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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

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

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

 

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Clematis’s kids

clematisskids

I just love the post-blossom stage of clematis flowers. To me they look a lot like tousle-headed children.

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PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Catherine at Reading to the Core.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Haiga, Haiku, Nature, Personal

 

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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)

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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!”

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Personal

 

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Highrise-welcomer (NPM ’16-Day 21)

P1010837

Highrise-welcomer

I’m an airplane-envelope
rainbow-holder, bird-chamber
wind-route, cloud-churn
lightning-conductor.

Show off turbine’s locus
and weather vane’s point,
I’m a bee-bowl, rain-route
pollen-suspender.

Full of atmospheric dregs
hold your breathable brew,
I rhyme with “my”
on a sunny day I’m blue…

What am I?

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This poem came out of a prompt to write a “kenning” poem. Kennings are riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas (according to NaPoWriMo). In a kenning poem you  refer to something in an off-kilter metaphoric rather than by its name. I’vPoetry Friday Logoe made this a riddle poem. Do you know what I’m referring to?

This poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Chef Jama  at the very tasty Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Light, Poetry Friday

 

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Believe

Many of us have chosen one-word themes for the year.

Holly Mueller our Spiritual Journey Thursday hostess has invited us Thursday pilgrims to share the thoughts and spiritual  aspects of each others 2016 one-word choices each week until we’ve covered them all—a process that will take us into mid-February.

Our word this week is BELIEVE, the word chosen by Carol.

I’ve decided to put my thoughts into poetry. I was surprised at how the word BELIEVE had me digging deep and asking myself, what things do I believe in, and why?

Image by skeeze / pixabay.com

Image by skeeze / pixabay.com

Believe

Belief is the string between hand and balloon,
rush of wind between platform and diver,
arc of fork from plate to mouth,
that extra effort because you know you can,
ordering your life by the words of a Man.

To believe is to have confidence in
consider honest, regard as true
trustworthy and acceptable.
When you believe you suppose and assume
surmise and conclude
set store by, reckon
deduce, approve of, cling to.

Whether you are a wise or foolish believer
depends on your belief’s object…
the buoyancy of helium and the strength of the string.
the law-pull of gravity, the water’s depth
and its way of cork-popping you to the surface.
the accuracy of your aim and absence of arsenic in your food.
confidence in yourself because you know you have more in you.
faith in a Creator, a promise, a Son
a broken relationship and a buy-back plan.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted each week by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 
 

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SJT – Mercy (In the DNA)

Mercy is one of those words we bandy about so freely in Christian culture, it becomes almost invisible. I gained a fresh appreciation of its richness when I looked it up in the dictionary before writing this post:

Mercy:
1. Kind or compassionate treatment of an offender, adversary, prisoner etc. in one’s power; compassion where severity is expected or deserved.
2. A disposition to be kind, forgiving, or helpful.
3. A thing to be thankful for.

Mercy comes from compassion, kindness or other ennobling sentiments.

Opposites of mercy are harshness, severity, implacability, punishment, chastisement, vengeance. – Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary

It’s what God had for us when He sent Jesus and had Him take the penalty our sins deserved. It’s what I’m supposed to extend to others. And there’s the rub. For like so many Christian qualities, showing mercy is counter-intuitive. It goes against every atom of fairness to let the person who hurt me get off free. Look at how the crowds clamber for justice when a policeman has shot someone in the line of duty. Suggest mercy to that crowd and you’re likely to start a riot. It’s in me and all of us to want to get even, to make things right with our own style of justice.

I was pondering why we, or at least I, find that giving mercy is hard. I think it has something to do with feeling that I’m giving up control. When Christians extend mercy, we give up control to God. We’re saying with our actions that we believe He has the situation in hand and will sort it all out fairly in the end, better than our scolding, punishment, or tit for tat ever could.

The Bible story that illustrates this beautifully is David’s behaviour when his father-in-law and deadly enemy King Saul is hunting him. One day David finds himself in the cave with Saul. His men tell him, This is your chance.  Take matters into your own hands and kill him.

He resists them, and instead, just cuts a piece off Saul’s robe to prove how close he was. Later even that seems to bother him. 1 Samuel 24:1-12 where this story is told, ends with these telling words from David to Saul:Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you” (emphasis added).

The challenge for me is to get to the place where extending mercy becomes my default position. I want it to be in my DNA.

Kale

“I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” – Job 23:12 (Photo of kale from Pixabay.com)

In the DNA

We bite into apples
bread, cake, meat
taste, chew, swallow.
They disappear, digested
become absorbed into muscle, bone
fingers, toes, skin, lashes
brain cells, our very DNA.

We bite off Your word
Blessed are the merciful …
   Be reconciled to your brother …
   Forgive up to seventy times seven …
meditate on these things
swallow them into the busyness of our days
Now that they’ve been ingested
are they being digested
becoming the muscle, bone, skin
of loving acts, kind words, patience
mercy, forgiveness
altering our very DNA?

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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spiritual-journey-framedThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning. Today the theme is MERCY.

 

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Body weather

Boy blowing nose

Image courtesy Microsoft clipart.

Body Weather

Plugged-up nose
predicts a cold front
scratchy throat
a storm warning.

Gusts of sneezes
are soon a blizzard
of blowing spray
100% possibility of precipitation.

Tissues accumulate
in drifts, filling trashcans
calm eye of the story
followed by a rough trough

of sneezes and coughs.
My nose is a windsock
head locked
in a supercell

that weakens to a drizzle
of draining mucus
while Kleenex flurries
continue.

Winds die down at last
fog begins lifting
long-range forecast is hopeful
clear and calm in a week.

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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I wrote this poem last January. Perhaps it’s my new but unwelcome tradition—a New Year cold as I’m again in the grip of this sort of body weather. So I’m staying in and hunkering down. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Light, People

 

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