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Patriot of song notebook.jpg

To use selected poems in my book as prompts for your own writing…

Singer Come from Afar...

1. White Flag Patriots (p. 15)

Describe an unusual parade, your own group recruited for a cause dear to you.


2. For the Customs Agent (p. 16) & Dear Mr. President (p. 19)

Write a compassionate letter to someone who has opposed you.


3. Presidential Alert (p. 29) & A Note (p. 120)

Write a “theme and variations” sequence starting with fragments from an official proclamation.


4. All My Relations (p. 38)

Write your own psalm of gratitude to those who made possible your place in the world.


5. Mingling (p. 42) 

Describe the sensations of some cherished ritual in life before lockdown.


6. For a Daughter in Quarantine (p. 45)

Write a note to someone out of reach.


7. Dr. Fauci’s Smile (p. 52)

How will you know it’s over?


8. I Am the Seed (pl. 57)

Go to and make a list of rhyming words, then toss them capriciously into a poem.


9. Advice from a Raindrop (p. 58) & Lessons from a Tree (65)

Speak in the voice of a creature with some simple wisdom for humans.


10. Wild Birds Teach Us (p. 62)

Part 1 (cluster statistics or facts from the news). Part 2 (lament, remedy, blessing).


11. For a Toad (p. 68)

Write your blessing for a humble creature…perhaps in that creature's own voice.


12. Wonder’s Wisdom (p. 76)

List your earliest encounters with the natural world.


13. Our Singer Come from Afar (p. 81)

Write a note of gratitude to a friend—as if speaking to that person’s wild spirit.


14. Connect the Dots (p. 85)

Make your own list of considerations mysteriously linked.


15. A Blessing for My Teachers (p. 91)

Write your own blessing for someone who has helped you become you.


16. Ostracon (p. 93)

Write eight unrelated lines…and see if they turn out to be related.


17. For the Woman Picking Litter (p. 100)

Write a poem for a stranger you admire.


18. What We Did before Radio (p. 106)

List the spirit-benefits of a simpler life.


19. How I Came to Be (p. 111)

List the unlikely chance events that resulted in your miraculous existence.


20. My Brother Visits (p. 116)

Tell the story of someone’s last words to you, and end with those words.


21.  Before the MRI (p. 122)

Make your own catachism from some official list.


22. Easy Pickings (p. 125)

Tell what it’s like at a place where it’s easy to be happy.

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