RSS

Tag Archives: free verse poem

Vena Cava

Through Poetry Friday friend Ruth, I discovered the writings of Jan Richardson and her Women’s Christmas Retreat booklets. Last year I downloaded the one for 2015 (Illuminating the Threshold) and worked my way through part of it using its questions as writing prompts.

She ended the third chapter “The Cave of the Heart” with these questions:

“The ‘cave of the heart’ is a way of describing that place where, even for some small space of time, we can turn inward and pay attention to what is stirring within us. How do you find or create this kind of space? Are there practices, people, or places that help you listen to your life in a way that enables you to return to the world with renewed vision?” – p. 11.

My one little word for 2017 is LISTEN, and so the question: “Are there practices, people, or places that help you listen to your life…” popped out at me as I re-read these comments just now, and the poem I wrote in response last February:

heart-1213481_640

Vena Cava*

The vena cava of the psyche
also needs the in and out of breath
the in of distance—
a walk
a drive
a vacation
the out of spill
a journal
a pen
the in of a song
the out of tears
the in of an essay or poem
the out of conversation

So the blood of growth and change
pumps from the cave of the heart
to the head, the hands, and the feet.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

I’d love to know: How do you listen to your life?

You can find Jan Richardson’s Women’s Christmas Retreat booklets available for download on THIS page.

* The vena cava are either of two large veins discharging blood into the right atrium of the heart, one (superior vena cava) conveying blood from the head, chest, and upper extremities, the other  (inferior vena cava) conveying blood from all parts below the diaphragm – dictionary.com

**************
Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today Linda at Teacher Dance.

Save

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Personal, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Vancouver Island

Today (July 1st) is Canada Day! A Happy 149th Birthday to Canada, the country I love. As you can imagine, the birthday celebrations this year will be eclipsed by celebrations next year when Canada turns 150. (Our poetry society is planning to publish a book of poetry to commemorate the event. Our members are busy writing about Canada. That bit of writing is also on my to-do list.)

Today, a poem about one of my favorite places in Canada to visit. Though it’s just a 90-minute ferry ride away, Vancouver Island is a special place full of memories of the wonderful times we’ve spent there. The accompanying slide show lets you see just a few of its features. Of course the best part of any place we visit is the friends we have there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vancouver Island

Ninety-minute crossing meanders between Gulf Islands
from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay
slows us down to island speed

Drive roadways lined with rocky outcrops and arbutus trees
that shed their trunks in curling rusty flakes

Shiver in bone-cold Port Hardy fog
Breathe air that feels thick as a milkshake.

Watch whales breach, sea lions sunbathe
on a brilliant Telegraph Cove morning

Spend a day wandering Chemainus
camera in hand gathering murals

Gawk at Buddha statues and goats
on the roof of the Coombs market

Stroll past Victoria’s Parliament Buildings outlined in lights
to the skirl of the bagpipes of buskers

Talk with my friend till late
Wood fire embers snap a sleepy goodnight
as I head to the guest room

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

*********

PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Poetry Friday – fiery edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here this week.

Poetry Friday Logo

In western Canada, we’ve had an extra early start to the forest fire season this year. Last week the entire town of Fort McMurray in north-east Albert had to evacuate (85,000+ people).  A fire that had started just few days earlier was whipped into a frenzy by winds and aided by extreme dryness, no leaves on the trees, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures. It moved so quickly and unexpectedly, some people had only minutes to gather their things and flee town.

The fire, that continues to burn, has left that city and moved into less populated areas. Now comes evaluating the damage and rebuilding. My heart goes out to the people of Fort McMurray.

Forest fires are a common phenomenon of western Canadian summers. Though I have never been threatened by one, I have seen enough news footage to imagine the experience. I wrote the poem below some years ago.

canada-fire

This picture was the prompt that helped inspire the poem below.

Forest Usurper

Born a common spark
baby tongue creeps, crawls
nibbles grasses, needles, twigs.

Lambent cub
egged on by wind
runs and leaps, laughs and licks.

Hungry adolescent hunts
smorgasbord of pine, hemlock, fir,
belches plumes of caustic smoke.

Suffocating stench
stampedes forest creatures
to the glittering river

sends wild-eyed homeowners in 4x4s
loaded with papers, photos, pets
traffic-jam creeping from his pounce.

