Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Holy Days and Holidays

:  holy day :  a day set aside for special religious observance
:  a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically :  a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event
chiefly British :  vacation —often used in the phrase on holiday —often used in plural
:  a period of exemption or relief <corporations enjoying a taxholiday>

Midweek Motif ~ 
Holy Days and Holidays

What makes a day Holy?  Which holy day(s) do you celebrate?  How?  
Pick one of the four definitions of Holiday above to address in a new poem.  
Wikipedia lists more than 50 holidays and events in April! 


                        TO MY HAGGADAH

Over the years your staples have slipped
and pages loosened. Here a faded purple crescent
of ancient wine, there a smudge
from bricks of date paste.
But when you speak I swoon. Tell me again
how we were slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt
but the Holy One brought us out from there
with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
Sing to me of unleavened bread, of parsley
dipped in bitter tears. Remind me
if I wait until I feel fully ready
I might never leap at all. Waltz me giddy
through psalms of praise. Promise me
next year a world redeemed.
by Rachel Barenblatt  of  Velveteen Rabbi, used with permission


“To me, everyday is an observance of a 'holy day' for 
'this is the day the Lord has made' and as such 
I do not observe high nor 'low' Holy days."
― R. Alan Woods [2013]

1.      Post your holy/holiday poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.

(Next week's Motif ~ Science)

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Monday, April 14, 2014


This week, my friends, we are visiting Humbird, who writes at  The Sunbeam, and who regularly responds to our Mid-Week Motif, and links to the Pantry. I am interested to meet this poet, who hails from Russia, a country that has always intrigued me. Bring your travel mug and come along with me, as we swoop in to a fine landing at her front door.

SHERRY: Humbird, I am so happy to be meeting with you, at last! Thank you for allowing this visit.

HUMBIRD: I have so mixed feelings,  doing this 'fuss' about me...

SHERRY: Everyone does, kiddo. Let’s dive in! Where, on the globe, do you live? Am I right in surmising that English is your second language?

HUMBIRD: Yes, Russian is my first language. I was born in the Ukraine by the Black Sea, in the town of Odessa. I now live in Minnesota, and my very successful son is a meteorologist, working in New York.

Humbird and son

If you look thoroughly through my poems, you will find about 24 translations of  my favorite Russian poets:  Akhmatova, Pasternak, Fet, Doriso, Slutsky, Okudzhava, and also songs.


SHERRY: I have always felt a connection to Russia, and have read some of your wonderful writers, especially Solzhenitsyn. I am wondering how you felt, coming to America, and leaving your homeland behind? Has it been everything you dreamed? You must get homesick at times.

HUMBIRD: I'm thinking of one poem that might be appropriate for this question:

my roots
have been
for more Earth
for this unique
life cycle

so lucky
to see
as old star seed
the different sides
of the planet Earth

between two worlds,
two homes
there are common ground
I've found -
the planet Earth

the north and south,
east and west,
above and below're
invited for quest
within me

my tenderness
isn't missed,
not dispelled
with those 7 winds
its kept here,
within me
in peace

my eyes're
lit up with
the love I find
to new home,
to the whole
new world
under the name "I"

Sherry: That is a perfect response to the question. We are all citizens of the planet, when it comes down to it. And we start over again so many times in one lifetime. Thank you so much!

Duke statue, Odessa

Humbird, on your banner, you have written: “unfolding creativity, changing life”, which  indicates you are living through a life transition. Would you like to explain this? And how blogging may be helping you to make and chart this journey?

Arcadia Beach, Odessa

HUMBIRD:  First of all, you maybe want to know that I've started with spiritual stories. I have the blog on wordpress,  Vibrate. Create. Resonate, about self-growth, self-development . 2011  was the year when I first started to write in English, as an expression of new feelings of unconditional love I got, after opening my chakras, after getting my Masters degree in Reiki. It was a spiritual awakening. 

You can find writing dedicated to my healing art at my blog Vibrate. Create. Resonate.  
3 Revelations About Reiki will tell you more about this.

SHERRY: I checked, and it reads, intriguingly, that you are an engineer, piano teacher, and Reiki Master.  That you take a holistic approach to life, enjoying synthesizing  art, literature, music, science, and medicine. And that you wish to experience  life as multi-dimensionally as possible. Cool, Humbird!

HUMBIRD: Soon after that awakening, I started my second blog ,  BETTERFLY, with short stories and articles with the purpose of helping people to balance energy, feel better.  Reiki opened a new world, new perspective, second breath and purpose...

SHERRY: It is wonderful that you found your purpose and your passion! That’s what makes life sing.

HUMBIRD: By this time, 2012, I was active on Twitter for 1 year, where I've noticed an interesting group of haiku writers, and these were my first short poems.  By now, you probably understand what words 'unfolding creativity, changing life' mean for me. ..When you're trying connect your inner voice, the soul, you develop intuition, start to notice how your body and  heart react to different things in your life. And try to act accordingly.

One of my poems, dedicated to my healing art is Healing Hands.

Listening to my hands…

invisible worms – a million
run through..

Healing manna – inhaled
worry free, warm
energy cycle

Hold, hold until done
swirling ki, sipping by cells
sigh, life unfolding…

Sherry: Oh, I like that very much, Humbird! Do you have a writing process that you follow, or do your poems come spontaneously?

