Standing Nearby

So many discussions
Even disagreements
Over the meaning
Of one simple word…
An age-old question-
Who is my neighbor?
One who lives next door
Across the street
A mile down the road
Descriptions that only begin
To scratch the surface-
Is it possible to have
A neighbor with no
Respect to distance?
In today’s world-yes!
The next city
Another state
Across the world
But what about
The stranger who
Waits near me in a line
Walks into my classroom
Stands on the corner?
One word does not
Negate the other
Does not lessen
My responsibility
To recognize a need
Find a way to give
Offer some kindness
Wherever I am standing
To whoever happens to
Be standing nearby

I could not consider the word neighbor without thinking back to my childhood. Profound messages were presented through children’s television. As I finished this poem, two examples came to mind.

The first, a song from Sesame Street, “People in Your Neighborhood.” The chorus sings:

Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

The second example is, you guessed it, Mr. Rogers. I have much admiration for Fred Rogers and his contributions to this world. I could not finish my writing without hearing his familiar question; “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Neighborhood Kelley Morris, piano

A Red Coat and Tulips

Illustration from the book, OTHER WORDly, by Yee-Lum Mak, Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

She stood out in the crowd of people
Waiting on the street
Waiting to cross to the other side
Headed home from a busy day at work
Or perhaps meeting a friend for dinner
Whatever the destination, it was easy
To get lost in the crowd
She carefully considered this fact
There was a sense of mystery in
The thought of intentionally getting lost
Meeting a mysterious stranger
Forgetting her present struggles
But then she remembered her cat
Waiting by the door for her arrival
And the lovely tulips she carried
Needed a vase and water
Besides, the red coat she wore
Made it practically impossible to disappear
Perhaps standing out in the crowd
Was the better choice

This post was written in response to the SoCS writing prompt for January 23, 2021-close eyes and point.

What a fun way to start my Saturday! 🙂


We have days dedicated to celebrating almost everything.  Days for donuts, coffee, moms, dads, cats, and dogs-and the list goes on and on.  Today was MRI day.  At least, that is what I decided to proclaim.  Especially now that my doctor insists I have one in addition to my mammogram every year. 

They are not particularly fun.  Imagine lying face down on a narrow table.  White towels lining the hole where your face rests.  Your arms straight out in front-think Superman pose.  No, wait-Wonder Woman. 😉

Once in position, you must be perfectly still for thirty minutes.  Perfectly still while the tube you are in makes random, intermittent noises, as if preparing for take-off.  Actually, it is just a really loud camera.

I know this probably does not sound like something to celebrate.  But this year, I choose to view it differently.  I am celebrating deep breaths that helped me to relax.  I am celebrating old hymns and classic James Taylor singing inside my head. I am celebrating medical science that says early detection is key.

Even though physically uncomfortable, the above reasons eased my anxiety. And I was reminded that I can do hard things. So, get your mammograms! And if your doctor says the word MRI, you can do it! Until next year! 💕

Connecting Circles

Sharing a couple of poems from a recent poetry writing circle.  I am so grateful for these experiences.  Reading, writing, listening, and most importantly, connecting. ❤

Thank you, Ali.

Worth Repeating

I am not sure
I have ever
Considered myself strong
Oh, I can easily
Recall the times
I’ve felt broken
Why is that?
Memories of weakness
Always surface first
Days that seemed eternal
Being dragged thru the dirt
Barely able to breathe-
Desperate for a cool
Drink of water-
I supposed those
Are the times that
Made me who I am
Made me strong-
There, I said it!
And it is worth repeating!
I am strong!

Transparent Trust

 Imagine a body
 Innocent as the skin
 Of a newborn baby
 No place to hide
 Imagine eyes
 Opened wide
 Seeing everything
 For the first time
 With wonder
 And uncertainty
 Imagine a heart
 Laid bare-open
 For all to see
 Beauty and pain
 On display
 Imagine these words-
 I survived, so will you-
 As we see each other
 Through open eyes
 With open hearts
 In transparent trust 


Smooth Surfaces

Rocks are fascinating
As a little girl, I loved
To collect them
Looking for unusual
Colors and shapes
Shiny veins running
Through the plain
A prized fossil
Sparking imagination-
What long-ago creature
Left their impression
Behind in stone?
Seemed like a magical feat-
Thinking about rocks now
I’m amazed by how
They grow more
Beautiful with the
Passing of time
And their surfaces
Become increasingly
Silky smooth with the
Weathering of storms

