Picking Up the Trail

Books and keyboard indicating publishing

“If you come to a fork in the road,” advised Yogi Berra, “take it.” . . .
Well I didn’t. I stopped right in my tracks (and so did this blog). Why?

I got busy. I got distracted. I got confused and overwhelmed. I got caught up in self-publishing, so as to share poems that come to, through, or from me. I began laying plans. More specifically, I began laying plans about laying plans: doing research, joining groups, making excursions, and so forth. I’m sure you can relate. If not, let me make plans to make plans to understudy you!

I was so sure there was a fork in the road I couldn’t continue the blog as I had been doing, with personal stories, photos, and sharing. I questioned whether I should post so many poems, especially in batches, when they might someday appear in a book.

Cover of Artist and Muse bookEven my daily poem journaling suffered: fewer poems, less attentively conceived, birthed, and nurtured. But. . .

The books were captivating! The design of them. The choosing of the themes and relevant poems. The harmonizing of the covers. The creation of the supplementary texts. The ultimate holding in my hands of the tangible, shareable results! I’m “ordinately” proud of them (this is the author speaking, after all). I do want to help people find them. I do want to acquaint them with my muse and with the writing process as I’ve experienced it—and now, too, with the publishing process as I’m experiencing it.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey. Yours is a similar one: life and creativity. Let’s continue to share with and inspire each other. Instead of forks in individual roads, let’s align and interconnect our collective roads. I’ll look for you along the way.  ~Jo

Poems—June 2015

Mountains and mist at Machu PicchuJUN Poems

Here are some selected poems from June. They are still drafts, not final versions, so please ask permission before sharing (except by linking to this website.) Thank you. I’ve put the poems in reverse order because, really, they tell a story. That story is my dream trip to Machu Picchu Peru—what it entailed and what it meant. There are several general-topic poems thrown in as well. [Reverse order is true chronological order, compared to previous months’ entries; so actually, this month, it’s the reverse of reverse. Is that confusing or what?]



Morning light at Machu Picchu

Blue haze atmosphere at Machu Picchu


My mountain.
My fountain of dreams.

Of all earth’s places,
my epitome.

My secret wish,
long since divulged,
that still holds
secret claims on me.

My open-air cathedral.

My anyplace and everyplace
where every soul soars free.

My Ganga Ma, my Shangri La,
my sacred Bodhi Tree.

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Forever Friends

Brightly dressed Cusco womanThe Best Vacation

The best vacation may well be the vacation from media, controversy, and polarization.

For me, that kind of vacation was the great gift of Peru and was shown in these kinds of ways: being embraced by just about everyone; mutual celebrations of varied backgrounds; and finding ways to make daily life work harmoniously.

* * *



Are you from Afghanistan?
Are you from Peru?
Do you wear your hair in braids?
Are you tattooed blue?

Are you a street vendor
or a head of state?
Do you get up early?
Do you stay up late?

If our paths have crossed in life
(nice if face to face),
we are kindred beings;
our spirits have embraced.

I have no time for judgment.
I have no time for hate.
And, as for love and friendship,
I have no time to wait.

[Note the baby goat cradled in her arm…]

This poem was written on my return from Peru and posted to Facebook. I am including it here in this blog so as to reach friends who would otherwise be missed.

“Bendiciones, Amigos!”  ~Jo

Photo Credit:
Cusco woman with goat, by Jo LIghtfoot

Peru Pilgrimage

How can I leave town without mentioning Machu Picchu? It’s such a major milepost in my life… a destiny and destination I’ve held in my heart for almost 50 years.

View of Machu Picchu

I leave in an hour and, for once in my life, I’m not scrambling with last-minute details like packing bags, scouting information, or reviewing plans. It’s all been done. My route goes from Northwest Arkansas to Dallas to Lima to Cusco. I leave about 8:00 tonight and arrive about 8:00 tomorrow. Cusco and Lowell are in the same time zone, so that’s twelve hours enroute.

This adventure is part of a larger one: a combined eye care clinic mission co-sponsored by the Cusco, Peru and Rogers, Arkansas Lions Clubs and produced by Legend Treks. For me, it’s a spiritual adventure, like all of life. This one just seems more intense.



My mountain.
My fountain of dreams.    

Of all earth’s places,
my epitome.  

My secret wish,
long since divulged,
that still holds
secret claims on me.

My open-air cathedral.

My anyplace and everyplace
where every soul soars free.

My Ganga Ma, my Shangri La,
my sacred Bodi Tree.

* * *

Love to you and blessings on your own life adventures. ♥ ~Jo

* * *

Photo Credit: kconnors at Morguefile

Poems—May 2015

Purple hyacinthMAY Poems

Here are some selected poems from May. They are still drafts, not final versions, so please ask permission before sharing (except by linking to this website.) Thank you.




We’re alike in this (me, you).
In calm moments,
we think things through
or just intuit what is true.
We know much better than we do.


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Stop! … Stop!

Far shoreline of lakeWhen you blink your eyes, you never know what you’ll see next. I can attest. Once I was with friends, driving to see the spring jonquils at Wye Mountain. Margery was the driver and I sat beside her in the front seat. The whole group of us had stayed up late the night before, visiting, and I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. In fact, I let my eyelids fall… and close… for a second… or two. When I opened them, the road had shiftedastounding!—and we were driving down the wrong side of it!  Margery’s eyes had closed in tandem with mine; we had both blinked. And the world could have changed much more dramatically than it did. I’ve told you that story as a lead-in to sharing what just happened at the local boat ramp. Don’t worry, nobody got hurt..

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Rain Rain Rain

Drowned DaisiesLike Fair Ophelia, the daisies are drowning.  Daisies! —the very symbol of freshness and life. Recent rains here transformed a patch of daisies into something more like a lily pond. The daisies are valiantly trying to survive—some managing to hold their heads above water; others standing no chance at all. In the nearby lake as the waters rise, fish are investigating newly expanded territories… splash, splash! … and herons are investigating the fish. Question… 

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Poems—April 2015

Sweet William in the woodsAll Poems—

These are my poems from April. There are several reasons why I included all of them rather than making selections… Including the good, bad, and ugly may help readers better understand poem creation…  None require being kept private… The variety demonstrates how poetry can serve as one’s diary, sounding board, imaginative play, spiritual practice, and therapy.  (As usual, these poems are still drafts, not final versions, so please ask for permission before sharing, except by linking to this website. Thank you.)




One day
I’m in a furious tantrum
over something.

Next day
I can’t even remember
the cause.

Each day
I learn to forget
a little quicker.

Some day
I will simply forget

Voilà! —instant peace.

[ASIDE: “Serenity now!!!” was the theme
of one Jerry Seinfeld episode that I found
impressive and insightful.]


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