RSS

7

Happy eve of New Year’s Eve!

Everywhere I tune in these days I hear people talking about what a terrible year 2016 has been and good riddance to it.

I don’t feel that way at all. For me 2016 has been a wonderful year. Hubby and I are still living together in peace, we visited our distant kids three times, had a fabulous summer holiday, welcomed another beautiful granddaughter, and were spared major illnesses, accidents, falls, fires, earthquakes, storms, and floods.

Poetry-wise it hasn’t been bad either. The number of poems I wrote this year is 97 and the number of times I participated in Poetry Friday is 37.

What’s with all the 7s?

I know! Seven seems to be my little buddy (in addition to those two, there are a total of eight 7s in our address and two phone numbers). Thus when I read the prompt “Write a number poem” in Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet II (a wonderful book for poetry craft and prompts, by the way) I had to choose seven. The threshold of 2017 seems the right time to share it.

counting-149957_640

Image: Pixabay

7

It’s not that it is a prime
number of perfection
the completion of an entire week
or that it’s the address of heavenly bliss.

And though its association
with itch and deadly sins fascinate
the reason I fall for 7
is how often it has fallen for me…

so often in address and phone number
I fear one day to find myself
at 6s and 7s to remember
where all those 7s belong.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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

What number would you choose for a number poem?

And now I’d like to wish all my Poetry Friday Friends a 2017 so 7-perfect it deserves a 10!
PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Donna (the BOLD) at Mainely Write.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Objects, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christmas Snapshots #haikuforhealing

Though I haven’t joined in on Poetry Friday for a couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed reading the #haikuforhealing (Mary Lee Hahn’s idea)  that keep popping up in my Twitter feed and various blogs this December.

Today I’m  bringing my little haiku side-dish to the potluck.

village-2

Image scanned from an old Christmas card

Christmas Snapshots #haikuforhealing

Road choked with cars.
She signals merge—let her in…
That’s the spirit!

Smell of poppycock
on my early morning walk—
only at Christmas.

🎼 Chestnuts roasting…
O come all ye faithful 🎹
I’ll be home. 🎶

Christmas Eve—all here,
lists ticked off, fridge full, feet hurt.
Soak in candlelight.

Trash bins overflow
tissue, Santa wrap, packing…
We are so blessed!

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Now, a Merry Christmas,  Happy Hanukkah (or whatever winter, or summer [if you’re down-under] holiday you celebrate) to all!

************
Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog.

Save

Save

 
18 Comments

Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Christmas, Haiku, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Incarnation

incarnation-1

Image scanned from an old Christmas card

The climax of the Christmas season will soon be here. This year a book that has directed my Advent focus is Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (compiled by Sarah Arthur).

One of the readings for the first week of Advent (“Incarnation” by Amit Majmudar) especially captured my imagination over the miracle of the incarnation. Here are some lines:

1. Incarnation

Inheart yourself, immensity. Immarrow,
Embone, enrib yourself. The wind won’t borrow
A plane, nor water climb aboard a current,
But you be all we are, and all we aren’t.
….
…For eyes, just take two suns and shrink them.
Make all your thoughts as small as you can think them.
Encrypt in flesh, enigma, what we can’t
Quite English…. – Read entire…

Another poem that has expanded my view of the incarnation in the past is by my friend Darlene Moore Berg who is also a medical doctor. Her medically informed perspective comes through in “Embrylogy” with its ending that connects that event 2000+ years ago to each Love-accepting heart now:

Embryology

A subtle thing
one simple moment to the next
a rhythm, a pulsatile beat
and the heart of God
takes on a mortal cadence.

In a dark, muffled womb
four chambers form—room
to comprehend the flow
of human blood…

A coil of ear widens open
to the Voice of Heaven-
whispers of Divinity
knit into the ossicles

(last stanza)

embryonic genesis
a life takes flesh,
manifests ultimate Love
stretches forth
across a Universe
to be born within a human heart.  Read entire…

So my wish for you, for me, for all of us is that this Christmas we would experience this “birth” and the “abide” that follows:

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in;
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel. (- Phillips Brooks, 4th stanza lyric of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”)

 

Tags: , , , ,

Technician

Yesterday I had a medical procedure which needed an intravenous line to insert contrast dye. My experience at the medical centre was unusually drawn-out as apparently I have what they call “rolly veins” (which have the good sense to slip away from needles).

The workers were wonderful, though. And in the hour it took to get that chunk of hardware into me, I had lots of time to study them. One technician particularly snagged my attention.

doctor-563428_640

Image: Pixabay

Technician

Her pants were green, her vest was blue
her top turquoise and peach
her hair a tidy dreadlock mop
Africa tinged her speech.

She worked with warm efficiency
to get an I.V. started
but four pokes chasing slippery veins
left her a bit downhearted:

“You’re my first patient of the day,
fear it will be a bad one.”
She warmed my arms with towels and sheets
handed me to the next one.

Two more technicians tried their luck
I felt like a pincushion,
with bandaids sprinkling both my arms—
unfortunate condition.

“She left her veins at home,” she quipped.
“She is the one to blame.”
Then kept on checking back until
the I.V. doctor came.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2016 in People, Personal

 

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: , , , , , , ,

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”

Though we’re just starting December the First Sunday of Advent is already past and Christmas is in the air. Sarah Arthur’s Light upon Light (a book of readings for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) recalled the beautiful song “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

I first heard “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” sung by the Amadeus Children’s Choir when our daughter was a member of it. At the beginning of the Christmas concert the children entered the auditorium singing it in their clear, pure voices. What a heavenly sound!

Since then it has become one of my favorite Christmas songs. Its beautiful lyrics and plaintive tune make it unforgettable.

The words are from a poem written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-413). The tune is plainsong (a type of old Catholic liturgical music), and from the 13th century. I think the plainsong aspect of it—it is monophonic and has a free (not measured) rhythm—make it so mysterious and exotic.

And then there are the words, translated from the Latin by John M. Neale (1854) and Henry W. Baker (1859). What theology! What praise! I’ve posted some of my favorites of the nine stanzas.

p1020779

Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

 

Roby Furley Davis translated it from the Latin as well. All three versions (Latin, English versions 1 and 2) are here.

And here it is in  song…

 

Tags: , , ,