What’s Under The Dirt?



Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had a fine time talking with kids and teachers in Leeton, Missouri for my first live outing since the pandemic began, thanks to my friend Deanna Schuler whom I met when she was in first grade and is now a wonderful librarian. Her library makes you feel like you want to be there from the moment you walk in. I loved it! My books were on display. Thank you for that, too, dear Deanna!

I introduced and signed copies of THE DIRT BOOK for the first time and provided some book marks, thanks to the book’s artist, Kate Cosgrove. Thank you, Kate. It was great fun to explain to the kids that they were the first in the world to see the new book and hear me read from it. The first book I signed was the first I’d signed anywhere. They thought that was cool and so did I.

After talking about THE DIRT BOOK, we took a group of students outside to look at the ground for signs of things that live there. The kids found more than I did.

davidlharrison | June 11, 2021 at 7:44 am | Tags: c, Deanna Schuler, Grace Maccarone, Holiday House, Leeton School, The Dirt Book | Categories: David L Harrison, Deanna Schuler, Leeton School, The Dirt Book | URL: https://wp.me/pBt27-8BA

Mud Season

by Jane Kenyon

Here in purgatory bare ground

is visible, except in shady places

where snow prevails.

Still, each day sees

the restoration of another animal:

a sparrow, just now a sleepy wasp;

and, at twilight, the skunk

pokes out of the den,

anxious for mates and meals. . . .

On the floor of the woodshed

the coldest imaginable ooze,

and soon the first shoots

of asparagus will rise,

the fingers of Lazarus. . . .

Earth’s open wounds — where the plow

gouged the ground last November —

must be smoothed; some sown

with seed, and all forgotten.

Now the nuthatch spurns the suet,

resuming its diet of flies, and the mesh

bag limp and greasy, might be taken


Beside the porch step

the crocus prepares an exaltation

of purple, but for the moment

holds its tongue. . . .
Jane Kenyon, “Mud Season” from Collected Poems.

Copyright © 2005 by The Estate of Jane Kenyon.

Used by permission of The Permissions Company,

LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,


The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, June 11, 2021

I can hold your London hand in bliss…


Sonnet from London
by Jonathan Potter

I hold your London hand in mine and kiss
Your London lips the Thames could overflow
And wash our bed down to the flagrant sea
Down to the stormy sea but quietly
But quietly my love breathe carefully
And we will sleep perchance to dream of sleep
But first I kiss your London lips again.
You are the girl I’m dreaming of within
My dream of dreaming as I climb the steep
The spiral stair to seek you prayerfully
Uncomprehend the end to make your plea
For morning and the sun poetically
Arisen from what’s going on below
When I can hold your London hand in bliss

Jonathan Potter, “Sonnet from London” from Tulips for Elsie. Published by Korrektiv Press, © Jonathan Potter.

You’re being given a new beginning…


“It’s time to start over. You’re being presented with a clean slate. Fresh opportunities are up ahead.”
Your Angel’s Message:
You’ve been itching for change. You’ve asked the angels for this to occur and the time has arrived! Embrace new things within your life. You can expect new people, projects and opportunities. It’s true that change can be scary. However, the angels will hold your hand throughout everything. They surround you with the beautiful energy of their love. Call upon them now to help you with your fear of facing new situations. They’ll significantly boost your energy and confidence now.

It’s all too tempting to cling to old and familiar routines. When you draw this card it invites you to be open to new approaches to the way you live your life. You may find yourself learning a new way to cope with situations that arise in life. You might feel more open about the way you approach life in general. You may even start learning a new skill, or discovering for the first time a skill you’ve had in yourself this whole time.
What You Should Do:
Whatever your new beginning may be. Whatever you feel called to do, allow yourself to enjoy this time. Explore your new set of circumstances. This is how you will learn and grow. New beginnings are a very good thing. It’s time to start to enjoy this era of your life!
Your Affirmation:
“I leave my fears in the lap of the angels. I am ready to embrace the new beginnings that come my way!”

listen to your inner child…


“You are asked to listen to your inner child or to your own children right now. New children may be coming into your life soon.”
Your Angel’s Message:
When this card is drawn it is a direct message that you need to have some more fun in your life. Have you been all work and no play recently? Are you feeling that you are “stuck” in life somehow? When was the last time you connected with your inner child? 

