Yesterday was Throwback Thursday…I am naming today “Future Friday” 🙂

My heart explodes
with the giddy force
of love
and the amazing truth
that must be kept secret—
until now.

Boom Boom!
A tiny heartbeat
rhythmic and strong.
Now I can broadcast
near and far!
Am I unduly excited?
Is this a small thing?
Because it seems HUGE to me:

I’m going to be a great-aunt!

 I’m going to be a great-aunt!

 I’m going to be a great-aunt!



NaPoWriMo 28 – Urumuri

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a found poem, comprised only of words found in a news article. I selected an article entitled, “Rwanda’s orphans form their own families,” at  These are children who lost their parents in the 1994 genocide.

During a 100-day period in 1994, 70% of the Tutsi population was killed. Most Tutsi children who survived were orphans. Many women who survived were repeatedly raped by the Hutu aggressors and contracted, and later died of, AIDS. In essence, their children lost their mothers twice–once to the war and later to the virus.

In 1996, a group of students at the University of Rwanda founded  the Association for Student Genocide Survivors (AERG) to help surviving children. They organized what the article calls “artificial families” of  students who were orphaned/homeless. The students in these families began to have a sense of belonging again. They became their own support system. Each family elects a mother and father, who may not be the oldest of the group, but who are committed to taking on the emotional responsibilities, counseling and caring, that parenting typically entails.

Because of AERG’s work over the past 18 years, more than 43,000 people are part of a family again.

The found poem does not have to pertain to the subject matter of the news article, but after reading the article I could not think of anything else but this powerful example of family values, a miracle of love being played out in the most devastating situation imaginable. The one thing I would dispute in the article is the term, “artificial families.” These families are amazing. They are focused and caring. They are anything but “artificial.”

The title of the poem comes from the chosen name of one of the families interviewed, “Urumuri.” The father chose that name because it is related to light–bringing the light, shedding light, lighting something up.


by Jan Brown


light spreads

to the dark land

so that we can go back

to the way we were

together, as families


light stolen

from history

from children who witnessed

mothers, fathers, neighbors

taken away


light permeates

days of mourning

too young to explain

all the huge issues

all the small things


light commemorates


mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters

light is a basic necessity

to live peacefully now


light builds

relationships–together for life

claiming the peace

dealing with emotions

life in good hands


urumuri = light

for sunny afternoons in school

not artificial, yet enough

life so dark

is bright again



National Haiku Writing Month continues, and I am writing 28 haiku in 28 days, based on various internet poetry challenges and prompts. This one was written in response to a recent #haikuchallenge posted on Twitter by @baffled, to write a haiku including the word, “staple.”

Piano keyboard

The Beginning and the End

plate in shape of heart, table knife and fork on red background

At Thanksgiving, we gather at the dinner table and celebrate new beginnings: new babies, new marriages, new jobs, new friends. We remember things that are gone from this plane of existence: loved ones lost prematurely, grandparents lost to age, husbands and wives lost to the bitterness of divorce.

Today I read a poem by Joy Harjo, celebrating the glue that holds so many of us together, the social rites of the kitchen table.

Click the link and enjoy! Perhaps the World Ends Here, by Joy Harjo


For more information: Joy Hargo bio from

Giving Thanks


I have readers from 70 countries across the globe, and I give thanks for each and every one of them!

This week, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States. The Poetry Foundation has gathered together some very special poems about Thanksgiving, and I will be sharing a few of them with you.

This moving piece is by Richard Blanco. He was President Obama’s second inaugural poet. I’ve also included a link, below, to his inaugural reading.

His Thanksgiving poem is called “América,” about a Thanksgiving celebration in his Cuban-American home. It strikes me that it is about the difficult loss of the old world, and a somewhat tentative incorporation of the new. I think it is a universal truth that parents, aunts and uncles are prodded into trying strange new things by children, and in this case, by the poet. By the end of the evening, whether they liked or hated (mostly hated) the new tastes, smells and stories, they celebrated each other. They celebrated family.

Click the link, and enjoy!  America, by Richard Blanco


For more information about Richard Blanco:

Richard Blanco – Wikipedia

Richard Blanco’s inaugural poem, “One Light”

Remembering My Favorite Veteran

Monday is Veterans Day, and I want to say THANK YOU to all current and former service men and women for their hard work and sacrifice, to those we have lost for making the ultimate sacrifice, and to all military families for their bravery and patriotism in the face of personal hardship, loneliness and loss. God bless you.

My father was surprised to be drafted to serve in World War II at the age of 31. He and my mother had been married over a year, and they were hoping to get pregnant, but they put those plans on hold until after the war. My dad was very fortunate to come home in one piece and to observe the celebrations that followed the unconditional surrender of Germany.

As you remember the service men and women in your life, you might enjoy looking at some of their old pictures. Here are some of my dad, his fellow Message Center compatriots, and the happy people of France.

Admittedly, these are “good” views of the war and its aftermath. Today’s wars are filmed from every angle, and the news shows every possible atrocity. But I don’t think my dad needed photos of the terrible tragedies that war brought to so many. I think that veterans carry those memories around forever, inside their heads.

CPL John Brown

CPL John Brown, U.S. Army

"Five Message Center men--and good ones, too!"

“Five Message Center men–and good ones, too!”

Poker Session

Poker Session

On the balcony of the American Red Cross Casino Club at Nice, France, October 2, 1945

On the balcony of the American Red Cross Casino Club at Nice, France, October 2, 1945

CPL John R. Brown, U.S. Army

CPL John R. Brown, U.S. Army

Gathering near the Eiffel Tower on V-E Day, May 8, 1945

Gathering near the Eiffel Tower on V-E Day, May 8, 1945

Gathering near L'Arc de Triomphe, V-E Day, May 8, 1945

Gathering near L’Arc de Triomphe, V-E Day, May 8, 1945


Gathering near L’Etoile on V-E Day, May 8, 1945