Poem, Day 25

my alter-ego:

at times valaida wouldn’t,

 ergo ava wood. 


Between Them

I am through with him.

At least that’s what I told him.

Truth…lies…between them.

                                         — ava wood

Poem, Day 24

Haiku again, in the nick of time, just before midnight. I have numerous make-up days for the April days that I missed.  I’ll catch up in time. — VF

Day 16


Gave away my soul

Giving back to get it back

Given what I know

Poem, Day 16

After returning from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), which held a reception and program in conjunction with The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit, today I’m re-posting a featured haiku from my book and exhibit. I wrote this one about five or six years ago on a day I was playing around with various idioms and conjugated forms of the verb to give. The haiku emerged pretty quickly and effortlessly and it perfectly sums up my thoughts, then and now.

The UAPB exhibit in Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center was beautiful and filled with students wandering through. Below are some photos from my Arkansas visit. — VF

Day 8

My momma worries.

I keep telling her I’m good.

She can’t help it though.
Poem, Day 8
Out late on Day 8, so this is one, in barely by the skin of my teeth. I’m keeping it super simple yet true.
DF VF and Mom

‘Snow meant for them’

Today’s poem is by German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht and is one of my favorites. I was first introduced to it during a Civic Reflection workshop a decade ago. The poem stirs wide-ranging and seemingly infinite questions about homelessness, generosity, philanthropy and social reform. It’s fantastic fodder for philanthropic discussions (perhaps even debates) and insights.

“The snow meant for them falls on the roadway,” a most striking phrase, paints a vivid and layered scene. This line actually appears twice, affirming it as a pivotal point. I could linger on that line alone for a week.

Which line from this poem intrigues you most?


I hear that in New York
At the corner of 26th Street and Broadway
A man stands every evening during the winter months
And gets beds for the homeless there
By appealing to passers-by.

It won’t change the world
It won’t improve relations among men
It will not shorten the age of explotation
But a few men have a bed for the night
For a night the wind is kept from them
The snow meant for them falls on the roadway.

Don`t put down the book on reading this, man.

A few people have a bed for the night
For a night the wind is kept from them
The snow meant for them falls on the roadway
But it won’t change the world
It won’t improve relations among men
It will not shorten the age of exploitation.

— Bertolt Brecht

Poem, Day 7

The snow meant for them

one and twenty days

one and twenty days

thoughts tick mercilessly

mocking my mind unceasingly

each hour searches increasingly

minutes second-guess me so easily

every trace of time misses you.

ava wood

Poem, Day 5

What a difference a day makes—for better or for worse. Happenings months ago inspired this piece and since then my emotions have come full circle and are now tilting toward one-eighty. Funny how time does that.


Poem, Day 4

Give it a real go.

Give it everything you got.

And give it some time.

ava wood

This month, on April 27, I’ll mark nine years since the idea for the Giving Back Project seized upon me while attending a philanthropy conference in Seattle.

If nothing else, this journey of nearly 3285 days has taught me the three points composing the haiku above, which was posted in observance of National Poetry Month. So when you choose to pursue something meaningful, dream big, prepare well, go hard…and hang on tight for the dizzying roller coaster ride! — VF

Stack of Giving Back books


Poem, Day 3

Nearly ran out of time today, so I’m re-blogging this poem titled “Passage” from 2014. Enjoy!


Never feels quite right
Too long bundled and uptight,
like a Nubian entombed or plainest Mennonite.
Tension risen, watch the bite
Mind churning, so burst it might.
Eternal tunnel absent a whisper of light
Sun conceded to perpetual night.
Well-plumbed valleys, nary a heavenly height
Nearly convinced no mercy in sight
Then, I write.

Ava Wood

There she goes again. And why not, it’s National Poetry Month!

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‘Full Circle’ by Quentin Talley

Poem, Day 2

In 2008, I commissioned longtime friend and poet Quentin “Q” Talley to create a group performance piece for a community philanthropy conference. Later, he refined it and then came and delivered it at one of my giving circle‘s planning retreats. It was 2009 or 2010 when I asked Q to edit the poem for inclusion in the book I was writing. Now Full Circle is featured using kinetic typography in Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited. Delighted to share it here again for National Poetry Month!

To hear Q recite his poem, listen here.Full Circle screenshot

Re:versed, Again

dazed by days of prose
april comes showering poems
state reversed by verse

Poem, Day 1

Originally posted on 4 April 2013

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month! In fact, this April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. It has grown to become the “largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.”

To join in the celebration, new and favorite poems will post here throughout April—possibly every day! I call my poetical alter ego Ava Wood and plan to tap into that voice to produce new poems this month. Each year, I relish the challenge of creating poetry, like the haiku above and like this and this and this. — VF