HUMBIRD: Sometimes I get the word, and it amuses me, I'm chewing it till get the poem. Another time, I just follow the idea, where always trying to keep rule of 3: exposition, culmination, denouement.  Couple time I was inspired by music, and just followed the rhythm of song , its phrases ( 'Unfamiliar guest' feb 17, 2012). Also I was trying auto-writing, which is hard mental task - the sounds just make you crazy...

So I do lots of humming when write... this is partly why I am Hum-bird :)

Sherry: How cute! I wondered how your name came about! Do you do a lot of revising or leave your poems as they arrive?

HUMBIRD: No! I don't like to look back, or rework old poems...Just recently I started to read them, and was surprised how differently they sound for today-me.

Sherry: I find the same thing.  Browsing around your site, I found this poem and knew I wanted to feature it here.

photo by Humbird

Why I write…

The fingers wander feverishly for extensions
stretching to decima – not enough,
the pensive soul accepts no refreshment,
played on the background so long half/half.

To run thru the keyboard-to discover
the thorns and the roses,
the joy, revelation while writhing in pain,
to dare to touch the stone of Moses,
don’t let soul sail get dissolved in a vain.

What threatens my writing life…

I nervous and gripping the pen
so then I’m not screaming
and shake in despair,
life steps on the heels
required pay bills
and this is what threaten
my writing passion…

Why I will continue to write against all odds…

I am into chasing the word
the English word sounds so cool to my ears
remember the time listening a song
but not understanding the lyrics…

We travel prolonged path
developing, nourish the spirit
so who will judge/blame us
when we learn to trust
our feelings and walk off a pier…

Sherry: That is a good manifesto, Humbird. Tell us about your field of employment.

HUMBIRD: I'm a piano teacher mainly. In the past I worked in Musical theater, where I also was a producer and directed a couple of children's plays.

Sherry: Poets are so often creative in other areas. I explored your wonderful artist page .........what came first, art or poetry?  Tell us a little about what completing a painting feels like. Do you stick with water colors, or explore other mediums?


HUMBIRD: I'm always inspired by other poets/writers pieces, also - by Astrology, Tarot, and art/photo. Once I decided to try art as another area for expression. My art lessons were in pastels, and also drawing from observation. 


I was surprised what a rejection I met. (I was able to draw one picture in not more than 30 minutes, while the other experienced artists in class were working at the picture 3 and more hours.)... maybe because we have never been encouraged to try new things... My art teacher said we need to force ourselves to practice every day.  As a piano teacher, I understand that. Writing also requires everyday practice... 

When I say about practicing to draw, I have a 'Sketch Pad'  and pencil by my computer, to catch the happy moment to draw.

Leaves edited in Picasa

Sherry: I think art is a wonderful avenue of creative expression. I checked out your community projects page and am impressed with the food program you talk about there, Feed My Starving Children. Would you like to tell us a bit about this?

HUMBIRD:  Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. I wrote about them in this poem:

Israelites, traveling in a desert,
were provided with
miracle meal -

...almost the same 'miracle' happened
to severely malnourished
and starving kids of Honduras,
received first box with formula...

Colleagues from companies
Cargill teamed up with
Pillsbury and General Mills,
fulfilled life roles,
developed nutritious
'fortified Rice Soy Casserole'
for malnourished children
age of 5

the formula's name
was changed
to 'MannaPack Rice'

...have you ever hold
the exhausted child of 13 pounds
weight? -
35 p. after 6 months
of eating the meal.
Volunteering, donating -
can we eliminate starvation
in children in the world?
Instill compassion in people
to hear and respond
to cries of those in need? 

['A single bag of food - which provides highly nutritious meals for six children -
costs around $1.32 to produce, and 92% of all donation to FMSC (Feed My Starving Children, the organization, founded in 1987 by MN businessman Richard Proudfit ) goes directly toward the food program.']

Sherry: This is a wonderful program! So rewarding.

HUMBIRD: I have worked with my friends for a while, now – I am busy, having the students at this time. We had dancing/singing/playing drums with a  group of kids/teenagers from Africa. And we held  a concert, also demonstrating some crafts in the lobby. 

Sherry: Such satisfying work, Humbird. Way to go! Well, this has truly been a pleasure. Thank you so much for this visit. Is there anything else you'd like to say to Poets United?

HUMBIRD: When we connect with the group of writers, participating in the prompts, comment on each others' poems - we absorb the wisdom of collective mind, receiving our personal aha- moments, inspiring and getting inspired. I’m grateful for meeting all these talented people at Poets United, wish them to keep high our poetic torch to highlight for all the way of Love through the word.

Every week, another wonderful journey, life seen through another poet's eyes. I love what Humbird says about the wisdom of the collective mind, and sharing Love through our words. Do come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Poetry Pantry #197

At Bampton, England - where Downton Abbey is filmed

Bampton of Downton Abbey fame





Greetings, Poets!

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.

This week Jo-hanna has shared some fascinating photos from Bampton where the series Downton Abbey is filmed.  (Here in the US can see this series on our PBS stations, and it is a wonderful series.) She said it is only a few miles down the road from where she lives.  Bampton is located in the Thames Valley, has many 17th and 18th century houses, and is one of the oldest towns in England.

Be sure to visit Poets United tomorrow to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see the turnout  for  Mid-Week Motif Wednesday continues to be good.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade is featuring on her "I Wish I Had Written This" or "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Anyway, with no further adieu, this is one of my favorite spaces to post poetry each week.  I hope you look forward to it too.  An older one or a new one, it's your choice.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.