Poems to slow us down in a busy season

Editor’s note:

Local poet Mimi Jennings is a longtime participant in Transition Town—ASAP. At the local readings she hosts, Mimi invites neighbors, as well as other accomplished poets, to the microphone. At this often hectic time of year, she offers two poems for us to savor. “Mind for Sound” reminds us that poetry is also word play. “After Thich Nhat Hanh’s Breathing” is Mimi’s take on the words of a Vietnamese Buddhist poet.

Mind for Sound*

I know

where the word hymn comes from—

the hum, the thrum in my chest,

a song, an air, an anthem

noble, like honor,

like prayer.

And I get

slut, lust, the thrust

of them. Brash. Trust their muscle

their cheek.

They share a phoneme

with love.

Grumble is easy

A bass, animal rumbling not-so

Low, back of the teeth.

Drum, growl,

cheer counterbalance,

useful for truth.

I know where

we get whisper

and sigh. Soft, expressive breezes,


Shh, listen yourself—

more verses


After Thich Nhat Hanh’s

Breathing in, I see myself a flower

dewdrop fresh.

Breathing out,

my eyes become flowers.

Breathing in, I am poised.

Breathing out,

I am imperturbable,

a mountain—

waves of emotion

do not carry me away.

Lake water that faithfully

reflects the sky,

a full moon

in my heart,

I breathe in.

I have become boundless.

I have no luggage.

Please look at me

breathing out

with the eyes of love.

*”Mind for Sound” and “After Thich Nhat Hanh’s Breathing” copyright (c) 2021 by Mimi Jennings.

Mimi Jennings is the author of two poetry manuscripts, Madonna, Immaterial Girl: Poem in Four Cantos and Stonecrop and Bloodroot, and the chapbook Family of Sonnets. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. Mimi received the St. Catherine University Creative Work Award, the Banfill-Locke Writing Award, a first and a second from the Park Bugle and regional honors from the Maria Faust Sonnet Contest. A former French, English, prison-Dharma teacher, she hosts readings and sequesters with people from three continents.

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