Words, Beautiful Words

A Sky Collection Newsletter


Photo by Nataliya Smirnova on Unsplash

Hello Sky Collection readers and writers,

I hope you are all staying safe and warm where you live. Here in NC, the ground is saturated, and the cold rain continues. But muddy paws and disappointing impeachment trials aside, the beautiful words of this publication help keep me going. Thank you so much for your continued readership, and to our writers, thank you for filling our lives with your thoughts and art.

January Highlights

Did you know we now have an editor’s picks page? Please take a look! The featured pieces from January are:

Rain on New Year’s Day” by Vixen Lea

“Unity” by Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers

“Handy” by Amy Jasek

“Still Waters Run Deep” by MDSHall

“The Art of Healing” by Priyanka Srivastava

“The Halls of Power” by Janaka Stagnaro

Each of these unique pieces is worthy of your time!

Quote Prompts

My baby, who was due on Valentine’s Day, 2011, born 2/12/11, turned 10 this week, I have a lot of feelings about that. Our most recent prompt connects time passing and children growing up to parenthood and feeling needed.

Check it out:

Kids Don’t Stay


On a personal note, I have intentionally slowed down my own writing this month. It has been a year since my father died, and I am feeling more introspective without wanting to produce too much. I ride my moods.

However, there are many projects in the works. Did you know, besides teaching in the classroom, I teach individualized writing lessons and coach writers of all ages? I have a new client today, and I am very excited to work with her.

I am in the process of putting together my second poetry collection. I hope to have this ready by the end of the month!


That’s all for now. Thank you for your continued support!

Love, Samantha

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate.

My Little Patch of Sky (Part 2)

A reflection on the winter solstice and this year

December 21, 2020- blurred photo of Jupiter and Saturn by author

Last night, we tried to set up the telescope my son got for Christmas last year, but the tripod was broken, and the view from my front yard was clear to look with our eyes. It was incredible to see the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction on a relatively mild North Carolina evening. Even though I live in the city, I can still find a way to block out much of the light pollution to star and moon gaze.

It was winter solstice 2019 when I decided to begin my Sky Collection project. I made a goal to write a poem a day inspired by taking sacred pauses to look up and notice. I did not write 365 poems for the project, mostly because so much happened this year. In February, my dad died, and right after that, the pandemic hit the U.S., so my teaching job became remote. I sure learned a lot about teaching online and about returning to school under strict safety protocols.Masked and Ready for School
Teaching during COVID-19 is making me a better educatormedium.com


Dealing with the loss of my father both closed me down and opened me up. A lot of my poetry in Sky Collection became about that experience. It was a way for me to grieve, I suppose. Growing up, I was always losing my dad. This year was just the final loss. Ambiguous grief has been difficult throughout my life. It is a sense of always waiting for the next trauma to happen.

Ambiguous Grief is Real
Coping with loss before it happensmedium.com

Ambiguous grief/anxiety took on a whole new meaning this year because of COVID-19, and that anxiety is far from over. I still feel like I am waiting. Waiting to be with people I love. Waiting to go somewhere. Waiting to feel safe enough again. Waiting to get my son into more stuff again. Waiting for things to go “back to normal.” I want to stop waiting and just be. So if I had to make any new year’s resolutions, that would be it.

My ritual with the new year is not to resolve to stop doing something. Instead, I decide what no longer serves me and slowly or all at once, I let it go. Sometimes I write those things down and burn the paper. Then I decide what to keep with me for the next year. So into 2021, I will bring a new sense of healing, a wonderful writers’ community, a powerful and beautiful writing practice, strength to be a teacher in-person or remotely, stamina to wear a mask all day, everyday.

Looking back at what I accomplished this year in my writing: I wrote a total of 115 poems in my Sky Collection project and hundreds more poems and stories in my notebooks and elsewhere on Medium. I opened up my publication Sky Collection to dozens more writers. I created a writing prompts practice, which inspired many people to create a diversity of responses.

Most of all, I am proud that I published my first poetry collection, Reaching Marrakesh, which is a book I think I have always been writing about losing my dad.

So even though I am finished with last year’s Sky Collection Project, I will also take into the new year my practice of stopping and taking in the sky. It is always important to take sacred pauses — to look up at the sky and notice there is so much more to our universe. To my little patch of sky, thank you for continuing to fill me with wonder and joy.

Happy New Year, dear readers!

  • Samantha Lazar 2020

Here is the link to the poem of the same title:My Little Patch of Sky
Sky Collection — Poem 96medium.com

This piece was originally published here.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to announce I have at last released a poetry narrative collection out into the world: Reaching Marrakesh. You can find that here.

