be prepared

be prepared
was what i learned in girl scouts
but they never prepared me
for anything
besides making boondoggle
& granny squares

though mine were circles
because i can never remember
not to add a crucial turn
of the hook
so my patterns rebelled
even then

but being prepared–
that sense of readiness


having enough toilet paper
& milk
before the big snowstorm

that’s preparedness

& not this openness
to everything i have–
tasting the promise
of snow coming
on the tip of my tongue

seeing it in the deep
refracted gray
& almost blue turbulence
of ice swarming in clouds

but no, that
is mindfulness
& not preparedness

because knowing what’s coming
is completely different
from surviving it

***at Dverse today we are writing about preparedness.


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to be prepared

  1. boomiebol says:

    Knowing what’s coming is completely different from surviving it… Yep you are a Jedi master

  2. nelle says:

    There are a lot of elements to preparedness and its effective implementation. Sometimes we face challenges alone, sometimes together.

    Where I see a particular need is with teaching us how to overcome each other, not in terms of competition, but in terms of the judgements we throw around and try to hide from. Too many lock themselves in vaults, as I did for four decades. And as living beings, pressure can build inside as much as it can apply from without.

    • Oh, Nelle–incisive statement, and true. We need to be prepared for our own natural disasters–or better yet, mindful enough of ourselves to avert them altogether. You, madam, are brilliant.

  3. mobius faith says:

    For some reason I find this humorous and insightful. Preparedness = practicality
    and mindfulness = insight. Wonderful piece here.

  4. I’m not good at preparing, I’m afraid
    Anticipation? I can do that. I always know when the weather is going to change, either getting better or worse.
    I like the idea of tasting snow before it comes, Master
    Not much you can do about the weather, is there? Just ride it out.

  5. unfetteredbs says:

    way to get us thinking Susan and loved the way you brought it together in the end. Wonderful

  6. Green Speck says:

    Getting prepared to face an unexpected situation is what life is all about … your poem describes it brilliantly … well done 🙂

  7. Be Prepared! 🙂 I remember it welll…. and how I hated it…. lol. I mean, why stay in a tent in February allegedly for fun? Poem really made me smile Susan. And like the difference between being prepared and being mindful.

    Now, best check how many loo rolls I’ve got in… Just in case….!

  8. brian miller says:

    oh snap…great closing line…there is def a big difference….i was enjoying the anticipation of catching snow on my tongue….ha…hope to get some this year….but def a poignant piece…and def never run out of TP….smiles.

  9. Laurie Kolp says:

    Love this, Susan… such a strong ending!

  10. Mary says:

    Yes indeed, knowing what is coming IS different than surviving it. By the time a person reaches a certain age, one has had experience with that. I do think the Girl Scouts do teach good lessons though. I enjoyed learning how to make a bed (LOL) and make S’mores!

  11. That close sealed the deal for me here Susan, a perfect conclusion for me.

  12. Wowzers! You have said a mouthful here, kiddo. This poem hits me right where I live. Back then, we werent prepared for ANYTHING! However we figured it out pretty quick! Love the closing lines….you absolutely nailed it!

  13. Pingback: be prepared | Pure Poetry |

  14. tashtoo says:

    Your finish is a BRILLIANT killing blow…awesome!

  15. Yes indeed. Knowing what’s coming is completely different to being prepared to surviving it. We have snow on the way here tomorrow too. Batteries, milk, bread Those would be my top concerns too. LOL

  16. Therin Knite says:

    “because knowing what’s coming
    is completely different
    from surviving it”

    Man, way to smack us with a hard truth at the very end there. Great piece!

  17. I loved Brownies and Guides – loved camping trekking gathering badges – ah, those were the days – lovely poem Susan 🙂

  18. ManicDdaily says:

    Yes, very true and well distilled! k.

  19. you just keep bringing it, Susan. I love this

  20. I agree…surviving it is a different story ~ Like that ending stanza ~

  21. Such wisdom in your words… being prepared for something is vastly different then having the strength and courage to get through it. A brilliant write.

  22. hiroshimem says:

    Wow, great ending, it left a great feeling on me. I especially loved this part:
    “that’s preparedness

    & not this openness
    to everything i have–”
    I enjoyed this reflection on the purpose of preparedness.

    • Oh, thank you so much, Aimee! I am going to go back to your blog to do some reading tomorrow, when my mind is fresh, because my French is terrible, but I can read it and understand what is spoken. I just refuse to write it or speak it, as what I do to that language is criminal 😉

      • hiroshimem says:

        Hahaha! Don’t worry, I won’t hear you read… And by the way, I teach French to English speakers… and I have sympathy for other language learners (as I am one myself)!

  23. Oh this made me grin!

  24. janehewey says:

    yes. yes. I enjoy your finale – giving us something to ponder. I love “tasting the promise of snow coming” and love how you are so present in this poem.

  25. claudia says:

    knowing what’s coming
    is completely different
    from surviving it….ha…so true…but not bad at all to know that there’s at least enough toilet paper in the house…ha..smiles…. nah…really like how you tackle the topic of being prepared and mindfulness…the difference…the how being prepared is much more..i like

  26. Sabio Lantz says:

    Hmmmm, I loved it.

    To me, it appears that you are contrasting two skills:

    ‘mindfulness’ (the aesthetic skill of being open to taste a moment without reductive planning-mind)


    preparation (the practical skill to survive so we can taste another day.

    Maybe last stanza was honoring the important insight that BOTH of these valuable skills: understanding each of their values.

    Was I off? (following)

    My daughter is in girl scouts now as i watch the enculturation and am a little sad — as she is taught stereotypes and assumptions of:
    being a girl, being in an assumed Christian country and being a patriot.
    My son saw through this and dropped out – he also disliked all the kids fooling around — he craves to learn discerningly.
    My daughter loves the crafts, activities and friends — so she stays.

    BTW: In Chrome, Safari and FireFox, the checkboxes at the bottom of your comment box are unlabeled. One should say subscribe to comments, the other to subscribe to blog posts. (or something like that). This appears to be a WordPress template. Your dashboard has setting to fix this perhaps. I’d only leave one box — the subscribe to comments box and see if you can get the label to show up. Just a suggestion. Love your header on this blog — great drawing by your daughter.

    • Sabio–thanks for enjoying this–you are spot on with my desire to contrast the two states–preparedness and mindfulness. I will see what I can do about the check boxes, too. Odd that there is no text there, and I never noticed it before. Also glad you like Zoe’s self portrait.

      Interesting point about scouting enculturating our children–one of the reasons I have not put my daughter in.

  27. Terrific write, Susan. You swept me along, then nailed it with those finishing lines. Excellent write!

  28. tigerbrite says:

    You summed it up in your last lines:) For years I have made sure I have three days supply of essentials. It isn’t snow we experience but torrential rain called a gota fria that makes travel impossible when roads disappear under water.

  29. Nic says:

    Hi there, A Few Short Words has nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Details can be found over on the AFSW site.

  30. perfectly poeticized. Excellent response to the theme.

  31. Susan says:

    I wrote about girl scouts too–come see, if you haven’t already. I love the difference you clarify between mundane–though skilled–preparation and the ability to attend to and be open to our time, mindfulness. For that, we need to be alive with all of our capacity and less. To write this poem, you had to be in the moment and then return to it again.

Comments are closed.