Breaking Ground 95 - Poetry


Hope, in any language

Is a permission to become.

It is imagining that there is someone out there

Who is listening to your words

As your voice, unformed,

Emerges from the damp darkness.

Hope is a greeting

Or merely an acknowledgement,

A wink of the eye.

Hope is a warm embrace,

A kiss.

Hope is a striving

For something beyond the immediate.

Hope sees in the darkness,

Listens in the stillness,

Knows and understands what is not yet here.

John Paul Tetzeli. John Paul of Memphis expresses his own hope in the poetry he writes. He shares his thoughts in this poem Hope which was published in the HAPI book of writings “Faith, Hope, and Recovery in Letters 2018.”

The Story of a Cloud

I was born on the Kansas plains

A little tyke learning how to fly

Like a bird with new wings

Suspended in time

I sucked on a precious water supply

With warm air below me

Into the cool above

Those were the days I loved

I was content for a long time

Then I became a storm

Unstable and angry

I flew madly into the stratosphere

And fired flames of angry fire out of my mouth

To the plains down below

I grew mighty and tall

But the anger continued to grow

Youthful rebellion perhaps

Or just learning that I can die

I tried to prove otherwise as I towered into the sky

My energy poured down as rain and hail

And my angry words of rebellion

Came as tornadoes and gusts of wind

Then my strength began to sag

And I weakened and partially collapsed

And other clouds formed

As my children

From a tempest who was now my wife

And they grew strong and tall

As we grew old and weak

As midnight approached

I grew frail

As my withered head grew white

And the fire died away

And I recounted the glory of being young and strong

On the Kansas plains

As my eyes gazed far and wide

Across the glorious sky

And my anger grew to calm and reflection

As I faded into the pale blue of the calm morning

Poem by Brian McHan. To accompany this poem, Brian wrote, “I have schizophrenia which kept me from earning a Meteorology degree, but I love the weather for the most part anyway.” Brian C. McHan has schizophrenia. He is a 2002 Partners Graduate. This poem represents his feelings on aging.

The Fading Away of Summer - by Brian McHan (author bio above)

The 4th of July is long past
Kids are back in school
The days are getting shorter
It’s not getting as hot
The Sun is at a lower angle
It’s the fading away of Summer
My youth has faded too
My stomach juts out
My beard has grey in it
My hair has thinned
My muscles are weaker
Time moves along
Isn’t it funny though
That in a fading year
That the brightest colors
Shine across the land
Before they fall to the ground
And death takes hold?
My restlessness is less
My wisdom is greater
I don’t worry as much
I am settled in my heart
Perhaps I shine more
Before dusk approaches
And I am covered by the snow


When the heart is bigger than a
you can roll places-the way I heard it:
a kid once rubbed surfboard wax on a
car hood until the vehicle grew tailfins,
that was in 1957 according to my grandpa
now what robotic surgeon, or med nurse
wouldn’t want to ride a high hot shotgun
jumping puddles, sun, Route 66 rainbows,
until the ever abundant fun on 4 rubberized
floater-feet zips off fast as a machined bee

David S. Pointer is a 2017 Partners in Policymaking graduate. He has recent publications in the Indiana Horror 2018 anthology. David lives in Murfreesboro with his daughters and kitty cats.

Seasoning - by Kathy Tupper

Revel, glorious chameleon.
Spend your last dance without thrift –
furious to fade,
grateful to drift into familiar dreams –
counting the probable odds of a return
of possibilities.
Recharge to awaken again
in the cataclysmic birth of breath and wonder.
Chartreuse and pink giggles of imagination
thrive in the curious.
Fling your seeds of raucous colors
free to flourish where they may.
Muddle luscious green shapes and shades
in shocking storms
to make a sultry slurry.
Simmer to a rich red-golden brown –
a stew fit for a feast -
a glorious recelebration of the return
of possibilities.

Kathy has nearly 50 years fine and professional art experience as art and creative director for advertising agencies, public projects and as an art instructor.

Sometimes - by April Meredith

Sometimes I feel like I am barely clinging on to a glimpse of hope

Like the last brown leaf

On a dying tree

In Fall

Sometimes I feel like the endless space

Speckled with starry spots of brilliance

But tortured

By infinite choices

Sometimes I feel powerful and purposeful

As crucial as the air we breathe

But just the same, taken for granted and unseen

As if not there at all

Sometimes I am as motivated and determined as a hungry lioness

Prowling for prey

While other times I am completely immobilized

By my internal voices

Sometimes I am the bomb

Because of my awesome attitude

Great works

And wit

Sometimes I am a bomb, primed to explode

Because everything

Or nothing


Sometimes I feel I can take on the world

With sound mind

Bursts of energy

And high spirits

Sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders

Sometimes I am numb

The pain, much less dangerous

Than the latter

Sometimes I feel happy and blessed

But I know

These highs and lows

My smiles and frowns

The ups and downs

Will never end

My friend



To My Disability - by April Meredith

To My DisabilityI am joyful because
I am meI am joyful because
I have three
I am joyful because
I can see
I am joyful because
I observe beauty
I am joyful because
I love deeplyI am joyful because
I am freeI am joyful because
I think thoroughly
I am joyful because
I try
I am joyful because
I cry
I am joyful because
I live passionatelyI am joyful because
I fight with furyI am joyful because
My spirit is strong, though my body is weary
I am joyful because
I take, but give more gratefully
I am joyful because
I feel heavy
I am joyful because
Of my abilitiesI am joyful because
There is nothing else to be

April Meredith is a 2014-15 Partners in Policymaking graduate who currently works for Empower Tennessee. She loves God, her family, diversity and creativity.