He is king of the heat now
dancing on the forest crown
swishing his tail on the summit.

Buzzing dragonflies spit
bucket after bucket of pink.
Under his gauzy skin, beast continues to binge.

Only heaven’s tears carry the clout
to say Enough, to stop the treason.
Still he plots, smoldering in caves of blackened roots.

Copyright©2009 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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

Interested in forest fires? Macleans Magazine‘s “Q&A: What you need to know about the science of forest fires” has lots of interesting information.

I thought of the many teachers and educators that contribute to Poetry Friday when I read the story “When evacuation was ordered, Fort McMurray principal fled with busload of students.” I’m sure all of you would show the same courage, presence of mind, and dedication to the kids that she did!

Now it’s your turn!  Please click on the Mr. Linky button below and leave your links on the page that opens.  Thank you!

 
34 Comments

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Un-Hallmark Mother

Un-Hallmark Mother

While I gifted icon carnations
and Hallmark lines, “Mother” to me
smelled of duty and mothball wisdom.
She my root of conscience, scruple

permission to pursue the chaotic
then, like her, to sort and label.
I lived for her sideways compliments
overheard in conversations with her friends.

Her widow-grief broke down walls:
She was fellow-woman.
Our friendship rooted, blossomed—
she was always so good with flowers.

At the end when she needed help
even to get dressed
my heart pinged for her
like she was one of my kids.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

***********

Store-bought cards do express a sweet dimension of motherhood, but the real thing is always much more complex. I would be lying if I said my relationship with my mom was all good. We clashed sometimes during my teen years—and beyond. But we worked through our rough spots and became more than friends. It was a relationship that changed with the times and seasons. Mom died ten years ago this June. Does a daughter ever get over not having her mom around?

The photos are of one of our last outings in May 2006. Hubby and I drove her down to White Rock Beach, took her out for lunch, walked to the bear statue at the end of the path, went to the end of the pier, and posed her under the spring blossoms she loved so much.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday hosted today by Sylvia Vardell at her blog Poetry for Children.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Personal, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No! (NPM ’16-Day 27)

candle-278582_640

Photo: Pixabay.com

No!

lower the ceiling
stop dreaming and get real
distract the appetite
.    with cold water and celery
wipe that smile off your face
snuff out the candle of “what if…?”
turn off the music
leave the room
.   and don’t forget to close the door

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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

The poem “Yes” by Catherine Doty (Adele Kenny’s poem prompt for April 24th) gave rise to this contrarian response.

In her Tips on how we might use the poems she links, Ms. Kenny says:

1. Don’t feel compelled to match your content to the examples—in fact, do just the opposite and make your poems as different as you possibly can. The inspiration titles and the example poems are only intended to trigger some poetry-spark that’s unique to you, to guide your thinking a little—don’t let them enter too deeply into your poems, don’t let their content become your content.

2. Let your reactions to the key words and poems surprise you. Begin with no expectations, and let your poems take you where they want to go.

I guess that happened with “No!”

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Personal

 

Tags: , , , ,

Monday is washday (NPM ’16-Day 12)

P1050836

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)

***********

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.

 
2 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , , ,

Tulip Festival (NPM ’16-Day 9)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All photos © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Tulip Festival

A few tulips are beautiful
acres of them stunning—
bouclé strips of colour
in the palette of Spring:
red, peach, yellow, pink
orange, variegated, white, wine,
varieties named for memories
and with imagination: Rhapsody, Lolyta
Christmas Gift, Graya, Kelly, Charade.

They are April wine,
goblets capturing light
suffused with light
petals luminous in morning sun.
No competition here, each variety
from giant orange decanters
to delicate pink thimbles
spreads its own elegant carpet.

We bow homage, lean in
kneel, prostrate ourselves
with cameras of every size,
wander into rows and selfie-stick-snap
smiles and natty hats
among the rainbow blooms.

On the highway, cars and trucks
thunder by this colourful miracle
while we wander down the sawdust path
towards the parking lot
hands full of U-Pick life
and a whole memory card of pixels
to brighten next January.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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

A trip to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival yesterday was the inspiration for this poem. (Interestingly, yesterday’s prompt at NaPoWriMo—which I read after I wrote the poem—was to write a poem about flowers; I guess it was meant to be!) The slide show above contains only a few of the photos I snapped.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2016 in Nature

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,