The angels ask that you honour your childlike side. Get out there and enjoy yourself! Life is for living. Not for enduring. Perhaps you will play more with your own children or grandchildren. A new child could soon be coming into your life. Or, you may simply enjoy having fun with another adult or beginning a new job or vocation that relates to helping young people. 
What You Should Do:
It’s time to connect with your inner child. Can you find them inside you? Or, have you forgotten who they are? Plan some time for you to explore what it feels like to be carefree and to enjoy life to the full again. Go to the beach and build a sandcastle. Take your dog for that long walk you’re always too busy for. Reconnect with what you love doing, what you were born to do, your life purpose. Find time to enjoy the world around you. Your inner child will thank you for it!
Your Affirmation:
“I love and honour my inner child. I feel whole and joyous!”

understanding is yours…


“Now is the time to make sense of your life. Understanding yourself and others around you is an integral part of you.”
Your Angel’s Message:
Your current situation requires some understanding. It’s time to examine this and your reactions to it in depth. It’s crucial that you know all the hard facts about this before you may any rash decisions. There is more to what is happening around you now than meets the eye. Something around you is hidden and needs to come out. When it does, you need to treat this with understanding.

This card can also mean that it’s necessary for you to understand yourself. It’s only through doing this that you can be the best possible version of yourself. Understanding who you are is perhaps the most important foundation that enables you to build strong, healthy and lasting relationships with the people around you. Ask God and the angels to give you the gift of understanding.
What You Should Do:
Take time to figure out who you truly are deep down. Be ready to be understanding of others. Look at all aspects of every situation you’re involved in and don’t be too hasty to judge others. We all have our own lives and our own specific realities. Try to put yourself in the shoes of others. Understanding is key to all relationships.
Your Affirmation:
“I ask God and the angels to help bring me an understanding of both myself and my life.”



whether a man or a woman…


whether a man or a woman,

the artist writes with wings
with light
and alchemy
that casts a spell
upon the soul

animates its bloom
its radiance…

J in the mountains 6/6/21

It’s the birthday of poet Maxine Kumin, born in Philadelphia (1925). She was a good student and wrote poetry from the time she was a young girl, but she was equally interested in swimming, and even trained to become an Olympic swimmer as a teenager. When she was 18 Kumin was offered a job with Billy Rose’s Aquacade, a famous traveling dance-and-swimming show, but her father considered the spectacle too risqué and refused to give his permission. He did approve of her academic talents, so she went to Radcliffe and studied literature and history. She had continued to write poetry and she showed her poems to one of her young professors, Wallace Stegner, who at the time was still an unknown novelist. Stegner handed them back with a note in red pencil, “Say it with flowers, but, for God’s sake, don’t try to write poems.” She was so hurt that she didn’t even try to write another poem for many years.
In the meantime she got a master’s degree in comparative literature, met and married an Army engineer, and moved to the suburbs where she concentrated on raising her children. During her third pregnancy she was feeling restless, and she happened upon a book called Writing Light Verse, which cost $3.95. She decided that if she hadn’t published anything by the time her child was born she would give up forever. She was six months pregnant when The Christian Science Monitor accepted one of her poems and paid her $5 for it. It was just four lines long; it read: “There never blows so red the rose / so sound the round tomato, / as March’s catalogues disclose / and yearly I fall prey to.” She began publishing light verse in magazines like Ladies’ Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. The Post required Kumin’s husband to send a letter from his employer certifying that her poem was original, since, she later said, “Women, along with people of color, were still thought to be intellectually inferior, mere appendages in the world of belles lettres.”
She was happy enough writing light verse, although she wished she knew some other poets. In 1957 she enrolled in a local poetry-writing workshop. One of her classmates was the poet Anne Sexton and the two women became close friends and writing peers — they eventually installed separate phone lines in each of their homes so that they could be in constant communication. Very slowly Kumin began to have poems accepted that were not just light verse. She said, “Until the Women’s Movement, it was commonplace to be told by an editor that he’d like to publish more of my poems, but he’d already published one by a woman that month.”
Her professor at the poetry workshop recommended her for a position at Tufts, where he taught, and so she began a long career as a teacher and mentor. As a teacher she often asked her students to memorize 30 to 40 lines of poetry a week so that they grew familiar with the sound of poetry. She said:
“The other reason, as I tell their often stunned faces, is to give them an internal library to draw on when they are taken political prisoner. For many, this is an unthinkable concept; they simply do not believe in anything fervently enough to go to jail for it.”
Her books include Up Country (1972), The Long Approach (1985), Where I Live (2010), and And Short the Season (2014).
Kumin died in 2014. She was 88.

my angels, help me to enjoy full faith…


“Trust in yourself. Believe in the special and beautiful person you are.”
Your Angel’s Message:
Child of God, the angelic realm asks that you believe in yourself. Lose the worries that impeded you from enjoying full faith with their help and guidance. You’ve been hurt and disappointed in the past. Your angels are aware of everything you’ve been through and want you to know that you can trust in them and in yourself. 

