Category Archives: Personal

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Tulips - La Conner WA

Tulips – La Conner Washington

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Red, pink and yellow
on the distant horizon
like a rainbow mirage
beckons flower-hunters.

Textured strips of wine, crimson
magenta, plum, canary
blanket the fields
a crocheted afghan of color.

Packed clay borders
teem with beauty-seekers.
Couples walk hand-in-hand.
Old women push walkers

over the lumpy earth
beside middle-aged daughters
pleased to have given Mom
her springtime outing.

A young mother poses her little girl
in a storybook of princess pink.
The dark-skinned family are chocolate sprinkles
against a confection of yellow.

All the while photographers
tap smart phones and tablets
focus and click pocket-sized digitals
the serious weighted down

with tripods and equipment
peer through their blunt snouts of lenses
into cups and bowls, take with them
images of undersides and private rooms.

In April the fields of La Conner
are awash, a-drift, a-wonder
with spring’s one month miracle—
the resurrection of tulips!

© 2013 by Violet Nesdoly

This week hubby and I took a mid-week break to go across the line and visit La Conner, Washington, part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. What a thrill for this camera-toting flower-lover.

The collage contains a tiny sample of my photos. (In the days ahead, I’ll be sharing more at my photoblog, promptings 2).

The poem above is so new the ink is still wet on it, which means it is very much a first draft, but I feel like sharing the enjoyment during tulip season. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival continues to the end of April.

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids.


Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Nature, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , ,

I sit in a circle of women …

My mother with her newborn granddaughter, my daughter

My mother with her newborn granddaughter, my daughter



I sit in a circle of women,
exclaiming over sleepers, booties and bibs,
careful not to startle
the porcelain doll –
soft unaccustomed weight in my arms.
I glimpse, across the circle, my baby
almost 17 and beautiful
laughing with her friends.

© 2004 by V. Nesdoly


Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter! Just before she was born, my husband got a Bible promise for her life from Luke 1:14—the angel’s words to Zechariah about John: “(S)he will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his (her) birth” (NIV).  That has proven true over and over!

I well remember becoming a mom for the first time (she was my firstborn). What an experience—an initiation into a season of life which never ends. Once a mom, always a mom, and I love being a mother and now a grandmother.

I wrote the poem above around the year 2000. It was first published in my 2004 chapbook Calendar.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 14, 2013 in People, Personal


Tags: , , , ,

Cerebrovascular Accident

Secretive, sneaky, unexpected and silent

Taking  things to which you never gave a thought
things you never thought you’d lose …

Reach, hug, walk
read, write, talk

Only blurry memories now
your mute self

Kept captive, confused within your betrayal of a body
awaiting prognosis of the next

Electrocardiogram, CT, MRI
lab report, doctor, therapist

© 2013 by Violet Nesdoly


Thanks to the encouragement of Catherine and Joy in my Poetry Friday comments, I’ve decided to post some of my Poem-A-Day efforts. This is my April 6th one.

Though I often use prompts to write these daily poems, I like it best when poems arise out of my day to day living. I got the idea for this acrostic poem while thinking about my husband’s uncle and aunt, who have had cerebrovascular accidents (strokes) in the last while.


Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Acrostic, People, Personal


Tags: , , ,

Houston Trail – Langley BC

mossy branch arcs over water

“…branches arc…”

Houston Trail – Langley BC

Peacock ferns, prehistoric, lush
draw us into the dim, cedar-canopied wood.
Uprooted trunks sprawl, branches arc,
snapped limbs leap in frozen pirouettes.
Slim apparitions forever grope, reach, grasp
a menagerie of many-appendaged moon monsters
sculpted from dripping filigree
and moss macramé.

Victim of the spell
in Mother’s warning:
“If you frown like that
your face will stay that way,”
the forest’s pose is fixed.
But time has softened the arboreal grimace
muffled the keening of the wind
with hangings of verdant chenille,
knitted blankets, sweaters,
hats and gloves of lime angora
for the slumbering
arms, stumps and claws.

© 2004 – Violet Nesdoly

mossy branch

“…apparitions forever grope, reach, grasp…”


I live near rainforest. Some of my favorite walks are through woods beside the Fraser River. I’ll never forget the first time I walked the Houston Trail—a loop walk through the most mossy woods I’ve ever seen. It looked like a forest minefield draped in green. The poem above is my memory of that walk.

On Sunday I walked another trail near that one and again moss was everywhere. I wrote the poem some years ago. I took the photos on Sunday.

