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Duty revisited

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Image: Pixabay

Duty revisited

Forget what I said earlier about Duty
being a stern mother
and a tiny house
where I kept stubbing my toe
on “You shoulds.”

Lately Duty has become
a pool noodle
that keeps me happy
playing in the safe shallows
instead of risking
the big surf of the deep,

a tether
that won’t let my ball
arc dangerously through the air
and maybe get bruised on the rim.

I haven’t opened the freezer lately either
to check on the state of my dreams.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration:
This prompt for this poem was the following on the Poetic Asides blog on November 18, 2013:

“For today’s prompt, write a “forget what I said earlier” poem. This poem could be a response to a poem you wrote earlier in the challenge (or just earlier in general). Or it could cover one of those moments–I have them all the time–when you say something that ends up proving wrong or that you wish you’d taken back.”

The poem that “Duty Revisited” talks back to is…

DUTY

Duty is a stern mother:
Do your homework first.
Finish the cleaning before you read.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Don’t be late!

Duty is a tiny house,
no room for big projects.
I want … ricochets back
You should
Always stubbing my toe on something.

Duty is a pair of old jeans,
comfortable, unpretentious, serviceable,
sturdy, familiar,
safe.

Attention to duty means well-fed children,
happy parents,
a manicured lawn,
a reconciled account,
a shining car,
…a freezer full of dreams.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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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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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Personal, Writing

 

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work

And so the work of writing a poem a day begins…

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Image: Pixabay

work

it starts with pen on paper
it’s scribbles and cross-outs and trying again
it’s squeezing eyes shut to focus
it’s herding cat-thoughts
into an orderly, logical line
it’s silence
no music, the door closed
no one dropping into my office to chat

it’s following arrows and numbers
to read through the mess
of what I’ve written to this point
to “hear” what’s next
it’s ideas finally snapping into place
it’s the moment I switch
from writing desk to computer
prop messy sheets on the stand
it’s beginning to type

it’s feeling this thing I’m making
—a sculpture with words—
under my fingers
it’s making keyboard adjustments
as surely as if I used a file on wood
it’s reading to check tautness of ideas
flow of words, it’s tinkering
adding a word here, taking one out there
with an eye on word count

it’s saving, printing
putting it in a folder to cool
it’s going downstairs
flicking on some frivolous TV show
and resting my brain
that is now exhausted and mellow

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt or inspiration:

The poem above was inspired by this April 9, 2015 prompt at Poetic Asides:

For today’s prompt, write a work poem. For some folks, writing is work (great, huh?). For others, work is teaching, engineering, or delivering pizzas. Still others, dream of having work to help them pay the bills or go to all ages shows. Some don’t want work, don’t need work, and are glad to be free of the rat race. There are people who work out, work on problems, and well, I’ll let you work out how to handle your poem today.

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some previously written but not-as-yet published poems out of storage. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to type it into comments and share your take on the subject with us. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in Personal, Writing

 

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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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Beware Retirement

Glynn Young’s insightful blog post “Poetry At Work: The Poetry of Retirement” reminded me of when I went through some of the same things he and any new retiree faces—wondering who I would be now, what activities would my life consist of, would I find new purpose and direction?

The poem below came out of that experience. I think I wrote it for a friend, though I don’t believe I ever sent it to her. But I’m sharing it here today. My message to all of you at that stage of life… (Click on the player below to hear me read it.)

 

BEWARE RETIREMENT

I had been drooling about retirement
watching the months crawl by as I
X’d off days like a kid
waiting for Christmas or summer
dreamed of sleeping in, lunch at 3:00
watching all the late movies
time-oblivious as on a holiday
only this one perpetual.

It was a honeymoon at first
as I lay around with books all day
ate out or from the fridge
whim and indulgence my companions
even dusting, laundry, dishes
an imposition.

