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Author Archives: Violet Nesdoly

The year of LISTEN (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Coloring sheet gifted to me by Irene as part of the Poetry Friday summer poem swap. (I plan to spend a few more hours in quiet contemplation working on this in the days ahead.)

My one-little-word for 2017—LISTEN—has served me well… so well, I’m sad that the year is almost done.

As I went through 2017 it helped me make a habit of listening to others, especially when in conversation. Countless times through this year when the urge to interrupt came over me, I would hear in my mind: “Listen.” That reminder brought relaxation and a certain peacefulness as I continued tuning into what the other person was saying.

I’ve become alert to the wisdom of others about listening. Here’s something I read just a couple of days ago that sums up listening to others better than I could say it:

“Listening is more than being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you have to say … Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability—a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions” – Krista Tippett in Becoming Wise (p. 29) quoted by Melissa Moore in Entrusted p. 153.

“Generous listening is a revolutionary act of kindness in a world of screaming and competing voices” – Melissa Moore, Entrusted, p. 153.

I have also practiced listening to God through Bible reading, prayer, paying attention to the lyrics of praise and worship music, tuning in to podcasts, and more. One of the practices I’ve begun this year is Bible journaling. It was such fun to create visual memories in my Bible in response to Bible verses about listening. I’ll leave you with a short slide show of some of my listening signposts.

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, hosted today by our wonderful coordinator and cheerleader Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem.

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Layered deconstruction

First of all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my American friends!

On December 11th last year, an apartment complex that I pass on one of my walking routes burned.

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Apartment fire – December 11, 2016 (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

It wasn’t totally destroyed but has been unliveable these many months as it’s being repaired.

Though it’s not the most beautiful subject, there is something compelling about repairs going on behind curtains month after month and  so it has been my photo / poem subject several times in the last while. On July 25th, in response to the photo prompt “Layered,” I took the photo below and wrote about it (in a shadorma):

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Apartment repairs – July 2017 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Layered

 

One afternoon
massive fire engulfed
water wrecked
smoke sullied.
Months later still rebuilding
layer by layer.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

On October 16th in response to the photo challenge “Deconstruction.” I photographed and wrote about it again (this time in a senryu):

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Apartment sheers – October 2017 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Deconstruction

Construction gauze—
band-aids for fire-singed rooms
healing their scars

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

It will be a happy day when all that reconstruction is done and its people can move back in. (And so I’ll probably write about it again.)

I’m adding that last ditty to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ November Padlet, where this month’s challenge is to “write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.”

Oh, and speaking of Michelle, she’s just completed the publication of The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2016. I’m pretty stoked to have a couple of poems in that volume. What a great collection of poems from all the lovely Poetry Friday peeps! Congratulations, Michelle (and committee) for another great book!

(To add icing to that ditty cake–between when I posted this and now, my physical copy of the book arrived! It’s so cool to hold it in my hands!)

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poetryfridayThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol, at Carol’s Corner.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Form poems, Objects, senryu, Shadorma

 

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Five Cinquains

I wasn’t going to join in on Poetry Friday today, then went to Linda’s roundup, found her post on Adelaide Crapsey and the cinquain form, and decided to put something up after all.

The cinquain is one of the short forms I’ve written in when composing poems in response to the daily photography prompts I’ve been following. Here are five (in honor of the cinquain’s five lines) that I’ve written in the past few months. They’ll take you back to spring and onward. (Title is the photo prompt word or phrase.)

Fresh

Fresh

Policeman’s helmet (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

just washed
smell of laundry
policeman’s helmet grows
riotously beside the stream
fresh pink

Group

Group

McBurney Lane art piece (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Teamwork
Community
Get involved, Lend a hand
Support, Help out, Volunteer, Care
Give back.

A helping hand

HelpingHand

My viewing deck on eclipse morning (Photo © 2017 by V.Nesdoly)

Eclipse—
protect my eyes:
box, tin foil, white paper
pinhole camera in my hand.
Viewed safe.

Fencing

Fencing

Bug on a fence (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

After
stone-bottom burrow
this sleek white thoroughfare
is a bug’s sci-fi fantasy
new world!

Silver

Silver

Street vendor sugar bowl (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Silver
imperfections
can’t hide your sweet intent
like grey hair, wrinkled face of our
Granny

All the above © 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda at Teacher Dance.

 

 
 

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Gratitude (Spiritual Journey First Thursday)

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Image: Pixabay

A few weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit (by simulcast). One of the speakers was Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and author of the book Lean In). This gorgeous young woman looked like she had it all, and had it all together. Then she shared the story of her young husband’s sudden death while they were on vacation. He wasn’t even ill.

She was understandably devastated and paralyzed by grief. She told how slowly she worked her way through this tragedy to a new normal. Her therapist, Mark, was a big help, especially when he directed her mournful thoughts away from self-pity to gratitude (e.g. “Yes, your husband is gone, but you still have your children”). He challenged her to recall and write down, at the end of each day, three moments of joy from that day.

This Spiritual Journey Thursday finds me in the unusual spot of seeing my husband through surgery. Every time my mind goes to a negative place concerning this, I am trying to take Mark’s advice to Sheryl, and redirect it toward gratitude… which really isn’t that hard!

