Posts Tagged 'poetry'



Time to give thanks

It’s Thanksgiving, a traditional time to look at your life and give thanks.
Around the Blogisphere, different people are writing about traditions or travels for the holidays. Here’s a Frugal traveler article from the NYTimes blog on how to travel to Plymouth, Massachusetts and see kid-friendly inexpensive things around the theme of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving can inspire knitting, possibly due to all the stress of creating a full turkey dinner. But I had not realized there was a fad (even if it’s only in the mind of a designer) for knitting turkey hats. There are at least a few on Ravelry. For those without access, there’s a list of patterns on the Squidoo website.
Poets have written about Thanksgiving. Langston Hughes wrote a poem short enough for a child to memorize (I particularly like the opening “When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,/
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,”).
And during the American Civil War, President Lincoln made the proclamation for Thanksgiving as a holiday in the States. Since 1863, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday in the USA.
Overall, the things you feel grateful for are personal things that no one can say are right or wrong. For me, I’m thankful for family and friends gathering together, with the hope of seeing others at Christmastime. And I’m grateful for more than I can talk about in a blog post. I hope you have something at heart that fills you with gratitude (if you’re Canadian, you already have notes on this from October).
PS: Apple pie made from the 1950s Fannie Farmer, with butter crust. I used small cutouts of stars and turkeys to decorate the top of the pie.

A slice of light lingering

A sharp slice of paper

Or a too wide Cheshire Cat grin —

Tonight’s half moon shines bright

Cutting through the dark, while its fading face,

Lingers behind the night.

© rjn, November 30, 2011

Rail cars

Noontime, at the overpass,

The sweep of cars stretched
Along the track. Underneath,
The blue engine, then blue cars rumbled
Through, westward, each car empty,
shivering with black dust.
I stood, and watched as empty cars stretched
From east to west horizons,
Heading for cheap
Electricity, cheap fuel, cheap resources,
Ignoring the cost of plumes
of black dust.

I left before the last car, the final connection.

© rjn April 14, 2010

(My brain has had “Amazing Grace” via bagpipers on autoplay all day. My thoughts and prayers [for what they’re worth] are with those grieving in West Virginia.)

Drowsy, downy, solitary bee

bee hiding behind a flower

Picture of bee taken at the height of summer -- when bees ARE busy

I must have swept against its rest, among sunflowers by the way,

For a solitary, sleepy, snoozing un-busy bee clung to my leg,

Sprawled over my knee. Pollen clung to her legs, antennae,

And fuzzy body spritzed by dew.

It must have been a good party in the sunflowers,

Leaving her drowsing in the cold morning —

Her clear wings, pearlescent, periwinkle,

Drawn up against the chilly air.

As she stirred, I gently picked a leaf

And held it under one foot until she stepped away from

The strangeness of cotton fabric — one leg, two leg, three leg —

So I could leave her drowsing

In a stand of half-furled chrysanthemums.

— (C) rjn 9/3/2009

Green Like Ireland

White fence, green fields, blue sky on a changeable spring day

White fence, green fields, blue sky on a changeable spring day

This farm shocked me with its pleasant March green field, after a day of talking with family who were driving into the snows of Wisconsin or were dodging hail the size of golf balls. In March, when the scales between winter and spring can tip either way, I’ll drink in any vista with green that I can get, even if it’s on a cold, raw day with threat of torrential downpours. [This was shot on Sunday, north near Bel Air, MD. And all that came into my brain was snippets of Walt Whitman poetry. Pure joy.]

A Bookish Uncle

Uncle H was quiet, worked in a library, and collected — books of poetry from WWI, fine china, and linens from England and Ireland. He never talked that much about his father leaving him, his little sister, and his Irish mother in a tin-roofed house in the heat of the American Southwest. He did not talk about what it was like to be stationed somewhere in either England or Ireland, or his conflict about having to bomb churches in German towns. Perhaps he didn’t want to risk glorifying what he did, or war, but I can’t be sure.

He didn’t explain, and so we found out afterward at his funeral, each person adding a piece to the complicated story of a bookish uncle, who went into the ministry and also worked as a librarian. His passions were books, people, and his rescue animals (always 1 dog and 1 cat, coddled into extreme old age). He collected lots and lots of poetry, shared his favorite novelists with lovely Christmas editions of classics, and was always more concerned with how his friends and family were doing than in his private past. Thanks, Uncle H, for showing me that people can survive adversity with the help of family, friends, and a belief in the hereafter (oh, and a good pile of books).

One of Uncle H’s favorite poets was Wilfred Owen, whose poetry can be found at the First World War Digital Poetry Archive. Judging from his bookshelves, also loved Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dylan Thomas. So, a day late, I write up my remembrance.

Prettyboy Reservoir

The reservoir lies behind a screen of dark trees and leaves,

As though hiding behind a Moroccan screen.

Her polished surface holds the turquoise blue and pink

Of summer’s sunset, reflecting the sky’s blushes like

A handmaid’s mirror. The air smells of moss, ferns,

And trees. In the sky hangs the protracted vibrato

Of crickets and katydids and the whoosh of batwing.

–(Copyright): rjn, 08/18/2008


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