catherinenglish 09-23-2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Today the glorious sky 
was brilliant blue,
while I strolled historic
Walnut Street,
munching on fresh 
Kettle popcorn,
browsing the jewelry 
and pottery,
a perfect way to enjoy 
an extraordinary autumn day.

catherinenglish 09-22-2013

(Only 100 days left of 2013!) 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I suppose my sister Denise,
turning 46 today, back at
teaching elementary school,
is probably looking forward 
to the Happy 100th Day of School,
just like daughter Anna did 
just a few years ago.

catherinenglish 09-21-2013
 (Happy Birthday, Sister!)

I have never been to DisneyWorld
or DisneyLand, but I'm not
missing anything because I 
once read Max Apple's short story,
"Walt and Will" and I couldn't 
allow myself to support 
Disney in any way, except my
son and daughter-in-law bought 
me a tea kettle and I can't help 
but think it's cute.

catherinenglish 09-20-2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Sometimes I miss my teacher 
desk at Aurora High School,
a mess of photos and trinkets
collected over the years, 
a hodgepodge of memories,
sifting through my mind,
a cup bought at a garage sale 
in Charles City, Iowa and a 
Power Puff girl, Bubbles
peeking out from the great mug
of Catherine.

catherinenglish 09-19-2013
Some days you just 
want to say,
"Bite Me!" when the 
world around you 
seems to give you attitude.
All you have to do is 
bite back.

catherinenglish 09-18-2013 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Spending two days with Brenda
brought back memories of our 
Europe trip when both of us, 
when asked to close our eyes 
and think of a place we visited,
thought of the ship, Jeanie Johnston,
an immigrant ship replicated,
anchored near the art exhibit
titled, "The Great Hunger," 
where the Irish have planted
The World Poverty Stone where 
potatoes once grew.

catherinenglish 09-17-2013

Monday, September 16, 2013


Sydney demonstrated that
books are still banned 
and as English teachers
we should talk about it,
and defend the right of 
all human beings to read
whatever they want to read.

catherinenglish 09-16-2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Teachers from Alaska to Maine met,
shared their experiences from 
Finland, Costa Rica, New Zealand,
Australia, Ghana, France, Italy, Israel, 
Vietnam, Canada, Ireland, Morocco, Germany,
Peru, Scotland, South Africa, 
Tanzania, Greece, Hungary, Poland
and England, global exposure to 
bring back to our own little corners of
the world. 

catherinenglish 09-15-2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013


My time in Raleigh, North Carolina
brings back memories of an 
unforgettable summer,
a study abroad of immigration
and a reminder that many 
left behind poverty in
"The Great Hunger"
of Ireland.

catherinenglish 09-14-2013

Friday, September 13, 2013


Carla went to Tuscany to
study food, sharing her
recipe for bruschetta
with prosecco, today,
with other teachers 
who traveled the world.

catherinenglish 09-13-2013

(Dedicated to all fellows of the Rural School Community Trust Global Fellowships)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The sunset tonight 
was gloriously orange,
the largest circle of
beauty I have seen 
in many years.  Or perhaps,
I just took the time to notice.

catherinenglish 09-11-2013

(The photo doesn't do it justice)

Never Forget.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Gourmet chocolate
with a ceramic cup
made by students in 
the art department 
is just what I needed on 
a Friday night.

catherinenglish 09-11-2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I used to make fun of
my friends for all of 
the supplements they
took, and now, they are
having the last laugh.

catherinenglish 09-10-2013


Collecting magnets
reminds me of the places
I've been, a small token to
take me back to St. Croix,
Nashville, Boston 
and the Big Apple.

catherineenglish 09-09-2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Nothing better than a 
Saturday afternoon
at Memorial Stadium
with your sorority peeps,
a smile and 
a Husker win.

catherinenglish 09-08-2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013


a stunning black metal 
reminds me of new life,
the beginning of another 
cell, a constant process
of nuclear division.

catherinenglish 09-07-2013

The frying pan invokes many domestic images for me,
fried chicken, in particular, 
cast iron, 
Crisco melting, 
boiling hot, spitting hot sparks
when floured wings, legs, 
thighs and breasts hit the pan,
golden brown goodness,  
devoured in minutes by 
a dozen hungry children,
no leftovers in our home.

catherinenglish 09-06-2013


A small boy with a fiddle,
dreaming of forming his own 
Polka band, or perhaps he will
discover blue grass or Mozart,
and decide what he loves best,
music to his ear, 
the gorgeous sound made by 
a bow and strings, 
an incredibly difficult 
instrument to master.

catherinenglish 09-05-2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Amidst the beads and baubles
lies the word, "Buds, " a 
bracelet you made for me,
back in your tween days,
a heart string you gave me,
keeping you close to my heart 
in an infinity kind of way,
hearing your voice on the phone today,
reading aloud your articulate 
feminist stance on gender roles,
made me proud to call you

catherinenglish 09-04-2013

A sweet cherub face,
an earthly angel to make
me smile ev'ry day.

catherinenglish 09-03-2013

I see you,
looking through the 
back of a chair,
showing Grandma
that she can stand up
all by herself, Little 
Miss Smarty Pants.

catherinenglish 09-02-2013

Little Miss Rory 
forever spills that tongue 
out over her lips, 
working hard at 
whatever she does, 
emulating MJ, 
her dad hoping
she will be a star, 
her grandma
hoping so, too, 
playing the piano rather 
than a basketball. 

catherinenglish 09-01-2013

Today, my heart went rushing
back to a past that cannot 
be revived: ancient days, it seems,
when all in the world was well,
dancing to Polkas in the Pioneer 
Ballroom in Silver Creek,
drinking blackberry brandy shots,
whiskey sours, whiskey sweets,
and oceans of pivo, toasting the 
newlyweds, eating fried chicken, 
kielbasa and cake,
relishing the sound of spoken 
Polish, ancestors long gone 
in death's dateless night.

(with love to babcia i dziadek)
(and congratulations to Josselyn and Jeff!)
catherinenglish 08-31-2013