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August

purple starfish

Purple starfish on a Salt Spring Island beach, August 2012 – Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly

August

Here already
—with your brown lawns and leggy baskets
blushing tomatoes and blackening berries,
hairy, husky ears of corn?

Your arrival means it’s time
for our last summer fling
on ferry boats to azure islands
where we’ll walk beaches
with nervous crickets and hungry wasps
hunt shells, snap starfish
read in the dappled shade

Back home I’ll shop with you
braving the hordes of moms and kids
with their lists of ruled and unruled,
Crayola and calculator,
for you are the time
to stock up on marked-down
Five Stars and boxes of Bic
gel technology and fluorescent sticky notes.

Before you slip away
we have a date to stand in line
for Super Dogs and the Musical Ride
the Logger Show and flying bikes.
Later with hands mini-donut cinnamon-scented
we’ll muscle our way through crowds
lined up for massages
from the back rub machine,
clotted in front of barkers
hawking magic cloths and unblackable pots
to the table of framable prints.

So hello, dear August.
though your coming caught me by surprise
please don’t be in a hurry to go
for you could never overstay
your welcome.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

 
15 Comments

Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Nature, Personal

 

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Summer advice

Beach umbrella & hat at the beach

Summer Advice

Savor the moment
Let your mind wander
Only rise
When you’re good and ready

Don’t rush around
Or meet any deadlines
Wile away the day
No pressure

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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It’s summer and I’m about to take my own advice. I will be taking a break from blogging here for a few weeks. I’ll be back sometime in August. Wishing you all sweet summer days.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda at Write Time.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Acrostic, Light, Poetry Friday

 

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Writing

Beach pea and daisy

Writing

Beside the path
that winds through my
waking and sleeping,
grow, like wild flowers,
scenes, insights, connections.
Some days I am too rushed
or distracted to see.
On others I am wiser,
live with the perception
that gathers a bouquet,
chooses one or two
to press
between the covers
of a book.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly

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Today’s poem “Writing” is reposted from a first appearance here in 2010. Sad to say, I haven’t been picking or pressing many of those wildflowers lately because I’ve been engrossed in something else. The poem “Writing” is part of it.

CalendarYou see, I’ve been studying Mark Coker’s style guide on how to format documents for Smashwords. (In case you’re not familiar, Smashwords is a website through which you can publish and sell your own ebooks.)

I’ve wanted to try my hand at this kind of self-publishing for a while and decided to make my guinea pig document a chapbook that I first published in 2004 called Calendar. After spending several weeks snatching moments here and there to work on my document, this Monday I nervously hit “Publish.”

Amazingly the process completed without a hitch! And so today I’d like to introduce you to the 2014 ebook edition of Calendar!

Poetry Friday LogoNow to see what the rest of the Poetry Friday ladies and gents have been up to, click over to Buffy’s Blog where the lovely Buffy Silverman is laying out this week’s  Poetry Friday fare.

 

 

 

 
 

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Sock Hop

On Tuesday I took my walk after a heavy morning shower. On a section of the pathway beside the creek I saw snail after snail. There must have been 10 or more! I bet I know why they were out there.

Sock Hop poem with snail collage

 

In case you can’t read the fancy font:

Sock Hop

The downpour drumbeats on the whorls of rooftop
irresistible call to a rain dance sock hop

V. Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

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Snail Facts

For those more interested in facts than whimsy, here are a few snail facts (from Snail-world.com and About.com):

  • The trail of mucous a snail leaves behind is a lubricant to reduce friction against  the surfaces over which it travels. Snail mucous won’t make you sick.
  • A snail moves about 50 yards per hour or 1.3 cm. per second—slowly but steadily.
  • Snails can see and sense sound vibrations. Upper tentacles are the eyes, the lower ones pick up vibrations.
  • Snails are hermaphrodites, that is, they have both male and female parts. But they must mate with another snail to reproduce (lay eggs).
  • A snail’s lifespan (dependent on habitat and species) varies from 5 to even 25 years.
  • Snails are usually nocturnal and if they’re out during the day, don’t like bright sunshine (which is probably why they were out dancing on our cloudy Tuesday morning).

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This post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted this week by the effervescent Catherine at Catherine Johnson.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Kids, Light, Nature

 

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Walk the Beach

Beach collage

Beach Collage – Scenes from North Beach, Salt Spring Island, & China Beach, Vancouver Island B.C.

Walk the Beach

Set crickets flying
from crabby grass and weeds
shimmering on the sandy foreshore.

Hop logs of driftwood forest
clamber over algae-green rock
tricky as black ice.

Crunch broken shells
jingle the shingle
always at an angle.

Spring-step spongy
blackened sea grass
squish onion bulbs of kelp.

Take off shoes
let soles read
Braille of wave-print sand.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

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I sometimes still pinch myself, prairie transplant that I am, that I live near the ocean and the beach! As residents of the B.C.’s southwest corner for 30+ years, we’ve often indulged our fascination with the ocean by vacationing near it. The photos above were taken in the summer of 2012 on Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island beaches.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol and Carol’s Corner. (Thank you, Carol, for giving me the idea to post this poem with your beach poem!)

