RSS

Category Archives: Poems by others

Wanderlust (poem swap edition)

Summer+Poetry+Swap-1

What’s second-best to Christmas? A parcel from the post-person during summer poem swap season, of course!

When I opened my front door after a summons by the bell on Monday, there was no one there. But there was an intriguing white package propped against the doorframe—poem swap goodies from Irene Latham!

IMG_4432

The Car and the car! (Summer poem swap 2017)

The parcel had in it a coloring sheet, perfectly in sync with my 2017 one-little-word “Listen,” a book, The Car, by Gary Paulsen, an actual car—a tiny metal roadster complete with two seats and a transparent front window (cutest thing you ever saw), and this poem…

RoadSong 1

I love everything in this poem swap parcel but my favorite item is the poem. It reminds me of the summer and fall way back, when I and a couple of friends spent four months backpacking around Great Britain and the Continent. (Yes, that’s what we boomers did in the 70s; we called it the “Europe cure.”) For two of those months we rode the trains, crisscrossing Europe on a Eurail Pass.

Irene’s got it exactly right. The train cubicle, your pack, the hostel are your whole world—bed, dining room, office, garbage can… The sky is the only constant. And you begin to feel like a creased old map, up for any destination, knowledgeable, wise, and invincible.

**********
poetryfridayThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda Mitchell at her blog A Word Edgewise where a poetry prompt auction is going on!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2017 in Poems by others, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , ,

A poem about my name!

It’s a real treat to get anything by snail mail these days. When that envelope in the mail contains a poem, that’s a double treat. When that poem is from our own Tabatha Yeatts and it celebrates one’s own name, that’s a treat in multiples!

Tabatha sent me this poem about violets for round one of the summer poem swap. I learned history about my name that I never knew (and was inspired to be a better violet.)

violet-292367_640

Violets (Image: Pixabay)

violet poem

Thank you, Tabatha, for organizing this summer poem swap, and for composing and sending this treasure!

***************

poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link.

Next week the round-up is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts. In honour of National Macaroni and Cheese Day on July 14th, next week’s roundup will have an optional Mac-N-Cheese theme (I’m drooling already)!

 

Tags: , , ,

Shannon Falls Haiga

My sister takes amazing nature photographs. When I saw these on her Facebook profile yesterday, complete with haiku she’d written (her first she says), I told her she should write more and my thought was, I’ve got to share these with other lovers of nature and poetry.

Poetry Friday is the perfect place. So here for your visual and reading pleasure is a suite of Shannon Falls Haiga – photos and haiku by Bea MacPherson (shared with her permission, of course).

Shannon Falls Haiga

SF-1SF-2SF-3SF-4SF-5SF-6SF-7SF-8

********

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Kiesha Shephard at Whispers from the Ridge.

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Collins and Canada

I’m delighted to be joining the celebration of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and his 76th birthday on March 22nd. (Thanks to  Heidi Mordhorst and others for the suggestion and heads-up on this!)

Though I don’t have any complete books of Billy Collins’ poetry, I’ve come across many of his poems online and have heard him read and lecture on YouTube. I always enjoy his work. To me it has a Seinfeld-ish vibe—poetry about little inconsequential things that are almost nothing, but in his hands become big, consequential metaphors of life and relationships.

The Poetry Foundation is where I found the poem of his that jumped out at me for today’s celebration. We in Canada are celebrating too. This year is our 150th Anniversary as a country. I’m helping to edit, for our local poetry society, an anthology in honour of that birthday, so I’ve read quite a few poems about Canada lately and was delighted to find a poem of Billy Collins’ called “Canada.”

img_0288

Canada Bag – Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly

Canada

– Billy Collins

I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark
that I cut from a tree with a penknife.
There is no other way to express adequately
the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms
and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility
that hands you the horizon on a platter.

I am also writing this in a wooden canoe,
a point of balance in the middle of Lake Couchiching,
resting the birch bark against my knees…

Read the rest…

I used Collins’ “Canada” as a mentor poem for my own Canada poem:

Canada

– Violet Nesdoly

I am writing this on a beaver tail
that my camera captured
beside a dammed prairie stream
under a canopy of blue
that sets off bordering quilt blocks
of yellow, brown and gold.

I am also writing this in Tim Horton’s
where I have just rolled up the rim
to “Please Play Again”
and am thinking of ordering
another coffee along with more hope
of a CRV, TV or even a Tim’s card
to help colour the long white winter.

O Canada, as the anthem goes,
scene of massive mountains
and mosquitoey lakes,
you are the memory of Mountain Lake,
the one-room school on the Saskatchewan prairie
where I learned to skate and spool knit
play Rook and binge read
sumptuous fare: Pookie and Old Yeller
My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead
Caddie Woodlawn, White Fang
Pat of Silverbush and Mistress Pat
which wondrously arrived
from time to time
in a traveling box.

O Canada, I want to be friends
as long as my memory lasts
to snap the bluebells in spring
and herons in fall,
cool off with Iced Capps® in summer
hibernate with poutine in winter
knit toques and pick Saskatoon berries
with only the occasional foray
over the line.
See that north-moving row of cars
approaching the Aldergrove crossing?
The woman in the passenger seat
of the blue Honda
wiping Edaleen ice-cream off her hands
before she digs for her passport
is me.

