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Category Archives: Personal

Monday is washday (NPM ’16-Day 12)

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The clothes-horse hangout (Photo by V. Nesdoly)

Monday is washday

Sunday night sees piles of clothes
segregated in lights and darks
reds and prints, huddled together
dreading the morning.

Machines go through their cycles
pour, churn, whirl, whir.
Monday air is sweet with dryer sheets
damp with clothes-horse hangouts.

A half hour in front of the TV
pairing, folding, and—Voila!
our closets and drawers
are fat and happy again.

The pant hangers
keep disappearing.
The ones that remain
too anemic to grasp heavy jeans

which will soon be replaced
in any case
by spring capris
and summer shorts…

What a strange power there is in clothing.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This poem was inspired by yesterday’s prompt at NaPoWriMo and strives for the effect of “An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details.” I’m not sure I achieved it, but I tried. The ending statement of the poem is attributed to Isaac Bashevis Singer.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Objects, People, Personal

 

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Spine Wisdom (NPM ’16-Day 11)

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Nature never stops talking
in a conspiracy of light,
earth against your cheek,
and a round slice of moon.

Here on the ground
witness the weather of the heart
in patches of Godlight
and a tumbled stone.

“Everyday greatness,” says the Noticer
is inscribed in the art of work,
won in the battlefield of the mind
breathing fire—a long obedience.”

The call is onwards and upwards
follow the dream, embracing your second calling
with burning hearts
to an open heart, open home.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This “wisdom” was refined from book titles–yesterday’s prompt at NaPoWriMo. Words in italics were added.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Found, Objects, Personal

 

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A different layer of life (NPM ’16-Day 8)

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Carts of the homeless (Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly)

A different layer of life

i
Cluster of loaded carts—evidence of the homeless,
a non-migratory species of west-coast life,
a society as apart from us as the birds.

They ignore us, just like the birds.
Bulging carts are nest and forest of the homeless.
They seem to live in a different layer of life.

They relate to each other—that is their life.
We as nonentity to them as we are to the birds.
Morning path is strewn with cart-droppings of the homeless.

Birds, what can you tell us about the life of the homeless?

ii
I recall my Master was homeless.
He honored the rootless life,
assured all who listened that His care included the birds.

I hold out my hand with seed for the birds,
never considering whether or not they are homeless,
delighted when one connects with my life.

I need a different perspective on life
one that includes love for all manner of birds,
especially those in a season of being homeless.

Homeless one, what can you tell me about your life as a bird?

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This poem grew out of a new form to me—the Tritina. It is like a mini-sestina. The NaPoWriMo site explains it this way:

The tritina is a shorter cousin to the sestina, involving three, three-line stanzas, and a final concluding line. Three “end words” are used to conclude the lines of each stanza, in a set pattern of ABC, CAB, BCA, and all three end words appear together in the final line.

In drives around town and during our morning walks, I keep seeing signs of the homeless. I chose my three words (life, homeless, birds) and then began to work through my thoughts.

I found the tritina easier to write than the sestina. It was a good way for me to sort through mixed feelings.  After writing the first part, I felt I still had some resolving to do and so decided to push on, mimicking the first section by repeating the order of the three words again. Thus it is a double tritina  (parts i and ii).

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Form poems, People, Personal, Religious

 

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The glitter of old age (NPM ’16 – Day 4)

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Image: pixabay.com

The glitter of old age

Alas my greying hair has its own highlights.
Bags under eyes don’t appreciate
sparkles on lashes attracting attention.
Glitter in makeup enhances the sculptured neck
chiselled chin, fresh strawberry lips.
My wattles and pursed mouth prefer something less showy.

I go for the glitter of old age—
The luster of a quiet afternoon with a book.
Scintillation of remembering a name.
Catching the twinkle in the eye of a friend.
Watching the shimmer of children
and recalling the tinsel of my own childhood.
Avoiding the glisten of ice and the sheen of mud.
But I still can’t resist the temptation
of brightening my staid wardrobe
with one or two sequinned tops
and, despite veiny hands,
a bottle of glitter nail polish.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Wonderopolis provided the subject of glitter for this all-too-revealing poem. Adele Kenny’s prompt of AGING together with a poem by Keats suggested the age aspect.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in People, Personal

 

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Storm Chasers (NPM ’16-Day 3)

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Prairie Storm (Image from pixabay.com)

Storm Chasers

The sun shone from Mother’s eyes most days
until the weariness of caring for many children
sowed clouds into the furrows of her forehead
and impatience brought easterlies, even squalls.

“Can we go? Please!” Getting an answer
from Dad was like moving a ship through the doldrums.
We budged him to “We’ll see” and there we sat
in his temperate, patient and becalmed zone.

But children are storm chasers. We often ignored
darkening skies, stiffening windsock, plummeting
barometer to pursue extreme weather
with precipitate behavior,

triggered our usually clement mother, father
with nagging and laziness to lightning bolts and thunder
with insolence and backtalk to funnel clouds in a black sky
until inevitable twister, cloudburst, landslide, tsunami.