1. It’s elective surgery. Now that medical science has figured out how to replace hips, walking with a painful arthritis-degenerated hip is no longer a life sentence. And we’ve been waiting for this appointment for almost a year.

2. It’s publicly funded. We do our share of complaining about our country’s nationalized medical system (inefficiencies, rationing of treatment, long wait times). But when it comes to having to go to the hospital, it’s reassuring that it won’t bankrupt us.

3. General good health. I sat with hubby through his pre-admission interview with the nurse. As he answered question after medical question with “No” (no heart attacks, no strokes, no kidney disease, no diabetes etc.) it struck me how blessed he and I have been with good health.

4. Surgery is local, so no long drives to visit and fetch him home.

5. The hope of pain-free walking again—soon, we hope!

As I think of the days of rehabilitation ahead for him (I know a bit about what’s involved because I broke my hip in 2014 and also had to do the walker / cane / raised toilet seat / bath bench / hard to climb in and out of the car thing) I cling to my life verse for thought hygiene and reassurance:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses al understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6,7 NKJV (emphasis added).

 

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, a once-a-month look at life’s spiritual side by a collection of blogging friends who met (mostly) on Poetry Friday. Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday is hosted today by Karen at Irene’s blog Live Your Poem.

 

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Bear Scare

In the vintage Saskatchewan farmhouse where I grew up, a door that looked like every other in the house opened to a stairway to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs was another door to a dark and vacant cell that was once a coal chute. From somewhere I got the idea that that coal chute was inhabited. I scared myself many a time with that thought.

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Image: Pixabay

Bear Scare

 

At the bottom of the stair
in his secret coal chute lair
lives a black and hungry bear.

Fetching eggs or frozen pie
on an errand, do or die
up steep wooden steps I fly.

Feel bear’s breath hot on my back
any moment he’ll attack
when he does, I’ll turn and whack!

At the top the knob I wham
open door and close it. SLAM.
Once again escape bear jam!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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Image: Pixabay

 

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Brenda Harsham at her blog for all things whimsical—Friendly Fairy Tales.

This poem is also joining other poems about frightful things on the October DMC padlet at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog Today’s Little Ditty. The topic of the challenge this month, posed by Carrie Clickard, is to write a poem about a person, place, or thing that spooked you as a child. Read Michelle’s interview of Carrie and the original challenge post HERE.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Kids, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Turning

Despite the fact that my Summer Shorts project has come to an end, I’ve kept up with snapping a daily photo, and so far have managed to pair each photo with a bit of writing (“Fall Fragments”). No promises (to myself or anyone else) that this will continue so consistently. But somehow it’s a nice habit not to break.

“Turning” was the photo prompt for October 7th. Somehow all the squirrels dashing about in their hunt for winter stores caught my eye. And so a little tanka about the fall activity of these critters.

 

Path lined with chestnuts
prickly shells, shiny brown globes.
Squirrels everywhere.

They dash, climb, chase, leap, scurry.
Winter soon, better hurry!

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This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by 13 and the lovely and clever Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in Poetry Friday, Tanka

 

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Poetry Friday – Pumpkin Edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here today!

(Someone mentioned they had trouble finding the link to the widget. It’s way down at the bottom of the page, but also HERE for posting links and reading.)

It was exactly a year ago that I hosted the Poetry Camp Edition of Poetry Friday. It’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since that fun Poetry Camp day in Bellingham (October 1, 2016). That one-year anniversary, combined with the fact that this is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (second Monday of October) gives my hosting Poetry Friday today a meant-to-be feeling.

One of the things my husband and I especially enjoyed about our visit to Bellingham a year ago was walks along the Taylor Avenue Dock with coffee at Woods. There we ordered Cream Cheese Pumpkin Loaves to go with our coffee. Yum! When I got home, I tried to duplicate those tasty mini-loaves but never got them quite so rich and creamy.

That Bellingham memory plus the fact that it’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend has brought pumpkins to mind. So today, a little ode to pumpkins for my own Poetry Friday offering.

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Pumpkins (© 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

To Pumpkin

You kept the new world’s
hungry pioneers and pilgrims alive
with your soft sweet flesh
and nutty seeds,
their feet warm with your rind
woven into mats,
their parties and celebrations
fueled by your beer.

But I am not stuck in the past
for you, orange gourd of October,
are still the icon of autumn
visiting our fall menus with spicy milkshakes
fragrant muffins, scones, and pies
infusing grainy loaves with gold
burnishing soups and stews,
ever the magnet of the latté lineup.

We see ourselves
in your well-formed circle
and with cold sharp blades
carve for you vacant eyes,
a triangle nose, a toothy grin
then plant within the fire of life
for one secret night
only to find your precious meat
shattered, your pulp a slurry
on a November sidewalk.

Thank you, large melon
for your stubby steadfastness
through famine to plenty,
your generosity from yellow blossom
to creamy flesh,
your patience with us
as we bake and boil
microwave and sauté
carve and create
you and your orange generation,
most tasty and handsome denizens
of the market’s harvest bin
and the farmer’s freckled patch.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Personal