Writing a Found Poem based on Naomi Shihab Nye’s “How Long Peace Takes”

Writing a Found Poem based on Naomi Shihab Nye’s “How Long Peace Takes”

[Exercise created by Debra McDonald Bailey for the 1/30/2016 session of Renegade Writers.] Thank you, Debra for your presentation.


How Long Peace Takes

As long as the horse rides the constellations
As long as the star burns out, neglecting her children
As long as blue thread spins through our bodies, delivering oxygen through blood—and the heart—Do not forget the heart or she will prick you with the sewing needle
As long as the weaver holds her neck in the same position, that many hours—as long as she dreams the fingers of her lover
As long as the grass is above our knees, we will be on the journey
As long as the nurse dawdles after the patient presses the red button, (she clenches her teeth)
As long as the question “Do you desire me?” goes unanswered
As long as the mare lies in the field, licking her dead foal
As long as anyone touches another, any other living being; that singular moment
And it ends.
If every day we come to communion



©2016 Clare L. Martin

Live Now

In Dec. of 2014, and for three months prior, I was walking with a cane. Out of fear of losing my independence and really, my life, I started a fitness program. I have worked out five to six days a week for over a year now. I currently swim six days a week for up to an hour and 45 minutes. I am now also seeing a nutritionist and eating right for me. I call myself an athlete now. I’ve lost around 40 pounds.



First Issue of MockingHeart Review

Below is the text of my welcome note to readers of MockingHeart Review. This venture began three months ago. On January 1, the inaugural issue was released. It has been pure pleasure to work with the poets within, and I look forward to a promising future for this poetry magazine. Please spend some time with its pages. I think you will be happy that you did.

Direct link to the magazine is http://mockingheartreview.com  Please bookmark it, or follow via the buttons on the site.

The 39 poets on these pages are part of an ever-widening circle of humans who seek meaning and convey their discoveries with the world. Not only do they do that, but they do it in such a way that excites the intellect and aesthetic senses. Above all, they stir the heart, that part of us that is more than muscle pumping blood, but in my ardent belief is the seat of knowledge.

In this issue, we have traversed the globe—we begin with a small drop of Louisiana poets, who welcome me in poetry-communion, and the word-current ripples to Turkey, New Zealand, Italy, and all across the USA. We have poets who are publishing for the very first time alongside poets who have well-established publishing histories. In each case, the poems on these pages touched me in some way that necessitated my inclusion of them in this first, grand issue. Future issues will not be as large (this one is a behemoth), but I trust that there is something for every reader in this Inaugural Issue.

My earnest hope for MockingHeart Review is that it will in some way strengthen relationships between poets and readers across the globe. I hope we, with our beloved readers, will find common humanity in the pages of this humble online magazine.

I feel very honored to have spent time with these poems and have a great feeling about the reception we will have.


Clare L. Martin
Youngsville, Louisiana
January 1, 2016


download (3)

I took a long nap. I dreamed I had an invisible horse. No one could see the horse, not even me. I *believed* the horse was there. I had a trailer for it and a corral. I was readying my horse to transport it home. I was in a motel parking lot with the horse and the trailer. I had a three-wheeled bicycle that I was going to use to pull the trailer. It was night and I felt very vulnerable. I had everything hooked up and the invisible horse loaded in the trailer. I couldn’t ride the bike and pull the trailer on the highway. I woke up mouthing my deceased mother’s phone number, 981-0411, over and over.