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Category Archives: Poetry Friday

Out of my element

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Photo: Pixabay

Out of my element

I bushwack through brush
trying to remember to hand off
face-high branches to the hiker
just behind
keep an eye out for stinging
nettle, poison oak
haul myself up thigh-burningly
steep hills, inch down steep declines
side-footed with the caution
of an arthritic senior
but when we reach the stream
bridged by a fallen log
I freeze.

How will I cross
without my pack throwing me
off balance?
Pray my shoes sprout cleats.
Envision crawling across
the narrow rounded bridge
on hands and knees…

“Come on!” my friend cries
as she lithe-springs
from log to shore.
But how can I “come on”
with feet and legs possessed
by sweaty
trembling
paralysis?

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration
The prompt for this November 2012 poem was “Write a poem that scares you. It could be a scary movie or ghost story poem. It could be a poem about a secret in your past. It could be a poem about your worst fear. It just needs to bring up a scary/fearful/uncomfortable emotion as you write.”

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts at her wonderfully eclectic blog Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Nature, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Thirteenth Summer

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Image: Pixabay

Thirteenth Summer

It wasn’t that I could not get up
the nerve to water-ski

or that I hated
myself in a bathing suit

It was bare feet
of tanned twins

next to mine
in that Waskesiu boat

smoothly brown
as Indian princesses

nails polished
the pink of shells

beside my pasty
sandaled peasants

that made me feel
not one of the beautiful people.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly

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Prompt – Inspiration

The inspiration for this April 2011 poem was Adele Kenny’s memoir prompt. It begins:

For this prompt, try writing a memoir poem about an experience that haunts you. This is not to suggest a bad experience but, rather, a memory that continues to inform the present.

Memoir poems are narrative because they tell stories. However, we often see memoir “poems” that “narrate” in what is essentially prose (with a couple of good images, a few similes or metaphors, and stanzaic arrangements). Most of these poems don’t succeed because they never reach beyond the poet’s impulse to “tell.” The poem has to be more than the story – it has to be about what happened because of the story.

Read the rest of the prompt and a sample poem HERE.

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in Kids, People, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Preserving

Tomorrow is April 1st. As I write that I feel a frisson of excitement. April is National Poetry Month (in Canada, the U.S. and perhaps other places too). This April, as I’ve done during the last several Aprils, I’m planning to drop other projects and works-in-progress and concentrate on poetry. Yes!!

Last year I wrote a poem a day and posted those freshly written puppies here on the blog.

This year I’m planning to do something a little different. I’ll still be posting a poem a day but from my pantry or cold room, so to speak. I have written many poems over the years that I’ve never published or posted anywhere. This April I’m going give some of them their first outing. I may publish a poetry book review or two and some how-to pieces as well.

If I know the poem’s inspiration or prompt, I’ll post that. If you decide to use that prompt to write a poem of your own, you’re most welcome to type your poem into comments so we can all enjoy your take on the subject.

(I’ll still be writing a poem a day. But I won’t be going public with them while they’re still warm from the oven, at least not most days…I’m a slow writer–need time to rethink, revise, work out the kinks, etc.).

Wishing you a wonderful month of preserving.

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Image: Pixabay

Preserving

Near multitude of washed Gem jars
next to the stove with boiling pot
of glass tops, zinc and rubber rings
she stacks the beans to chop-chop-chop.

Stainless steel bowls of new-shelled peas
wait still and mute for boiling bath
three-minute scald then colander scoop
into cold water filled with cubes.

Skins of tomatoes, peaches, beets
slip easily after scalding soak
hands soon stained red, sticky with juice
of roundness slippery as wet soap.

Sliced cucumbers sit overnight
in salty brine before they take
their Million Dollar Pickle bath
tart vinegar, mustard, turmeric.

In steamy kitchen open-mouthed
boxes wait scoop of beans or peas
jars merrily clink in canning pot
our cold room soon is rainbow-raised

with rich wine beets and red chow-chow
yellow peaches, pickles green
a freezer piled with boxes neat
of carrots, broccoli, peas and beans.

I too gather from my life’s plot
dehydrate, freeze, pickle and can
sustenance for my winter’s days
preserve with paper and with pen.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Prompt or inspiration:

I wrote this poem in response to Seamus Heaney’s poem “Digging” considered one of the top 100 poems of all time. It was linked on Adele Kenny’s blog The Music In It, her post of April 2015 poetry prompts.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at The Poem Farm. Two days ago her blog was 7 years old. On her blogaversary post, she shared her National Poetry Month inspirations for the last several years. I love the many ways and places that people find inspiration for writing!