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Greg at GottaBook


Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Nature, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , , , ,

The witness of rooms


The Witness of Rooms

The heart of our family was the dining room
more than the tight kitchen
with its claustrophobia of cupboards
woodbox on wheels, tilting-out flour bin
that hid desperate-legged beetles
and gas stove whose oven POOF!
terrified me when I was eight.

The dining room had the fridge
and the wood table squeak-stretched to fit eleven.
Beside it sat the bench for four brothers
squished in a row–-the bench where I swayed organ
when we pretended church, the bench I left
seconds before the plaster
crashed from the ceiling
leaving a hole the shape of Africa.

The living room was off the dining room
our house’s holy of holies
cold, and kept tidy for company
though it had the piano
so I was allowed in to practice.
Its cracked north wall showed off Mom’s clever
camouflaging wallpaper vine
its south had a bay window
that nooked ancient plants
under panes of tinted gold and rosy.
There was also a green stuffed chair
and a matching couch
from where, on sick days
I watched the flowers in the curtains
stare at me, then whisper to each other.

That house has another room now
–-one my brother and his wife added
to watch TV and store stuff.
On the other side of the kitchen and two steps down
it has glass doors that gaze
onto an endless field.
They had lately moved into it a hospital bed.
I visit on the weekend of the memorial:
the bed is gone now.
I study the red walls
the only ones in this old house
to have witnessed such a thing.
They give nothing away.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly


Two years ago today (January 25, 2011) my brother passed away after a several-year battle with cancer. He died in the farmhouse where we grew up. In this personal poem, I recall some of the scenes the walls in that farmhouse have witnessed. What would be the memories of the walls in your house?

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is part of Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.


Posted by on January 24, 2013 in People, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , ,

Wear a Scarf


A birthday scarf for my sis!

Wear a Scarf

Wear a scarf with memory
sweat-cloth of ancient Rome
Chinese army neckerchief
silk mask in cockpit fume.

Wear a scarf that’s beautiful
cashmere, pashmina, silk
woven or embroidered
in gold or silver gilt.

Wear a scarf that’s versatile
stole over evening gown
shawl covering for the time of prayer
pouch for your little one.

Wear a scarf with savvy
learn how to knot and drape
Windsor, cravat, ascot
necktie, Gypsy cape.

Be one with all your sisters
in their lovely shawls and scarves
saris, tichels, hijabs
turbans and khimars.

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly


One of the poetic activities I enjoyed in 2012 was joining in on Tabatha Yeatts‘ poem swaps. I found it a wonderful way to get to know a few Poetry Friday contributors well.

My winter poem swapee was kidlit author and poet Joyce Ray. Tabatha supplied us with get-acquainted questions and a poem prompt. Joyce’s answer to “favourite colors: ocean colors, sage green, even lavender” immediately brought to mind a scarf! And so I was on my way. “Wear a Scarf” is the result. (Of course I enclosed an actual scarf as the gift. I never did find one that exactly matched the scarf I had in my imagination, but it was close. And for those familiar with what we did, no, I didn’t follow Tabatha’s challenge to start each line with the same letter. I completely forgot about it, so when my poem from Joyce came with an “L” at the beginning of each line I was so impressed!)

If Tabatha runs more poetry swaps in the new year, join in! You’ll find it an enriching and fun experience!

Now, a Happy New Year to all who read here. May your 2013 abound with poetry!

For more end-of-December poetry check out Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Carol at Carol’s Corner.


Posted by on December 28, 2012 in People, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , , ,

Ben’s quilt

Play quilts by Grandma

Ben’s Quilt

I got this quilt from Grandma
Put it on the floor
Ran my cars along the roads
And made the engines roar,

Raced my speedboat in the lake
Drove the kids to school,
Picked up groceries at the store
And hauled wheat to the Pool.*

Other blankets are for sleep
But this one is for play,
No other quilt I know can warm
In such a special way.

© Violet Nesdoly

*Pool was the name of a grain company, painted on many prairie elevators when I was growing up.

My mom was an inveterate quilt maker. She made some sort of quilt for each of her 20+ grandkids, many of them play quilts. The wonderful thing about these quilts was that each one was different. Some were based on songs or lullabies (one illustrated a song—My Pigeon House—that she sang to each of us when we were babies). Others had themes—birds, animals, nursery rhymes. The photo is of two of the quilts she made. The one on the left is similar in theme to the one she made for my son. You’ll recognize lots of nursery rhyme characters in the one on the right.

