Two Sunday Morning Poems

Dear Reader:

A couple months ago, I wrote a poem about sitting outside on a glorious, summer Sunday morning. I called it “Sunday Morning.”

This week while organizing my filing cabinet, I discovered an old poem I wrote around 1996. Guess what it was called? “Sunday Morning.”

I see so many similarities between these two poems, and it kinda freaks me out. Has my inner landscape changed so little in sixteen years? No wonder I still feel twenty-something!

I will share both of these poems with you this morning . . . this Sunday morning Outside the Box.


Outside, the pollen drops
from the trees, and dew
sparks tiny fires in the grass.
Shadows and heat
play tug of war
on the lawn while a lone
madrigal, solitary musician,
lights the air with sharp,
clear notes. The branches
of beech trees are lines on a page
and the bird’s song rides
up and down–
earnest, imperative composition.
“Find me, please, find me;
I am here, see, I am here, here, here.”
The dog pants hot on the porch.
A hummingbird sips
from the buds of pink Salvia
in the garden box.

I write while the others sleep
tucked into upstairs bedrooms.


The faint whisper of some inner voice
left over from childhood
like dislike of beets
tells me I should be, oh, somewhere
in church nodding with the pious
over a particularly strong invective
from the pulpit
or else joining in a thunderous “AMEN!”
meant to shake the devil
from my very soul; I ache

instead to plunge wrist-deep
into this potting soil;
damp, dirt smell filling my nostrils,
sliding over my skin
like a caress
or a good baptism.
I worship these newborn flowers
petals sprinkled
with earth I tamped around them
and leaves still damp
from the fecund humidity of the greenhouse.
Infant pansies not yet come to bud
and flushed-pink impatiens
the color of a baby’s mouth.
Geraniums, dianthus, basil.
Lettuce leaves frill against the tiny
white-lace blossoms I cannot name.

One of the cats stalks
among the flower pots, sniffs
from each one delicately
before settling down for a wash.
I try to clear my head
of voices that can wait
’til Monday.
This is my Sunday morning
spent with many flowers and one wish–
to write my quiet moments into existence
before moving on to other worlds.

4 responses to “Two Sunday Morning Poems

  1. If anything in our lives is to remain unchanged over the years, let it be the appreciation of nature around us, and the ability to voice it so beautifully in a poem. Both are lovely. Thanks, Shelley!

  2. I love both of your poems. They are lovely. One suggestion – if you’re open to it – is to leave the last line off both. I get it without them and felt like they weren’t necessary to convey your feeling. If you like poetry and write it often, there is a nice group that does a poemshare over at I show up pretty infrequently but it’s a ton of fun.

  3. Tammy, I think you may be right:) I’m not really a very good poet and I know-it…but once in awhile the urge to write one hits me so I go with it. I’ve never really figured out what makes a good poem “good.” Not even after taking a poetry writing class! It’s the same with determining what is “literature” and what is “not literature.” I know it has to do with language, the uses of it, etc. and I tend to know it when I read it…but when it comes time to write, I just have my voice and that’s that! Ah, well. Writing, reading, talking about books and stories and ideas…all good!

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