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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.

 

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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)

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

 

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Sounds

By now you’ve probably switched calendars, thought about—maybe even listed—a few resolutions and goals for the year, and caught yourself writing 2016 instead of 2017 a time or two. Plus, you may have chosen your one-word for 2017.

The custom of choosing a word for the year has been around for a while. I’m not sure whose idea it was to begin with but memory and scrapbooking enthusiast Ali Edwards has been choosing a yearly word since 2006 and has even developed a One Little Word business, offering prompts and scrapbooking products to members. I like her definition of “one word”:

“… a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon…”

My word for 2017 came to me in the early hours of December 18. I had just written a blog post about my 2016 word (“mindfulness”) and choosing a word for 2017 was on my mind as I snuggled under the covers for a few more winks.

Also around that time I had been noticing that many of the big-name bloggers and productivity specialists I sometimes read were trying to convince me that I needed to be more focused to accomplish more and thus make more money in 2017. To do that I would want to sign up for their webinars and courses, but hurry because the special price would go away soon. I felt so bombarded by voices, it was becoming hard to hear the voice I really wanted to hear. How could I listen above the noise?

That word LISTEN sparked a frisson of recognition in me. You could say that morning it woke me up. LISTEN would be my one-word for 2017!

Because I always choose a scripture to go along with my word, I knew just what that would be too—Jesus’ words from John 10:

“To him (the Good Shepherd) the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him for they know his voice” – John 10:3,4 (emphasis added).

I want 2017 to be a year of listening for, recognizing, and hearing to the extent of obeying the voice of my Shepherd above all other voices.

During 2017 I’ll explore many other facets of the word as well, such as listening to nature, to people, and to all the ways one hears and listens metaphorically—by reading, tuning in to my intuition, visually observing and hearing the unspoken communication of those around me—that sort of thing.

I’m planning to try some activities this year related to my word. You may want to join me:

  1. Find and collect quotes with 2017’s one-word in them.
  2. Find, collect, and memorize Bible verses that relate to my word.
  3. Make a playlist with songs that relate to my word.
  4. Look for and watch TED Talks about my word.
  5. Journal / blog about my word.
  6. Collect objects with my word on them to display around the house.
  7. Make a collage or other art project relating to my word.
  8. Write a creed or manifesto as an ideal for how attending to my word will affect my behavior.

And now to prove that hearing and listening have been on my mind for a long time, here’s a poem from my files. It’s one I wrote in 1980 when I was taking a summer writing course.  (In it you’ll hear sounds that you probably haven’t since that era of wooden clogs that we wore for a while).

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A Western Meadowlark–a frequent sight on the Canadian prairies but rarely seen here on Canada’s southwest coast. I photographed this one one January morning at Blackie Spit, Surrey, B.C.

Sounds

A foghorn groaning his pain in the bay,
Liquid notes of the lark on a new spring day
The gleeful ring of the telephone
Cutting the still of an evening alone
The tock, tock, Tock, TOCK, TOCK, Tock, tock, tock of feet
In wooden clogs on the concrete street
The fiendish howl of the winter wind
When I’m warm inside, and so is my friend
The raucous cawing of crows in spring
And the gentle plop, plop of the snow, melting
The hiccupy laugh of Brita at play
When she catches her ball, then flings it away
Crystal chimes in December, buzzing crickets in June
The shrill school bell—so welcome at noon…
Sounds there are without measure to feed our ears
To sharpen our pleasure and soothe our fears
To add to the riches of all our years
Wealthy the one who truly hears.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Do you choose a word for the year? Does your word choice have a story behind it? What ideas for activities could you add to the list above? I’d love to read your responses. Leave them in the comments, below.

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This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, the first Thursday of each month. Today it’s hosted by Carol Varsalona at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink.

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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.

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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)

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in People, Personal

 

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What is this light?

We have a beautiful paperbark maple in the back yard. It is one of the last trees to green up in spring and to redden in the fall. We see it from our kitchen window. When it is in full color, it’s almost as if  there is a glowing presence outside, looking in at us. It’s coming into its full beauty right now!

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What is this light

that window-watches
with a molten glance
all the burnt-orange shades
of lingering Autumn’s dance?

That stains the cool
November afternoon
with pear-gold burnished joy
and flapping goose’s tune?

In windy rain the flakes
of sunlight falling fast.
Drink in this wine
before fall bloom is past!

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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This poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Fall Collection

This is another poem inspired by a walk and the autumn leaves, which are particularly spectacular this year.

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Fall Collection

I’m collecting fashion pixels
leaves so stunning, dyed and pressed.
With this season’s stylish outfits
Autumn’s golden runways dressed.

Slender sleeves of limey yellow
ric rac trim of flaming blush
bouffant skirt of lacy sun rays
scarlet gloves with seams of buff.

Stand of trees is wearing scarlet
there’s rain-polished burgundy
trunk shows off a brooch of coral
vivid shawls of tangerine.

Crinkled, dappled, smooth and spotted
late October’s costume ball
though some dither—can’t decide:
Come as summer, or as fall?

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda at her blog Teacher Dance.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Magpie

Poetry took a back seat this busy summer of being a mom and grandma first, writer second. But I did take lots of photos and tried to write a little something every day inspired by a photo.

Northeast B.C., where we spent the last three weeks with family, has many magpies. One morning one of them  was flitting about in a yard we passed on our walk. It is the subject of my poem for August 10th.

 

Magpie

Did you know…

– Australian magpies swoop and buzz walkers, joggers and cyclists during nesting season.

– Magpies are known (along with other corvids) for their intelligence. The Eurasian magpie even recognizes itself in a mirror.

– In some countries (like China) people believe magpies (Pica pica) bring good luck. They also appear as characters in folklore, stories, and rhymes from around the world

– Some people love magpies but others don’t!

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PF-2This poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Dori Reads.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Warm-up

Warm-up

The robins lilt
the blackbirds trill
from little sparrow’s
open bill

an aria
so sweet and round.
(how can that wee bird
make such sound?)

From somewhere high
the flicker drums
with rat-tat-tat
the forest thrums

The ducks afraid
of our bold pets
alarm their alto
clarinets

Steller’s jays rasp
the Kelp Gulls shriek
Blue Heron fishing
in the creek

mute audience
to warm-up glee
of spring’s sweet avian
symphony.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of morning birdsong. Even on the dullest days their calls brighten our walk. They’re especially melodic on the section of path that follows the creek. Listening to them every morning is the perfect way to get tuned up for the day!

PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol in her Poetry Garden at Beyond Literacy blog.

 

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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