© 2017 (All rights reserved)

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins (and Heidi Mordhorst, who also has a birthday in March)!

************
Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Heidi Mordhorst and her blog My Juicy Little Universe.

Save

 
25 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Poems by others, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Poetry Friday – aim high edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here today.

When I realized, early this month, that I, a Canadian, had signed up to host on the very day of the U.S. inauguration, I gave myself a head slap. What was I thinking? Why hadn’t I noticed earlier? I feel like the wrong person to host today, but things are what they are.

I know how devastated many in this group are over the election results. Others may be jubilant. Though I have no skin in this particular game, I too am a citizen of a democracy, have seen my share of chosen candidates and preferred parties lose and win, know how demoralized, angry, upset, even punchy I feel when they lose, how ecstatic I am when they win.

In the end, though, we have control over so little. The weather, who our neighbors will be, what our family and friends think, all kinds of circumstances including the outcome of elections are out of our hands (except, of course, for our one vote).

But we do control one thing—at least to a greater extent than others: ourselves. And so I leave you with an old and idealistic challenge posed by one of your own—something to strive for, no matter what goes on in the rest of the world.

 

img_2964

View of Mt. Baker from BC  (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

NOBILITY

~ by Alice Cary (1820-1871)

Truth is in being, not seeming;
In doing each day that goes by,
Some little good—not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.

We get back our mete as we measure:
We cannot do wrong and feel right;
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight,
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight for the children of men.

We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets,
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small;
But just in the doing—and doing
As we would be done by, is all.

Through envy, through malice, through hating
Against the world early and late,
No jot of our courage abating,
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest is noble
Whatever his fortunes or birth.

(This poem is in the Public Domain)

The widget below is waiting to collect your Poetry Friday links. Thanks so much for joining in!

Save

 
35 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2017 in Poems by others, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , ,

Mindfulness at Christmas

p1050204

One of the Christmas bells in my mother’s collection (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

Thank you to Irene Latham for rallying us to revive our Spiritual Journey Thursday meme, at least this once. We’re invited to reflect on our One Little Word choices for 2017.

My 2017 word was / is MINDFULNESS.

I am aware that there are psychological and, in some faiths, religious overlays to the word which may bring baggage to it that I hadn’t intended. In my February post where I talked about what mindfulness meant to me, I gave it this definition:

Mindfulness, simply defined, is “being present in the moment.” It also has a psychology definition:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience” – Definition from Psychology Today.

Personally I like that second definition except for the bit about not judging. I reserve the right to judge and filter out thoughts that are critical, negative, pessimistic, hateful, etc.

Now, in the middle of December, I am relating mindfulness to Advent, the candles that are lit each week in church, and the qualities each represents. So far we have focused on HOPE, PEACE, and JOY. I suspect next Sunday when we light the fourth candle, we will hear about LOVE.

I want to possess these qualities in abundance and in their purest forms, especially at Christmas. However, the circumstances of my life change and with those changes my emotions fluctuate resulting in the needle of my Hope-, Peace-, and Joy-meters becoming virtual pendulums,

Each Sunday’s sermon has helped me focus on the lasting and unchanging aspects of Hope, Peace, and Joy that play out for us in the events of that first Christmas. Hope doesn’t dim because God took the initiative to reconnect with us, and promises us eternal life beyond this life. Peace is possible because we’ve entrusted Jesus with our lives; Joy is irrepressible because we are invited into relationship with our Creator. I’m sure next Sunday’s talk on Love will deliver something just as enduring.

My challenge to myself, then, is when circumstances change—when I get the flu, or the shortbreads don’t turn out, or the weather switches off all the power and my plans go sideways, or whatever—I remain mindful of the lasting, unchanging verities of the season’s meaning, instead of losing hope, peace, joy, and love at the whim of what’s happening in my daily life.

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”—a poem that became the carol—illustrates how this worked for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who, according to this article, wrote it in the middle of the American Civil War. The carol version leaves out the two stanzas that refer specifically to the war. Here is his poem in its original form.

america-1297066_640

Image: Pixabay

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

I’m going to take ringing bells as my cue to be mindful of the truths that Advent represents that are bigger than my fluctuating day-to-day hope, peace, joy, and love.

************

spiritual-journey-framed

This post is linked to “Spiritual Journey Thursday,” hosted today by Irene Latham. At the link-up you’ll be directed to other bloggers and their Spiritual Journey Thursday posts.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Journey through Advent

advent-1762640_640

Image: Pixabay

Today I’m recommending my friend Laurel’s blog for your Advent reading.

When her two children with Autism Spectrum Disorder could no longer tolerate the upheaval of Christmas, she knew she would have to find a different way than with decorations, visiting, lavish gifts and meals to celebrate. She tells her story on this video.

This new reality turned her toward the quiet, 25-day-long celebration of Advent, which she chronicles each year on a blog. For the past few years she has asked fellow-travellers to join her. (I’m honored to be one of them this year).

You can follow our Advent journey on her blog Four Parts Hope. (This year we’re doing cinquain, tanka, haiku, psalms, found poems, and Laurel’s main writings will be haibun.)

********
Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Bridget the wise one at wee words for wee ones.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,