Day 1,061 (of this president)

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

this madness, let us sleep
louder and ruder by day
division and diversion

but we won’t look away

my eight year old wants to know
on our drive home 
how did he get elected, mama?
that is a great question, love

we cannot even keep up
there is not even a way to explain it 
to myself

but I remember day one
how can we forget that rainy 
upside down
clown show

refusing to watch
but then sneaking a glance
the curiosity outweighing the protest

the fury unearthed 
better than the lunchroom gossip

if this is US history
will we survive long enough
to say we were there for the nightmare?

when at last will we stop?

if numbers actually don’t 
matter so much
why should we show our work in math?

if the truth is an illusion
what is the point of learning?


© Samantha Lazar 2019

Loving Myself at 45

Poetry for Sunday

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Hell yes, I will come on your yoga and meditation retreat. 
I will meet you where I meet myself. 
I will sing loudly on the way up the mountain. 
Yes I am of Generation X. 
I still know all of Dark Side of the Moon by heart.

I am still growing up. It’s fun, remember? 
It’s also great to go nowhere be seen by no one answer to no one. 
I will listen to NPR and my books on tape, 
and I will stop to think and forget to get going again. 
Yes, turning into my mother (still) wild and earthy hippie she is.

I will laugh about the permanent bruise on my hip 
because where is my body in space? 
Where are we anyway?

I will dance with my child and sip coffee and fill in the boxes. crossword and Sudoku. bliss. leisure.

I cannot sit still just like my 5th graders. I need to hold a fidget spinner. My brain at times won’t stop. I will pull at the weeds and not plant anything this year. The garden will volunteer tomatoes. And maybe a pumpkin.

There is a cardinal. Home for a while. 
I will walk and walk even though my arch hurts and my heel hurts and I stretch beyond what I thought possible.
That adjustment in me has yet to come.

I am bold. I speak my mind. I am hard on myself. And then I am not. I get lazy then busy then I just cannot deal with the world.

I love the routine but I want a shake up. 
I am still that girl on the train. 
Running that race, swimming the lake, learning guitar. 
Singing and singing with all my heart.

I am still losing my tent at a music festival. 
I am still playing house too soon.
I am dancing in a light up hula hoop in my wedding dress. 
I am still lost and totally and completely one hundred percent myself.

And love. I love. I love you so much.


© Samantha Lazar 2019

Thank you for reading. My name is Samantha. I teach 5th graders everything from Language Arts to How to Be a Good Human. I also teach creative writing classes, workshops, and lessons. I still want to be a writer when I grow up.

For Even the Drowning

Poetry/Free Verse

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

this. here.
a table to be refinished.
a repurposed can from 
the plum tomatoes
you bought for Saucy Saturday.

it could never have been
without that lack of oxygen
I don’t mean that the air was thin
it was, of course.
two people sharing the same view
at 14,000 feet sometimes
look out over different vistas.

I appreciate the emptiness of that hike
grateful for even the loss of you.

our son’s imitation Kandinsky
from first grade
concentric circles in a frame
our child’s presentation, as artist

his wooden flute
his bathtub songs
our child growing
and named on the beach 
in Tofino, remember?

grateful for even the scar
on my bone
I’ve got one of those seer aches
yes, we both feel the rain coming
yes, for even the emergency room.

your hand in mine
pulling each other 
back down from Russian Hill
I told you there was no need
for a diamond, but there it was.

the summer we kissed
northern lights
a dream over our heads
grateful for even the drowning
the loss of you
surfacing and surfacing
through my days.

our life

our child growing up
our growing old 
your warm body
reminding me
to let go of such losses
that led me to you.


© Samantha Lazar 2019

Thank you for reading. You may also enjoy:Dig In and Get to Know the Authors You Follow
Resurface Their Old Works and Find Goldmedium.com
Poetry for Pennies
Don’t Give Up My Beautiful Poets!medium.com

Jealous Old Man

A Poem

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

your official statement
on this issue
your seething
gas-lighting
comedy act
obscene and vile
as if your actual 
chastisement 
gains anything
you are not her teacher
her grandfather 
her anything

try humility on for size
say the words
well done!
congratulations!
genius!
the youth will save us!
I want to strive to be you when I grow up!
you are a role model for generations to come!
what an inspiration!
listen to the children!

yet she is another flick of ash
in your way 
discarded and discounted
disqualified by you
a bug on the windshield
a little girl on a swing set

she’s got her eye on you
your criticism crying and complaining
for a half a second
before casting you into the ocean
some debris to steer around
for better things to do with her time


Samantha Lazar 2019

Twinkle Toes

Twinkle Toes

A Song

Photo by Frances Gunn on Unsplash

My mom has a cat named Twinkle Toes.
She arrived one day, and our barn she chose
The dogs are obsessed with wherever she goes
She’s the sweetest cat, I do suppose

I chose this rhyme instead of prose
to relay some facts not everyone knows
On each back foot she has six toes
And on each front leg, two paws to pose

I’ve seen winter rain bring rainbows
And forgotten plantings bloom a rose
But I’ve never met a cat who knows
The magic more than Twinkle Toes

© Samantha Lazar 2007