Category Archives: Personal

Beware Retirement

Glynn Young’s insightful blog post “Poetry At Work: The Poetry of Retirement” reminded me of when I went through some of the same things he and any new retiree faces—wondering who I would be now, what activities would my life consist of, would I find new purpose and direction?

The poem below came out of that experience. I think I wrote it for a friend, though I don’t believe I ever sent it to her. But I’m sharing it here today. My message to all of you at that stage of life… (Click on the player below to hear me read it.)



I had been drooling about retirement
watching the months crawl by as I
X’d off days like a kid
waiting for Christmas or summer
dreamed of sleeping in, lunch at 3:00
watching all the late movies
time-oblivious as on a holiday
only this one perpetual.

It was a honeymoon at first
as I lay around with books all day
ate out or from the fridge
whim and indulgence my companions
even dusting, laundry, dishes
an imposition.

Then came my life’s day after Labor Day
when everyone was rushing off importantly
in new clothes, their backpacks heavy
with long pencils, empty notebooks
hope and the future.
I missed the challenge of learning,
growing, being stretched, being needed,
making a contribution,
doing something significant.
I wanted familiar rhythms back
the uphill of Monday
the plod of Wednesday
the ecstasy of Friday
and feeling so bone-weary I’d earned my nap.

So I applied for a new job.
Got a new boss.
She began to write me lists.
Not only did I need to do today’s work
but catch up on all the work I’d missed.

Now I hate Mondays again,
jump off the bus on Fridays
like a kid released from school.
Trouble is, this time
there’s no relief in sight
no retiring, now that I’m already retired
and my new boss is me.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Personal


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January sunrise

Pink clouds reflecting sunrise

Sunrise – January 21, 2015 (Photo © V. Nesdoly)

Walk in day’s first light
to a wild chorus of birds
sky grows more intense
surroundings come alive as
we stroll under milkshake clouds

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

On clear days it’s so encouraging to see the sky begin to light up as early as 7:15. Spring is on the move!! This photo was taken on Wednesday, January  21st at 7:55 a.m..

We’re back into clouds and monsoons again now. But I console myself with how much longer the days will be when we next see early light under a clear sky. Our local weather lady said the days are getting longer by 2.5 minutes per day right now.


Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Nature, Personal, Tanka


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January day (for #poetryatworkday)

papers and shredded paper

Shredder fodder – Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly

January day
ends in blizzard of white sheets
what keep? what throw out?
slips and papers piled in drifts
shredder working overtime

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Someone has dubbed today “Poetry-at-work Day.” I’m good with that. In fact, every day is a good day to blend poetry with work in my books.

“January day” is the product of a new poetry practice I began last summer after being inspired by the tanka in a Dawson Creek park.

Mine are a cross between a journal entry and a poem in this five-line form. I call mine “tanka-type” poems because I usually title them (traditional tanka don’t have titles). This may be the first one of these I’ve posted here.

To bring poetry into my work every day my goal is to write one of these every day, although I don’t usually live up to that and am happy when a week yields two or three. I wrote today’s (a reflection on last night’s file-cleaning) this morning before I even realized it was Poetry-at-work Day.

To see more poetry at work, check out #poetryatworkday on Twitter. Find out about the origin of the day and download some goodies including a book written especially for it at Tweetspeak Poetry.


Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Personal, Tanka


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Domino train (Limp – 4)

Posting my Limp sequence has been interrupted by a project that is now all but done. So it’s back to these poems about the mishap I had this spring.

If you’ve ever experienced one event, followed by another, and another, you’ll recognize the feeling of a domino train. This was my experience way back in early April this year. The episode below turned out to be nothing serious, but we do imagine the worst, don’t we!

row of fallen dominos

Photo from Microsoft Clipart.

Domino train

It was minus 15 with a windchill
I was planning another session
on the treadmill

the day I hurtled down
some stairs, broke something
and thought

What will happen next?
Hope this isn’t
only the first domino.

Surgery left me
with one leg shorter
than the other

Now doomed
to orthotics, a fat-soled shoe
or a forever limp

today I felt a bruise-like
pain, deep
in my calf.

Could it be DVT?
Will this be
the death of me?