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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Poetry Friday, Writing

 

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Note to Spring

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Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly

Note to Spring

The monsoons of March
with their downpours and douses
are greening the sides
of the fences and houses.

Yes, we love green   (it is St. Paddy’s Day, after all!)
but we’re eager for more
colors to brighten
the outdoor decor.

Purple and yellow
red, blue, pink, and white
we’re longing to find
in the lengthening light.

Please don’t delay,
feeling bound by the date.
The welcome mat’s out, Spring,
we’ve unlatched the gate!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Goodies on display at Scoop ‘n’ Save – Langley, BC.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the incredibly talented Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Curling

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Curling rocks, lined up for play in the hack (Image: Pixabay)

Curling

In the hack and grip your rock
crouch and graceful glide precise
eyes on broom across the sheet
send the stone along the ice.

But you can’t hit everything—
need to keep the four-rock rule.
Play it cagey—make the tick
learned in Weagle curling school.

Skip is yelling from the house
to the sweepers, “Hurry hard!”
Rock is light and slowing fast
comes to rest, a perfect guard.

Rival stone sits in the rings
they would dearly love to steal.
“Throw a bullet,” is the call,
“sweep it clean, we want to peel.”

Now the house is getting full
rocks in twelve-foot, four-foot, eight
try the double, watch the jam
need to throw a lot of weight!

It’s our hammer and last rock
draw to button a clear shot
sweep for line and watch it curl
–
it looks easy, but it’s not!

© 2011 by V. Nesdoly

It’s the week of the Brier — a week-long curling bonspiel that pits men’s rinks from Canada’s provinces and territories against each other.

If there’s one game I love to watch it’s curling. I love the fact that there’s athleticism and strategy involved (curling has been called ‘chess on ice’). I love it that ordinary men and women (moms, teachers, accountants, chiropractors, golf-green-keepers, pharmacists) from small-town Canada get to be in the spotlight. I enjoy the pace of the game, and the way it’s televised so that you can see the look on the players’ faces, watch the progress of the rock along the ice,  and  see those great shots replayed. It has taken lot of self-discipline for me to get anything done this week (with three games a day and each several hours long… good thing I have a knitting project on the go!).

I wrote the ditty, above, several years ago while watching a Scotties (women’s) or  Brier (men’s tournament). It uses a a bit of the game’s vocabulary (and is a re-post).

In case you’re interested, here’s a glossary of Canadian curling lingo (Canadian Curling Federation).

The video below features the top ten curling shots from a few years ago at one of the Canadian spiels that was played to help select Canada’s men’s and women’s rinks for the 2010 Olympics (where the Canadian men’s rink [Kevin Martin] won gold and the women’s [Cheryl Bernard, shown in the still shot below] won the women’s silver).

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Poetry+Friday+TagThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the multi-talented Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty.

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Posted by on March 10, 2017 in Poetry Friday, Re-post

 

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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.”

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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)!

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

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

 

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Concession (for now)

A few weeks ago Ed DeCaria announced that the March Madness poetry competition would be back with a new name (Madness! Poetry) and a new website (madnesspoetry.com). At that time he put out the call for poets to audition to be an authlete in the competition.

One part of the audition was to write an original poem to this setup:

Imagine winning five consecutive matchups to reach the Madness! Poetry Finals, then losing to your opponent in a close and controversial final round. Write a concession poem to be shared with your imaginary opponent upon her/his victory. It can be kind, mean, funny, defiant … whatever.

Well, I wrote the poem but then decided to keep my hat out of the ring and not enter. However, all is not wasted. Now that entries are closed, I will share my poem of concession as today’s Poetry Friday offering.

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A Pun-kin Shake

Concession (for now)

I see that I am bested
and I accept my fate
but give me just another year
and I am sure I’ll rate.

Twelve months of rhythmic exercise
of jogging iambs, spondees
of breathing hyperbolic air
a year of pumping ironies.

A diet rich in meataphor
poetic pun-kin shakes
served with sides of organic rye-me
limerick and lime breaks.

spiced with sage and cinnanom
cuplets of pear-ody
joined stickily with enjambment
and stanzaic all-eggory.

On such a regimen, I’m sure
to build poetic muscle.
But now farewell—to get this done
I know I’ll have to hustle.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

Now I wish all Poetry Friday authletes who will soon be in the heat of Madness! Poetry much agile word-ability!

Here’s the Madness! Poetry Calendar to know when all the action is happening. If this competition runs like it did other years, readers get a chance to vote for their favorite poems and poets!

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Karen at Karen Edmisten*.

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Light, Poetry Friday

 

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