SOL18: Cucumber Writing Ritual


JRM sol

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for holding space each week to share our slices.

In 1988, I had the good fortune to take a week class in Portland from Naomi Shihab Nye.
Knowing Naomi, we probably tapped into the rich, deep topics of families, traditions, and food.  I produced this during the week:

(Don’t you just love the old computer font)

Last Saturday, listening to Naomi at the Arbuthnot Lecture, she said, “everything gives you something else…”  I thought about how whatever prompt in 1988, led me back to my grandmother in another poetry class in the mid-90’s:


And how another quote from Naomi last Saturday, “…most of poetry is asking questions…” made me think of another return to this writing of my grandmother for National Library Month:

sliced a cucumber
making a
motion with the end. Getting
the poison out

when I slice
garden cucumbers
my hand guides
the end piece
in circles. What a cure for
superstitious lives.

©jone rush macculloch

Late in Naomi’s talk, she mentioned William Stafford as a mentor.  She validated the need for mentors as he was one of hers.  Naomi is my mentor.  Her words, writing, and poetry provide hope in the world and remind us to listen to the ordinary.  Be observant in the world.


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4 Responses to SOL18: Cucumber Writing Ritual

  1. Ramona says:

    What a treasure to read your writing! I love reading your words about your grandmother. It’s interesting to see how you’ve revised and revisited the same words over the years. So glad I saw you in Bellingham. It was great to sit with you during Naomi’s lecture.

  2. Really enjoyed reading this, Jone. You’re not only a good teacher, your a good student… of poetry and life. I’m sure Naomi Shihab Nye would agree.

  3. cvarsalona says:

    Jone, Naomi is an amazing poet and presenter. I have been fortunate to hear her speak several times. I can see why you call her your mentor. Your work on your thoughts about your grandmother became more finely tuned each time you wrote. Your closing line of the post is noteworthy. Listen to the ordinary and be observant were two things that I di this morning as part of my writing practice.

  4. How terribly lucky you have been, Jone, to learn directly from one of our mentors. I absolutely love how you were able to mine your original piece and come up with not one, but two found poems. Treasures.

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