Then came my life’s day after Labor Day
when everyone was rushing off importantly
in new clothes, their backpacks heavy
with long pencils, empty notebooks
hope and the future.
I missed the challenge of learning,
growing, being stretched, being needed,
making a contribution,
doing something significant.
I wanted familiar rhythms back
the uphill of Monday
the plod of Wednesday
the ecstasy of Friday
and feeling so bone-weary I’d earned my nap.

So I applied for a new job.
Got a new boss.
She began to write me lists.
Not only did I need to do today’s work
but catch up on all the work I’d missed.

Now I hate Mondays again,
jump off the bus on Fridays
like a kid released from school.
Trouble is, this time
there’s no relief in sight
no retiring, now that I’m already retired
and my new boss is me.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Personal

 

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January day (for #poetryatworkday)

papers and shredded paper

Shredder fodder – Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly

January day
ends in blizzard of white sheets
what keep? what throw out?
slips and papers piled in drifts
shredder working overtime

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Someone has dubbed today “Poetry-at-work Day.” I’m good with that. In fact, every day is a good day to blend poetry with work in my books.

“January day” is the product of a new poetry practice I began last summer after being inspired by the tanka in a Dawson Creek park.

Mine are a cross between a journal entry and a poem in this five-line form. I call mine “tanka-type” poems because I usually title them (traditional tanka don’t have titles). This may be the first one of these I’ve posted here.

To bring poetry into my work every day my goal is to write one of these every day, although I don’t usually live up to that and am happy when a week yields two or three. I wrote today’s (a reflection on last night’s file-cleaning) this morning before I even realized it was Poetry-at-work Day.

To see more poetry at work, check out #poetryatworkday on Twitter. Find out about the origin of the day and download some goodies including a book written especially for it at Tweetspeak Poetry.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Personal, Tanka

 

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Ant

Ant on clematis flower

A clematis must look like a pink park to an ant!

Ant

“…the ants switched tasks. They switched in some directions but not in others. The general pattern is a flow of workers into foraging from all other tasks. The flow seems to originate with the nest maintenance workers, and once an ant leaves nest maintenance work, it will not go back.” – Deborah Gordon, Ants At Work, p. 126.

I have graduated
from feeding the pupae and the antlings
repairing and tidying
thoroughfares and tunnels
to the outside
(thank God I’m not a captive queen)
where I mount patrol
make rounds of Facebook, email, Twitter,
monitor technology and trends
forage freelance information
broadcast on the billboard of my blog.
But such a promotion
does not mean I get to skip
doing the domestic chores
in my egalitarian colony.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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Interesting creatures, ants! Smart too. Who would guess they have a work hierarchy.  Actually, I enjoy tending to the domestic chores of my little colony. Especially when there are antlings around!

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Nature, People, Poetry Friday

 

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View from my writing window (#poetryatwork)

View from my writing window

Rectangles and lines of nonfiction
diagonal, horizontal, vertical paragraphs
of roof, window, drainpipe
Venetian sentences
just a little off
with the siding
(a bit of parallelism
would even that out)

Eave trough
is a green algae poem
(if my window opened
on the near side
I would revise it
with a long-handled mop)

Only movement
commas, colons and periods
dripping from the greasy shingles
and once in a while
dropping in to visit
fantasy crow
or jeweled pigeon
from a novel setting

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

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Today is Poetry at Work Day! I’m celebrating it by re-posting this poem about the view from the room in which I work (our townhouse’s third bedroom that has been my office from the day we moved here).  My view isn’t particularly inspiring. My window faces another building. The window just across from mine, judging from the pink curtains, is the bedroom window of our neighbours’ five-year-old daughter.  From time to time the blinds open and and then they close but not much else goes on.

However, I am thrilled to have my own room in which to write, despite the lack of an exciting view.

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How are you celebrating Poetry At Work Day? Need some inspiration? The Infographic below (captured from this page at Tweetspeak Poetry) will give you some ideas! Have a wonderfully poetic day, wherever and whatever your work!

Poetry At Work Day - Infographic

Poetry At Work Day Infographic from Tweetspeak Poetry.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Personal, Writing

 

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