“Trust in yourself. Believe in the special and beautiful person you are.”
Your Angel’s Message:
Child of God, the angelic realm asks that you believe in yourself. Lose the worries that impeded you from enjoying full faith with their help and guidance. You’ve been hurt and disappointed in the past. Your angels are aware of everything you’ve been through and want you to know that you can trust in them and in yourself. 

clarity is here for you…


pay yourself first…


“Try to set aside some of your monthly income for yourself alone. This enables you to invest in yourself and in your future.”
Your Angel’s Message:
One secret of abundance that any people don’t realise is that paying yourself first is a wonderful way to take care of yourself. Of course, your other obligations are important. You need to pay the bills. You also have a debt to yourself too. If you can try to save a small portion of every wage. Keep this money in a savings account to only ever be touched when you truly need it for your future. 

You may be horrified at the concept of investing in yourself. Surely that relates to your ego. The answer to this is absolutely not. When you pay yourself, you’re recognizing your own self-worth. You are acknowledging that you deserve abundance, peace and prosperity within your life. This is so good for your general energy! Treat yourself the same way you’d treat anyone else that you love. The rewards will be great! 
What You Should Do:
So, with all of the above in mind, it’s time to take care of you and your future. It’s time to treat yourself with the same generosity you would extend to someone you love. If you can, try to regularly save around ten percent of your income or just what you can afford. 

And if you promise to tithe some of your winnings, I may be able to help you uncover your Lucky Numbers as well.
Your Affirmation:
“I accept nothing less from my own self than what other people expect from me. I shall always endeavour to pay myself first.”

On June 1st, 1431, Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake…


It was on this day in 1431 that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy in Rouen, France. She was an ordinary French peasant girl, living during the Hundred Years War between France and England. When she was still a teenager she heard the voice of God telling her to join the battle and help defeat the English army. She performed a series of apparent miracles and persuaded the French army to let her command a group of soldiers. At the battle of Orleans she led the revitalized French army, bearing a flag with Jesus’ name written across it, and the English were defeated. She continued fighting battles until May 23, 1430, when she was captured by enemy soldiers. They turned her over to the church to be tried as a heretic, idolater, and sorcerer. Her enemies believed that the only way they could have lost in battle to a woman was if she had been using witchcraft.
Her trial lasted for months. Every day she was brought into the interrogation room where she was the only woman among judges, priests, soldiers, and guards. The judges hoped to trick her into saying something that would incriminate her as a witch or an idolater so they asked endless questions about all aspects of her life, in no particular order. They were especially interested in her childhood. And because the transcripts of the trial were recorded, we now know more about her early life than any other common person of her time.
Joan testified that she first started hearing divine voices when she was 13 while working in her father’s garden. When God commanded her to join the battle against the English she told her parents she was going to help her cousin deliver a baby. The judges asked her if she felt guilty for leaving her parents, and she said, “Since God commanded it, had I had a hundred fathers and a hundred mothers, had I been born a king’s daughter, I should have departed.”
When she wasn’t being interrogated she spent her time in prison chained to a wooden block. After months of questioning she was told that if she didn’t sign a confession she would be put to death. She finally signed it but a few days later she renounced the confession and on this day in 1431 she was burned at the stake. She was 19 years old.
She was mostly forgotten for about 400 years and then she was revived as an inspirational national figure during the French revolution. In 1920 she was canonized as a saint by Pope Benedict XV. She is the only person ever burned at the stake for heresy who later became a saint. The file on her at the Vatican is still sealed. She’s been the subject of more than 20 movies, as well as plays by writers such as Voltaire and George Bernard Shaw. More than 20,000 books have been written about her.

from the Poetry Almanac for June 1, 2021

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