Laura Rodley “Madelyn”

Here in Chicago there is no snow on the ground, but some parts of the Northeast are experiencing a Snow Day. So that’s why this poem by Laura Rodley about a runner in the snowy woods seems appropriate.

Thanks to Laura Rodley for letting me share her work here.



She runs without breaking the crust of snow,
snow two feet deep, slick with ice, even glows
in later sun but that’s not when she runs,
her tracks lighter than deer who break through, shuns
the main street, dirt though it may be, her dogs
running beside her- wolves in jest- the slogs
through the deep woods what they all were born for,
the quiet, the pines, granite slick, the firs,
each mile a link towards the future, a fast
of color breaking through, soft mists rising
or snow still falling, a quilt now sizing
the path before her, where coyotes pass.
She runs here daily, holds on, makes it last.

© Laura Rodley, 2017


Laura Rodley’s work has been nominated numerous times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of Net anthologies. In 2013 Laura was awarded the Pushcart Prize for her poem “Resurrection,” which originally appeared in The New Verse News.

She has two chapbooks from Finishing Line Press: Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose, which Finishing Line nominated for a PEN L.L.Winship Award, and Rappelling Blue Light, which was a Massachusetts Book Award nominee.

Former co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, Laura teaches As You Write It classes; she has edited and published As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology volumes I-V, which was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award. She has also been featured reader at Greenfield Word Festival since its conception.

She is also a free lance writer. You can read her latest stories “Farming is a family affair: 30th Annual NOFA MASS Winter Conference” and “Maple Mama Craft Spritzers” at Country Folks.

Thanks again to Laura Rodley.  If you have work to share, send it to weighedwords at gmail.com.


Snow trail, #1 © Ellen Wade Beals, 2013

Snow trail, #1 © Ellen Wade Beals, 2013

Snow trail, #2 © Ellen Wade Beals, 2013

Snow trail, #2 © Ellen Wade Beals, 2013


February 1: new month, new start

Contrasts © Ellen Wade Beals, 2016

Contrasts © Ellen Wade Beals, 2016

Hello out there! I’ve had a heck of a time trying to think of what to post. I’ve been down in the dumps and looking for solace, and it’s hard to come by these days.

But it’s February 1, and I hope to start fresh, with a new resolve.

Today marks the birthday of one of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes. You can read more about his life and work at the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation.

His poetry is not in the public domain so I cannot give you an entire poem to read. But I can quote from “Dreams” and encourage you (and myself) to keep on working to fulfill our dreams (mine includes providing solace for you here and continuing with my writing projects).

“Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.”

While I was doing dishes the other day I looked out my kitchen window to see my neighbors put up a sign in their yard. I cannot tell you much about the Here We Believe organization behind these signs because their Twitter and FB profiles have little info and the website is all about purchasing the signs.  Regardless, what they say is also what I believe.

Love they neighbor © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Love they neighbor © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Peace, love, and solace



Václav Havel, from Disturbing the Peace

Over and over © Ellen Wade Beals, 2012

Over and over © Ellen Wade Beals, 2012

Way back in November, my friend Beth shared this quote with me. I finally remembered to look it up and share it with you.

Between 1985 and 1986 Václav Havel did a number of interviews with the Czech journalist Karel Hvížd’ala. The resulting book was called Long-Distance Interrogation; when it was published in English in 1990,  it was titled Disturbing the Peace.

From Disturbing the Peace:

. . . [T]he kind of hope I often think about (especially in situations that are particularly hopeless, such as prison) I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us, or we don’t. . . . Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. . . . I feel that its deepest roots are in the transcendental, just as the roots of human responsibility are, though of course I can’t – unlike Christians, for instance — say anything about the transcendental. . . .

“Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpromising the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from ‘elsewhere.’ It is also this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”

Václav Havel, Disturbing the Peace

BTW, I found this quote on the Václav Havel Library Foundation site.

Peace, love, and solace



First news of the year –accomplishments and passages

Peppermint © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

Peppermint © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

January is peppermint. Candy canes are the last of the holiday candy. Shadows stripe the days. And the arctic air makes your breath seem almost mentholated. Everything’s a little sharper.

It is wonderful to see Solace in So Many Words contributors do illustrious things. BIG congrats to Ellen Bass, who recently was elected to the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors.

BTW, if you resolve to read more poetry this year, check out the Poem-A-Day series.

And another thing, you can read “Ode to the Fish” by Ellen Bass at The Writer’s Almanac.

Donna Hilbert has had three great poems published already this year. “Rank” appears at Silver Birch. “South Facing Beach” appears on Your Daily Poem. “Dear John Letter to my Uterus” appears on Verse Virtual.

Bob Feie

Bob Feie

I am very sad to report that Bob Feie died December 21. Bob was the graphic designer behind Solace in So Many Words and he also designed the Weighed Words logo. Bob was great to work with and I appreciated his aesthetic vision. But more than that, Bob was an all-around terrific guy and good citizen of this world. He was kind and had a great sense of humor. My heart goes out to his family.

In my email inbox came the news that  Subprimal Poetry Art is open for submissions.

So is Minerva Rising, which is sponsoring two new book contest this year as well as the journal (the latest call is for work relating to RIPPLES).

Lastly, if you are a poet from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin, you may want to consider submitting to the Lindquist & Vennum Prize, an annual regional prize presented in partnership with Milkweed Editions. There is no submission fee.

Peace, love, and solace

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