After apologies and hugs had repaired storm damage
there were rainbows and blue skies again–
the zephyr notes of Daddy playing his sax
and from the balmy kitchen, the smell fresh-baked bread.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This third poem post of National Poetry Month was inspired by the subject of Storm Chasers at Wonderopolis, and the NaPoWriMo Day 2 challenge to write a poem about family.

My poet friend Laurel Archer  and I are on this journey together. Yesterday’s moving poem at her blog was about autism in honour of Autism Awareness Month (she mothers two kids with that diagnosis).  She’ll share more poems this month at Four Parts Hope.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in People, Personal

 

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Bold – I ask, “Why not?”

Today we’re talking about Donna‘s one-little-word, BOLD. My dictionary defines it as “1] having courage, fearless; 2]  showing or requiring courage, daring, a bold plan; 3] presuming unduly, brazen, forward.”

When I think of bold, too often that third definition comes to mind. I don’t want to have a pushy, brazen, putting-myself-forward boldness. But the boldness that is fearless and has the courage of its convictions—oh yes, bring it on!

Relating boldness to my spiritual journey, I am saddened by how opposite to bold I often am. I read in Acts about the disciples getting warned to stop preaching or they’ll be put in prison. They prayed after getting those warnings, not that the resistance would stop but for boldness, so they could keep on doing what they were doing (Acts 4:29). I ask myself, would I pray the same way?

I am reminded of all the people in the world who are now being persecuted and massacred for their faith. Just last weekend there was another slaughter of Christians in Lahore, Pakistan.

In North America, where being a Christian doesn’t hold those kinds of risks, boldness needs another face. I love how Peter describes the boldness that his persecuted readers were to show. It applies just as well to us in countries where Christianity is, shall we say, tolerated, but becoming increasingly politically incorrect:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” – 1 Peter 3:15,16 (emphasis added).

Of course we can’t ignore the miracles that bolstered the New Testament believers’  faith and contributed not a little to their boldness. People were healed and raised from the dead at their hands. (No wonder they couldn’t keep quiet and crowds kept flocking to them!)  Though their refusal to keep silent in the face of persecution sometimes led to martyrdom,  the life of one persecutor, Saul, was miraculously turned around one afternoon and the result was the spread of Christianity throughout Europe and Asia.

I would like a boldness that includes the possibility of the miraculous.  A few years ago when I was reading in  the Quest Study Bible, I came across a statement that puzzled me. I quote it in the epigram to the poem I wrote then, and share below.

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Philip explains the scriptures to the Ethiopian – story in Acts 8:28-40

I ask “Why not?”

“Should Christians today imitate what Christians did in the Book of Acts? Not necessarily.” (Commentary on Acts 11:27-30, Quest Study Bible)

I ask, Why not?

We still have the sick, lame and oppressed.
We still have those who don’t understand
.   what they hear, what they read.
We still have rulers and laws that say, “Don’t preach!”
We still have kings who look on themselves as God.
We still have famines, natural disasters,
.   wars, and dispersing persecution.
We still have a religious establishment
.   which is more concerned with pleasing “Caesar”
.   than obeying God.
We still have the champions of the churchy status quo.
In other words, we still have the same foe.
And we still have the same
final words of Christ:
“But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”*

© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted by
Holly Mueller at  Reading, Teaching, Learning.

*Words of Jesus quoted from Acts 1:8.

 

 

 

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Fine Dining

I love the one-little-word SIMPLIFY, Linda Kulp‘s word that we are exploring this week. (I think I will chose it one of these years.)

I love a clean counter top in my kitchen, my desk cleaned off at the end of the day, Friday afternoons when all my house surfaces gleam after dusting.

I love the idea of an uncomplicated, straightforward life where little is enough (except for books—and I need to have another go at simplifying my closet).  I once had a poster picturing an old-fashioned wooden bucket with the words “Very little is needed to have a happy life.” I had it up so long it faded to monochrome.

I bought a framed print to take its place. In our old house it hung on the wall beside our kitchen table. In the house we live in now it’s on one of our stairway walls—still reminding me to keep it simple.

A couple of Bible verses that ground me in simplicity are:

“And what does the Lord require of You? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” – Micah 6:8.

and

“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” – 1 Timothy 6:8.

That is the ideal. Sad to say, I don’t always live it. But I know I am happier when I don’t feel the hot breath of wanting more and having more on my neck.

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My “Simple Life” print – Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Fine Dining

This is not about fashionably late
with candlelight shimmering in glasses of Pinot Gris
snowy napkins, pewter flatware
and stacks of food on square plates
over smudges of condiment reduction,

but about two Corelle bowls
heaped with spinach salad at five
green beans steaming in brown Corningware
mushroom chicken bubbling in a Pyrex casserole
a stainless steel pot of fragrant rice.
a tub of margarine, pocked as pumice
and three bottles: Balsamic, Raspberry, Ranch
all on wood trivets to protect the old tablecloth.

Now that it’s light
we watch people stroll babies and dogs
on the path below our townhouse window.
It’s not the view we would get
at Pelagos on the Beach

but the sum of it is certainly
dining at its finest.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 
 

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