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Posted by on October 30, 2014 in LIMP sequence, Personal


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Two weeks after surgery (Limp – 3)


Introducing my best friends during rehabilitation: cane, picker, long-handled sponge, shoehorn, sock dresser, and two-wheeled walker (and I thought only little old ladies used these–oh wait…)

Two weeks after surgery

(March 17, 2014)

Why does it hurt so far from the incision?
My muscles are a straitjacket of pain
to natural walking unseen, inner prison.
Will I ever walk easily again?

Deep in my hip a tremolo of weakness
that frightens me when stepping with a cane.
At physio a modicum of redress.
Back walker-creeping I feel old and lame.

Violet Nesdoly © 2014 (All rights reserved)

This poem is the third in the series of poems I wrote about a mishap I had this spring. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.


Posted by on October 7, 2014 in LIMP sequence, Personal


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Membrane (Limp – 2)

Rainbow bubble on the beach


“The membrane between the normal and unthinkable is exceedingly thin” – mother of an autistic child

fall, fracture
pops rainbow bubble
thin unseen
fragile skin
between normal everyday
and life ever changed

flight 370
Oso Slide
membrane slashed
now mud, rubble, tears, searching
no going back

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

Around the time I had my accident, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing and the people of Oso, Washington suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Viewed from the perspective of those incidents, my mishap was peanuts. Still, all three contained elements that reminded me of what the mother of the autistic little girl my daughter used to babysit said the day she told her story to the women at our church–the poem’s epigraph.

This poem is the second in the LIMP poems series. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.


Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Form poems, LIMP sequence, Personal, Shadorma


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Poem sequences (introducing LIMP)

In Diane Lockward’s June newsletter,* the Craft Tip article “Poetic Sequences: Practice Makes Potential”  by Oliver de la Paz tells of his visit to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain. On that visit he came across one room where the paintings, drawings, and studies  on the walls, as well as the  sketchbooks filling a table were all remarkably similar in texture and colour. That’s because they were all studies of the same subject—the painting Las Meninas by Velazquez.

La Paz likens these artist studies of Picasso’s to what poets do when they write sequences. He says, “By writing a series or sequence of poems on a singular subject, we can create a volume of individual poems that are at once independent and in dialogue with adjacent poems in the series or sequence. These are generative exercises—painting studies and sequential writing.”

Two advantages la Paz sees in writing sequences:
1. They allow for a close study of a subject from different angles and perspectives, at different times of day, in different seasons, through different moods etc. (depending, of course, on the subject).

2. One doesn’t have to “mine for” a different subject every day. He says, “I’ve found that working in sequences frees me from obsessing over a blank page. Psychologically, I’m prepared to work with content that has already been worked over.”

The power of sequences came to my attention even before I read the newsletter article when I judged a poetry contest a while ago. Though the entries had no names on them, I suspected several were by the same person because they were about the same subject. The subject was a certain creek. The first poem about the creek didn’t strike me as particularly strong. But as I read the second and third poems about the same location, I saw how these “studies” fortified and bolstered each other, the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

I have found myself naturally circling back to some subjects in my own writing,  perhaps because they were new experiences for me and writing about them helped me understand them better. The death of my mother was one such. So was my broken hip this spring. Beginning in March, when I was newly recovering, to April’s poem-a-day challenge, and on, I wrote quite a few poems about my unaccustomed state.

The other day I collected them and found they were a sequence of sorts. I’m going to be sharing them here over the next little while (though not arranged in the order I wrote them).  I call them my LIMP sequence. As in the poems about the creek, when these LIMP poems appear with others of the same subject they seem more complete than they do as individual poems. So, welcome to my LIMP sequence! Below is the first one.

Runner with cane

My trusty cane


(After Genesis 32:24-32**)

Jacob wrestled with an angel
I fell down some stairs.
The surgeon plated, screwed it
but I was unawares
somehow he took a bit off
I now walk with a limp.
Does God bestow a blessing too
with this gait that’s gimp?

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


*You do know about Diane Lockward’s excellent newsletter, don’t you? It comes out every month with a prompt, a craft tip, a writing-book tip and other goodies. If you don’t subscribe, you know you should. (You can subscribe in the right sidebar of her blog Blogalicious.)

**The Bible story is that one night Jacob wrestled with an angel, the angel injured Jacob’s hip, and Jacob wouldn’t let the heavenly being go until the angel blessed him. Jacob did get the blessing but along with it came that lifelong crippled hip.

By the way, I’m walking just fine these days, the cane long retired. Even the limp is growing less noticeable every day!


Posted by on September 23, 2014 in LIMP sequence, Personal, Religious


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