True story-I once had a bucket in my bedroom containing five hundred small rocks. And yes, I actually counted them. Even as an adult, my eyes seem to search for pretty rocks. Whether hiking in the mountains or walking near a stream, I can’t help but look down. ❤


An image shattered
Countless pieces
Strewn on the ground
A frightening scene
Of loss on display-
Those once interested
In pausing to look
Now quickly
Turn away
Was the image even real?
An accurate representation?
Did it exist beyond the smile?
Answers don’t matter-
For the one who
Remains close
Carefully picking
Up the pieces
Gently placing them
Back together
Knows the image
Remade with love
Will offer honesty

Good Tired

Last Friday was my first day back at school since before Christmas break. Not only that, the two weeks before Christmas break, we were in distance learning. Basically, my students and I had not been face-to-face for six weeks.

Two of my classes on Friday were brand new. These students had chosen virtual education for the first semester but were now returning to in-person learning. Some faces I recognized from last year, but there were many new ones.

I quickly realized the challenges of the day. There was a little hesitation from older students. One of my friends said, “Oh, Mrs. Morris! I thought you had quit.” I quickly reassured him that “Goodness no! I have been sick.”

Old connections needed to be reestablished. New connections had to be created. Good, but challenging work. I tried to physically rest as much as possible while teaching. But that was impossible with my first and second-grade classes.

Those littles were excited and ready for music. I found myself moving with them, pouring out what energy I had left. Those smiles, wide eyes, listening ears…responding and participating. It was so much fun!

At the end of the day, I was tired. But it was a good tired. The kind that gives me hope and pushes me to keep going.

Recurring Theme

There is such a tired
As good tired
Feeling accomplished
After working hard
Doing the right thing,
Simply because it’s
The right thing to do-
Not because of
Reaching the next
Step on the ladder
That is a never-ending
Cycle of exhaustion
Dependent on approval
Of those standing by
Watching and waiting
For a fall from grace-
No, this tired says
Job well-done
Now it is time to rest,
Sit beside quiet waters,
Listen and let the sound
Refresh mind, body, and spirit
As the work of life continues,
And good tired becomes
A recurring theme

The Right Word

Today was our last day of quarantine. It’s back to work tomorrow! Three of us have been together in this house for three weeks. All of us sick, but all of us together. And quite often, we were sitting in front of a warm fireplace.

As I sat down to write, I couldn’t seem to find the right words. So, I decided to read this precious book my daughter gave me for my birthday. I had read some of it before, but this time I read cover to cover. And there was only one word that would do.


Discovered a
New word today
Whose quirky
My eye
Brought a chuckle
I read it fast
I repeated it slowly-
As quickly as
Made me laugh
Made me smile-
Picture a bench
Nestled by a cozy fire
Imagine yourself
Sitting there
But not alone
A beautiful space
Happily shared
Your very own
I like the way that sounds!


Didn’t take long
A few minutes
Maybe five
My face turned
Toward the sun
Soaking up its
Light and warmth
Shifting my
To this day
Cold air was
Not a deterrent
Favorite blue sweater
And soft grey slippers
Made certain of that
Back inside
Warm and cozy
Still wearing my
Favorite blue sweater
I continue to feel
The sun on my face
Though no longer
Standing in the
Path of its rays-
Didn’t take long
A few minutes
Maybe five

My friend, Marina, keeps telling me to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. Today, I finally decided to listen! 😉
Sunshine On My Shoulders~~Kelley Morris, piano

Measuring Life

We try and try to
Measure our lives
Days, weeks, months, years
The number of seasons
We travel can never
Accurately measure
Our existence
What matters most
Is often invisible
Harder to quantify-
The full impact realized,
After physical days
Have long passed
If only our hearts
Could be weighed
An appraisal revealing
The constant flow
Of life-giving air
Transformed into
Actions of love-
Actions of love
Life-giving air-
Leaving the heart full
But never heavy
Always overflowing
Impossible to measure

I suppose there is something about being in quarantine that makes me think more about time. Particularly being quarantined as a new year begins. But it is ok. As my Mom recently said, “Looking forward to better days!” 🙂 ❤

Time in a Bottle ~ Kelley Morris, piano