“Ben’s Quilt’” is a poem I wrote in 1999. It is a child’s, my son’s, imagined response to Grandma’s quilt. I was reminded of it by Amy’s wonderful poem “Quilt Map” that was part of last week’s  Poetry Friday.

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup, the most delicious blog on the net.


Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Kids, People, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Advent preparations

Christmas creche

“…a starry night / around the creche”

Advent preparations

Pull Christmas out of the crawl space
blow dust off pine cones
fluff up ruffles
arrange wired ribbon
hang Christmas plate
and Mom’s embroidery
test music box
find Christmas candles
and chip last year’s wax off the holders
unpack green and red mugs
untangle lights and find the empty socket
for the candle-carrying angel
twist a starry night
around the creche where baby Jesus
is now taking visitors
relax the two-hundred pre-lit tips
trim with coordinated balls
and reflect, as I vacuum needle, cone and glitter bits
If only preparing my heart for Advent
was so simple and straightforward a process

- Violet Nesdoly – December 2, 2012

The world of Christendom is now commemorating Advent: “a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning ‘coming.’ It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday ” – from Advent (on Wikipedia).

The commencement of Advent—Advent Sunday—was yesterday.

I put up my Christmas decorations during the weekend just past, and realized how much the decorated house shifted my mood from apprehensive (so much to do…) to joy, excitement, and expectation.

But there are other shifts to be made… shifting attention from the commercial and cultural aspects of the celebration to the spiritual is one I am working on. The newsletter I got from fellow Canadian poet D. S. Martin a few days ago helps in that department. In it he quotes the poem “That Holy Thing” by George MacDonald, and then links the index of Christmas poems that he has featured on his excellent blog Kingdom Poets. I’m going to be checking these out in the days ahead as I focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Why don’t you join me?


Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Christmas, Personal, Religious


sorting photos

sorting photos

long ago, it seems so long ago
all faded now to harvest gold and avocado green
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so

stiff sepia grooms and lacy brides that glow
coiled hair, dark lips, like 20’s starlets from the screen
long ago, it seems so long ago

hosts of people I don’t even know
so many lively smiles, eyes bright with hopeful sheen
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so

Saskatchewan toddler dressed like Eskimo
swaddled in mitts and scarves against the wind so keen
long ago, it seems so long ago

see how Mom made her prairie garden grow
thick marigold, begonia, phlox and climbing bean
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so

we gather with our cousins row on row
even then faces of our adult selves are seen
long ago, it seems so long ago
these glossy rectangles and squares declare it so

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly

The Miss Rumphius Effect blog poetry stretch this Monday was to write a poem inspired by a photograph. It reminded me of the poem that I wrote a couple of summers ago, while I was sorting through my Mom’s stash of photos. (I was honored and delighted when “sorting photos” won first prize in the Canadian Stories 2012 Summer Contest this year, and was published the summer edition of the magazine.)

I also wrote a new poem for Trish’s prompt (not yet ready for prime time), as I find photos a never-ending source of inspiration.

This post is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by the lovely, witty, and multi-talented Renee M. LaTulippe at No Water River.


To Mel at 60

To Mel at 60

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you can keep on rising each day early
to swim and run and cycle in the rain
can miss the family fun and not be surly
because you’re lifting weights and must cross-train;

If you precede the body crush on entry
glide in the swimmer’s slipstream just ahead
remember to stroke round the lane-way buoy
and reach transition point still in the lead;

If you at once can change, eat, drink, and helmet
then mount that bike and grip those handlebars
pedal hills, declines, curves without an upset
and don’t get in the way of passing cars;

If tortured legs survive all of that motion
and make it through the gruelling running stage
we’ll know you’re in possession of youth’s potion
oh Ironman, doomed to live twice your age!

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly


This is what is often called an “occasional poem,” that is, a poem written for a special occasion. This occasion was a friend’s 60th birthday (in early June this year). My fit friend has recently taken up running in triathlons, so I tried to reflect that in my poem.

It’s fun to write poems for special occasions. I’ve written them for birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, and I even wrote and read a poem to my daughter on her wedding day.

This is also an imitation poem in that it mimics a well-known piece. I’m sure you recognize Rudyard Kipling’s famous “If—” in the wording, structure and rhythm. Writing imitation poems can be a lot of fun (I even had one in quarrtsiluni this February!).

Have you written occasional poems? Imitation poems? I’d love to hear about them (or even read them) in the comments.

This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Bibliophile at Life Is Better With Books.


Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Imitation, Light, Personal, Poetry Friday


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94 other followers