Come, My Spirit

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Come, my spirit,
we’ve been to dark places that seem to be the end.

Come, see the red-gold flutter of trees
against a blue enamel sky.

Come, hear the solid thunk-thunk of a woodpecker
searching; the crispy crunch of leaves shed
like so much dead skin.

Come, smell the spice of just cut grass.

Come, feel the cool breeze that sends
a quiver of living across your cheek.

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Loss

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In the past week, my life has been touched by two deaths. The first was a 93 year old woman who had lived a long, beautiful life, as attested to by her six children. The second was a 57 year old man whose body had been ravaged by cancer and whose children are the same ages as mine. We’ve all felt the loss of loved ones. If we’re lucky, we hold onto their smiles in photographs. If we’re blessed, we hold onto their smiles in our mind’s eye. These recent losses prompted this poem:

Your smile is a bird
perched on the porch railing
peering in my window —
our eyes meet
outside of time
and then it flies
perhaps to where
it most belongs
and I am left
standing
still.

Lesser Things…

The first lines of this poem emerged in response to an ugly family situation. The poem sat unfinished for months. Then I began to read the book Left To Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan holocaust in 1991. Soon after, terrorists attacked in Paris. I finished reading that amazing book, which describes love and forgiveness in the midst of horror and hate, just before the mass shooting in San Bernadino, California. And we’re all  aware that in addition to the violent acts that grab news headlines, there are ongoing struggles in this country and in the world at large fueled by racial, social, gender-based and religious bigotry. This poem is my response to hate on all levels…

Lesser Things

There are lesser things
than love, my friend,
and we have tried them all:DSC_0738
retaliation,
righteousness,
striving to recall
every misalignment in
the history of time.
We carry
bricks of sadness
for a world of our design.

The feathers of a goldfinch,
are as gifted
as a hawk’s —
in daily plight and purpose,
beauty won’t be lost.
Who’s to say
which of these
is wholly the more blessed,
for each deserves
a liberal flight and each one
craves its nest.

A single act
can bridge a gap or magnify
a fault.

There are lesser things
than love, my friend,
and we have tried them all.

Poems on Earth Day…

I spent this day outdoors in honor of Mother Earth. Actually, I spent it clearing up the front gardens of all the debris from last fall. Playing in the dirt always sparks my creativity…

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Excuse me,
did you lose
a crocus bulb or two?

They’ve settled in the grass
just here. I never saw
them coming.

cvb 2015

#2.

Grass
I didn’t plant
is sprouting
in the garden.
Chives I did plant
years ago hide small
mahogany heads
in their jungle.
I didn’t see until I knelt
and rested a gloved hand
in a swarm of sugar
ants. They didn’t
wait for me to say
it’s spring, it’s
time.

cvb 2015

Celebrating a Record…

Well, it’s official: it’s been a record-breaking year for snowfall amounts in New England! Yipee.

Last winter, I shared my thoughts on The Art of Snow Shoveling. This year, after one particularly deep snowfall, I was out shoveling (duh!) when I thought how little my previous advice applied while standing in two or more feet of snow! And I thought, “It’s hard to be methodical when the snow is three feet deep!” The following poem was born. I thought I’d share it on this record-breaking occasion…

Help! I’m Caught in a Snow Drift!

It’s hard to be methodicalapple tree 858
when the snow is three feet deep;
I’ve been shoveling in circles
and can’t seem to find my feet!

I swear they were there at the end of my legs
only a minute ago,
but now I can’t see nor feel them —
I’m numb from hip to toe.

I wonder, will someone notice
the pathway that I shoveled?
I tried to call for help just now,
but the sound was somewhat muffled.

The wind is blowing sideways
and my scarf has frozen flat.
Perhaps they’ll spy the pom-pom
on my smartly knitted hat.

I could use a sip of cocoa
or a nip of something stronger,
for I may be a “hearty New Englander,”
but I can’t take this much longer!

Wait, I see light; maybe someone’s coming
to rescue me somehow.
They’re coming closer, hallelujah!
Oh, crap, it’s only a plow!

cvb 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) was born on March 2, 1904. So, to one of my favorite authors of all time, I say “Happy 111th Birthday!”

 

In honor of this occasion, here’s a fun poem I wrote a few years ago…

The Zookeeper’s Symphony

On a Saturday night, when the zookeeper’s keys
Have locked the front gates with a click and a squeeze,
The hippos let go a most watery moan
And the toucans catch hold of the rich overtone.
The primates percuss, snapping fingers and toes,
While the elephant inhales and lifts its great nose.
In the dim light of a thin crescent moon,
A trill, a crescendo, a riotous tune
The peacocks conduct with an arrogant flare,
Coaxing a growl from the lone polar bear.
The zebras create a fine washboard effect
Rubbing their stripes side to side, neck to neck.
A smart pair of meerkats barks up the scale;
A young leopard whines while chasing its tail.
Up on the high ground, some old mountain goats
Bleat several sweet bars of staccato notes.
Then, an African lion adds a deep roar
To the rippling sounds of the sleepy sloth’s snore.
The zookeeper smiles as she hangs up her keys,
Then, humming along, plays the spoons on her knees.

                              cvb 2012

Who I Am & Why I’m Here…

I’ve been blogging on and off for over three years, but I still feel like a newbie. So, I’m taking the Blogging101 course and this is my first assignment. I do have an “About” page that sort of answers the questions of who and why, but they’re worth thinking through again…

I’ve been a writer, a poet, and a photographer since I first learned to spell and to hold a camera. But that hasn’t made me an expert. It just means that now they’re in my blood or my skin or my bones or however you’d like to imagine it. Sort of like a tree that incorporates an object leaning against it as it grows. They’re part of me. And the subjects of my essays, poems, and photographs reveal a lot about who I am: woman, wife, mother, adult child with aging parents, nature-lover, gardener, birdwatcher, musician, mathematician, spiritual and curious human being.

Why a blog? Well, I’ve had a few things published locally, but I don’t write consistently enough to keep my skills sharp or to improve much. I wanted to change that, so I started a blog. It helps to have an instant audience – one that’s willing to give some feedback or to relate to what I’m posting. I expect to grow and learn as a writer and a photographer in direct proportion to how much time and effort I put into my blogging.

With this in mind, I’m excited to participate in Blogging101. I see it as a personal challenge and a great opportunity. Thanks, WordPress!