 
28 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Poetry Friday – tree branch edition

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Welcome to Poetry Friday. I’m delighted to host you today from the branches of the latest avian property.

bird in blossoming tree

Lark Listing

You don’t need a formal foyer
mudroom and a laundry too
kitchen with a granite counter
fireplaces not a few
great big master, walk-in closets
double basins in the loo

when your wallpaper’s spring blossom
floor is mossy, damp with dew
vaulted ceiling—it’s the highest
painted in the softest blue
living room is the whole meadow
open concept—what a view!

© 2014 – Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Yep, I obviously watch too much HGTV!  It was the background of blossoms in this photo that made me think of wallpaper—and what if this bird was twittering the advantages of its little spot in the woods like one advertises a house for sale?

Now it’s your turn. Fly over to Mr. Linky to leave links to your Poetry Friday offerings and read what is on everyone elses mind this beautiful May day!

 
55 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Light, Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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That Said (review)

That Said - Jane ShoreMother’s Day is just around the corner. In one of the happy serendipities of life, a book my son gave me for Christmas in 2012 caught my eye about a week ago. Its jacket flap marked how far I’d read in it—about halfway through. I decided to read on. It turns out That Said: New and Selected Poems by Jane Shore was the perfect book to get me in the mood for Mother’s Day!

Shore is a poet I’d never heard of. I don’t know why because she’s accessible and an interesting story teller—my kind of poet. Her poems are mostly autobiographical about her life in New York. Her parents had a dress shop. They were part of a lively Jewish community. The adult Shore has a child of her own.

She writes frankly about her own mother, with whom she had a perhaps typical daughter-mother hot-cold relationship.

“When my mother got into a bad mood,
brooding for days,
clamping her jaw shut, refusing to talk …
… I’d call her ‘Mrs. Hitler’ under my breath”

(“Mrs. Hitler” – p. 182.)

In her job, Shore’s mother was consumed with clothes. At thirteen, Jane lusted after the size three petites in her mother’s store. They would make her the best-dressed girl in school. But her mom would have none of it, coming home from Little Marcie’s Discount Clothes instead with an armful of clothes that had razored-out labels. Shore concludes:

“She was the queen;
I the heir.
It would have been a snap for her
to make me the best-dressed girl in school.
But for me she wanted better…

‘If I give you all these dresses now,
what will you want when you’re fifteen?’”

(“The Best Dressed Girl in School” pp. 188-191.)

Shore is a mother herself. In “The Bad Mother” she tells how she played with her daughter Emma, letting her be the Princess, the Mermaid and Cinderella while she was the vain stepmother, the fairy godmother, and the wicked witch.

“Once I played the heroine,
Now look what I’ve become.
I am the one who orders my starving child
out of my house and into the gloomy woods,
my resourceful child, who fills her pockets
with handfuls of crumbs or stones
and wanders into a witch’s candy cottage.”

(“The Bad Mother” pp. 159-161.)

Shore also writes about one of motherhood’s bitter experiences, losing a pregnancy.

MISSING
These children’s faces printed on a milk carton–
a boy and a girl
smiling for their school photographs;
each head stuck atop a column
of vital statistics:
date of birth, height and weight, color
of eyes and hair.

On a carton of milk.
Half gallon, a quart.
Of what use is the body’s
container, the mother weeping milk or tears.

No amount of crying will hold it back
once it has begun its journey
as you bend all night over the toilet,
over a fresh bowl of water.
Coins of blood splattering the tile floor
as though a murder had been committed.

read the rest here…

After her mother died Shore grieved. She takes us with her in the poem “My Mother’s Mirror” where she talks about dividing up her mother’s things with her sister. She inherits her mother’s mirror.

“Now at fifty,
I stare into her mirror
glazed with our common face,
the face I’ll pass down to my daughter
who watches from behind me
with the same puzzled look I had
when I watched my mother
out of the corner of her eye
watching me.”

(“My Mother’s Mirror” pp. 208-210.)

For those of us who are noticing how our mother’s physical characteristics are now being bequeathed to us and our daughters, “My Mother’s Foot” will bring a chuckle of recognition:

“Putting on my socks I noticed,
on my right foot an ugly bunion and hammertoe.
How did my mother’s foot
become part of me? I thought I’d buried it
years ago with the rest of her body…”

(“My Mother’s Foot  – pp. 238,239.)

That Said, New and Selected Poems (2012) is a collection that starts with the newest poems and then circles back to include poems from Shore’s previously published books dating as far back as 1977. This collection reminds me a bit of some verse novels. After reading these writings that span so many years, I feel like I know Shore, her mom and dad, her daughter and her Scrabble-playing family.

Stanley Plumly’s cover endorsement sums up this collection well: “Shore’s poem narratives have long been praised for their juxtapositions of wit and quiet wisdom. Yet her poems of these past three and a half decades also speak through a Talmudic knowledge as ancient as the archetype. Her work is deep because its small worlds become so whole, exacting, and exclusive.”

Thank you, Jane Shore, for validating many of my feelings about my own mother and reminding me of how mothering is a circle of nurturing and being nurtured. You have enriched this year’s Mother’s Day for me with the experience and insight of your writings.

Sorry but only one of the poems I quote snippets of is online. However, a collection of other poems from That Said are on THIS PAGE.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, where you’ll find lots more poetry and poetry-related stuff for kids and adults too. This week’s PF is deliciously hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup (who will enjoy Jane Shore’s mother’s recipe for “Shit Soup” (HERE, fifth poem down).

 
16 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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