by Jeanne Lohmann



To Say Nothing But Thank You


All day I try to say nothing but thank you,

breathe the syllables in and out with every step I

take through the rooms of my house and outside into

a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden

where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.


I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring

and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy

after a hot shower, when loosened muscles work,

when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly

hair combs into place.


Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,

and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I

remember who I am, a woman learning to praise

something as small as dandelion petals floating on the

steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,

my happy, savoring tongue.




Praise What Comes


Surprising as unplanned kisses, all you haven't deserved

of days and solitude, your body's immoderate good health

that lets you work in many kinds of weather. Praise

talk with just about anyone. And quiet intervals, books

that are your food and your hunger; nightfall and walks

before sleep. Praising these for practice, perhaps

you will come at last to praise grief and the wrongs

you never intended. At the end there may be no answers

and only a few very simple questions: did I love,

finish my task in the world? Learn at least one

of the many names of God? At the intersections,

the boundaries where one life began and another

ended, the jumping-off places between fear and

possibility, at the ragged edges of pain,

did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?




Questions Before Dark


Day ends, and before sleep

when the sky dies down, consider

your altered state: has this day

changed you? Are the corners

sharper or rounded off? Did you

live with death? Make decisions

that quieted? Find one clear word

that fit? At the sun’s midpoint

did you notice a pitch of absence,

bewilderment that invites

the possible? What did you learn

from things you dropped and picked up

and dropped again? Did you set a straw

parallel to the river, let the flow

carry you downstream?


jeanne lohmann


Jeanne Lohmann

Jeanne Lohmann is a Quaker poet who has published over ten volumes of poetry and has been featured in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. A poetry trail named for her is a dedicated part of Hypatia-in-the-Woods Center for Women in the Arts in Shelton, WA. In her nineties, Jeanne lives and writes in Olympia, WA, where she is an active mentor in the poetry community.